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Your Content Marketing is Broken! Here’s Why

While there’s no question that a content marketing strategy is a must for businesses of all sizes, getting it right is no easy job. Most businesses run their content marketing with a huge inefficiency, losing precious marketing effort and resources.

Yes, it’s true – a large number of businesses’ content marketing is broken! Here are 10 common content marketing mistakes that need your attention right away:

  1. Not using marketing automation.

With so much content generated every day, you have no choice but to publish and share a lot of content to stay visible. Doing all this manually, without the aid of technology, means you’re either doing less than you can or burning yourself out with it.

Content marketing on social media, web, email or other channels can be automated to a large extent. Key areas where technology can boost your efforts and save you several man hours daily include:

  1. No plan or process. Interrupted, unorganized effort.

Content marketing requires consistent and constant effort. You can’t run it in bursts of a couple of weeks or months here and there. Social media updates have to happen every day and the blog needs to be posted with new content a few times a week. Marketing your content and outreach is also a continuous effort.

Organizing the effort on a monthly or weekly basis and having a strategy is very important. Random bursts of efforts will yield no results, as you have to constantly make your presence felt and engage to reap benefits.

You should clearly define your content marketing goals and activities, and create sustainable processes that can run the show without re-inventing the wheel every time. For e.g., if you write a post once every 2 days, then the follow up marketing and distribution activities such as emails to subscribers or sharing on social media should have an associated process and automated where possible.

  1. Creating all content afresh.

Creating fresh, compelling content all the time requires significant effort, and attempting to do it every time is a costly affair. It’s unsustainable and inefficient.

You need to bring content curation in your content mix. For example, sharing thought leadership content on your social media from leading publications or efforts beautifully supplements any content from your blog or content especially created for social media. It also presents a diverse set of opinions, making your social feed more interesting for your audience.

You should also repurpose or re-share old content every now and then. As content moves extremely fast these days, the exposure every piece gets is limited, and repurposing or re-sharing allows you the opportunity of extending quality old content to people who may have not noticed it before.

  1. Forgetting the end goal is to convert customers.

Engrossed in the effort of creating and publishing more and more content, content marketers often lose sight of the end-goal, which is to convert customers. It is extremely important to have a plan around how you’ll be using your content to drive potential customers to you.

Having call to actions in the right place on the blog and other content distribution channels, subtly but smartly marketing your product and service, deserves careful thought and execution.

  1. Limiting efforts to a single channel or format.

Another common mistake that businesses make is to focus content efforts on a single channel, be it their blog, Facebook or some other channel. There are two problems with it:

  1. For the same content created, you end up reaching a much smaller audience by limiting the distribution channels.
  2. You are putting all your eggs in the same basket.

The same content can also be presented in several formats (blog posts, social media updates, presentations, e-books, podcasts, videos, infographics) – limiting it to a single format reduces your avenues to get content exposure tremendously. And as creating every piece of content requires significant thought, effort and research, it is only important to consider repurposing and distributing it through more than one channel.

  1. Content lacks substance/point of view or is overly self promotional.

It is not very hard to see why this would dis-interest your audience, and they would stop following your content. Your content needs character and should have some usefulness for the reader.

Blowing your own trumpet all the time has very little utility for your readers, so not only would they not share the content further, they would also turn away finding no value in it for them. Lack luster and generic content is plain simple boring!

Every time you create a piece of content – make sure to ask yourself the important question of how your audience would find it useful. Would it make them look cool if they share it or would it give them solid tips on solving important problems? Both ways it’s a win-win.

Also, dump the boring in favor of cool, awe-inspiring stuff. Start with catchy headlines and follow with kick-ass, highly information rich content.

  1. Not involving others and not making conversations.

The central goal of content marketing is to engage your audience. And the audience is best engaged when they are involved and talking to you.

It is extremely important to engage your audience in conversation through your content and then actively commenting and replying. For instance, a royal mistake is not to have a comments section on your blog. Social is usually the best channel to have conversations, so anchoring your content with questions or interesting facts can be a great way to start conversations. Conversations give your content additional exposure and build a better brand recall.

There are many other ways of involving your audience through your content. For instance, asking for comments or views from your customers and publishing them with attribution is a great way to get your customers invested in the post. Such content is a win-win opportunity for both you and the participants. I’ve also often noticed that posts with other folks involved gets shared more, is more valuable because of diverse views, and is also excellent for building relationships.

  1. Not marketing your content enough.

This is by far the biggest mistake that many businesses make with their content marketing. Just publishing content would not bring readers to it automatically. You have to market it. An ideal ratio of the effort towards content publishing and marketing should be 40:60 in favor of marketing.

You should define and evolve your content promotion strategy as a process to find ongoing momentum on your efforts. Some ways to promote your content (btw, you should get creative on this one, as the traditional everyone is doing):

  • Leverage all social media to promote your posts, not once, but multiple times
  • Publish your content in various formats across several channels (for example, infographics, presentations, podcasts and others)
  • Email your content in the form of regular newsletters to your subscribers
  • Syndicate it on good publications
  • @mention and let people and organizations you have referenced in your post know (so they can spread the word)
  • Consider, as appropriate, paid advertising as well
  1. Not measuring content success.

If you don’t measure, you’ll never know what’s working and what’s not. And this data is critical for course correcting content marketing strategy to ensure your efforts are not wasted.

Google Analytics works well for blog and external content – you can track visits, and even conversions by a quick set up. Many blog plugins give you the data on social shares, which is a good indicator of the popularity the post achieved. Many social media analytics tools are also available to measure the success of your social content.

  1. Forgetting to optimize for search engines.

Search engines can play key role in attracting interested readers to your content. So ignoring it completely is a bad idea.

Do your keyword research – understand what key phrases and topics your potential audience is looking for, and optimize the content for these. Keywords could also be a good starting point to formulate your content strategy. While it should not completely govern your choice of content topics, it’s a good way to understand your audience and align.

Are there any other common marketing mistakes that should be stayed away from? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below or tweet me @sophiasolanki.

  • http://geobrava.wordpress.com/ David H Deans

    Sophia, your list is comprehensive. That being said, #6 is — by far — the most common content marketing failure that I see within the Technology sector (my area of focus as a consultant)

    • Sophia Solanki

      Thanks, David. I agree completely – creating insightful content takes thought and effort. Many do miss the bus unfortunately.

  • Naomi Roberts

    Hi Sophia, thanks for a great article. It’s particularly prudent to my current situation, recently having to reassess my business and get it ‘out there’ … I find the whole process of promotion and engagement quite overwhelming, particularly to remain creative, and not letting the disappointment of lack of engagement to overshadow the bigger picture. I wish my business had something to do with puppies and kittens! How does one make printing exciting?? Ha! However, I have learned very quickly the power of scheduling!! What an absolute godsend!!

    • Sophia Solanki

      Hey Naomi, Super to know the article helped. Wish you all the best with your content and other marketing efforts! Cheers!

  • http://www.bj2design.com/ Bjarni Wark

    Some really great and sensible points, thanks.