Nowadays, content marketing plays a crucial role in many companies’ greater marketing strategies, encompassing the development and strategic distribution of blogs, whitepapers, case studies, videos, infographics and more. A solid content marketing approach can nurture leads to become lifelong, loyal customers, build and maintain thought leadership and boost your website’s SEO. The Content Marketing Institute reports that 91% of B2B brands use content marketing.
It’s a given that your company’s content marketing should speak to your target audience. It is pretty much common sense that your content marketing should be free from any glaring grammar, spelling or punctuation errors. And it might be obvious that you should consistently update your content.
But what are some other mistakes that are less obvious but can be equally damaging? Review these (surprisingly common, yet often overlooked) content marketing missteps that can easily lead to hours of wasted work.
Thinking Good Writers are Always Good Content Marketers
Content marketing goes far beyond good grammar – don’t hire someone based on their writing sample alone. It requires strategizing, measuring outcomes and thinking both in terms of short- and long-term goals. A good writer might be able to craft an amazing sentence, but are they able to drive results and traffic to your site, or create content that speaks to your individual business goals? This strategy goes far beyond written content, too. A skilled content marketer should also be able to identify what multimedia aspects make sense for a concept and goal.
Trying to Do Too Much
There are countless ways to share and develop content – and the possibilities continue to expand alongside the proliferation of storytelling technologies and outlets. There’s podcasting, YouTube, Medium, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, Reddit. The list goes on (and on and on).
The risk here is stretching your resources too thin and, thus, watching your content quality decline. And in the content marketing world, quality is more important than quantity. Do some research on what publishing platforms are going to yield the most legitimate leads, and which ones make the most sense for your target audience.
Making Assumptions About an Audience
Albert Einstein once said, “Assumptions are made, and most assumptions are wrong.” We think that’s pretty good advice, especially when it comes to content marketing. Assuming things about your target audience can end up wasting time and energy – and, in the worst cases, offend or alienate valuable potential customers.
Content marketing works most effectively when the person creating the content understands who it’s for. A seasoned content marketer will go beyond the ambiguous buyer persona, to find out what makes their target audience tick and address specific pain points. Keeping an open line of communication between sales and marketing teams can help your content marketers stay focused on customer needs.
Using Cheesy/Bad Stock Photos
First impressions really do matter. And the first thing a someone will usually notice on a piece of content, whether it’s a blog, a whitepaper, a case study or educational pamphlet, is the imagery. Choosing a cheesy or cliché stock photo can turn a potential customer off as quickly as bad grammar or glaring misspellings – and, unfortunately, the internet is chock-full of laughable stock images. Here are a couple considerations when it comes to stock photos:
- Your content marketing should include imagery that reflects the topic well.
- Avoid photos that reinforce stereotypes, seem static or posed, or convey fake or forced emotion.
- Use original photos or custom graphics when possible. When that’s not feasible, be selective and creative with the stock imagery at your disposal. Skip the canned handshake and seek out imagery that represents a play on words, unique angle or visually stunning.
Expecting Instant Results
Content marketing is truly about the long game. One blog post, video or podcast isn’t going to immediately turn a profit, and it can take a while to build a solid repository of content that you’re proud of and that generates results. This marketing strategy focuses more on nurturing potential customers, building thought leadership or positioning your company as an educational resource. While companies that invest in content marketing might not see results right away, this strategy builds loyalty and awareness over time – and can lead to loyal, lifelong customers who view your company as a reliable resource and industry leader.
Focusing Solely on SEO
SEO has gotten a ton of attention in recent years. Of course, SEO is very important in the Google era, but it’s certainly not the only aspect of content quality you should be focusing on. What really matters is how your audience responds to the content. SEO might help them find the content, but once they’re on your website or blog, what value are they going to find? Content, in the end, needs to balance SEO best practices while still writing for human eyes and brains. So, keep things informative, humorous and engaging – don’t just resort to keyword stuffing. Keywords play a role, but they aren’t center stage anymore. Numerous factors are at play when it comes to Google’s “quality content” algorithms.
In the end, the worst mistake of all is blindly jumping into content marketing without a strategy or long-term plan, or an understanding of how or why to develop content. You can best avoid this mistake by partnering with a seasoned content marketing team – you’ll get the advice, support and skills needed to compete in fast-paced, competitive markets.
Here at Aker Ink, we value strategy, creativity and quality when it comes to content marketing. We’ve helped companies of all sizes craft compelling content that attracts the right attention at the right times. We bring a deep understanding of how content integrates into a greater marketing plan – and how to develop a sustainable approach that hits all the right notes. Find out how we can take your content marketing up a notch.