Getting content marketing right can be a tricky business. Maybe in part that’s because it’s so new. We don’t yet have a playbook and we certainly didn’t learn that much about it in school. At the same time, some common mistakes that you see out there all the time can certainly be avoided.
That’s the low-hanging fruit that we’re going to focus on here. So make sure that you pick them and use them. For you ignore them at your peril!
1. Not knowing who your audience is and what they want
Did you know that Facebook Ad Manager allows you to see what other sites your audience likes? It’s quite straightforward to find out. When you’re in the Ad Manager, click on Tools and Audience insight.
From there, select your audience. This means specifying the demographics, as well as what they like to read (you can choose your own page if you’re interested in knowing what your else your audience is interested in).
From the new screen, if you click on ‘page likes’ you’ll get to see what other pages these people have liked. From there it’s easy to start figuring out what kinds of content you should be creating – namely content that fits into the general idea of these pages.
2. Focusing on the wrong Q
There is quality and there is quantity. The first Q is the more important one. In fact, if you’re producing content pretty consistently, you shouldn’t have to worry about quantity at all. It’s quality that you should focus on.
Because a consistent stream of mediocre content isn’t going to create loyalty. Instead, what it will do is get people to become interested for a little bit and then decide to look elsewhere for stuff that’s more interesting.
It’s much better to focus on generating occasional high-quality pieces, which really engage your audience.
3. Thinking text is all there is
This is a common problem, possibly left over from when creating other formats was a hard thing to do. Nowadays, however, creating contents in different forms isn’t just possible, it’s quite easy. You can create podcasts, infographics, slideshows and videos without too much hassle.
And so you should create them.
Why? Because not everybody likes reading text, which means you’re missing out on everybody that would rather watch a video, listen to audio, or quickly scan through a well-presented graphic.
4. Forgetting who your real audience is
This one mistake is common as mud. With good reason, I might add. After all, it’s easy to think that you should write for everybody. The thing is, that’s not a good idea, because if you write for everybody, you’re going to end up not really engaging anybody.
And that will mean that you end up missing out completely on the multiplier effect of a truly motivated audience.
You see, what you want is an audience who shares your content and talks you up to friends, family and colleagues. That’s what I mean when I’m talking about a multiplier effect as that’s how you’ll get your content in front of a great deal more eyes than just those who like you on social media.
And that’s obviously the point of content marketing.
5. Not keeping to your niche
Once you’re established and big, you can switch it up and broaden what you’re writing about. When you’re starting out, however, it’s better to keep to your niche. This way you’ll become known as a specialist, rather than a generalist.
In that way, when people think of the topic you’ve specialized in, they’re far more likely to think of you. And that is how you produce an audience that keeps coming back.
6. Not forming relationships with other content creators
So many content marketers seem to think that the only place that they need to produce content is on their own site. That if they follow this strategy the internet will do the rest. And sure, occasionally that does work. Perhaps they manage to create a viral piece of content, for example.
It would be far easier, however, to create the viral piece of content if other people are willing to push it for you.
And that’s much easier to do if you’ve got good relations with other content-creators. This can be achieved in many ways. Perhaps you guest-blog for them, which will start establishing a relationship. Another strategy is that you share and share alike. This is where you share their content across your network and they do the same for yours.
Whatever path you might take, it’s important to establish relationships with other sites and people, so that you can help each other get ahead.
7. Not paying attention to SEO
Okay, granted. SEO isn’t always the easiest thing to get right. There are a lot of things to keep track of and it’s changing all the time. At the same time, the rewards are just stupendous. If you can get yourself ranked highly with one of your articles, then that will create a big stream of constant visitors, who are specifically looking for what you’re offering.
And that’s when content marketing really starts to pay off.
8. Not getting to grips with social media
Another great platform to get yourself in front of a lot of people is social media. Of course, you’re only going to be able to do that if you actually understand how it works. That means reading up on it, understanding how the different platforms work, and being willing to push yourself relentlessly (and shamelessly).
For example, never only publish your article on one website, as that will only get it in front of a small segment of your audience. Be sure to re-share, as that can double the number of people that view your content.
And don’t be afraid of pushing yourself. Sure, occasionally somebody might unlike you, but chances are if they weren’t interested in your content they would have done so anyway. In the meantime, not posting means you won’t get any new followers.
Content marketing consists of two things. Those are ‘content’ and ‘marketing’. Most people do alright with the ‘content’ part of the equation, but fall down flat on the marketing part. Marketing means making your brand appealing to people who want to buy it. That is the bottom line and that’s the only thing that should matter. It doesn’t matter if you have a million followers, if none of them buy your product they’re not going to get you very far.
10 loyal customers are far more valuable. So, don’t forget the bottom line. It’s about sales, not about being liked.