Content is the bread and butter of any good marketing strategy. While it should never be used alone, it should be one of the primary focuses for any style of business of website.
This is a lesson that most businesses learn quickly, and so they will immediately set out to offer a content-heavy extension of their primary brand.
Despite this fact, many don’t use the technique effectively. In fact, some use it improperly for years before turning to a marketing expert in exaggeration.
I can tell you from experience that clients don’t appreciate being told they have been doing things wrong. But many businesses fail in this regard from the very beginning, and so lose a real opportunity at initial growth.
Here are some common mistakes businesses make in the category of content marketing:
1. Not Knowing The Difference Between Content and Advertising
Obviously, you want to talk up your product at any opportunity given. No one is going to blame you for doing so in your own content. However, there is a difference between mentioning your brand in relation to a genuine topic, and advertising.
You should not be writing up long winded posts that equal to sales copy. Save that for your advertising, and think of your content as a chance too create a larger conversation with customers.
2. Not Knowing The Difference Between Social Media Interaction and Content
Not long ago I was speaking to someone I know who recently opened a small business (in the last year), and was talking about how useless he had found content marketing. It didn’t take long before I got the whole picture: he believed he was generating content by writing daily Facebook posts.
I was flabbergasted, and explained to him that he was thinking of social media marketing… a Facebook status does not equal content. Think of social media as a chance to gain visibility for your content, not generate it.
3. Lack of Consistency
If you have a blog, you should be updating it regularly. Period. It drives me crazy when I see businesses selling things like apps, and even though there have been changes to the product there has been nothing published to the blog for as much as a year.
Don’t make this mistake, and don’t merely update when you have something that could sell your product. You are supposed to be regularly providing something relevant to the user within your industry, not upselling them.
Here are a few examples of companies being consistent with their content marketing efforts.
4. Failure to Update Information
Again, updates are important. If you have some change coming to your product, company, site or just the industry, you should at least comment on it. Things in every genre change and grown and adapt over time.
You should be taking old posts and writing something to follow up on them on a regular basis. Maybe this is a whole new post, maybe it is an update with reference to the old one. In any case, make sure all information provided on your site is up to date.
Depending on the blogging platform you chose, there are various plugins and modules that make it easier to monitor and fix broken links and keep your content updated.
5. Being Too Technical
Some of the people who hop on over to your blog are going to be experts. Most of them are probably not. You should be trying to break everything down for an easier understanding by the average reader.
There is a time and a place for technical jargon, which you can provide separately. But assume that for the bulk of the post you are explaining it to someone new to the concept.
6. Not Being Technical Enough
While the above rule is true, not being technical enough can also be an issue. I have heard people say that anything published for the purpose of content marketing should be “presented as if to a five-year-old”.
I don’t believe this, at all. There is no need to talk down to the reader, so you can feel free to present the data you need to. Going too far in either direction is a mistake.
UXCeclipse is the perfect example of the right balance: Check out this article.
7. Lack of Engagement With Readers
Content doesn’t stop at the content. I cannot stress this enough. You are not just plopping down some information and bolting. You are starting a dialogue with the people who read it, and as such, you should be encouraging the conversation.
That means responding to questions and comments on the post, as well as on social media sites where you link to it.
Do you know of a common content marketing mistake made by businesses? Let us know in the comments.