It doesn’t matter if you’re an accomplished digital marketing influencer or have been running a content marketing practice for years. There are many errors you can make which will make you (and your agency, or even your brand) look like amateurs.
Many digital marketing mistakes can be corrected, though. After reading this article, we hope you’ll find some insights you can use to correct some past mistakes. Or at least avoid making them in the future.
Here are five of the most common mistakes content marketers make and how to avoid them.
1. Not understanding your target audience
As a digital marketer, it’s easy to spend a lot of time doing internal market research. And also developing personas based on historical client behaviors. Yet forgetting to interview clients or survey prospective customers about the content they’d be interested in can be a costly mistake.
It can be challenging to come up with ideas for engaging content. Yet by talking to customers, or even client-facing teams like sales or customer service, content marketers will find great topics for blogs, newsletters, and infographics.
Customers could be using your company’s products in ways that would make for compelling stories. Or one of your consultants may have helped a customer solve a daunting business problem that is common to other companies in their industry. Statistics and market research are great resources to add context to content. yet talking to customers, partners and colleagues often have an important perspective that helps accelerate the buyer’s journey.
2. Great content, bad timing
For any B2B or B2C prospect, being pushed to make a purchase decision before they are ready is a good way to send them running to the door or the delete button on their email application.
Smart marketers will define clear criteria about where a customer is in their marketing funnel:
- Awareness stage – Suspect/prospect is defining their pains, their budget, and market players. The best content at this stage included thought leadership whitepapers and analyst reports.
- Consideration stage – Prospect has defined what they need and compare different products, services, and solutions to address their needs. Ideal content at this stage includes comparison papers, testimonial videos, and datasheets.
- Decision stage – Prospect has decided on a method/approach to solving their pain. They just need help acquiring the solution best suited to solve their need. The right content type at the point of the position would be a trial, demonstration, price quote, or ROI/TCO calculator.
Even with high-quality content, sending a customer the right content at the wrong time could send a signal you don’t understand them and send them looking for a competitor that does.
3. Emails and Social Media Posts – Spraying and Praying
Content marketers love to create new content, share them with our followers on social media channels, and feature them in our monthly newsletters. It’s not quite as fun to analyze the results of these activities. You know, to check how many times subscribers clicked calls to action, visited a landing page, or unsubscribed from our mailing lists.
If you are going to invest the time, brain cells, and creative energy to create content, you have to investigate how it performs. Otherwise, you might be writing poor headlines, confusing customers on what they need to do after they read a piece of content, or you might be simply using the wrong social media channel for your business. Get more value from your content marketing by learning from your mistakes and your successes.
4. All Planning/No Action or No Planning/All Action
You may have read about Plotters and Pantsers in writing terms. Plotters are those that painstakingly write and rewrite outlines and frameworks for articles before they get to writing. Pantsers are those that just start writing and go back and work on the structure of their articles after they have a draft in place.
The same can be said for content marketing campaigns. Sometimes marketers spend so much time on the strategy and the planning that they don’t execute any of their plans, or they publish a bunch of content into the market without a cohesive strategy.
Though content marketing tactics don’t have the complexity of design projects or application development, project management is still invaluable to ensure success.
5. Overwhelming your audience with content or leaving them hungry for more
Have you ever signed up for a retailer’s e-mail marketing list, and then you feel like they are drowning you in spam? Or have you received a marketing offer from a company you met at a conference but totally forgot about until you bought something from a competitor? Are you guilty of writing long, complex articles or short, fluffy blogs without context or impact?
These are common experiences for content marketers that struggle with publishing consistently or for businesses that don’t have a dedicated content marketer on staff. They try to get around to writing content, but they don’t do so consistently. Or they create a bunch of content and push it all out at once.
Outsourcing your content marketing function can help you stay focused on your business. It ensures you have a timely, consistent calendar of quality content. It can also empower your marketing team to set goals and plan overall tactics. But avoid the time-consuming process of creating articles, ebooks, or whitepapers.
Have you made some of these content marketing mistakes, which make even accomplished professionals look like noobs? Try some of the resources here, and contract a content writer to help keep you focused on your core business activities.
Editor’s Note: Mark Burdon is an accomplished digital content writer and marketing professional. Mark has over five years of experience crafting compelling content for leading information, communications, and technology businesses. Examples include IBM, Intuit Canada, Firmex, and Canada Post. To learn more about Mark, or to have him write for your brand, check out his nDash profile page.