Content marketing has quickly become a buzzword in the world of Internet.
The problem here is; most people are getting it wrong.
First of all, lets make it clear with the definition to the content marketing. Why not ask somebody who knows it all?
Content marketing is any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire and retain customers. The type of content businesses share is closely related to what they sell. However, the content’s main focus is on the needs of the prospect. This information is consistently delivered and can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, email newsletters, case studies, podcasts, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, blogs etc.
In fact it means that content marketing should be useful, conquer the audience, and attract potential customers, rather than subtly promote a product or a service.
Everyone’s doing content marketing today. But there’s a problem. It appears that “content marketing” is more a buzzword rather than a long-term strategy for the company.
So before you decide whether this promotional channel works for your business, ask yourself the following question:
“Is it really content marketing you are doing here?”
Just because everyone is doing content marketing does not mean that they are winning at content marketing, or even if they are doing the right thing.
So why isn’t the strategy and content marketing working for you?
Here are a few of the common signs you may be doing it wrong. See if you can identify with any of these.
#1: You Have No Idea What Content Marketing Is About
The first sign that you have gone astray is advertising your products or services in a content marketing strategy directly.
Do not get me wrong, there is some product advertising here.
But if it takes more than 30% of your publications, this is not content marketing.
When you release a selling promo video of your product, or publish an article which points to why the prospect should buy the product you offer, you shouldn’t expect your readers go nuts and give your publications numerous likes, comments and re-shares.
The most effective content marketing is built primarily on the needs of your audience, and not on the need of increasing your sales (at first).
First, build a trust-based customer relationship, and then only you can move on to the sales stage.
#2: Your Content Isn’t Optimized
If you want your target consumer to spend his time and/or money on your business, you have to make your content simple to find.
SEO goes beyond blog posts as it’s equally important to optimize your content marketing efforts, whether it’s an article, press release, status update and so on.
Keywords and relevant research are an essential part of of content marketing.
Using industry or niche specific keywords in the content assists the bots in identifying topics your website covers and index the pages and relevancy, to better to rank in search results.
These keywords are the words that customers are most likely to enter into a search engine to find the products or services you offer.
The battle online for your audience’s time is vicious, and if you don’t implement a content marketing strategy to fight off your competitors and boost organic traffic to your site, then you’re doing this online marketing thing wrong.
Adding keywords is not going to take longer than 5 minutes, but it will get you customers. (Note: keywords research for an in-depth content strategy can take several days with follow-up meetings and final selections, as they are built into a content calendar and an overall promotional strategy).
Hence, identify and shortlist the keywords you want your business to rank for — opting for long tail keywords (3+ words) is wise too. Keep all your content creation and syndication efforts around these keywords to increase the exposure and relevance of your website in the industry as well as the market.
#3: Your Content Is Boring as Hell
Instead of creating the kind of content that works for themselves and their niche, some companies are turning their websites into content farms.
They are over-optimizing their keywords, they are making titles that make no sense, and worst of all; they have forgotten about the user.
That is pretty much the reason why all you see around you is ordinary content that adds value to no one.
While excessively entertaining content may attract the wrong target audience, boring your readers to sleep will also do harm to your brand.
Both facts and statistics are important and interesting to readers.
But at the same time, if your content is nothing else, it is going to be too difficult to perceive.
It is not an easy deal to add humor and personalize content in the initial stage of the funnel, when the visitor first comes to your site and knows nothing about you.
But neither it is the reason to be discouraged at this stage.
We all love positive human attitudes and a good sense of humor. Use common words. Add some humor.
Make your content look more like a personal story rather than a review article containing only the facts.
Content marketing appeared because “the world of technology” gave its grounds to the world of “Handshake Networking”, where you need to be on friendly terms with customers, and customer service is the number one factor to get people to buy your stuff.
By engaging in conversations with your prospects and customers, you can better adapt your marketing and business services to meet their needs.
Basically, you’re going to invest in building relationships online. Your network is perhaps your most valuable professional asset.
#4: You’re Writing For Yourself
Quite frankly, people do not want to know about you or the product – they want to learn about something unknown and exciting, and find information, tools and insider access that solves a particular problem.
It is important to combine all of these elements into something of value, but make sure you are listening to the needs of your readers, rather than polishing your own ego or overselling.
“If you want your company get results from content marketing, the first thing you need to do is to find out what customers want, what they are interested in, and how you can give that to them. In other words, your content should be a separate product rather than being a part of your marketing or advertising.” – Robert Rose, CSO Institute Content Marketing
Marketing experts usually start with identifying the needs of their audience, and then they switch to meeting these needs and delivering the valuable content.
If you think that you do not have any spare time to visit theme-specific forums, comment on blog posts, read articles dedicated to your subject matter, or communicate with customers through social networks, then you are going to fail building the appropriate customer relationship.
Be sure when you sit down to write content (or your hired writer who does it for you) that you start by putting yourself in your customer’s shoes.
The blog posts, landing pages, and web content is NOT for you.
It’s for your target market.
Spend a lot of time thinking about what they need and what they want to know.
#5: You Are Being a Lone Hero
Content marketing is not something you should be doing it all by yourself.
Creating and promoting content, especially for a new site, is essentially a full-time job.
And you might want to outsource content marketing is because you have other things to do.
What else you can do:
- Engage your staff in content creation. Show them that their participation in a content marketing strategy would bring them career advancement and dividends.
- Use third-party content and case studies. There is nothing wrong in placing the content created by other companies in your blog. What is more important, is that you should add your thoughts, statistics or facts to it, and don’t forget to indicate the source.
- Engage your subscribers on the social media in content creation. This is an excellent way to attain loyalty, identify the needs and learn how to listen to your customers.
- Outsource big projects. Order several major studies, articles or video content from professional companies. You will not only get a high-quality content from the market experts, but will also receive a fair outside perspective onto your niche and business. If you’re in a tough niche, there’s no magic key that will produce instant success in your content marketing.You’ve simply got to strategize regarding the most effective form of content, and keep at it.
#6: You Lack Focus On Your Business
Ask yourself these 2 pivotal questions:
- What are you trying to make your customer do after having read your articles or e-books?
- Does your content lead your customer do this?
If you create content only because it’s easy, you aren’t likely to enjoy the outcome.
The effective content marketing should consist of these two things:
- Focus on making this storytelling coincide with your business goals
None can survive without the other, otherwise you will not get the desired outcome.
There’s one more thing to remember.
“The quickest way to kill your content marketing is to do nothing after you create your content.”
If no one can see your content piece, what was the point of writing it in the first place?
The important thing to remember about content marketing is that half the work is creation, the other half is promotion.
Promotion is the heart and soul of content marketing, so if you’re not doing it well and often, then you’re going to be dead in the water.
#7: You Are Stuck In a Sales Funnel
At the end of the day, it’s still marketing, but your task is to make people forget that it actually is one.
People don’t want to be convinced to buy something – they want to think that they made the decision themselves, and when you’re pushing content in their faces which sounds too salesy, they’ll see right through it and leave.
What happens once a potential customer left you his contacts for to obtain valuable content?
Does he receive an email or the call from the manager? Or his contact info is merely dusting in your client database?
You may not be targeting your visitors at all points of the sales funnel. If you don’t have any clear plan for carrying your customers throughout the sales funnel, then your content marketing is worthless.
“An integral part of the problem could be that your sales crew know nothing about your content-marketing strategy.”
They do their best to close the deal, while not being aware of what it all is about. If your crew don’t know your business goals and plans, the sales are going to be affected correspondingly.
To address this problem, it is necessary to put together all of your sales department, and lead them throughout the funnel, from visiting the the website and obtaining the client’s contacts prior to the first sale.
This will help maximum efficiency to transform website visitors into buying customers.
Here’s the TL;DR for you…
Your Content Marketing Sucks because:
#1 – You Have No Idea What Content Marketing Is About
#2 – Your Content Isn’t Optimized
#3 – Your Content Is Boring as Hell
#4 – You’re Writing For Yourself
#5 – You Are Being a Lone Hero
#6 – You Lack Focus On Your Business (Building)
#7 – You Are Stuck In a Sales Funnel
The content popularity promptly grows in an online business, therefore content marketing is increasing in value.
Becoming successful in this field becomes more and more complex, and your rivals will always beat your heels.
But better late than never.
So if you still have not have launched a marketing content for your business, now is just the right time to do it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR OF THIS POST:
Kristina Smile – is a CMO at TriggMine, an email marketing automation service.
She is great at email marketing tips & increasing conversions. During the past 2 years she successfully launched more than 50 email campaigns for e-commerce websites.
She’s also the voice of TriggMine. Kristina has performed as a speaker at 100+ events in Europe & Asia. She believes that email marketing rules and data is king.
Jon Rognerud and Chaosmap work with Fortune 500 companies, small business and entrepreneurs to create digital traffic strategies that scale up customers, leads and sales with profitable returns. Mr. Rognerud wrote a best-selling book (Buy On Amazon), “The Ultimate Guide To Optimizing Your Website” (Entrepreneur). Connect directly here.