The following is a guest post by Sharon Conwell.
Content marketing across social media platforms and the web is now essential for modern business. However, despite the rapid rate of growth, this is still a fairly new area for many small and medium sized businesses, and it can extremely easy to fall into certain traps that render your marketing efforts ineffective. The 10 biggest mistakes businesses make are listed below, and knowing what to avoid can help you stay on the path to success.
1. Not researching first
If you don’t have a plan of who you are trying to target and what you hope to accomplish with your content marketing, then your project is doomed to fail. You need to know who you are trying to reach and whether you are looking to increase awareness of your business, get a larger email list, or even directly improve sales. Before you do anything, you need a game plan.
2. Trying to do everything yourself
To be successful in content marketing, there are certain key elements that can’t be overlooked. This includes a need to post regular updates – sometimes several times a day, as well as frequent high quality and original blog posts. Properly maintained blog posts and social media pages can be used as a way to engage with clients, so you should be able to quickly respond to any comments or shares too.
Many businesses underestimate just how time consuming this is, and try to take on all of the work themselves. This results in incomplete content marketing that will be less successful than a properly ran campaign. One way to get around this is to hire content writers and editors who can take care of the arduous aspects of content marketing, and the parts that really do take up the most time. These writers can be found individually on Upwork or Freelancer, or you can select the services you’re looking for and have them assigned to an expert with Big Assignments.
Alternatively, white label fulfillment services like Vendasta’s Digital Agency can take care of your social marketing service fulfillment for your clients.
3. Not focusing on your reader
The most important person is your reader, and your content marketing needs to be all about them–their needs, their motivations and the benefits they can receive from doing business with you.
4. Overlooking content-improving tools
When posting content online, it’s important to remember that there are thousands of other pages you are competing with. This means that you need to make sure that your content is perfectly formatted and free of any errors or mistakes. Your writing needs to be strong in order to keep your readers engaged, and there are several online tools that can improve the writing.
Some tools for improving your written content include include:
- the Hemingway App, which picks out flaws in your writing like overly long sentences or too many pronouns
- Australian Help provides guides that can improve your writing
- Academized provides great online courses
- Co-Schedule helps with your headlines, because no matter how good your content is, you may not find your readers without a good headline
- Ox Essays can provide you with a proof reader to check your work
- Easy Word Count lets you monitor your word count, as posts are best when they’re over 1000 words
5. Neglecting calls to action
An effective call to action is a vital element to each post–and shouldn’t be overlooked. You can’t focus on too many things or ask too much of your reader–have one direct and explicit message, and only ask for that.
6. Ignoring your readers
Content marketing is a two-way street. If your readers go to the effort of reading your post, commenting on it, sharing it or sending you questions or comments as a response, you should not ignore them. Build up relationships whenever you get a chance and make sure your customers feel valued.
7. Being too hesitant
There’s a temptation to sit on the fence and try to appeal to anyone and everyone who reads your content. However, this doesn’t always produce the most interesting content. You should have an idea of where your readers stand on certain issues and feel completely free to have an opinion. Expressing yourself and taking sides in arguments will produce better content that doesn’t blend into the crowd of bland content flooding the internet. Be memorable by being yourself.
8. Only sharing on one platform
While there is no need to share your content on every single platform, simply posting it once on one social media outlet is insufficient. You need to decide which platforms are the most likely to be reviewed by potential clients, and make sure you post regular updates and share your content across them.
9. Sticking to written content
While written posts are great as they can contain keywords and other elements valuable to SEO, they don’t have to make up all of your content. While written content may be the most-used in content marketing, videos, infographics and guest bloggers can also keep things interesting and engaging for your readers.
Branch out and explore the forms of media this new technology-filled world has to offer!
10. Failing to be reader friendly
This applies on several levels. First, all content should be mobile friendly. This means that readers on their commute, or on their way to and from work can access your marketing. Millions of people uses devices for internet, and limiting your content to traditional PCs and laptops could cause you to lose thousands of readers.
There is a whole lot of effort required to successfully use content marketing to your advantage, however not making these common mistakes can help your business become bigger and better a whole lot faster.