Content marketing is a widely popular part of a solid inbound marketing strategy.
Most brands use inbound marketing techniques to accelerate their growth.
Whether you’re in retail, an affiliate marketer, or make money through selling advice, content marketing’s the way to go. However, evidence on the ground shows that the majority of companies are not getting things right.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, only 9% of B2B companies are seeing real results from their content marketing efforts.
Clearly, something’s wrong. Companies are making costly blunders.
To help you dodge the mistakes, in this post we’ll discuss three common content marketing mistakes and how to fix them.
Let’s get started.
Error #1: No documented strategy
Many companies fly blind in content marketing. That’s a big blunder.
According to a Content Marketing Institute research, 62% of the most successful companies that use content marketing have a documented strategy. The same report shows that only 16% of the least successful companies have one.
This makes sense. Doing content marketing without a documented strategy is like flying a plane without a flight plan. You won’t reach your destination.
Here’s the easy fix
To develop a content marketing strategy, ask yourself these 7 questions:
- What are your goals? Tie content marketing to your business goals.
- Who is your audience? Dig deeper into your audience. Go beyond basic demographics. Hone in on their deepest needs, desires, and dreams.
- What type of content do you need? Nail down the kind of content it’ll take to meet your goals and address your audience needs.
- What’s your content plan? Craft a content plan and editorial calendar that’ll drive you towards your goals.
- Is your content working? Conduct a content audit. Throw out what’s not working. Embrace, amplify, and invest in what’s working.
- Who’s your competitor? Spy on your competitors and work on your positioning. What makes you different? What gaps are you going to fill?
- Where are you going to publish? Identify the channels that suit your audience and goals.
A solid content marketing strategy will help you achieve your overall commerce goals.
Advanced, a UK software solutions company, is a good example of a well thought out and masterfully executed content strategy.
After being bought by Vista Partners in 2014 they decided it was time for a rebrand. To differentiate themselves from other IT solution providers, they positioned themselves as an offbeat brand.
How did they do it?
Through weaving fairy tales like Jack and the Beanstalk and Cinderella into their content offerings. They dubbed the campaign ‘FairITales’. Familiar fairy tale anecdotes were worked into headlines, illustrations, and storylines to produce a lighter tone.
Was the rebrand a success?
According to Advanced Chief Marketing Officer, Sally Scott the answer is a resounding yes. He’s what he had to say about the rebrand
Following our major rebrand earlier in the year, we took a fresh and innovative marketing approach that stands out from the myriad of business communications that our customers and prospects receive daily. This creative campaign delivered a great opportunity to reinforce our brand values and drive opportunity for all business units – as well as being an enjoyable read. I’m pleased to say, that for Advanced, this fairy tale had a very happy ending.” Source
By analyzing their competitors and filling a gap through quirky content, Advanced stood out in their niche and had a successful rebrand.
Error #2: Lousy non-engaging content
Another common mistake companies make is thinking they can get by with bland me-too content.
With a bazillion pieces of content produced every day you’d think companies wouldn’t have a content problem. Sadly, the bulk of the content is flat and flavorless. It’s not engaging enough magnetize the audience and move the business goals forward.
Take a look at this graphic.
As you can see, the number one problem content marketers have is creating engaging content. Content that grabs eyeballs, gets people talking about your brand, and grows your business.
I know what you are thinking.
But how do I know if my content is engaging or not you’re asking? Glad you asked. To be sure if your content is absorbing, ask yourself these 3 crucial questions.
- Is it being clicked and read?
- Is it getting shared?
- Is it getting comments?
Here’s the easy fix
Here’s what you need to do to make your content more engaging.
- Don’t take chances on your content by handing writing duties to incapable or unwilling staff members.
- Invest in a decent in-house or agency copywriter. Yes, it’ll cost you since good writers cost $50k a year on average. But the investment will multiply itself many times over.
- Hire a top writer to train and mentor your staff.
- Write for people primarily and then tweak for machines later.
- Massage your brand persona into your copy to liven it up.
Want content marketing to work for your company?
Produce delightful content that pops, fizzes, and sparkles.
Original content pays as BLP, a law firm serving the financial sector showed.
The company noticed that the content marketing approach in their niche was dry. It centered around technical info, jargon, and tedious reports. They came up with an original content idea. Since they served banks they designed a content theme based upon classic bank heist movies.
They came up with a series of fascinating videos each addressing problematic financial regulations. The cast was their marketing team.
So, how did things go?
The ‘movies’ were hugely popular.
The unique storytelling approach hit a content marketing homerun. It generated 515% more leads than the campaign target, 1108% ROI, and international press coverage.
Produce unparalleled content that fascinates your audience. It’ll boost your ROI, just like it did for BLP.
Error #3: Insufficient budget
What’s worse than not having a content marketing strategy?
Having one but paying lip service to it. Many brands slip-up because they don’t back their strategy with the cash needed to make it happen. The result?
Studies reveal that successful brands spend up to 39% of their marketing budget on content marketing. In comparison, least successful brands spend just 16%.
Content marketing needs financial backing in order to bring tangible results.
Here’s the easy fix
Here’s how to sort out content marketing budget issues.
- Allocate a decent chunk of your marketing budget to content marketing.
- Stop hiring cheap inexperienced writers who produce shoddy content that performs poorly. It’ll cost you more in the end.
- Invest in content management and analytics tools to help you measure and track the effectiveness of your content.
- Show management the great outcomes produced by content marketing so they allocate more funds to it.
Putting serious money behind your content marketing enables you to access the best tools and manpower thus increasing the likelihood of success.
When it comes to spending on content marketing, no one comes close to Amazon, the undisputed king of ecommerce.
Here are some of their numbers:
- $1.35 billion spent on search in 2015. (Source: Clickz)
- $1 billion spent on original Prime Video programming. (Source: The Street)
- $26.16 per hour spent on content writers, 23% above the national average. (Source: Indeed)
What’s the point?
For your brand to grow, you must invest seriously in your marketing strategy. Yes, you might not have the billions Amazon has, but the lesson is clear.
Spend a significant part of your budget on content marketing. You won’t regret it if you spend your money wisely. Amazon hasn’t turned out too badly after putting in so much, have they? ☺
There you have it.
Three common content marketing errors and how to correct them.
- Lack of a documented strategy.
- Lackadaisical content.
- Inadequate budget.
If you duck them, you’ll reap the rewards.
Done well, content marketing keeps quality leads flowing, builds your authority, and drives sales… consistently.
About the Author – Qhubekani Nyathi aka The Click Guy is an irresistibly handsome (wife’s baseless claims!) website copywriter and long-form content strategist. He helps SMBs rapidly grow their income and impact through actionable long-form content that ranks high, builds authority, generates tons of leads, and drives sales. He is a contributor to top blogs like Crazy Egg, Mirasee, SEOChat and Conversion Sciences.