Content marketing is all about coming up with compelling content that provides value. It also is not directly promotional but still should entice a reader to want to learn more about a business. Digital content is available in various forms from videos, eBooks, blogs, and more. Do content marketing the right way, and an online company will drive traffic to their site and convert an audience. We divulge secrets on how to do during our free webinar training. It’s easy to waste time on tasks that won’t grow a company, and that’s what we focus on in this article. Don’t spend that precious time when it’s imperative to build a business into a profitable one!
1. Lacking direction
If you’re lacking direction Content Marketing Institute says that’s not a good thing. However, if you realize you lack direction, it’s up to you to zero in on what needs fixing. Come up with a solution or ask friends for advice on what they would do to improve your online business.
Not having clear and measurable objectives and/or having too many unrelated goals can put entire programs in jeopardy. Content marketing can mean different things to different people and aligning – across teams – on a business goal at the top of a program is crucial. Having a clearly articulated objective that can be measured helps not only keep the program and cross-functional teams focused but can be essential to decision-making throughout the lifecycle of the initiative. – Venetta Linas Paris, director, global content marketing, Aon
I think I can sum it up with this statement: “Execution without strategy is expensive; strategy without execution is demoralizing.” To this day, either no documented strategy or no execution is the most common denominator when we evaluate the difference between successful content marketers and those that have not yet found the success they were hoping to achieve. – Arnie Kuenn, senior advisor, Vertical Measures
2. Not spending enough time on outreach
Are you reaching out to new potential customers online? Forbes recommends spending more time on outreach if you haven’t been focusing your efforts there. Don’t just expect a service or product to take off — you need to spend enough time promoting it.
Another mistake beginner content markers make is that they fail to put enough time into their outreach and promotion efforts. Many companies spend weeks or months creating an amazing piece of content but only an hour or two in distribution efforts. Even great content needs a lot of promotion. In fact, according to industry experts for every hour you invest in content creation you should invest an hour in content promotion activities. For example if you spend 50 hours creating an infographic, you should spend another 50 hours promoting it.
3. Thinking too much
Content Marketing Institute says if you’re overthinking everything that is going to make things more challenging. It’s fantastic getting a lot of different ideas, but unless you zero in on just a few of them, it’s going to be challenging to make it very far.
I get ideas all the time. I have a folder of half-finished blog posts and to-do lists a mile long filled with content and marketing ideas. While this deluge of ideas can’t be stopped (and has its merits), it can also be a big time waste if you don’t have a system to tame and prioritize it.
I channel friend and fellow marketer Andrea Fryrear who says to identify two things (at most) to work on at any one time. Don’t start something new until those two things are finished. – Michele Linn, head of strategy, Mantis Research
If you think you have to be great at storytelling, you don’t. You can, however, work on this over time as Marketing Land recommends.
Emotional triggers are used against us all the time even when we are not aware of them. This is very important to take into account if you intend to use social media as a marketing tool.
A smart blogger needs to know which psychological triggers to use to prompt his or her audience to share their content. By doing this, and improving at it over time, you will see incredible results.
4. You’re not promoting your blog posts
LinkedIn reminds you to improve your blog posts, because, as we mentioned in #2, reaching out to people or just engaging with your audience will help your business succeed.
If you go to the effort of writing it, then you need to promote it.
If you don’t promote your content, then you’ve wasted all the time that you spent creating it.
One great example of content marketing is Buffer. Their blog posts are long, meaty, and rich with information and research.
Here’s how long it took Kevan Lee, Buffer blogger extraordinaire, to write some select blog posts.
You can see that he’s at around 3 hours for most blog posts, regardless of the word count.
The average 500 word post takes the average blogger from 1-2 hours.
Wherever you are on the time/content continuum, I can safely assume that you spend quite a bit of time creating your blog posts.
That’s okay. Keep on doing it. Increase your speed and output if you can, but keep putting in the time to create the posts.
The place where you’re wasting your time is in not promoting it.
It seems contradictory that you’re wasting your time by not doing something that takes time, but it isn’t.
If you don’t promote your blog, then all the time that you spent writing it is wasted.
When you finish writing a blog post, you may feel a sensation of relief — a respite. You might say, “Ah. That’s done. Now, I can take a break.”
But in reality, your work has just begun. It’s time to promote, share, syndicate, inform, email, post, tweet, like, and spread the good news.
Kevan Lee of Buffer spends about seven minutes promoting his posts.
5. Only focusing on conversions
Even though your ultimate goal should be to convert your audience, Marketing Land says you shouldn’t get too caught up in doing just that. Focus on your customers and build an authentic brand that people will flock to.
Not to be confused with ROI, engagement metrics should not be overlooked. Social media sites can generate traffic, amplify your reach, and help you build trust with your audience.
Though you may not be able to figure out how much a Facebook “like” is worth, engagement metrics can be used to determine which content resonates most with your audience. This data is extremely useful in shaping your content marketing plan going forward. Additionally, metrics like referral traffic and time-on-page can be telling — find out where your audience hangs out online based on your referral traffic, and uncover the top performing content through time-on-page.
Overall, there are a number of ways companies with any size budget and amount of resources can realize content marketing success. Don’t get caught up in creating a detailed strategy, being the best storyteller or striving for perfection. Instead, focus on helping your customers — and driving revenue, cutting costs and building trust while doing it.
What other content marketing misconceptions have you heard? Share with me in the comment section below.
6. Not deciding on a specific type of content
Are you spreading yourself too thin? We briefly discussed this on #1, but you need to zero in on what you know best. As OptinMonster states below, it’s easy to get caught up in doing a little bit of everything. But unless you focus on a set topic, it’s going to get challenging to build a substantial audience.
Next, think about the types of content you need to create. There are some content types that every content marketing strategy will include.
Most successful content marketing strategies rely on having a central core of content published on your own site (or homebase) which can then be repurposed and shared on other sites (outposts).
So blog posts are an essential part of your content marketing mix, and they still deliver strong results. Ideally, your blog posts will be actionable, valuable, and shareable, and may include a range of article types.
How to Map Content to Social with Buzzsumo
You can use the Buzzsumo tool mentioned above to map the types of blog posts you want to create to the potential for social shares to boost engagement and reach.
For example, OptinMonster readers really like how-to articles and lists. Click on a content type and a network to see a list of your most shared articles for that metric.
Of course, creating a successful content marketing strategy isn’t just about navel-gazing to get stats on your own site. It’s also about seeing what other successful content is out there that you can use for inspiration. Buzzsumo can help with this, too.
Using the same tool, type your topic into the search box. You’ll see sharing statistics from across the web.
Other Content Types
What other content should be included in your content strategy plan? As our own research shows, video marketing should be an essential part of any marketing, as it’s proven to engage your visitors to keep them on site longer, improve lead generation, and reduce abandonment.
You’ll also want to include other types of visual content to improve engagement.
Consider creating infographics with tools like Piktochart and Canva, and using Canva and similar tools to create customized graphics and memes for social sharing, like Grammarly does.
Don’t waste your precious time doing things that won’t benefit your business. Come to our free webinar training to hear about what we have to say valuable content marketing time. It’s too precious to waste!