5 Mistakes You’re Making With Content Marketing
It’s key to the modern marketing strategy, but for many small businesses, it’s a big problem.
Good content takes time, energy, cost and commitment. Proper content marketing – that is, the stuff that actually works – can be a massive expense for a local business. Particularly these days, post-pandemic with costs exploding all over the place.
When we first speak to lots of clients, they don’t see the proper value that content can bring. But content marketing really can work magic: after all, there’s a reason why 82% of marketers actively use it.
Here’s the thing. Content doesn’t have to be as expensive as it first seems. And it doesn’t have to consume all of your precious time and resources. The trick? Making the most of what you already have, rather than endlessly trying to create something new.
Stick with us. We’ll explain where you’re going wrong, and what you can do to fix it.
Let’s set the scene. Why is content marketing so effective?
These days, it’s the customers that have the power, not the businesses. In pretty much every industry, consumers are spoiled for choice – if they don’t want to buy from you, they can go to literally any one of your competitors instead. So, the way that we market has changed. It’s fiercer, harder, relying less on flashy ads and more on building brand loyalty.
Enter, content marketing. Content marketing is the process of publishing content across the relevant channels. Your website, your blog, your social channels, your podcast – you name it. Through this content, you provide some kind of value to the customer. It could be education or it could be entertainment. Either way, you give it without asking for anything in return.
Rather than coming in with a cold, hard sale, you build a relationship with the consumer. You build trust and credibility, creating loyalty to your brand before they’ve ever made a sale. Then, when that customer needs your services, they’re more likely to choose you than your competitor.
Content is also about brand awareness. You need to be strategic, publishing the right content at the right time, and on the right channels so it’s seen by the right eyeballs. It’s a creative, strategic way of getting your business out there, without resorting to high cost traditional advertisements. In fact, content marketing can cost up to 62% less than traditional marketing methods, while generating 3x more leads.
It might be cheaper than ads on the TV or the side of a milk carton – but only if you’re being smart about it. So, without further ado, let’s look at the expensive mistakes you’re making in your content marketing.
Publishing content you’ve worked hard to produce without bothering to optimise it is kind of like screaming into the void. It might feel good, but it’s ultimately a bit pointless.
In order for your content to show up in front of the right eyeballs, you need to optimise it for whatever platform you’re publishing it to. That’s the key: how you optimise will depend entirely on what channels you’re using.
For instance, if your content is being published to your website, you’ll need to optimise it for SEO. This is the process of honing your content, usually with relevant keywords, in order to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
On the other hand, if you were publishing your content across social media platforms, you’d need to optimise them for that specific channel. The exact same post would perform extremely differently on Twitter vs on TikTok. It’s a case of knowing when to post, what to post, the hashtags to use, and the trends to follow.
You work hard and pour blood, sweat, and tears into a blog for your website. It’s a good blog, packed with important information perfectly suited to your target audience. You publish it to the site and wait.
You can’t press publish and then just wait for your content to reap the rewards. That’s not how it works. If you want to generate genuine results, you’ll need to put the work into distributing it. Work this piece of content into your overall strategy. Create a social content calendar over a series of months or even a year, and work that one post into it. Send it out in your email campaign. In future blogs on the same subject, link readers back to it when relevant to redirect traffic.
Keep coming back to it. Don’t just promote it once, but regularly. Keep on top of industry news and trends in order to share it again when relevant, or even just for the hell of it.
Which brings us to our next point: repurposing your content. Every single thing you create, whether it’s a blog or an email, is a goldmine just waiting to be repurposed. Blogs in particular are mega easy to repurpose because they’re long-form, usually working off larger ideas.
Once you’ve taken the time to research that blog, use the same concept or the same data in order to create a useful infographic or to deliver a webinar. If you’ve written an informative article, use this as a basis for a video script or a podcast episode. Then, take bitesize video or audio clips and post them as TikToks, or soundbites for your socials. The possibilities are literally endless.
Publishing lots of content is great. It’s less great if you’re doing it blindly, posting whatever you feel like just for the hell of it. Quality content marketing is equal parts creative and strategic. It’s all about measuring your performance and using the results to make better choices in the future.
Whatever channels you’re using for your content, it’s important to choose key metrics to track in order to measure your success. Define these early on – traffic, sales, even reach or engagement – and report month-on-month to monitor performance. Use this information to inform your future plans: if a post tanked, figure out why. If an email generates an influx of sales, replicate what you did in the future. Marketing insights are more accessible than ever, for every form of content. Use them wisely.
If you’re posting tons of blogs, sending plenty of emails, and posting on every social platform under the sun without seeing results, there’s probably a reason. A big part of content marketing is about posting content curated for your target audience – not just whatever you felt like making that particular morning.
On the other hand, you could be generating tons of buzz on social without seeing any increase in conversions. This could be a sign that the audience you’ve built on social doesn’t match your legitimate customer demographic. This is a problem too, as it essentially means you’re marketing to completely the wrong people.
Content marketing requires a lot of ground work early on. It’s important to use all the data you’ve got: previous customer data, insights from your platforms, reviews and other forms of feedback to develop a clear, accurate understanding of your target audience.
Once you know where they are and what they want, your job is to craft content that’s genuinely valuable for them and to post it where they already are. It’s not about throwing as much as you possibly can at a wall and seeing what sticks.
Content marketing can be tricky, tiresome business – but it doesn’t have to be. One of the benefits of outsourcing is that the experts take care of all that jazz for you. And that’s exactly where we come in. For help with every aspect of content – from strategy to creation to distribution to reporting – get in touch with ITK Media. We’ll make your marketing manageable.