Content marketing can be a complex undertaking, so understanding what not to do can be just as illuminating and impactful as following best practice.
Indeed, with just over half (53%) of businesses embracing content marketing as a means to engage with their customers and drive leads, the importance of getting the process right is arguably now more important than ever.
In many ways, learning from other people's mistakes can be a powerful way to improve your results without suffering the damaging consequences of not doing things right yourself. With that in mind, here we look at five content marketing practices that can be detrimental to any company's marketing efforts and should therefore be avoided:
1. Going in for the hard sell
You might be tempted to think that content marketing strategies should be focused on sales and conversions for your business, and to an extent that is the case. However, what many companies fail to realize is the importance of first focusing on audience engagement.
It's important to remember that prospective customers or leads will be turned off if they feel your marketing efforts are all about self-promotion. Instead, aim to deliver content that adds value to your reader, which gives them something they can take away and is useful to them.
What is your company good at and why should your customers trust you? Position yourself as a bringer of knowledge, and you'll build that trust which will ultimately lead to increased sales.
2. Failing to promote what you write
It's all well and good having amazing content that speaks directly to your core audience and meets their needs, but if nobody reads it then it simply won't have an impact on your marketing efforts.
For this reason, it's important to consider how your content will be effectively promoted and where. Email marketing can be a powerful way to get your message out to prospective readers. Meanwhile, posts should be linked to on social media and tweeted about. Your own website should also have a specific section where all the content you produce can be showcased.
3. Placing quantity over quality
Quality is key when it comes to effective content marketing. This means creating relevant, engaging marketing material that is optimized to rank well in online search, but is also well crafted and meets a specific need of your target audience.
As previously mentioned, businesses should always ensure the material they create gives value to the reader. This means drafting pieces based on a key takeaway that will enrich the reader and not simply be an advert for your services. At the same time, it should be written in a way that is engaging and targeted to specific groups.
Moreover, when a company bombards the inbox or social media channels of their target audience, this can be counterproductive to driving engagement. People can quickly become tired of receiving uninspiring marketing emails or messages and this can turn them off from your brand. Sometimes, less is definitely more.
4. You aren't writing for your target audience
Understanding who your prospective audience should be is half the battle when it comes to delivering a successful content marketing strategy. There's no point in creating marketing material that appeals to someone who will never become a customer.
To achieve a fuller picture of your key audience, it's important to carry out persona research and dig deeper into what their key challenges and pain points are. The material you produce can then be tailored to address some of these concerns. By properly understanding your audience, you can greatly increase your levels of engagement.
5. Failing to connect with your content
It can often be tempting to write a load of content, publish it and promote it and expect that to be enough to achieve your desired results. However, in today's competitive world of business, this simply isn't the case.
Connection is key when it comes to driving engagement with your audience and that's why a 'set and forget' attitude to content creation simply will not do. You have to ensure that people who take the time to read and comment on your posts feel they have been listened to, and that means responding to every one of them.
Marketers who fail to recognize the importance of regularly reviewing their articles and publications to see how much of a conversation they are driving could be missing out on significant opportunities to have positive interaction with their company's customers, in turn, limiting the potential marketing impact that those pieces could have.