Content marketing is absolutely critical to getting the word out about you, your company, and the product or service you offer. At its core, it should be treated as complementary to inbound marketing with the aim of providing your readers valuable content and driving them back to your website.
Your Content Toolbox
Your content options are limitless and can include virtually any text, audio or visual-based information. Here are a few examples:
- Blog posts – you could create and publish content on your blog.
- Guest posts – you could reach out to a complementary blogger to see if you can get them to share a post you’ve written with their audience.
- Podcasts – this one’s been called the ‘future of storytelling’ and it’s boasting a 75% increase in monthly listenership since 2013.
- Downloadable ebooks – a guide, tutorial, how-to manual that you can create to help your clients through a current challenge or pain point.
- Online videos – needs more time and tech to pull off, but there’s a lot less competition for those of you with the appetite for it.
- Email newsletters – a fantastic way to continue a conversation with someone who’s expressed interest in what you have to offer and to nurture that relationship.
Why Content Marketing Is So Important
Content marketing is the best way to inform, educate and engage your readers while building authority in their eyes. It costs 62% less than outbound marketing and generates more than three times as many leads (source). Done well, content marketing also has the capacity to position you as a thought-leader in your industry.
In the online environment, the only thing your ideal client has to go on for a first impression about you is your content. Add to that the fact that your content is the main thing standing between your ideal client and every other person out there who is competing for a slice of the same pie.
It goes without saying – good, valuable content is key!
Common Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
So, here are some common content marketing mistakes that you’ll definitely want to avoid:
Search engine optimization (SEO) involves both on- and off-page techniques to help your audience find you. Don’t think that it doesn’t matter. Studies suggest that the top three organic search results on Google get more than 60% of overall traffic, and the first page of results gets 92% of the overall traffic. The more you put these improvements into place, the better your results.
Forgetting to Optimize Your Headlines
Yes, search engine optimization covers headlines, but headlines really do deserve special mention. They are after all prime real estate – be it on a Google search results page, a Twitter feed, or a super full email inbox belonging to a super busy person with 10 other things to juggle on any given day. How you craft your headline plays a big part in whether or not you get a click. To improve your headline, it needs to be short, information-rich, match reader expectations and start with your keyword(s). Here’s a great online tool that you could use: Headline Analyzer.
Not Promoting Your Content
When you create any type of content that you want people to find, you need to promote it via your social media networks, share it with your email list, submit it to other blogging communities. You could even re-visit an older blog that your readers appreciated, and sneak in a link to the newer blog (provided it is relevant, of course).
Creating Poor Quality Content
If you cannot create quality content on a daily basis, don’t. Create quality content on a schedule that works for you. If it’s high quality, answers questions, and solves problems, it will be well received.
Creating Inconsistent Content
This may sound contradictory, but you do have to publish enough to get noticed and keep the interest of your audience. Don’t get so bogged down in perfection that you neglect creating new content at least weekly.
Not Using Automation Wisely
This one is about striking that balance between scheduling/automating your content and engaging in real-time conversations. If you run a small business and try to do more than simple content marketing, it can get overwhelming very quickly. Automation equals efficiencies, and so it makes sense. But remember, at the heart of your content marketing efforts, you need to add value and build trust. So as a good rule of thumb – personally respond and interact with people on social media and within comments of your blog, but almost everything else – there are efficiencies to be had.
Not Using Images
Visual content has become so fundamental to the web that we’ve got entire social platforms (like Pinterest and Instagram) designed around this single premise. If you haven’t embraced using images in your marketing, it is truly time.
Not Going Mobile
There’s more traffic on the internet from mobile devices than from desktops. So here’s a question – have you tried viewing your content from a phone? It might actually be time to run a detailed audit of how well your content presents itself when consumed by mobile users. Even better, go find out how well your competitors are doing, too.
Tell me, how do these sit with you? What other mistakes have you seen or learned from? I’d love to hear about them. God knows, I’m learning too!