Are you among the 85 percent of marketers using content marketing in 2017? According to the Content Marketing Institute, that’s the number who say they’re creating content to further their digital strategies this year. However, the annual report highlighted a frightening discrepancy.
Only 25 percent classify themselves as highly successful, while the majority – 75 percent – say they’re moderately or less effective with their strategies.
The problem is that most companies are relatively new to content marketing strategies, specifically, and digital marketing at large. They’re making mistakes that they may not even realize are mistakes. Here are some of the scariest things you might be doing with your content strategy, and what you should be doing instead:
1. Over optimizing for SEO
Are you still using tactics, like keyword stuffing, link buying, or duplicating content on your site in an effort to perform better in search results? You might be making a huge mistake with your digital marketing. There’s a growing divide between what’s considered “good SEO” and what’s considered “bad SEO.”
Keyword stuffing is bad for user experience. Readers can tell when the content sounds unnatural – even spammy – and they will probably leave your site. A high bounce rate and low engage rate hurt your search ranking. At the same time, Google has updated its algorithms to actively search for and penalize sites using purchased or irrelevant backlinks, as well as duplicate content.
Avoid these “bad SEO” tactics and instead focus on other approaches that won’t kill your search ranking, such as these Five SEO and SEM Strategies.
2. Being inconsistent
Do you have a blog? Great. But how often do you update it?
If the answer is “whenever we have some spare time to write a post,” then you might be in trouble. In fact, being this inconsistent might actually be hurting your digital marketing efforts.
Readers get scared off when they visit a site and see that it hasn’t been updated in months or years. It’s like walking into a shop and finding the shelves half-empty. They get the idea that no one’s home and may think that your company is inactive or closed for business. On the other hand, if you’re there with consistent updates, visitors will immediately see that you’re open and ready to talk shop.
3. Not promoting your content
You know what else is scary? Investing a lot of time, energy, and money into something and seeing little to no return. If you’re creating content and just letting it sit on your site, this is exactly what you’re doing.
Your customers aren’t going to flock to your website just because you posted a couple of blogs. They may not even know those posts exist … unless you tell them.
Send an email to your marketing database with links to your blogs. Publish posts on social media with snippets from the articles. Reach out to your friends in the industry and ask them to share your latest, greatest content. That’s how you’re going to get value out of your content marketing. Setting it live on your site and letting it gather dust is only going to hurt your bottom line.
4. Not having a plan
As demonstrated by the Content Marketing Institute, a lot of marketing teams have decided to give content marketing a go. With a lot of creative talent and writing skills, it seems like an easy win for the department. There are initial brainstorming sessions where ideas are flying. There’s the excitement as the first few pieces are published. But then what?
What’s next? How do you know if it’s working? What is the ultimate goal?
The scary truth is that a lot of marketing departments dive head first into content marketing without any real plan about what it’s supposed to achieve, how they’re going to achieve it, or how they’re going to measure their progress. To get any result with content marketing, you need to have a strategy driving things forward. If not, your content strategy is going to die.
5. Not knowing your audience
Who are you writing your content for? Why do they care about what you’re writing? What do they want to get out of it? How is reading this going to help them?
If you don’t know who you’re writing for, or if you don’t have a clear idea of who your audience is, then you’re not going to be successful with content marketing. You’re going to be creating content that doesn’t really resonate with anyone except your own team. You’ll just be stuck in an echo chamber, creating content without ever engaging your audience, nurturing leads, increasing visitors’ likelihood of making a purchase, or building customer loyalty.
To learn more about how to avoid this mistake and actually achieve your goals, check out our article on how to Find Your Niche and Create Content for the Right Audience.