The majority of brands – perhaps yours, too – are using content in their marketing arsenal, but the majority don't consider their efforts to be effective. In its 2016 Content Marketing Trends research, the Content Marketing Institute found while 76 percent of B2C businesses and 88 percent of B2B businesses use content marketing, only 38 percent of B2C businesses and 30 percent of B2B businesses find their organizations to be successful. How much time and energy is being wasted because these organizations aren't using the right tactics?
When you decide to integrate content marketing in your brand, your business becomes a publisher with the power to engage current customers and attract new ones by sharing knowledge, useful tips and important news about your business. But instead of hurriedly scheduling and posting blogs, putting together e-books, and shooting videos that might not reach and impact the right consumers, avoid these mistakes and use these tips to strengthen your content marketing strategy.
Mistake 1: You Ignore Your Audience
Not creating with the appropriate target audience in mind can cause content to stagnate or even turn off consumers. For example, maybe your CEO wants to get involved with your content marketing strategy. That's great, since her prominent role means her interactions with your customers are often front and center, making her forward-facing in the company and a trusted voice people pay attention to. You let your CEO write your next blog post, and, since she has little experience in content marketing, she writes it as if she was speaking to someone on the leadership board, in a highly technical tone, filled with jargon the average customer can't understand. The message is lost, and time and resources are wasted. By not creating content with a specific audience – and more importantly, the audience of your target customer – in mind, efficiency and effectiveness suffer.
What you should do instead
Knowing who your audience is inside and out will help to make your content much more impactful, more likely to be engaged with, and more likely to be shared. If you've created buyer personas detailing the demographics, wants and needs of your target buyers – and if you haven't, you should – use those to guide your content. Your audience should influence tone, copywriting, imagery that is used, and the type of content, from videos to infographics. The audience of a B2B technology software company will be very different than the audience of a family-friendly restaurant, and as such, the content will vary widely. In order for your content to be consumed easily, it must be presented in the most digestible format.
Mistake 2: Your Content Is Not Emotionally Appealing
There are so many forms of content, from videos and whitepapers to product information sheets and podcasts. Sure, the goal of content marketing is to increase awareness for your brand and ultimately drive sales, but only pushing out pieces of content that solely contain marketing messages is spammy, boring and likely to be ignored. Your content's aim is to tell a story that resonates and ultimately incites action and sales by relating to the customer.
What you should do instead
Even the driest, most "boring" products are able to be conveyed to an audience via emotional and relatable messaging, which makes the content more meaningful and memorable. Psychology Today reports emotions are an essential ingredient in decision-making, which means an emotional appeal should be present in some form in the content. This could be through the use of humor, showing people the exciting appeal of happiness they can achieve by using your product, or by relating your service or product to something they emotionally connect with, such as their families.
Mistake 3: You Don't Measure Your Efforts
You think you're doing everything right. You've built a content calendar, you're creating and cultivating new pieces of content on a regular basis, and you're sharing your content in everything from email newsletters to social media channels. You have no forms of measurement in place, though. You hit publish and merely hope people will see the content, come to your website and make a purchase. Even a free tool such as Google Analytics is never consulted, so you're simply doing what you "think" is working, without ever really knowing if it is.
What you should do instead
According to author and content marketing expert Jay Baer, there are four types of content marketing metrics that should be measured: consumption, sharing, lead generation and sales. Consumption and sharing measurements allow you to see what types of content are making an impact on consumers, while lead generation and sales help you pinpoint the exact pieces that are making your company money. By examining these factors, you can implement tweaks that can be used on other forms of content to make it more effective. You're spending time and human resources on creating these pieces of content, so testing, measuring and optimizing your content is important in order to garner the best return on investment.
By knowing your audience, creating content that is emotionally appealing to make it more memorable, and having analytics tools in place to measure the effectiveness of your content, you can start making greater strides in your content marketing strategy. Start thinking like a publisher –you want your content to make your business money, ultimately, which is why it is best to maximize efforts by creating content that is compelling and that will go to work for your brand.