The Content Marketing Institute recently reported that just 38% of organizations say they are effective at content marketing. Another 31% say it isn't clear what their content marketing program actually looks like. If you fall into the category of lackluster content marketing, you're not alone. But it's probably not for a lack of trying; rather, it's not doing the right things in the right order.
Want to up your content marketing game for 2016? Here are 8 of the biggest content mistakes marketers keep making, and how to fix them.
1. Not Defining Your Audience
Who are you targeting with your content marketing? I find that the number one mistake most people make with their content is creating something valuable for the wrong audience. Your target audience may include different groups, from startup entrepreneurs to growth hackers. But each audience uses different social media channels, reads different sites, and needs different solutions to their business issues.
And there is another reason to define your audience beyond who you're writing content for. As you open up your strategy to paid promotion, you'll need to get specific with which users should actually see your content. Failing to highly define your audience just wastes your marketing spending and attracts a mix of leads that won't do much to convert.
2. Skipping the Strategy Session
Get your entire team on board for your strategy session. Whether team members are part of your marketing department or your sales department, everyone in your business should be aligned with your content marketing goals in order to understand the big picture. You'll gain valuable insights, from what the sales team is hearing from potential clients to what the support staff is addressing on a daily basis. All of this feedback can help inform your content creation in a highly-relatable way that your audience will love.
3. Using Boring Headlines
On average, eight out of 10 people read your headlines, but only two will actually read the rest of the content. CopyBlogger has a useful resource on Writing Magnetic Headlines that covers some of the most effective formulas that actually sell. There are different ways to make your headlines stand out, but they require some brainstorming before slapping them on your posts or content. Some tips include using numbers in your title, creating a sense of urgency or mystery, or promising the reader a solution they've always been looking for.
4. Not Delivering What You Promised
Nailing your headlines with shocking statistics and promises can be exhilarating, but this can be dangerous if you're over-promising. We all know you need to produce quality, highly-valuable content to earn social shares and build trust with your audience. But can you actually deliver? Promising to triple leads if someone just signs up for your free video series, and then only giving the basics in hopes of upselling to premium content, will leave your audience cold.
5. Doing it All Yourself
Doing it all yourself goes hand-in-hand with losing momentum and burning out. There's only so much expertise you hold when it comes to marketing, and only so many hours in the day. Lead your team by learning to delegate tasks. Thoroughly train your staff to establish a strong foundation for processes and how to stay aligned with your content strategy. Proper training does more than just prepare your staff to do the hard work involved. It also acts as a confidence-builder so they can fluidly move through the tasks and innovate on how to make them better.
6. Only Using Your Content Once
Re-purposing your content is a highly-effective and easy way to attract a wider audience. Digging up old content can also save you tons of time on the creation end. What's lying around your office? Use a scrapped client presentation, repurpose it, and turn it into a SlideShare to educate your audience on how to create a winning proposal. You could even take the very best comments from one of your popular blog posts on angel funding and turn it into a PDF of valuable advice for entrepreneurs looking to navigate funding and learning what to expect.
7. Too Much Sell! Sell! Sell!
Just about anyone reading your blog posts or tweets understands you have a brand to promote or service to sell. And part of your content marketing strategy should absolutely be about generating leads and converting more followers into clients. But too much selling just makes you sound like a used car salesman. Give your audience a chance to engage with you and help build your credibility and trust. Otherwise, you're just a guy with a bullhorn yelling at people to stop and read your content.
8. Not Promoting Enough
You just spent weeks defining your audience, building an impressive content marketing strategy, and producing killer content. Now what? Letting your promotional efforts fizzle is a common and fatal mistake of content marketers and business owners alike. There's a common saying that people need to see your marketing at least seven times before engaging or taking action. That doesn't mean tweeting it out seven times in a row, or even seven days in a row.
Part of your content strategy should include how often you're promoting content, on what channels, and when. Ask yourself why your audience needs your content and how you can help deliver it to them in a way that is simple, makes sense, and builds your credibility as an expert at the same time.
What types of content mistakes do you see marketers make and what kind of advice can you give them? Let me know by leaving a comment below.