Here’s what we do know: content marketing is a massively effective method of increasing ROI and overall customer engagement.Trouble is, it’s not as easy as whipping up some content and tossing it into the oven of the internet. Careful consideration and strategy is required, and sometimes, even with the best intentions, major mistakes can be made right from the get-go.
Are you happy with your content marketing results?
If not, you may be making a crucial mistake.
Recently I sat down with super-brain Amanda Milligan at Fractl (an online marketing agency specializing in engaging and emotional web content). Here are the top 4 mistakes we discussed.
Mistake #1: Content That’s Too Branded.
Content that looks like a traditional ad will be responded to like a traditional ad — like you’re just trying to sell and not engage. If your content is presented in a more natural, organic way, people will be more likely to receive it well and not merely consider it an endorsement of your company’s credo.
- Form ideas around the overall values and objectives of your company, not the brand itself. For example, if you’re a car insurance company, create content about safe driving, not about how to find the best insurance out there.
- Place your logo on content once in a noticeable but not eye-catching area. The bottom of an infographic or a single link in an article work well.
- Use subtle methods of incorporating branding, like fonts or colors, that don’t immediately call attention to the company but are reminiscent of the brand.
Mistake #2: Not Getting Your Audience Involved.
If you’re using outdated approaches to content creation, like anticipating the communication stream only going one-way, you’re in for sub-par results. Consider every content strategy to be a conversation, and be sure to facilitate that back-and-forth. It’ll open doors for new customers.
- Comments and other means of feedback can allow your potential customers to interact with your content and thus feel more connected to it. Create channels to facilitate the building of relationships, either through comments or social media.
- Craft content that’s interactive — allow the audience to click, explore, and participate. You can do this with interactive graphics, quizzes, maps, and other multimedia.
- Listen to what your audience is saying. They could be telling you exactly what they want to see and learn, but if you’re not paying attention, you’re missing countless valuable opportunities.
Mistake #3: Conveying Facts But Missing Emotion.
Content isn’t all about teaching and informing; it’s about connecting and experiencing. All you have to do is tap into humanity. Tap into what brings us together in real life — the emotions that ignite empathy — and you’ll have content that’s both memorable and impactful.
- Don’t think of content as an article or instructographic — think of it as a story. Ask yourself: What does this information actually mean to the person reading it, and how can I illustrate this? That’s when the story comes in.
- Read your own content. Write down three words about how it made you feel, being as specific as possible. If none of these words are an emotion or they’re too vague (and are instead “informative” and “interesting” rather than say “surprising” and “inspiring,”) start from scratch.
- Consider incorporating the emotions that often lead to virality in order to give your content an edge right from the beginning.
Mistake #4: Overthinking Content And Missing Context.
Sure, content can speak for itself. But think about it this way: You can write an incredible book and leave free copies all over town, but virtually no one will read it. Why? With so much content available, everything is about curation – this means getting your content published in the right place can mean everything.
- Don’t just think about what sites get the most views — make sure to carefully consider where your potential customers are and target the sites they visit.
- Create a team of media relations specialists who can build relationships with publishers. This team should be at least equal in size to your content development team.
- Study how to send out pitch emails. Make sure the headline is eye-catching and to-the-point, and make sure the body of the email succinctly explains:
- What the content is about
- Why you’re pitching it to this publisher
- Why the audience will enjoy it
If you’re making any of the above mistakes, don’t worry. There’s always time to make adjustments and improve your process. Once you’ve identified your pain points and you’re creating the right content in the right place for the right audience, you’ll see big changes in your ROI.
Are you wrecking your ROI by making these top four marketing mistakes? What changes will you implement moving forward?
Christine Comaford is a leadership and culture coach who helps businesses achieve growth. Learn more at SmartTribes Instituteand see Power Your Tribe: Create Resilient Teams in Turbulent Times and SmartTribes: How Teams Become Brilliant Together.