There’s no question that content marketing is great for growing your brand and driving demand. But even if you’ve been at it a while, make sure you’re avoiding these mistakes to keep your content marketing working hard for you.
- Don’t Prioritize Social Success Over Website Performance
When you’re looking for validation that your content marketing efforts are paying off, it’s tempting to turn toward your social platforms to see how your audience is growing and how many shares or likes your content is getting. However, social engagement is not always indicative of quality engagement with your ideal audience, and it social success doesn’t always translate to conversions.
Instead, focus on your website metrics and results. Is the content you are publishing driving people to your site? Is your content keeping audiences on your site for longer than before? Does your content drive conversions? We’ve seen countless businesses who have a mediocre social presence, but whose website is optimized to deliver high-quality content and to convert visitors into subscribers or leads resulting in very healthy pipeline and revenue figures.
2. Don’t Develop Content Using A Rigid, Front-loaded Process With Excessive Planning
While doing research on the front end of your content planning is a good idea—keyword research, competitive research, and gathering audience insights—there is such a thing as too much planning when you want to be successful at content marketing.
A great use of social platforms is to test and adopt an agile way of content development.
Essentially you can produce smaller pieces or stories that focus on a particular area, angle or trend that you think your audience will be interested in. Then, share that content with your audiences via social and measure reaction.
Once you see what’s gaining traction, you have an indication that you can build on those topics; it’s a safer bet to invest more in content that is hitting the mark early on in your process. Before you know it, you’ll have several pieces of content that are performing strongly for you, and you will see it impact your conversion as well as social metrics. If you work your content marketing planning process with a more agile approach, and you are willing to be surprised by what works and what doesn’t work, you will feel confident with your plans and see results.
3. Don’t invest in one-time use content.
Marketing resources are so precious that producing anything for one-time use is not going to advance you quickly to achieve your content marketing goals. While you may have a massive initiative like a huge tradeshow that you spend half of your resources on, generally producing content that can be reused, repurposed is a better bet.
Another aspect of one-time use content is a piece of content that is one-off or very specific content—like writing a piece for a specific title of prospect in a particular industry with a particular problem. It’s so very specific that it’s hard to use again without needing to revise it. Imagine if you have a whole library of pieces like this…the time and energy to get rid of the old and refresh them all would not be returned in revenue.
Consider how new pieces you will be developing for niche markets could be either written at a high enough level to have use for a long time to come or find detailed topics that could be applied across multiple niche markets.
4. Don’t get too technical too soon.
If you are in the technology, manufacturing, science or medical industry, it’s clear that certain kinds of content like data sheets are an essential part of your content mix, especially for later in the customer journey. It can be tempting to serve up these kinds of materials sooner in the customer journey with the thinking that they really provide the detailed insight your prospects are seeking.
The problem is that these pieces of content are generally too lengthy, too much context and getting into the weeds, and most times people simply don’t read. It’s not helping your audiences get the real information they need at their stage in the decision-making process.
Instead, look to infographics or short solution profiles that tend to be more visual and provide the benefits and features of the solutions.
5. Don’t produce 100% of your content internally.
There are times when your message will be more credible, reliable and influential when it’s delivered by a third party. The percentage of content that should be produced by outside authorities will vary among companies. Generally, we see that anywhere from 20% – 30% of total content produced is outsourced to a credible third party.
What we’ve seen at Frost & Sullivan Brand and Demand Solutions practices that there is power that comes from that independent third-party brand whereas perception is the guiding factor. If you produced, let’s say, a white paper with your logo or your own company’s logo on it, it’s seen as marketing. But that same piece of paper with Frost & Sullivan’s logo on it is seen as research.
Some tips for deciding what kind of content to outsource are:
- Evaluate your customers’ life cycle or buying journey and decide at which stages you really need that third-party validation for greater credibility or influence.
- Look at where you have internal knowledge or thought leader gaps in general. Look to third parties to fill those gaps and strengthen your business strategy by acquiring third-party validation of your practice or solution portfolio.
- If in your industry you find that decision makers are looking to analysts for direction or advice about which vendor they should choose for implementation, third-party analyst reports can be invaluable to your sales process.
- Top of the funnel awareness-building using promotions through third-party sites with analysts is a strong vehicle for getting your content out there and generating more clicks.
Let us know in the comments which one of these tips you’re going to implement in your upcoming content marketing plan. We’d love to hear about your plans!