If you’re on your internet marketing A-game, or you want to improve your internet marketing strategy, you probably already know that simple keyword stuffing and paid advertising are going the way of the dinosaur.
Getting more unique site visitors and turning those leads into email blast subscribers and customers is critical to growing your business. You do this through content marketing, which nets three times more leads than paid advertising.
If you seem to be stumbling with your content marketing, you aren’t alone. There are several things to remember, and 10 critical mistakes to watch out for. We’ll help you avoid these common pitfalls.
Getting It Wrong
Nothing will destroy a customer’s confidence in your brand and brand message like getting your facts wrong. Your content should aim to enhance their interaction with your website and your business, and when you’re misattributing quotes, posting inaccurate statistics, or demonstrating an inaccurate way of doing something, you fail in establishing yourself as an authority.
Do a little homework before posting anything authoritative, and make sure that you find original sources for any quotes you post. If you’re putting together instructions or a how-to video, do a trial run and make sure you’re getting it right. If you have a trusted mentor or business associate, you could consider having them help you check your accuracy.
Not Understanding Your Audience
If you don’t know what your audience is looking for when they visit your site, or if you aren’t in tune with their needs from your brand, then you aren’t going to be able to deliver engaging, relevant content for them.
It’s important to have a snapshot profile of your audience, including how they consume media online (videos, interactive social media, blogs) and what they are looking for when they visit your website.
Fresh content is important too, so make sure you know what your audience wants. Did you know that at least 60% of marketers create at least one piece of content each day? You have plenty of options for your visitors.
However, if you aren’t using Google analytics or you don’t understand general customer profiles for people who consume your content marketing, then you won’t be able to deliver to them. Learn how to speak the language of your customers, learn how they prefer receiving your message, and make sure the subject of your content is relevant to them.
This can be tricky, as sometimes when you start posting to your website, you want to give your customers plenty of information or have several different things you wish to convey. Slow your roll, and make a plan. What do you wish to accomplish with each piece of content you put on your website?
If you’re demonstrating a new product or how to use something you sell, then that’s the only thing you should focus on, instead of a history of the product or the new things you’re advertising.
First, determine what you want your user to walk away with, whether it’s how to do something or an answer to a critical question. Once you’ve determined your goals, then you can outline how to get there and ensure that every aspect of your post focuses on your goal.
Not Utilizing Multimedia
Your customer base is probably diverse, and they may have different preferences when it comes to consuming media online. Some people may not be able to hear or read, while others like to digest what you have to say in a different way. Make your content diverse, with a mix of blogs, tutorials, and videos. Most people aren’t just using their computers, either. The average adult spends about 3 1/2 hours per day on their phone!
Multimedia includes all media and should integrate photos and videos too. Fans, customers, and those just discovering your business can better interact with your brand’s profile if there’s diverse content instead of just all-video or all-blog. Done correctly, your multimedia content pieces should contribute to and complement each other.
Not Understanding Your KPI
If you just googled KPI, you may be making a misstep here. KPI is an acronym for Key Performance Indicators, and they’re what you use to measure success. You want to understand why people like your content and what they don’t like, allowing you to tweak what you’re sharing.
Many content marketing strategies incorporate how long users spend on their website, which pieces of content (blogs, videos, photos) are the most popular, and how many unique visitors they get to their site. Make sure you have an easy-to-fill-out email sign-up form, as well. This is another KPI point you should monitor, looking for trends over time.
You may think a particular piece of content is spot-on or especially fabulous, but unless you’re measuring its popularity compared to other pieces you’ve produced, you won’t know for sure. In a recent survey, 50% of respondents expressed a desire to be able to measure how much real attention people are paying to their content.
Your KPI monitoring can determine which content is popular and, most importantly, which pieces are shared, giving new people an introduction to your brand.
Poor Quality Content
If your content isn’t engaging, if it’s poorly written or filled with grammar and spelling mistakes, you aren’t providing anything of value to your customers, and it’s unlikely that they’ll follow up on purchasing from your business. Consider your website and your entire content marketing strategy as the first impression people have of your business ― as it oftentimes is. In fact, 87% of shoppers say they search for product information online before making a purchase.
Make sure your website is scaled to accommodate peaks of web traffic and is powerful enough to play videos without long buffering or skips and lags. Bounce rates are about 50% if your website takes more than 2 seconds to load, and 40% of mobile users have to wait more than 3 seconds for the site to load. If your visitors can’t view your content, or if they’re frustrated by loading times, you’ll lose their interest.
Also, make sure all written content, from how-to guides to blogs to specific product information, is concise. The point of good content marketing is to impress upon visitors the quality of your business, and poor quality content just can’t do that.
If you aren’t a professional writer or video creator, there are services available that will help you develop content on your own or collaborate with you to produce or write it. You don’t have to be an expert in blogging, for example, if your primary service is car sales.
Don’t, however, duplicate or re-post content from someone else’s website. Google and other search engines are configured to spot duplicate or plagiarized content, and if they detect it on your website, your SEO ranking will suffer.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, refers to your site’s ranking after a query. Most people ― in fact about 90% of them ― don’t look beyond the third page of search results, and 75% don’t even go beyond the first page of results. With these numbers in mind, your site must populate high on Google and other search engine rankings. Remember that we talked earlier about how simply stuffing your content with relevant keywords wasn’t enough.
Here’s why: Google has changed its web crawlers, which are bots that search through millions of pages of online content to best match someone’s search string. For example, a potential lead might type “best widget store my city” to browse for a new widget. The web crawlers will pull related content and rank it according to both relevance (keywords) and quality ― that is, whether the site has original content, backlinks, and organically used keywords.
Google knows, and your customers know, that high-quality content and a well-designed website will be more relevant and useful to them.
When you ignore how new customers find your business, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage. If you aren’t on the first three pages of a web query, you might as well be invisible.
Beyond simply adding keywords, you need to make sure that your written content is structured with headings, like H1 for the headline, H2 for the different sections, and H3 for subsections. In this post, for example, each tip is an H2 heading.
Not Leveraging Social Media
Content marketing goes beyond your website. To truly integrate your brand’s message, you need to have a presence on social media. It’s better to start with one platform and do it well before moving on to another one.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are the most commonly used platforms for individuals and businesses. Facebook, for example, captures 61% of all social media visits. This site may be the best to start with, as users are familiar with the interface, and it supports videos, photos, short messages, and longer posts equally well.
Your social media strategy should complement what you’re doing on your website. With social media, your fans and followers can interact with your brand profile, asking questions, leaving comments, and sharing with friends. This is your opportunity to contact them back, responding in a fun, yet professional manner that suits the tone of your business.
That is, a tattoo parlor may have a different social media voice than a tax attorney. You’ll build relationships with your social media followers and can encourage them to explore your website, creating hot new leads.
You Aren’t Using a Mailing List
An email list for your business gives you a ready-made list of potential leads. Using your email list effectively, from personalized promotions to driving visitors to your website and social media accounts, helps round out your content marketing strategy.
With a good email client like Drip or Mailchimp, you can create segregated groups of different customer profiles, either by demographics or by their level of interaction with your brand (loyal customers, those who have drifted away, etc.). You can also see who is reading your emails, who forwards them, and who clicks through links that you include.
If you don’t have an email marketing strategy, you’re leaving leads on the table. Each point of contact you have online should include an option for people to sign up to receive emails from your business. Make this easy to find and the submission form simple to fill out.
Once you have your email list, you can send out notices whenever you post a new blog or video. With good mailing list management, you’ll have an audience you know is interested in your message.
Not Including a CTA
You’ve created high-quality blogs, your online videos are fun and engaging, and you have a loyal following on social media. Now what? The end of each content piece should have a call to action, something that your reader or viewer is supposed to do when they’ve finished digesting your content. Do they hurry in for your big sale? Do they visit you online to learn more?
Determining your call to action, or CTA, depends on the goal of your content. Each content piece should have a logical next step, and while ultimately the goal is to create new customers, not everyone who’s engaging with your content is ready to become a customer right away.
However, giving them a clear path to follow makes it easier for them to become a customer and allows you to keep in touch with them on their terms (that is, you aren’t being “pushy”).
With the right follow-up plans, such as an email newsletter, manual outreach, an autoresponder, or a combination of all these, you can communicate with your target audience the way they like to interact.
A good content marketing strategy is an inexpensive way to grow your business. However, making these mistakes can cause your content marketing to backfire and may impact revenue if people are frustrated or disappointed in the quality and presentation of your content.
Be thoughtful about what you present, and always keep a focus on the quality of what you deliver and the needs of your audience.