4 Content Marketing Mistakes That Even The Smartest Brands Make

Paige Gerber

It has recently come to my attention that there are a lot of misconceptions about content marketing out there. At this point in the digital marketing game, it is vital for every business to have a content strategy in place if they want to survive in this territory. Driving advertisements, social posts, or web searches to pages that don’t fulfill a user’s expectations is not going to cut it anymore. You need to inspire users and help them understand how your business fits in to their everyday lives and why they should keep you there.

To invest in content marketing is to invest in your business. Simply put, it provides your ideal audience with the information, understanding, and enjoyment required to make the decision to do business with you. Relationships are all about give and take. Ask yourself what you are providing your audience with (aside from your product/service) to yield their time, attention, and money.

As marketers, we have mastered the art of learning from our mistakes. With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the most common content marketing mistakes that even some of the smartest brands make, so we can learn and adapt our strategies for success.

Thinking Content Creation is a One-Time Thing

I cannot even count the amount of times I have heard someone say that they are doing content marketing, but that they have no defined strategy. Just because you create a whitepaper or eBook does not mean you are doing content marketing. Content marketing is a long-term strategy that requires brands to analyze data to further develop their audience. With these insights, brands can then develop a strategy that is engaging and useful to its audience.

Here are 5 content marketing tactics to help you get your strategy underway:

  1. Buyer Persona Creation

First you must develop buyer personas (semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers). Buyer personas provide structure to your marketing campaigns and insight for your brand. A detailed persona will allow you to determine where to focus your time, the type of content you need to create, and how to attract the most valuable visitors and leads to your business. Use this awesome Buyer Persona Generator courtesy of HubSpot to start developing your personas.

  1. Buyer Journey Mapping

A buyer journey map tells the story of the buyer’s experience with your brand from initial point of contact, through the process of engagement, and into a long-term customer relationship. Taking the time to build out a buyer journey map is essential to digital success, and will become a very powerful tool used by every department in your company to ensure your customer is at the heart of your brand. To map your buyers’ journey, you must take a deep dive into the pool of data and research your brand has at its disposal and piece together interactions from start to finish.

  1. Editorial Calendar

Now, the planning begins! Developing an editorial calendar gives your marketing team a framework for being deliberate and intentional about how your brand is engaging with your prospective buyers and customers. It ensures that value for both your brand and its audience is always present and that all parties are benefiting.

An editorial calendar should provide an overview of:

  • Your overall strategy
  • Topics
  • Content format
  • Publishing schedule
  • Publishing channels
  • Content owner
  • Content status
  1. Content Distribution

Once you have developed the content, it is time to determine how you’re going to get it in front of your audience’s eyes. You should begin by developing a distribution strategy to assess the effectiveness of the different types of Paid, Owned, and Earned media to promote and distribute your content. Test different distribution channels to discover where best to reach your target audience for maximum exposure and achieve the strongest return on investment.

Consider the following areas for each type of distribution when formulating your initial strategy:

  • Paid: Social advertising, promoted posts, and display ads.
  • Owned: Email marketing, blog, and social networks.
  • Earned: Influencer outreach, media publications, and PR.
  1. Analytics and Value Assessment

Last, but not least, you must have the tools in place to measure the effectiveness of the campaign: which pieces of content had the most engagement; what distribution channels worked the best; how are you going to rework your content workflows to ensure your leads turn in to customers. It is vital to the success of your campaign that you are continually refining it to ensure your marketing efforts are yielding a return, and that your audience is receiving content of value.

With the right content marketing strategy in place, your buyer personas will become better refined allowing you to continually have the right prospects in your sales funnel. This will, in turn, provide a steady stream of qualified leads and newly converted brand advocates who will share the love of your brand and its content.

Focusing Solely on Selling with Content

Content marketing is a great way to build customer relationships and loyalty. It allows for you as a brand to continually add value to its customers before, during, and after their buyer’s journey with you. It is important to remember as marketers that the way to get the most value out of the content is by engaging audiences with a mix of helpful and entertaining information.

The great thing about content marketing is that it is in and of itself a lead generation tactic, but is much less direct than previous marketing methods. Through the customer loyalty, engagement, and brand awareness that content marketing delivers, lead nurturing and generation is an obvious step for people who are interacting and showing their love for your brand.

This is the customer’s era; they have regained control. Short-term quick wins are no longer an option, so as marketers you are left with the challenge of how to invest in long-term relationships with your customers. Content marketing is a great start.

Developing the Same Content on Repeat

People consume content in different ways, not to mention people just like to mix it up! When developing your editorial calendar make sure you have an array of different content to offer your audience when they engage with your brand at each touch point.

Some content types to consider:

  • Blog post
  • Video
  • Podcast
  • Infographic
  • eBook
  • Whitepaper
  • Checklist
  • Webinar
  • Case Study

Thinking Your Content Will Do All of the Heavy Lifting for You

In what world has “set it and forget it” ever worked for anyone when it comes to marketing. Just because you have produced a quality piece of content does not mean that it will get you immediate engagement and leads. How you position and deliver the content offer to your audience is equally as important. The messaging you use to promote your content must be captivating as well as the journey you take them on from your ad/post, to your landing page, all the way through your content and lead nurturing workflow.

By actively reviewing the analytics and data you retrieve along the buyer’s journey through your content marketing efforts, you will be able to interpret how your prospects are interacting with your content and adapt your strategy. Did they love your content offer, but seem to fall off when it came to your follow-up emails? Lucky for you, these information nuggets are all in the data at your disposal.

I would like to point out that there is no foolproof way to do content marketing. Each brand has its own unique audience to cater to, so it is important that as marketers you’re always testing content, its delivery, and distribution to continually provide your audience with the best user experience.

Your product/service was created to fulfill a specific need. Create meaningful and engaging content to act as the driver of all your digital marketing efforts and you will begin to see the difference in your leads and customers. Not only will they be of a higher value, they will also advocate and market your business for you. Sharing is caring after all!

Content marketing is a large undertaking for any brand, but well worth the effort. If you have any questions or require any feedback on your current content marketing efforts, please reach out to us for a chat.

marketing expert

Paige Gerber

As VP of Marketing, Paige is responsible for taking online marketing campaigns for clients from ideation to execution. It is also important to note, that a really good glass of red wine makes her extremely happy!

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