Creating a solid content marketing strategy is a vital, but not necessarily easy feat. 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing to reach their customers, but without the right strategy in place, this can be useless. Planning your own content marketing strategy? Here are five big mistakes that you could be making, and how to avoid them in future!
1. You’re promoting, not educating
How many times have you started reading a great article, and then suddenly been hit with a sales pitch halfway through? Heavy handed advertising within your content doesn’t just drag down the quality of your work, but can also put off your potential clients. Hundreds of millions of people (there aren’t specific numbers) use ad blockers on the internet, and although this stops pop ups and display ads, it’s unlikely that your readers want to see ads in their content, either.
When it comes to digital content creation, it’s easy to fall into the trap of becoming too “salesy”. You may be dying to get the word out about a new service or product, but if someone is encountering your company for the first time, they aren’t looking for this kind of information.
Your readers are looking for knowledge, expertise, and solutions to their problems, not a sales pitch. If you focus on educating and helping your prospects with advice and information, you are much more likely to produce engaging content. If you create good enough content, you can build trust between your company and your readers - making them more likely to purchase your product or service further down the line.
2. You aren’t considering the Buyer’s Journey
The buyer’s journey is part of the inbound methodology, and it is vital for planning your content marketing strategy. Inbound is a customer-centric way of marketing, which focuses on drawing prospects to you, rather than using traditional, disruptive marketing techniques. The stages of the buyer’s journey are:
Awareness - the buyer has realised that they have a problem
Consideration - the buyer has their problem in mind, and is actively looking for solutions
Decision - the buyer has chosen a solution, and is now looking for a service provider
When you structure your content marketing strategy, it’s important to identify stages of the buyer’s journey in relation to your product or service, and write your content to line up with this. Someone in the awareness stage of the journey hasn’t heard of your business, and likely cares little about the products or services you have to offer. Think about the common issues that your clients face - this is the point at which you can develop content for the awareness stage of the journey. If you follow this methodology, your prospects will become leads, and your leads will ultimately become clients, as you have been there for every step of their journey.
3. You aren’t focusing your targeting enough
Target, target, target! Your content marketing strategy should always be crafted with a specific audience in mind. It may be tempting to create content for all sectors, all organisations and roles, but in the world of content marketing, throwing everything against the wall and hoping it sticks isn’t the best strategy. Instead, narrow down the type of person that you want to reach with your content.
The easiest way to do this is with the creation of buyer personas. These personas are a representation of your ideal customer, and are helpful in planning, writing and publishing your content to the right platforms. Your buyer persona can be as detailed as you like, and it should be considered as a way to target the right people, in the right role, in the right industry. You can read more about creating your buyer personas here.
Once you have created these personas, you can start producing content that is tailored to their needs. Each persona might require different terminology, smarter use of various platforms, and an understanding of the specific questions that someone in their role may have. Ensure that each piece of content in your strategy is targeted towards one persona in particular for the best results, as targeting too many can end up confusing your message and being counter-productive.
4. You’re posting, but not promoting
You’ve created the perfect piece of content, proofed it, published it on your site for the world to see, and … no traffic. This is an issue that marketers face all too often, and the solution to this is simple - promote your material! Spending your time crafting a well-written blog is ultimately pointless if you fail to promote it properly, and there are a few ways you can do this.
Social media is the easiest and most popular way to share your content. Within seconds, you can post about your new content and “sell” it to a potential reader. The average person will spend over six years of their lifetime on social media, meaning that you have a big audience for your content to reach. Each social media platform can be useful in your content marketing strategy, and you should consider which will appeal to your chosen personas.
Facebook is a great place to share blog posts and ebooks to your community. Users share 2.5 billion pieces of content each day, so this platform is ideal for creating further traffic and interest in your content.
Twitter functions much more quickly, so you need to create interest in your content through short posts, more often. Posting on Twitter is a good way to increase brand awareness, and engage with your industry.
LinkedIn is much more formal - you may consider posting articles here, and sharing relevant, industry-specific content. Viewed as the ‘professional network’, this is where you can engage in conversation with others in your industry, and show thought leadership.
If you have subscribers to your blog, email is a perfect way to make sure that they are updated with your latest B2B content. You can set up scheduled emails on a weekly or monthly basis to help them stay up to date, or send out instant notifications when a new piece of content goes live. Some software programmes, such as HubSpot and ActiveCampaign, have the tools to build stylish B2B emails, and a full scheduling system to automate the email process. If you want to build a long term email strategy, it’s worth investing in a tool than can automate the process to increase efficiency and reach.
5. You’re using the incorrect software
Running a content marketing campaign can be time-consuming and tricky to maintain. In addition to developing a strategy that works for your business, you also need to oversee content creation, proof content, work out a publishing schedule, and make sure that you’re promoting your content correctly.
Scheduling blog posts is a feature that is present in many CMS systems. WordPress, SquareSpace and Wix all offer scheduling capabilities, so you can queue up your content effectively. However, with these platforms you would need additional plugins or a separate programme to research and develop your content, and for any email marketing or social media posting. It is possible to carry out a successful content marketing campaign in this way with tools like Yoast, MailChimp and social media tools like Social Report and Sprout, but it may mean multiple subscriptions and licenses to manage.
Alternatively, marketing professionals turn towards all-in-one automation tools that feature scheduling, email automation, social media calendars and reporting in one place. These tools are particularly helpful when developing a content marketing strategy, as they can help to improve efficiency, map progress and identify trends in the way that people interact with your content. Examples of these include HubSpot, SharpSpring and Salesforce, which are widely used by marketers for content marketing. The benefit of these tools is clear - you can track your content marketing efforts with ease, and attribute leads to certain pieces of content without having to leave the platform. Automation is a huge sell on tools like these, as you can schedule content, social posts and email in advance, and track the results throughout.
It’s essential when planning your content marketing to consider these points, and how you can avoid making these mistakes as you plan and execute your strategy. The right content marketing can be extremely effective, generating three times the leads of traditional marketing. As long as you are posting informative, educational content, you can position yourself as a thought leader within your industry, and therefore a trustworthy source for potential customers.
If you’re looking to boost your content marketing, determine the right audience and the right tone, why not download our content marketing ebook? It offers a complete guide on building your strategy, choosing your social media platforms and narrowing down your target audience, and is an essential for any content marketer.