In the near-limitless universe of the Internet, the art of marketing content can be a tricky one. You've got to know your target audience and what they want, and always be one step ahead of the competition. Add to that the constantly emerging new channels for your content, and you have quite a challenging task ahead of you.
However, before you jump into this war of words, here are 11 pitfalls to watch out for:
1. Not doing your groundwork
You can not construct a skyscraper without laying the foundation. What is the purpose of your content? Who are you targeting it to? Is it in line with your brand personality? If you do not brainstorm on these questions and build a concrete plan, you might fail before you even start. It also helps to double-check your content and see what you can do differently from the competition.
2. Not having a clear take-away
Humorous fluff pieces are fun to read on the Internet, but do not let their popularity sway you. Good content needs a solid take-away – a message previously unavailable to your readers. Give them something new through your content, and they'll be hooked on to your every word.
3. Not having a Call-To-Action
An ending paragraph is strong, but a Call-To-Action (CTA) is stronger. Every piece of content needs to arose something in the reader by the end – be it curiosity, happiness, or even fear. Give your reader an action to perform after they have read your content – it could be liking, sharing, commenting, or accessing your hotline or website to know more about your product. Whatever you do, just do not leave the reader hanging at the end of your piece.
4. Choosing quantity over quality (or vice versa)
Content marketers today still grapple with this question – produce more content faster, or deliver comprehensive content less frequently? In our experience, a healthy mix of the two is the best long-term strategy for content marketing. Do not be pressured by the speed and frequency of new posts on the Internet; Just produce the best and most timely content that your marketing plan allows.
5. Not optimizing your content (SEO)
Do you want your content to be the first thing netizens see in a quick Google search? Then do not let search engine optimization (SEO) be an afterthought in your content marketing plan. Come up with some strong keywords, and strategically sprinkle them through your content. Do this right, and watch your content shoot straight up the search results list.
6. Writing long paragraphs
Let's face it – the online reader's attention span has taken a nose-dive in recent years. Long paragraphs are a chore to read through. On the other hand, breaking up your content into shorter paragraphs or bullet points boosts the readability of your piece. Each paragraph and point also acts like a place-holder in the readers' minds, which they can refer to at any time.
7. No internal or external links
Do not you want a visitor to your website to stay and know more about your product? Internal links to older content are a good way to ensure audience retention, greater interest in your brand, and better optimization for search engines. External links to related topics also add ranking power to your content since Google's search spiders read them as 'third-party votes' for your piece.
8. Not using relevant images
Your post's featured image is the first thing a viewer will see on social media. Relevant images and infographics make people want to read your blogs. After all, no one likes to read a continuous stream of text. Content is getting more and more visual by the day to keep readers hooked, and you should follow suit.
9. Overly promotional content
The online audience wants entertaining and engaging content, and also does not want to be marked to all the time. You are not going to achieve the latter by producing overtly promotional content, with words such as 'buy', 'sell', 'exchange' at the forefront. Creative, engaging content with out-of-the-box visuals are today's gold standard in marketing.
10. Distributing content haphazardly
Simply sharing your content on every social media platform out there might sound like a good idea at first. However, unless you share it on the right platforms frequented by your target audience, all your efforts might go in vain. Base the online distribution of your content on the social media habits of your audience, as well as the nature of your product.
11. Ignoring content metrics
Content marketing is not an open-and-shut case; There's always more to learn from your existing work. To simplify, there are four metrics by which you can analyze the success or failure of your content so far – consumption, sharing, leads generated, and sales and revenue. You can then tweak your future content or strategy depending on these results.
Marketing your brand through online content need not be rocket science – if you do your homework right, Work with a communications agency that can get your brand the attention it describes!
Do you know of any other content marketing gaffes? If so, leave a comment,