These days there are plenty of experts sharing their successful content marketing tactics and best practices. But what has been learned from all those unsuccessful campaigns? What content marketing strategies should be avoided? What are the lessons from failure?
The list of things-not-to-do is long, but here are our picks for the 10 essential pitfalls you should avoid at all costs:
1. Launching Without Clear Goals – As simple as it sounds, before you start any content marketing campaign you should clearly define your goals. Are you looking to build brand awareness, educate about a certain product, or convert already-interested consumers? Moreover, how will you quantify success? Will it be measured in leads? In sales? In shares? As one strategist put it: “Content without a goal is art, not marketing.”
2. Not Defining Your Audience – This goes hand-in-hand with goal setting. Without a clear audience in mind, a content marketing campaign is almost certainly doomed to failure. You should go beyond simple demographics and create a full persona. Are you targeting a specific type of buyer? A certain set of influencers? A consumer in a particular part of the conversion funnel?
3. Picking the Wrong Content Types – All too often, content marketers choose the types of content they produce based on personal preference rather than audience preference. Instead, you should ask yourself two key questions: 1) Based on what I’ve seen in my analytics and in the market, what sort of content (text, infographics, video, etc.) does my target audience engage with?, and 2) What type of content will best help me achieve my campaign’s goals? If you’re struggling with answering these questions, try starting with this matrix.
4. Creating Bad Content – This should be a no-brainer, yet somehow it isn’t. Frequently marketers create content with glaring errors (misspelled words, erroneous statistics, incorrect charts) or with terrible production quality (ugly graphics, bad video editing, unwieldy blocks of text). This has a doubly negative effect: it creates a terrible impression of your particular brand and also makes consumers weary of content marketing in general.
5. Failing to Say Something Original – Again and again, marketers say they struggle with finding the time to create original content. This is completely understandable, since developing original offerings is difficult and time-intensive. Still, if you want to break through the noise, providing original data or analysis is the best method. Consumers value content that they find useful, and curating other people’s ideas will only go so far.
6. Not Distributing Your Content – Don’t just create content, post it on your website, and hope for the best. Effective distribution is as important to successful campaigns as the content itself. Beyond social media sharing, which is essential, make sure you invest in SEO and influencer outreach. Also, create a template so that you don’t have to start your outreach efforts from scratch with each new piece of content.
7. Making Content Hard to Access – You may have the greatest content in the world, but if it’s difficult to access no one will engage with it. Don’t make your visitors fill out their information, wait for an emailed link, and then wait again to download a PDF. Yes, lead-generation forms can be extremely useful, but know when to use them, and simplify the process as much as possible.
8. Not Engaging After Publishing – Once your content goes live and is distributed, make sure to follow up quickly and frequently, otherwise the entire endeavor could fall flat. Check your social media accounts, monitor your lead-gen forms, and follow posts where your piece is mentioned. Moreover, make sure to include a call to action in the content itself to encourage engagement.
9. Only Using Content Once – Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose. A good piece of content, one that is original and truly useful to your audience, will likely lend itself to additional formats or may become relevant again at a later time. Don’t be afraid to tap into your archive, just make sure to do it effectively.
10. Failure to Measure – You can’t judge your content marketing campaign’s effectiveness unless you measure its performance. If you’ve taken the time early on to clearly define your goals, this should be relatively simple. Even if you haven’t, it’s still possible to go back and examine metrics. Either way, you must ultimately determine the ROI of the effort to know if it was a success or failure.
MDG Advertising, a full-service advertising agency with offices in Boca Raton and New York, NY, is one of Florida’s top branding firms. MDG’s capabilities include print advertising, direct mail marketing, branding, logo design, creative, digital marketing, media buying and planning, radio and TV advertising, Web design and development, online video advertising, infographic development, email marketing, content marketing, inbound marketing, lead generation, social media marketing, and SEO. For the latest trends in advertising and branding, contact MDG Advertising today at 561-338-7797 or visit mdgadvertising.com.
Written by Michael Del Gigante