Over the last few years, content marketing became the norm as businesses sought new ways to connect with consumers online in a non-threatening way. Aggressive, hard-sell tactics turned consumers off, so a kinder, gentler approach was needed, one in which companies could sell themselves by giving away valuable content that consumers wanted. The goal was to build long-term relationships by endearing customers to a brand with virtually no strings attached.
If you’ve jumped aboard the content marketing bandwagon but have failed to see a resulting uptick in conversions, you might be inclined to assume it’s a crock. However, there’s a good chance you’re simply going about it the wrong way and forming bad habits in the process. Here are just a few common missteps and how you can get on the right path with content marketing.
You Never Created a Content Marketing Strategy
So, you thought you could just jump into content marketing and wing it. Like most things in life, this non-strategy probably didn’t serve you well. Content marketing is a long game, one in which you cultivate relationships with an audience, build a rapport, and eventually see your efforts come to fruition with a community that supports your business. This requires a plan.
How can you get your content marketing strategy in order? A good place to start is with a SMART system, defined by goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Do you want to increase traffic or other conversions through content marketing? What is your time frame and what are your numeric goals? Are your numbers arbitrary or realistically based on past data?
Once you have goals in mind you can start to craft a content marketing strategy that includes specific topics, calls to actions designed to guide your audience and help you accomplish goals, and wiggle room to test different types of content to see what delivers the best results.
You Don’t Know What Your Audience Wants
Content marketing is designed to cater to your audience, but that’s going to be difficult if you have no idea what your audience wants. Before you start churning out content, take the time to survey audience members. Ask for topics they’re interested in or provide a list of potential topics and see what garners the best response.
Remember, content marketing is not a platform for you to talk about your company and your products – that’s what your website is for. It’s a way to deliver content that focuses on your ideals, interests your audience, and helps to improve their lives in some way. If you present it correctly, it will funnel customers to your products and services.
Your Content is Boring
It’s easy to assume that certain industries are boring, and by extension, associated content suffers the same fate. You would be wrong on both counts. That said, if you think the content you produce is boring, there’s a good chance your audience will feel the same way.
Passion, on the other hand, is contagious. When you love what you do, your excitement will show and get other people excited, as well. Be original, share your passion, vary your content, and keep your posts fun and dynamic to avoid getting stuck in a rut or sounding like everyone else.