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How to Fail at Content Marketing

Content Marketing, if you’re not familiar, is the reboot of “BUM marketing”, which was itself a reboot of “Article marketing” — it’s the art of creating content that people enjoy reading so much that they want to do a few things. First, share it. Second, go to your site to find more like it. And third and most challenging, buy whatever you’re selling. Unfortunately, content marketing isn’t an easy thing to do, and there are plenty of excellent ways to fail at content marketing.

Implement Link Building And Call It Content Marketing
There’s definitely a time and place in the SEO world for link building — that is, creating content that’s specifically designed to attract links and putting it up in places that make linking easy. Content marketing, however, is not it. The difference is that link building is all about going viral and getting lots of eyes on some super-cool content — but content marketing is about attracting attention to your business and product, not your shiny infographic.

Link building is something you do for SEO — it improves your business by getting your website listed higher up on the SERPs. Content marketing takes the place of SEO; it’s intended to drive traffic directly to your website by intriguing, motivating, and placing a powerful call to action.

Create Content With Neither Plan Nor Purpose
I’ll admit it — there have been times when I’ve put content on this very blog for no real reason other than that it was Wednesday. There’s long been this myth about blogs that ‘if you write it, people will come’ — and people who think that by producing content and linking it back to their sites, they’re “content marketing” are falling victim to the same mentality.

The fact is that content marketing requires a solid plan. Each piece of content needs to be created with a few questions in mind:

  • Who is this content going to attract? (What market segment are we targeting?)
  • How is this content relevant to my product, industry, or business? Can the audience see the connection?
  • When is the best time to post this content? (When do people who consume this kind of content generally come online and look for it?)
  • How is this content going to lead people to move further down my sales funnel? (What’s the call to action? Is it appropriate and powerful?)

Market Your Content To The Wrong People
Even if you have a great plan and you have a good idea of what your content is supposed to do, you still have a big potential pitfall in front of you: going after the wrong market segment. Unfortunately, there’s no easy solution to this — you have to spend the time and money to do the market research. That’s easily a whole series of articles, so I’m not going to try to get into it here — suffice it to say, if you’re targeting people who aren’t buying, no amount of plan or proper content is going to get you the results you want.

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