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These 5 Mistakes Are Killing Your Content Strategy

Defining ‘Success’ in the Wrong Terms


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Tealfeed Guest Blog

3 years ago | 5 min read

Having a content marketing strategy is almost obligatory for any business focused on growing online. Through good content, we can motivate our leads towards making the buying decision, increase brand awareness, and establish a strong bond with potential and returning customers.

But, since everyone’s doing it, producing fairly nice material is not enough. As the market gets crowded, standards rise and it’s increasingly harder to get your content noticed.

As experience has shown me (and most content marketers, I’m not that special), mistakes, miscalculations and unfortunate leaps of faith abound. But some errors are far more common than others. If your content marketing efforts are not reaping the results you expected, watch out for these mistakes:

Defining ‘Success’ in the Wrong Terms

Some business owners (especially, those in very fast-paced, innovation-obsessed sectors) expect their content marketing efforts to reap instant results.

A one-off effort might not suffice. Why would people be gravitating to your content in the first place? Because you’ve built a base of valuable resources that feedback on brand authority.

If you’re working well, your 100th post will do better than your first one. While content can boost your conversion rates in the short-term, it’s a long game rather than a quick fix.

Have very clear, specific goals, and think of every piece you produce as an investment. Before adding a new idea to your content calendar, ask yourself whether and how it can move you closer to your goal.

Generating more profits is the underlying motivation, but it’s not a specific, actionable goal. An actionable goal would be:

  • Ranking better on search engines
  • Getting more visitors on your website
  • Getting more people to make a specific decision (purchasing, asking for a quote, etc.)
  • Starting a discussion centered around your product

Ask yourself what your business needs right now, which goal is worth pursuing and in what terms you should pursue it. Then, define your toolkit: Which formats are you going to work with? What does your customer’s journey look like? Where would these pieces of content fit? Last but not least, set your KPIs: Which numbers will determine whether you succeeded or failed?

Quantity Over Quality

Buffer, a social media management platform, grew through a great high-volume, high-impact content marketing campaign. Aside from posting useful content on their blog, the brand’s marketing team guest-posted on influential sites several times a day. These efforts garnered Buffer its first 100,000 customers.

But Buffer’s incredible volumes of content didn’t come at the expense of quality. Small and mid-size businesses with humble budgets might have to choose between quality and quantity. And, if it’s one or the other, you should always go for quality.

“Quantity over quality” approaches are very common in content mills that rely on the first because they can’t provide the latter. And, as a small business owner, it’s easy to get lured by incredibly cheap content packages that promise incredible results. If 30 or 31 well-researched and well-written articles are out of budget, don’t worry about posting every single day, but once or twice a week.

On the other hand, you don’t need to have something very valuable and important to say every single day. And content bombing your audience with barely relevant material is very likely to drive potential customers away.

Following Trends Like It’s Low-Effort

Creating skyscraper content is a great practice. It consists of finding an article that is trending within your niche, and doubling-down on it, making a more ambitious, more in-depth article, that has something that the original didn’t. It could be graphics, testimonials, statistics, or actionable tips — it depends on you.

Hopping on trends can be a great way to make sure your content is relevant and seen. But there’s a difference between seasonal hot topics and industry clichés.

Skyscraper content works because it’s about making a more refined version of an already successful piece. You’re betting on quality and addressing a particular interest or need. If the article you have in mind will have the same title as one published five years ago, you can make sure you give it an update, a refresh, and a personal twist. But, if there are 20 articles with the same title and topic, the best thing you can do is to find patterns and break them.

One of my clients often commissions me certain lists compiling funny or intriguing business failures. Their titles and specificities are very commonplace, with a quick Google search producing dozens of results from big publications, mid-size outlets and personal blogs alike. How do I make my client’s articles stand out?

  1. I look for odd, rarely-covered examples.
  2. I look for mistakes.

My search for rarities is very obvious. But I feel like I need to explain why I search for mistakes, and what mistakes I look for.

I look for factual errors. I don’t trust “facts” on the internet. And most of these lists are all copies of each other. So they share the same lies. My formula consists of introducing new examples and revealing the true stories behind well-known cases.

But great content within an overcrowded niche might not be enough. Especially, when certain major companies have de facto monopolized certain keywords. As you start garnering real insight about your audience, the possibilities of your content and your brand’s voice, aspire to grow beyond merely following trends.

Not Investing Enough

Investment isn’t just about money. Time is a currency of its own. Give yourself (and/or those in charge of marketing) enough time to research your competitors and your target audience. Take all the steps you need to properly plan out a strategically relevant content production,

Not Promoting Enough

Marketing exists because having a good product is not enough.

Your product doesn’t promote itself, and nor does your content. Share it on the right channels, whether for organic or paid results. Connect with people who might find your content useful and make it part of the value you offer to potential clients. Interact with people in your community and refer them to your content as a resource. Ignite conversations with call-to-actions and hashtags.

Moz, one of my favorite B2B companies implementing (and promoting) content marketing, has an amazing, very comprehensive article on promotion. Consider checking it out for further insight.

TL;DR

  • If you’re not seeing short-term results, define success in solid terms (including KPIs), and plan your content accordingly.
  • If you can’t afford high volumes of well-researched and well-written content, don’t go for a high-volume approach. Two quality posts per week will reap better results than twenty irrelevant ones.
  • Implement content skyscraping intelligently. Acknowledge what has worked before, and give it a fresh coat of paint, refuting old beliefs whenever possible.
  • Excellence takes time. You can’t solve a month’s content marketing in five minutes.
  • If your content is not getting seen, it might be because you’re not promoting it enough. Make the most out of your material by sharing it on social media, as well as via email, and using it as supporting documentation to have relevant conversations with your target audience.
This article was originally published by Aaron marco Arias on medium.

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