There’s a lot of freedom when it comes to content marketing, and a lot of room for creativity and experimentation. It being a relatively new field, there’s even a lot of room for trial and error, to see what generates a response and what doesn’t. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a right way and a wrong way to do things, at least in some cases. Here are four classic content marketing blunders you’re likely to fall victim to, and what you can do to avoid them.
If you know the principles of content marketing, this one may seem obvious, but it’s still really hard to avoid. Your content isn’t about pushing your products. It isn’t about telling your audience what you can do for them. It isn’t about you at all. It’s about your customer and what they need. It’s about helping them solve a problem. True, you know that the ultimate solution to their problem is your product. But as soon as you start telling them that, your audience will start to smell a sales pitch and tune out. Build their trust first, before you make any mention of your product or brand.
Lack of Focus.
This one is especially common in smaller company blogs, run by a single person, rather than a team. Your blog is your platform, so it can be easy to use it to voice your opinion on all sorts of topics, from how to fix the economy to the outcome of the big game last night. That’s fine for your personal blog, but when it comes to your brand, you need to focus. It can be tempting to go off on tangents. After all, you need to keep a steady stream of regular content, and coming up with new ideas isn’t easy. So you take a cue from those popular blogs that post wry observations on random topics, to tremendous acclaim. It gained them a following, so why not you? But for those individual bloggers, they’re their own brand. Their opinions and observations are what people come to their blog for. Not so for you. People come to your blog looking for information about your product or industry. If that’s not what you’re posting, they won’t be interested enough to stick around, no matter how wry your observations are.
Getting in a Rut.
As important as it is not to go off on tangents, it’s also essential not to go too far the other direction: getting stuck posting the same things over and over. Make it a point to switch things up every now and then, finding new ways to express those old, familiar topics. Go beyond the daily blog and try a video, a podcast, or an infographic. Bring in guests to help you. Do what you can to keep your content fresh and interesting.
Remember, every piece of content you put out represents your brand to your audience. It’s essential to put your best face forward. Any kind of error in your content reflects badly on you, whether it’s bad writing, poor production values, bad grammar and typos, or poorly researched facts. Give yourself plenty of time between creating your content and posting it, so that you can go through it with a fine-toothed comb, spotting and correcting these errors before your audience does.
All of these content marketing blunders are easy to make, but also easy to correct, once you recognize them. The more self-aware you are of what you’re doing/how you’re approaching content marketing, the better your content will be.