5 Common Content Marketing Pitfalls (And How to Avoid Them!)
There’s a lot of buzz surrounding the term ‘content marketing’, but it’s more than just a fancy marketing phrase. High-quality content is often the key to generating leads and boosting brand awareness. It’s the type of marketing that actually helps your audience decide on what they want.
Yet it’s so easy to get it wrong, and you’d be surprised how many marketers stumble at the same hurdles.
We’ve drawn up a list of five common content marketing pitfalls to avoid, so you can make sure your content campaigns send you soaring towards the bright lights of digital success without a hitch!
Not having a content schedule
Imagine being a film producer, but instead of giving your cast and crew a script, you just let them go freestyle. It might not be a complete disaster – there may even be one or two genius moments – but there would certainly be a major lack of direction, and you probably wouldn’t get the results you were hoping for.
In a sense, the same goes for producing content. You could create the cleverest, most informative, most exciting piece of content the world has ever seen, but without a clear objective, the chances are it just won’t generate results.
If you’re not absolutely clear about what you want to achieve, how can you expect to achieve success?
On that note, it’s also important that you only have one objective. Trying to do too much in one campaign won’t get you very far and the only thing you’ll achieve is a confused audience. When you create your content schedule, factor in your objective so you can always keep it at the heart of your campaign.
So, where the heck do you begin?
It’s up to you whether you have a quarterly, six-monthly or yearly content schedule, but you should always determine your objective first. Do you want to:
- Generate leads?
- Raise brand awareness?
- Encourage brand engagement?
- Increase sales?
Once you’ve chosen an objective, you’ve got a good starting point for your content schedule.
Thinking generically about your audience
It can be easy to group your audience under one big umbrella. Thinking of them this way generally makes it hard to work out what types of content will get them excited.
For example, if you’re a fast fashion brand, of course each member of your audience will be something of a fashionista. But do they all have exactly the same interests? Probably not. One might swear by over the knee boots whilst another won’t be seen without their brand-specific trainers. But both could still be interested in what you’re about!
You need to look at the broader scope to get a full understanding of what makes your audience tick. Get to know them. But how?
Do your research. There are loads of tools out there to help you make a start, for example:
- Google Analytics (audience report, demographics, interests)
but remember – it’s not all about the one demographic. Knowing the average age, gender and basic interest of your target audience is only one small slice of a massive, multi-layered cake. Consider any niches related to your assumed demographic, and look at how people might become aware and interested in your product. Follow their journey.
Once you’ve got a good idea about who your audience are and, more importantly, how they differ from one another, it’s time to create some personas.
Think of each persona as a character in a novel, shaped by factors like career, family relations and even personality traits. This will help you communicate with your audience and target certain pieces of content toward specific demographics.
Lack of budget
It’s no industry secret that the content marketing world is a competitive one, so the concept of a budget is increasingly relevant. The thing is, your content needs to be unique, and sometimes this costs money – for example, getting exclusive data from a survey.
Without a budget, you might struggle to obtain data and that sparkly amazing piece of content you’ve got planned will fall flat.
Your budget will depend on your objective, audience and internal resources, but there are some things to consider when you set out a budget plan:
- Who’s creating the content? Do you have an in-house team, or will you need to outsource?
- How much content are you publishing per week/month/year?
- How will you distribute your content across social platforms? Are there any paid social media fees?
Answering these questions should give you a better idea of how to set out a clear budget for your content marketing campaign.
Treating content marketing as separate from your SEO efforts
It’s a common misconception that SEO and content marketing are polar opposites, with SEO all about the results and content marketing a ~creative~ way to get people to know more about, and ultimately buy, your product.
The reality is that the two actually gel together like best buddies and content marketing needs SEO just as much as SEO needs content marketing.
Here’s how you can make them work together:
- Create unique, high-quality content to attract your audience and give search engines something juicy to index.
- Write evergreen content that will deliver long-term traffic.
- Conduct keyword research to find out the best popular terms to include (naturally!) in your content.
- Create content that people want to link to – and don’t forget to link internally to help your site rank well for certain search terms, as well as pointing users in the direction of some exciting further reading!
Not having a way to measure your content
This one is a biggie. It’s vital to establish how you’re going to measure your content’s success, before the campaign is put in action. How else will you know if it did well? You might get tens of thousands of page views, but that doesn’t mean all that much if you were trying to generate leads.
Figure out the most relevant metrics for your content. Establish some goals or benchmarks and measure the performance of each piece against these goals. Having a measurement strategy will help you deliver content that generates a show-stopping number of high-quality leads.