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7 Content Strategy Flaws Eating Up Marketing Success and What to Do Instead

Flaw and cracks

Content marketing has been a vital part of helping businesses show up and put their brands on the map for years now.

What else is a better way to innovatively build an audience and engage your target market than with catchy, flashy words of wisdom? Since businesses are increasingly hopping on the bandwagon for content marketing campaigns, marketers are rushing to create a stack of content to offer value to their customer base, maintain their brand image, solve real-life problems, answer questions, and spread brand awareness.

The concept of content marketing itself is fairly easy to grasp. Content marketing simply involves creating content like blog articles, videos, infographics, or social media posts that seeks to generate a connection to a brand without being overly promotional or pushing products or services.

However, producing branded content with a strong strategy resulting in leads can be a big challenge. If done correctly, however, it can do wonders for your ROI and your wallet. DemandMetric found that, on average, content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and can generate three times as many leads.

While this sounds great, it is much easier said than done. There are a lot of simple mistakes that can kill your success rate. Here are seven big ones to watch out for…

1 – Missing documented content strategy:

One of the first questions any reputed content agency asks their clients is, “Do you have and follow a written content strategy?”

The “written” aspect is critical. If your content strategy isn’t documented — if it lives inside your content team or marketing manager’s head — it won’t be successful. It is critical to have a written strategy that everyone in the organization can see and understand.

The Content Marketing Institute’s report reveals that 62% of the most successful content marketers have a documented content marketing strategy; while only 11% of the least successful have one. Further, 74% of respondents attributed the value that their content provides to the brand’s success.

Image: Content Marketing Institute Annual B2B Report – Source

If you don’t have a documented content strategy, it’s all too easy for you and your team to feel unclear about your organization’s target audience, voice, style, and goals. If the goals are unclear, there’s no way to accurately assess if you’ve been successful at meeting them.

If you pick one item from this article to act on, make it this one. Document your content strategy.

2 – Focusing on the wrong targets:

In most cases, there is only a small subset of the population that your content is exposed to that will actually buy. A lot of companies make the mistake of trying to appeal to anyone and everyone with their content. While doing this, they simply look for target sites with the highest traffic rates.

For example, if you produce B2B oriented blog posts, targeting high-traffic variety sites like Buzzfeed or Cracked will not likely result in a high number of leads as most of their viewers are not looking for business advice. Websites of this nature have a primary goal of attracting as many viewers as possible with clickbait headlines and do not necessarily have a clearly defined audience.

Image: Buzzfeed home page – clickbait headline examples – Source

One of the most important goals of content marketing is reaching a niche audience with the highest chance of turning into leads. Depending on the nature of your business, you will need to look into highly-targeted websites pertinent to your potential customers.

Quality over quantity.

For B2B marketers, this is even more important because they are not simply looking to attract mass amounts of traffic, just one particular viewer (aka decision-maker).

While publishing content for a single, specific audience will not attract the masses, your ROI will be much higher in the end.

This all comes down to doing the proper market research. Tools like Brandwatch allow you to listen in on what people are saying about your brand, competitors, or industry as a whole.

From the insights, you can glean information on the most prevalent issues or concerns your target audience has. Then, you can craft content that educates and solves those problems.

The rule of the game here is to create valuable content and put it in front of the right eyes. Choose your target sites wisely.

3 – Assuming employees can handle content writing on top of their assigned roles:

For maximum inbound leads, HubSpot recommends companies publish 16 or more blog posts a month.

That’s four posts a week, and writing them is only the beginning. Once you’ve produced that content, it needs to be published, distributed and promoted. The Content Strategist suggests that content marketers essentially have three separate jobs, and one person can’t do them all — much less one person working off the side of their desk.

It’s also rare that CEOs or department heads will find the time to focus on their online reputation and write content by themselves. If you’ve ever tried to sit down and write a blog post, you know that creating content takes time, and it also takes an aptitude with words that not every executive will have.

What your organization needs are dedicated content marketers. Don’t ask one person to monitor your brand’s documented content strategy, ensure content is developed on schedule, interview executives to ghostwrite content on their behalf, monitor industry news for relevant topics, and develop the content itself.

If your organization doesn’t have the bandwidth to hire a team of content marketers, get freelancers’ help. A marketing or content agency can manage the process from strategy to content development to promotion, or freelance writers can craft content while you develop and monitor progress on the strategy in-house.

4 – Problems in writing and lack of storytelling:

If the text that is informing the user about your amazing brand has a couple of typos and a lackluster tone, then it’s not going to gain much traction. And even if it does gain a little bit of traction, the user may have already lost faith in your company. Resolve this issue by checking your text multiple times before pressing send. Or, if you’re really struggling, get an expert copywriter to whip up some wonderful words for you. Even in today’s visual world, the words we use really do matter.

However, the key to strong engagement is grabbing the customer’s attention with a captivating narrative – visual storytelling has proven to be an effective strategy for creating memorable marketing campaigns that resonate.

Airbnb does an excellent job of visual storytelling. The travel brand uses real stories from actual hosts to highlight things to do in the towns, cities, and other locations where Airbnb accommodations exists.

Image: Airbnb highlights local activities through video – Source

So sit down and think about your brand ethos and message and devise a collection of stories that you can tell with powerful images and video. Delve deeper into the world of storytelling and optimize content using SEO tools.

5 – Missing call to action:

A piece of content can be aesthetically pleasing and also informative, but if it doesn’t go that one step further and motivate that person to do more, is there really much point? When it comes to reeling a user in, you need to be crystal clear with what you want them to do.

For example, try to use phrases like ‘click here’, ‘start now’ and ‘buy today’ which all have very clear actions associated with them. These keywords are a good way to end your piece of content after you’ve already hooked people in with an amazing brand story.

Free samples are a great customer incentive — and who could resist a CTA with the word “free”?

Lead magnets, like a downloadable eBook for example, are great as well. And they allow you to collect contact info for your target audience to move them into your pipeline and your communication flow.

6 – Not using video marketing:

Video should play an integral part in any content strategy, whether on your website or on a social platform like Facebook or Instagram. 

“If you’re not a video marketing expert, how do you know what will work best for your business,” says Irina Kegishyan of Yans Media, an animated explainer video company.

Are you aware of the fact that 100 million hours of video content is scanned per day on Facebook alone? Take that over to YouTube, and you’ll find that over 1 billion hours of video is consumed each day.

GoPro offers a great example of a brand leveraging the power of video to the fullest. This 4k year in review has some amazing footage films with the brand’s 4k GoPro products

Video: GoPro 4k year in review – example of quality video marketing – Source

You’d be foolish to ignore the mammoth pull of video when it comes to customer engagement. As well as ensuring your videos are filled with fun, captivating, and intriguing content, it’s also important to remember to use subtitles on your videos as the majority of people watch videos with the sound off. It’s also been proven that, on average, ads with captions on them have a 12% longer viewing time.

Experiment with video captions using emojis and reactions in order to increase engagement levels after a video has been viewed.

7 – Not employing CRO and regular testing tactics:

Regular testing and conversion optimization tactics can play a big role in content marketing. Of course, conversion rate optimization is a complex subject, but still, nearly more than 50 percent of companies plan to grow their CRO budgets.

For the optimum output, conduct A/B testing or multivariate testing on your CTAs, the length of your content, the format of content you publish, etc. Thorough and effective A/B testing will allow your marketing team to leverage the insights they need to optimize their content and ultimately advance the ROI figures.

With each new campaign, try and develop at least two separate approaches – with variations on text, design, color, etc. By employing two ways of working at the same time, you’ll be able to compare and contrast to create a winning formula for the next time around.

Hand-Picked Reading: How Can Your Business Leverage Digital Marketing for Growth

Are you ready to fix up these content marketing mistakes?

Do you realize your organization unintentionally committed any of these mistakes? Did you notice anything of this nature? However, no matter how much time and money you invest, if you make these seven major mistakes, your content campaign will suffer. I hope you take something back home and avoid such costly mistakes.

4 Responses

  1. Hello Vikash,

    Fantastic Post. Content plays a great role in user engagement and boosting conversions. In my initial days of blogging, I also made some mistakes and gradually learned from my mistakes. You have elaborated everything briefly and in detail. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Regards,
    Vishwajeet Kumar

    1. Hi, Vishwajeet. Thanks for reading! We all stumble along the way. It’s definitely valuable to find articles like these where you can learn BEFORE making the mistake and make adjustments.

  2. Good job Vikas. All of these are definite content strategy errors. Most marketers never take the time to observe if they’re actually making mistakes or not. With these tips, bloggers can stop keeping their heads in the sand and begin to observe their progress or lack thereof. See yourself truthfully guys. It’ll save you year’s worth of headaches.

    Ryan

    1. Often, bloggers don’t want to know they’re making mistakes. That kind of attitude, however, leads to the mistakes piling up and the impact of those mistakes increasing over time and becoming much more difficult to fix.

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