Content marketing. It’s what’s for dinner—or if not, it should be—for organizations, large and small. But successful content marketing requires more than just faithfully writing a blog post or posting a YouTube video weekly. For content marketing to be effective, most organizations need to create different types of content consistently and constantly.
To ensure all that content works in concert, not just now but in the future, your content marketing efforts need to be implemented according to a comprehensive content strategy. (A content strategy is the product of decisions about what messages you want to deliver, what they’re supposed to do, and how and when they will be deployed.)
- Not realizing every message that goes out the door counts as content. That includes Tweets, Facebook updates, videos, QR codes, etc. “They’re all content,” says Sarah. If you are limiting your focus to what you post on your blog, you’re missing opportunities to build your brand. Worse, you could be damaging it with off-brand or low-quality messaging. Take inventory of all your customer touch points, and include them in your content strategy.
- Celebrating the story rather than the hero of it—your customer. Sarah says the core of a great content strategy is your hero. Make the hero of that story the customer, not your brand. Your brand is the mentor, the treasure, or the means to an end. Put the customer in your story as the heroine, and she’ll become loyal to the secret of her success—you.
- Expecting immediate, measurable, and linear results. It may take six months or more, especially after a major redesign, to see significant results, notes Sarah. Key performance indicators (KPI) need time to marinate. Meanwhile, you should be measuring, testing, and tweaking to optimize your content. Once you identify the correct recipe, the proof will be in the pudding.
- Serving up a sweater when it’s 80 degrees outside. Sarah also points out that most businesses have a peak season, which means your content does, too. For example, if you’re creating content for a bank, do you know when people are buying homes and when are they thinking more about saving? If a bank’s content doesn’t speak to the current economic situation, it could come across as callous. A content strategy should reflect seasons, sales cycles, and the world at large.
- Underestimating the intelligence—and creativity—of customers. Leave room in your content strategy for user-generated content, advises Sarah. Monitor your brand for amazing mash-ups and insights, so you can learn from them. You also can set the parameters—from as narrow as a photo contest to as wide as bringing them in-house, like Lego’s Mindstorm User Panel. Embrace customer ideas whenever possible, and they will hug you back with their business.
If you’re making these mistakes, stop! And then educate yourself. A good (and obvious) place to start is with Content Rules.
Download the MarketingProfs Content Marketing Success Stories guide today for stories about brands that do content marketing right.
(Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Young Student Upset)