Source: Michael Brenner, B2B Marketing Insider
One of my favorite aspects of being in content marketing is seeing the next generation of leaders emerge.
And I have had the privilege of working with some of them.
This post comes from Liz Bedor, a Content Strategist we hired just under a year ago. In that time, Liz has totally upped her game on her personal blog, Twitter, Linkedin andInstagram (pretty amazing photos there Liz).
She not only creates amazing content for our sales team, and our content marketing strategy customers, but now she also creates great stuff for our business blog. This is one of her best yet . . .
Very few content marketers hit a home run each time they step up to bat. We’ve all had our fair share of strikeouts. Failures, however, are also learning experiences – especially those made by others. Mistakes provide insight into what to avoid in the future. As the content marketing space grows, so have the number of errors we’ve found many marketers make.
Here are some of the most common mistakes we’ve seen brands make and how you can learn from them.
1. Not Documenting Your Content Marketing Strategy
The importance of documenting your content strategy cannot be emphasized enough. A 1979 Harvard MBA study asked students, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” The result: Only 3% had written their goals and plans; 13% had ideas of goals, but did not have them in writing; and 84% had no goals in their heads or on paper. Ten years later, the same group was interviewed again. The 13% of the class who had goals, but had not written them down, was earning double the amount of the 84% who had no goals. The 3%, however, who had written goals were earning ten times as much as the other 97% of the class combined. The same principles apply to a content marketing strategy. If you write down your content marketing goals and plans to achieve them, you are more likely to do so – in fact, 5x more likely.
2. Forgetting To Build A Business Case Upfront
According to NewsCred’s own content marketing expert, Michael Brenner, “Content marketing ROI starts with a strong business case.” Think about what you are trying to achieve. Are you trying to create affinity for your brand’s products? Are you trying to generate quality leads? Are you trying to engage new buyers with your brand? All of these things are key elements that must be decided upfront as the foundation of your content marketing efforts. Without this, your program will struggle to prove its value and ROI.
3. Ignoring Your Customers’ Questions
The basic principle of content marketing is to simply answer your customers’ questions. If you’re not doing that, you’re not doing content marketing properly. Sometimes we see brands struggle with understanding what their customers want from them. For example, a health insurance company may think providing healthy recipes would be something their audience would find of interest. It’s possible, but it’s unlikely that a large number of people are looking for their next summer salad recipe from their insurance company. The type of questions they’d be asking their insurance company would be more along the lines of, “How do I choose between an HMO or PPO plan?” or “I’m getting married in a few months, how will my insurance change?”
Shopkeep, a point of sale system for small businesses, finds its blog content topics by going straight to the source. Paul Nugent, Shopkeep’s Director of Content, explains:
“We interview merchants constantly. We ask them their pain points, area of concern, what they would want in their inbox every week. We’ve learned there are subjects that are more compelling, even within the same industry. For example, layout design is more important for a full service restaurant than a quick service.”
With this strategy, there’s no doubt that what they’re publishing will be tremendously valuable to their customers.
4. Not Publishing Enough
Not surprisingly, companies that commit to regularly publishing quality content reap the biggest rewards in terms of website traffic and leads. At NewsCred, our team found that increasing our posting cadence from 6 pieces of content weekly (1 original, 5 licensed) to 10 pieces of content weekly (5 original, 5 licensed) increased our unique visitors almost 50%.
Hubspot’s recent research had similar findings in correlation of publishing frequency and generated leads. For the company’s customer base, brands that published 16+ blog posts per month received about 4.5X more leads than companies that published between 0 – 4 monthly posts.