Gods of content marketing can get very angry and what makes them particularly vengeful are the seven deadly sins. Even those who think of themselves as content gods commit them. There are those who consistently write great content, but their content strategy is completely off the target- they are blind to the needs of their target audience and in many cases, they do not even know what their target audience is. Then there are the one whose content marketing strategy is spot on, but they spend all their time devising it and they take no action. The rest of the road to hell is paved with sloppiness when it comes to content with too much focus on SEO and not knowing one’s audience.
So, here are our top 7 content marketing sins:
Divorcing Content Marketing Strategy and Action
Content marketing does not work without answering the questions “why“ and “how“. Why create a certain type of content and not something else? Why is that type of content helpful? How to answer the needs of one’s target audience? The answers to these questions are not hidden in marketing guides. They can be obtained only by actively participating in online communities, identifying the needs of the target audience and satisfying them. However, this alone will not bring any success if no action has been taken. The best way to prevent this “divorce“ from happening is to come up with the so-called S.M.A.R.T. goals strategy: specific, measurable, assignable, realistic and time-based. For example: “ Attracting 2.000 new followers within 3 months“ and then working backwards from the goal to devise a strategy that works best for one’s circumstances.
Many marketers make a mistake thinking that content is just about writing blog posts. It’s not. Content, nowadays, is much more: videos, memes, images, podcasts, gifs, infographics etc. In fact, taking into account how short attention spans modern-day people have, blog posts alone are not likely to be successful. What is important, again, is to identify the needs of the target audience and supply their preferred type of content.
Not Knowing One’s Audience
Creating some vague profile of a customer does not cut it. Every marketer needs to make an effort and delve deeper into the motivations of the target audience by discovering what moves them. It can be done through customer and web surveys or interviews (on phone or in person).
Creating Unhelpful Content
This sin is connected with the previous one. Customers do not feel understood by their brands and those who do not understand their target audience, end up providing content that is not helpful to THEM. This means that even if that content is top quality, it does not suffice if it does not answer the needs of the audience.
Publishing and Then Just Waiting for Godot
This is one of the most common mistakes. People do their homework, they know their audience, they create amazing content, publish it and then- just sit and wait. Wait for what? Probably for the content to promote itself. It does not happen in the real world. The golden rule of 80/ 20 applies here: 20% of the time should be spent writing content and 80% of the time should be spent promoting it. This means engaging with people on social media, reaching out to them, sharing, participating in online communities and commenting. It’s “content marketing“ for a reason. Not just about content but marketing too.
Too Much Focus on SEO
Everyone is obsessed with SEO these days, to the point that one begins to wonder: Is it really “content is king“ or more like “SEO is king“. This approach might have worked before, when it was possible to study the search engines and get to #1 in the search rankings just by posting regularly. Nowadays, with millions of blog posts published every day, this approach simply does not work. Instead, one needs to come up with something different in order to stand out.
Creating Subpar Content
Those whose approach is solely SEO-driven make a mistake of churning out content with no value to it. They regularly publish to fulfill a Key Performance Indicator, but their content has no quality- it’s utter rubbish. People can easily see through it. All of the SEO hocus-pocus is of no use if the followers do not keep coming. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Well, today’s audience is usually not fooled twice. They will keep coming only if the content is top quality.
No matter how experienced marketer one believes himself to be, there are some mistakes that keep being repeated over and over again. Some of them are not only the mistakes, they are deadly sins of the content marketing. The most fundamental one is connected with the infrastructure of the content marketing: strategy and action ( either of the pair is missing). The remaining ones all have to do with not knowing one’s target audience and creating crappy content. All of them can be easily eliminated: listen, learn and adapt.