Content marketing is a great way to increase traffic to your site while simultaneously offering your existing audience something of value. Furthermore, with attention to detail and a deep understanding of your audience, you can establish yourself as a trustworthy authority figure or a ‘go-to source’ for information. Too many content marketers make the same mistakes over and over again. To improve the effectiveness of your content marketing, avoid the following colossal mistakes.
Disregarding Your Audience
Ignorance isn't always bliss, and if you don’t have a clear picture of your target audience, you will find it very difficult to create relevant content. You need to understand that audiences are often made up of different segments, and if you don’t understand who your content appeals to, it might be time to invest in some marketing analytics.
For example, consider an auto dealership that wants to create content that markets their business and latest models of automobiles. Take a moment and try to think what might determine the target audience. In this example, it simply isn't feasible to define the target audience as “anyone who wants to purchase a new automobile.” This audience definition does little to help define types of people that you can write content for. It is far too wide and needs to be narrowed down.
Instead, think about the types of automobiles the dealership is trying to promote and how they appeal to different groups of people. In this example, a segment of the audience might be fathers and mothers between the ages of 25 and 40 who need safe transportation for their children. Additionally, you might be able to define another segment by annual income to create content that showcases financing considerations. You need to think about segmenting your audience because marketing to everyone is marketing to no one.
Lacking Commenting Options on Your Blog
Comments are especially exciting because they are a form of direct interaction with your audience. Allowing commenting options on your blog is an opportunity to start a dialog. Instead of analyzing marketing facts and figures in the hope of gleaning the desires and interests of your audience, readers of your blog will actually tell you what they think. If you lack commenting features or lack a resource that will police your blog’s comments, your blog isn't optimized for best performance.
However, don’t think that the number of comments on any piece of content rates its value. Due to spammers, internet trolls, and disapproving audience members, the sheer number of comments is not an accurate measurement of your content’s performance. What really matters is conversions, the actions your audience takes after reading your content, and the value your content gives to your audience.
Viewing Every Piece of Content as a Sales Pitch
Some marketers think of every piece of content as a way to promote products to their visitors. This is a very narrow minded approach to content marketing and people who think this way fail to see the big picture. Don’t misunderstand me, some content should be promotional in nature. However, there are plenty of other ways to boost audience engagement and provide value with your content.
Firstly, there is some value in content for the sake of SEO potential. This is not the largest benefit of content marketing, but lightly sprinkling in keywords to your content will help improve your ranking signals to the Google search algorithm as long as you publish quality content. Additionally, quality content will help to create backlinks that will provide you with another stream of organic traffic and potentially boost your page rankings.
However, the biggest benefit of content marketing is giving something of value to your audience. Teaching them something mostly unknown about products, warning them about flaws and risks, and helping to educate them will cast you as an authority figure in your market. In turn, this will promote trust between your audience and your business. There are many advantages to content marketing that go well beyond finding yet another chance to flex your salesmanship muscles.
Using Inappropriate Language and Tone
No, I’m not talking about swear words. I’m talking about using language that your audience can actually understand and relate to.
Take computer hardware content, for example. It doesn’t matter if you write a brilliant review of the latest and greatest hardware and technology if your target audience doesn't understand your terminology or technical jargon. You need to use language that is easily understood. If there are terminology gaps between your content idea and your audience’s vocabulary, your challenge then becomes translating an otherwise boring topic littered with complex technical terms into an engaging, human readable piece of content.
You must also consider the tone you use in your content. Consider that for some topics, like law content or a personal injury blog, some tones are inappropriate. You wouldn't want to adopt a whimsical tone or crack inappropriate jokes with these types of content because the audience might feel you are mocking their situation. The outcomes of legal situations typically have dire consequences, and you might irritate your readers.
The Long Road to Nowhere
If you are failing in any of these four areas, the effectiveness of your content is going to suffer. Basically, you’ll ultimately just be wasting your time. You need to keep these considerations in mind if you want to make any progress at all with content marketing. Failing to avoid these pitfalls will, in the long run, lead you to nowhere.
Will Hanke owns Saint Louis' top independent Internet Marketing firm, Red Canoe Media. In addition to helping some of St Louis' most recognizable brands with their online marketing strategy, Will also is an Amazon bestselling author, speaker and teacher.