I spoke recently with a well-known internet marketer who said to me, “I just don’t get content marketing. I don’t know how to make it work. I just don’t see the ROI in it and I think I want to stick with what I already know how to do.”
This is fine. After all, most people go with the idea, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”
But this person is missing the whole point. And I don’t want you to miss out on this if you’ve said, “I’ve tried content marketing. It doesn’t work!”
Let’s be honest. It’s one of those things that isn’t easy. But that is what gives you the advantage. If it were easy, everyone would do it.
No, effective content marketing that skyrockets your business takes some planning and a focus on execution.
As someone who knows how challenging it can be to finish projects, I feel your pain. And now I want to make it easier for you to be successful.
So in this, the first of a series of posts I want to share with you about content marketing, I want to point out some of the most common mistakes marketers make that torpedo their efforts.
1. Too much content
You don’t need to create content every day. Or perhaps even every week. The key is to create the most valuable, engaging, and inspiring content you can, that will GRAB your prospect’s attention.
Then take that content and put it up everywhere. Blogposts. Social media. Slideshare. Videos. Talk about it on podcasts.
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A few people will say, “Hey, I’ve heard that before.” But so what? Did they really HEAR you when you said it/wrote it the first time? Did they DO anything with that information?
It won’t hurt people to hear it or see it more than once, and it’s more likely going to make it stick better. Which makes you look good, when they follow your advice, remember that it came from you, and they get results.
2. Not asking for an action
Content for the sake of content isn’t enough.
While building credibility and authority through thought leadership posts is definitely a worthwhile goal, it’s not the only thing around which you should be creating content.
You should have some sort of call to action in every content piece you create. Blogposts, emails, podcasts, videos…
Look, you are sharing something useful for your audience. It’s not free. They invest their time to consume it, and you are asking them to do something in return.
It may not be giving you their email address (although it might be). It could be calling someone. Or leaving a comment. Or sharing the post. Or making a list.
Ask them to do SOMETHING in response to your content. That is what “inspiring” content is all about. Inspiring action.
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3. Not advertising in the content itself
You can advertise in every piece you share. In fact, you should.
But it doesn’t have to be “in your face”. It can be “seeding” your product or service (“When I work with clients I always tell them…”).
Or if it is a blogpost, you absolutely can break up your text with relevant offers.
Your content should be exposing a problem your audience has. If they want to solve that problem, you owe it to them to offer a solution. If they are invested in solving the problem, they will be happy to invest in your solution.
4. Teaching too much in the content
You DO want to give great value. This builds the know/like/trust factor, which is crucial to building an audience.
You want to tell people what their problem is and why they have it.
And you can even give a high-level overview of what to do about it.
But if they think that reading a few sentences is going to completely solve that problem? They are wrong.
They need to invest in themselves at some level to solve that problem. If it’s with you, great. If it’s with someone else, then at least they are doing something about it. Back to “inspiring action”.
5. Producing content for search engines, not for the user
Despite what people may tell you – because they wish it were true – SEO is not dead.
You do need to write and produce content that will get you found online in an organic way.
This involves keyword research, as well as a variety of other research methods.
But you can’t just produce content for search engines or you won’t have an audience. They want to hear an authentic voice. They want to know that there is a real person behind the piece.
Google spiders don’t care about that. They just care about keywords, backlinks, authority, etc.
Your audience – real people – care that you are a real person. So be real.
6. Not including enough personality
This is related to #5. It’s partly YOUR personality (or at least, that of your business) that people want to relate to.
Think of LL Bean. Even though the company was started 100 years ago, the catalog still talks all about Leon Leonwood Bean, and how he stumbled into boots that kept his feet warm and dry.
This company story is one that readers relate to, because who hasn’t wished they had warm, dry feet in winter??
And it’s also how you relate to THEM and their personality.
What kind of people are your audience members? Young? Old? Male? Female?
Speak to that person as if you are sitting down together in a room, having coffee or tea together.
Your action. I would love to know: Have you “tried” content marketing and gotten frustrated with it? Have you made any of these mistakes? What questions do you have about this post that I can answer for you? Please share in the comments below! 🙂
Truly effective content marketing can be the difference between having a successful online business, or one that just never takes off.
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