April 1 is upon us. And, while it might be a fun day to play pranks on other people, no one wants to look like an April Fool when it comes to business. In the world of content marketing, there are plenty of common mistakes that won’t only make you look foolish, they might also compromise your objectives.
Let’s look at six content marketing mistakes to avoid, so the joke’s not on you.
1. Not having a documented strategy
If you don’t know where you’re going, how are you ever going to get there? First and foremost, you need a documented content marketing strategy. If you want your content to have maximum impact, you must understand the audience that it’s intended for, what you’re creating and why, and your overall objectives. Knowing the who, what, when, where, and why before you start writing will help you shape and hone your content for better results.
2. Not paying attention to the consistency of your writing
Having a well-defined, consistent, and engaging brand voice is one of the keys to building brand trust, recognition, and authority. Whether you have one person creating content or 500, your brand’s tone of voice needs to be consistent across everything. If it varies in tone and style, customers’ confidence will be undermined. Your audience will wonder just what your brand stands for, and if they can trust it.
3. Not posting regularly
Content marketing doesn’t just rely on providing interesting, informative content. To be truly effective, you need to provide content regularly. A brand that only posts content erratically, or appears to have lost interest in creating it at all, isn’t going to build the same authority of one that can be relied on to offer new and insightful content on a regular basis.
If consumers like your content, they will come back to read more of it. That’s provided, of course, that there’s more to read. Remember, content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. It works because content marketers are in it for the long haul. To ensure you’re on top of it, create a publishing schedule as part of the planning process, or consider scheduling content to be posted automatically.
4. Being too sales-like
Content marketing is about subtlety. It’s about providing prospects with information that has value and gives them confidence in your brand that will convert them into loyal customers. If your content screams “we’re trying to sell to you,” your audience will figure that out pretty quickly and switch off. Content marketing efforts aim to identify and understand consumers’ issues or problems and suggest ways to overcome them. Its role is to be helpful and authoritative, while allowing you to connect with customers. So focus on informing rather than pushing or promoting.
5. Missing clear calls to action
The overall purpose of content marketing as a strategy is, of course, to transform readers into loyal customers. However, each piece of content still has its own individual goal. What do you want your audience to do after reading it? Do you want them to sign up for a newsletter, make a comment, share it, or read similar articles? If you don’t have a call to action directing readers to take action, then chances are they won’t do anything. And, you’ve missed an opportunity to engage them further.
6. Not measuring the impact of your content
It’s all well and good to create dazzling content, but unless people are engaging with it, there’s no sense in sharing. To understand the type of content your audience connects with best, you need to monitor it and track how effective it is in generating traffic and producing conversions. Then, you can tailor and refine what you’re producing to try to maximize the impact. If you’re not paying attention to metrics and making course corrections based on insights gleaned from them, then you’re just guessing. And that’s an approach that rarely works.
Don’t Be a Fool
These all might sound like obvious bits of advice, but it’s easy to overlook them or just get them plain wrong. By identifying and avoiding these content marketing mistakes, your content will have far greater impact, you’ll save precious time and effort, and you’ll have happier clients. That’s a win for everyone and will help ensure that you’re never playing the part of the fool.