If we believe Google Trends, throughout 2013 we will continue to see content marketing rise in popularity.
The challenge that most online marketing companies face is that they will now have to adapt to become content publishers. Up until April 2012, most SEO companies focused on link building as the primary method to get their clients ranked high in the search engines. Since Google changed their algorithm on the way that sites rank, there has been a drastic drop in the number of people interested in link building, and an increase in those interested in content marketing.
Before you begin a marketing campaign, ask yourself if you are making one of these common mistakes:
Mistake #1: They fail to use a content calendar
Using a content calendar is the foundation of a content marketing strategy. Content should not be created as an afterthought but rather planned out ahead of time. The content calendar should map out and plan the marketing for the year and all other activities should revolve around that calendar.
One easy way to start to plan a content calendar is to take a look at all of the upcoming holidays and think of what promotions you could offer for each month. Once you plan out your promotions, decide if each month lends itself to a content theme. Most businesses can segment out their products or services. For example a DJ could create content around weddings, corporate events, and parties. An ecommerce site could focus on the categories of their store. For example a camping site might focus on tents one month and lanterns the next.
Mistake #2: They fail to use buyer personas
Buyer personas are sometimes thought of as outdated or not needed. What some business owners fail to understand is that to have an effective marketing campaign, you need to have the right message to the right audience at the right time. If you don’t understand who your customer is, you cannot create the right message for them. You need to understand who they are so you can know the questions they will be asking. With that knowledge, you can create content for buyer personas and each stage of the sales cycle.
To create buyer personas, take a step back and think about who your customer is. How old are they? Are they male or female? What type of job do they have? What is their income? Let’s take camping gear as an example again. An ecommerce camping gear store might have the following types of personas:
Persona A: Family that is going camping for the first time.
Persona B: Avid camping family that camp every season.
Persona C: Military orders for bulk camping gear.
Each persona is going to ask different questions during the buying cycle. Each will have different motivations and different needs. Content can be created for each of the different personas. Savvy content marketers will create content for each stage of the buying cycle as well!
Mistake #3: They fail to understand what good content is
Many marketers are still trying to create search engine optimized keyword stuffed content like it is 2011. Even if they are not spinning articles and mass publishing them to multiple sites, they judge good content by if it was written by a US writer and not an overseas writer. Good content today is not just about grammar and spelling. Good content today is measured by content that is commented, liked, and shared.
Mistake #4: They think their job is done when the content is created
On the opposite extreme of trying to market a website and ask for content later, is the act of going through the process of creating high quality content and then not marketing it. Content promotion is actually 80% of the job. Content promotion is not posting the same exact content on multiple sites, but rather promoting the content through social media. You can repurpose the content and publish in different formats on different sites but don’t confuse content publishing from content promotion. You still need to use social media to promote the content.
Mistake #5: They don’t have a specific, measurable result
Although not every piece of content can always generate a result, a good content marketing strategy will have a specific goal. Before beginning a content marketing strategy, map out what specific goals you want to achieve with your content marketing. Goals could be to get sign-ups for a webinar, increase likes to a page, increase opt-ins to a newsletter list.
Content marketing is the foundation of a successful online marketing campaign. If you focus on creating high quality content that people will love, like, and share you will be well on your way to a successful campaign.