Everyone is in the content marketing business these days.
Organizations large and small bought into the idea that content is the holy grail of marketing success. If you put the right information on Facebook and Vimeo then Tweet it to your followers, hoards of customers will surely beat down your door.
Well, not exactly.
It’s true that good content marketing helps build your brand, improve your service, and generate customer loyalty. It’s also true that GREAT content will knock your competitors on their backsides and keep them there.
So what’s the problem?
If your content is bad, your product probably sucks too
You know that this is not necessarily true. You may make the best widget in the world and have rotten content. But the quality of your product will speak for itself, right?
Your content may be the first impression a potential customer gets. Or, it may be the last impression a current customer has. Either way, if it is bad, your customers will project that onto your product.
Unfortunately, too many companies put bad content out there. From blogs to videos, companies publish content that will not only NOT improve their brand, they publish content that is potentially damaging to their reputation.
So what can you do about it? First, you want to avoid the big mistakes.
Avoiding the big 3 Content marketing mistakes
Even though there is a lot that goes into creating really good content, there are a few, very common mistakes that content creators make. Let’s look at the three biggest and review them…
1. Not having a plan – Creating content is easy. Write a post. Film a video. Tweet an article. You’ve just created content. But why? How did the content fit with your overall content marketing plan? Was your content designed to help better serve your customers? Does it fit with any strategic service promises you offer?
The list of questions goes on. But, if you create a plan that includes, the medium, the purpose and the timing of each piece of intentional content you create, your content is going to become a lot more meaningful to your customers.
2. Creating content for your company – when you start creating content, it is very easy to get caught up in the process. But, it’s critical to remember that it isn’t all about you—it’s about your customers. Of course, you must create content relevant to YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE. Everything you create must answer the customer’s question, “So what?” Everything.
Customers can tell when you care about creating content they can use. And they tell you. So, if you’re not hearing anything good about your content (or worse, hearing only negatives), don’t panic. Step back, engage your customers and figure out how you can give them the content they want.
Content related to your brand is important also for social media marketing success. But, your content doesn’t have to discuss your brand or even your industry to be relevant. Dove is a good example. They created the “Campaign for Real Women” that draws attention to the poor body image perpetuated by most cosmetic companies. Dove broke with tradition by calling for women of all shapes and sizes to emphasize inner beauty. The campaign created huge sales increases for Dove.
3. Reinventing the wheel – Learning by trial and error is a time-honored tradition. When you were little, you learned to tie your shoes by trying it over and over again. However, that is not the best way to create effective content. In fact, implementing your content plan via trial and error will probably cost you time, money and customers.
The fact is there is a bunch of really great content out there already. It’s stuff that customers love. It’s stuff that has a meaningful impact.
Most importantly, it’s stuff you can imitate.
We aren’t saying you should steal any information. Ever. But, if content exists whose form and style make sense for your organization, modifying it to fit your needs is not only smart, it’s effective. Imitation is still the most sincere form of flattery.
Now you know the major mistakes to avoid, so get out there and create some killer content. Your customers will thank you. Oh yeah, they’ll buy from you too.
What are your best strategies for content creation? What are your biggest hurdles?
This is a guest post by Ray Bryant of Social Media Customer Experience. You can connect with him on Twitter where he is @RayBryant1234.