Content marketing should be the foundation for your marketing plan, especially when it comes to brand awareness. It’s free and can be executed very well, if the right measures are taken. Content marketing is more than posting on Instagram once a week as an ‘off-the-cuff’ addition to your typical duties.
A company’s content is priceless intellectual property that can be one of its best investments. Where some, more traditional, organizations may view content marketing as an add-on, research shows that companies who invest in a dedicated marketing/content marketing strategy receive higher ROI which ultimately leads to sales.
That being said, content marketing isn’t easy. It’s not “just posting on social media” (our marketing manager, Danielle, wrote a blog on how we feel about the word “just”). Content marketing includes video, photo, social media posting, engagement, email marketing, blogging, copy writing, data analysis and so much more. With all of these moving pieces, it’s understandable that content marketing has its fair share of challenges. As with anything, mistakes are inevitable. However, the persistence of the same mistakes is less than desirable.
These are the 7 Deadly Sins of Content Marketing:
1. Grammatical/ Spelling Errors
English is a hard language. The amount of times ‘they’re, their and there’ are mixed up is, frankly, embarrassing. The red squiggly line in Microsoft Word that we’ve all come to know and love has saved many English 30 research papers. Grammarly, the adult version, is the red line for adults and has been the additional eyes on heaps of RFP’s.
However, with all these tools at our disposal, it is unfathomable how much content is published with spelling and grammatical errors. Even if your marketing team is a team-of-one, find someone to proofread your content. Failing to proofread content for such errors can conjure general sentiments of mistrust or warrant a bad reputation.
2. Tone Misuse
Posting content your target market can resonate with is challenging. Taking that content one step further and disseminating it in a way that resonates with your audience is additionally hard. It is imperative to not only know your audience, but to understand them and the way they want to be spoken to. Posting content in an irreverent manner to a predominantly conservative crowd will ultimately backfire on your organization.
Remember what mom always used to say, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.”
3. Failing to Plan is a Plan to Fail
When I grow up, I’m going to make a TV show called “Planning Matters.” It’s going to be like “Family Matters,” but without Steve Urkel. In all seriousness, having a content marketing strategy will save money in the bank, minutes of the day and years of your life. Constantly posting off-the-cuff with no structure creates disconnected and incoherent content that does nothing to help brand awareness. Check out our blog about Content Creation and Strategic Scheduling.
4. Value Ratio
A company should be, first and foremost, providing value to its audience. Using the very scientific phrase, “Give, give, give, get,” you should be promoting yourself only 25% of the time (and that’s pushing it!) Constantly shoving promotions and sales in your audience’s face will not end well. The small chunk of time you’ want to be promotional, do it honestly and try to incorporate value for the customer even then.
5. Stay engaged
So you’ve read all the social media best practices and learned that asking questions in your posts is a big thumbs up. Great work! Don’t stop there. Continue the conversation with your audience. If you’ve asked your followers what their New Years resolutions are and someone comments on the post, take the time to respond! Engage with the people who have taken the time to engage with your content.
6. Analysis Paralysis
Testing, testing, 123. Trying different things to see what works is important. What’s more important is evaluating the analytics and narrowing down your content marketing strategy. If you aren’t sure that your audience will like a cat meme, it’s your prerogative to post one and see how it fares. Remember to take a look at the analytics to see what content is doing well and what isn’t. Taking the time to review this data will enable you to create more specific content and giving your audience what they really want.
7. Citation Guide
Mrs. Holmes from English 30 would be so disappointed in you! If you’re going to be using research in your content – cite your sources. Not only does it validate your content, but it also positions you as an educated thought leader to your audience.
Keep up the good work on your content creation – but don’t forget about the 7 deadly sins! When in doubt: cite, Google, proofread and analyze.