You may be doing content marketing at some point in your marketing career, but are you sure your efforts are working? This blog looks to address the 12 most common content marketing problems and how to avoid those mistakes.
Content Marketing Problems
12. Lack of initial research
A common content marketing problem, is not having your content properly planned out and more often than not, doing it on a whim.
A recommended tool is Google’s keyword planner. It tells you how people search within a niche area and from there you can better plan your content and objectives (what do they want to read about, what do you want them to take away from your content etc), which leads us nicely onto our next point.
11. Lack of objectives
What do you want readers to gain from your content? What is the purpose of it? Not asking questions very early on like “where are we now?” is definitely going to hurt your chances of being able to answer the question “where do we want to be?” Give your content some direction.
10. Lack of a decent brief
Your objectives then make way for your content brief. When writing this, you should really think about the end user and what the end goal is. Think about what you want them to get from your content and how you’re going to go about doing that.
Things like user personas, tone of voice and formatting guides are very often skipped over.
9. Lack of consistency cross-channel
With brands welcoming the use of social media with welcome arms, a company’s messaging and activity is more transparent than ever.
Make sure your conversations and content match up cross-channel i.e. social media .vs. website .vs. advertising .vs. email etc… While certain channels can be test beds for new activity, it’s important your messaging matches up cross-channel.
This is where setting your tone of voice, as listed in the previous point really pays off.
8. Lack of correct channel selection
It is so easy to get your brand onto every social media network going and have a presence there, but doing it well is another matter entirely. Before posting content anywhere, ask yourself “why?” What is the benefit of posting your content on this social channel? Stick to where your prospective audience is going to be.
7. Lack of good blogging
This is one of the most popular content marketing problems. The likelihood is your blogs aren’t really working or performing as you’d hope they would, that’s mostly because the content doesn’t really drill down to what the reader needs, or what they’re looking for.
This is where doing your initial research, objectives and planning really pay off.
6. Lack of good formatting
Don’t let bad formatting be the downfall to all your hard work. There’s no point in producing strong, informative content, if no-one wants to read it or they’re turned off the moment they see your blog post.
Create a ‘good style guide’ that meets common web standards and be adamant about its usage and roll out. Your content needs to be consistent and look visually appealing if you’re to build readership.
5. Kill the oversell
When you have a wide social media reach, there is tendency to oversell your product / services / company. Just because you have a big social following, doesn’t necessarily mean they want to buy from you. You don’t have to sell everything you write. Sometimes just providing knowledge, help or advice is enough.
4. Lack of diversity
Mix up your content format. A blog can go beyond words and pictures, throw in some other media with it. If you use Facebook, you need to consider other methods of engaging fans beyond photos and links.
As well as format, it’s also important to keep your content topics diverse. Talking about the same thing all the time will get old pretty quickly. This is where you early planning and objective setting can help.
A good rule to follow is the 70/20/10 content planning model – 70% should be low risk, ‘bread and butter’ content, 20% should innovate off what you know works and 10% should be high risk ideas.
3. Bad headlines
Ensure the meaning of your content can be deciphered from your headline. All too often, companies write headlines which are far removed from the actual point of the content, all in the name of creating a headline that’s punchy and catchy. If your headline doesn’t reflect what your content is about, you will lose readers regardless of how catchy your headline and subject line is.
2. Lack of user experience design
Loosely linked to point #6 (formatting) is user experience. This covers everything from poor typography (tiny text and inconsistent heading styles) to the integration of multiple platforms. Don’t make your user work for the content, the journey you want them to take should be logical and simple. Consider other things like how your WordPress blog integrates with your website and other platforms – don’t make your users leave sites, to go to other sites, this will leave them feeling confused with an inconsistent experience.
1. Not putting the user first
The sum of all the other 11 points so far. Everything you do should be centred around the end-user. Most of the time companies have a failing content marketing operation is because they haven’t considered what their prospective customers are actually doing online – content doesn’t match search demand and they haven’t really thought about which social channels customers are using.
Put yourself in your prospective customer’s shoes and create personas (point #10). Think about what these people do online and what their needs are.
I came this originally on eConsultancy and found this to be incredibly beneficial, so have adapted their points slightly to be more relevant for me. I hope you found this of some use and enjoyed it!
If you have any questions, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below, or come find me on Twitter @mandypops