Content marketing professionals can often feel as though they’re trying to navigate the Goblin King’s Labyrinth, in the dark, with Apple Maps.
To help those new to the content marketing game, we’ve selected five of the most common content marketing sins, and discussed how to avoid them.
1. Speaking in Sales
No one really trusts a salesman do they? They might be the nicest person in the world, but we’re still dubious that perhaps, just perhaps, their intentions are not so salubrious. Despite their perfectly-ironed shirt, affable chap haircut, kind words and earnest-sounding promises; we’re all convinced their intentions are led by the prospect of grand commission and cult status in their office.
So naturally, the content marketing team and the sales team should always be kept arm’s length apart, but working together indirectly in a good cop/bad cop, honey and vinegar dynamic. We content marketeers are, obviously, the good guys and should never venture into the sales team’s domain when crafting copy and content.
Aggressive sales chatter in content is not likely to curry favour with readers. A good content marketing campaign should entertain, inform and intrigue the readership – without pressuring them into buying, or even visiting your brand’s site. Gentle persuasion and increased brand recognition are the order of the day for content marketeers.
We gentle souls of the content marketing world are best leaving the aggressive sales to the folk who know sales. After we’ve reeled the audience in with intriguing facts, entertaining copy and wonderful imagery, then it’s time for the sales team to swoop in with the hard pitch.
Solution – Always consider all content from the perspective of the reader, and how they will react. Aggressive sales talk could intimidate certain sections of the readership or could damage the trust between brand and audience.
Furthermore, it’s important that all parties involved in the creation and signing off of the content are aware of its role. Content marketing is not a direct sales tool, or a brochure. A good content marketing campaign builds trust and builds brand recognition, and offers long-term benefit for the brand.
2. Ignoring SEO
Content marketing is not the shiny, new heir to SEO’s throne, and nor is it the handsome young buck here to upstage the stalwarts of digital sales. Effective content marketing should be utilised in tandem with existing digital marketing practices, to give your brand an impressive web presence and every chance of maximising ROI.
As a content marketeer, it can be tempting to brashly announce me and mine as more important than other digital marketing departments. We’re the flashy young guns, creating attractive, eye-catching campaigns.
But no content marketing work should be carried out to the detriment of SEO. At Banc, SEO is the bread and butter of what we do, and content marketing is primarily designed to help support the SEO team and prop up results, visibility and visitor numbers.
As SEO and content marketing grow evermore intertwined, we must never ignore the rules of SEO, even if we believe it affects the flow of our copy or the appearance of graphical content.
Solution – Ensure that the content marketing team understands the principles of SEO, and respects the importance of the process. Force the content marketeers to sit down and listen to the SEOs for once, and learn, at least, the basics of SEO.
This can help avoid SEO nightmares such as keyword stuffing, thin content, duplicate content and all those other black hat techniques an SEO would self-flagellate if committed.
3. New Content Saturation
Like the parents of teens desperate to stay ‘fresh’ and ‘with it’ by mimicking their offspring’s vocabulary and misquoting the lyrics to the latest Little Mix jam, overzealous content marketeers are sometimes guilty of going over the top with new content. Whilst fresh content is highly recommended in the content marketing game – giving readers and search engine bots that warm, fuzzy feeling inside – it should never feel forced.
A constantly-updated blog covering the painful minutiae and trivialities of the industry will not appeal to your brand’s audience, and will only saturate the quality content you’ve produced. Regular visitors to your blog or website want to be entertained or informed every time they pay a visit, and won’t look kindly on having to trawl through endless garbage to find the nuggets of gold.
Some content marketeers set themselves content targets when undertaking a project – promising themselves, their marketing manager and Rand Fishkin’s Twitter bio that they’ll complete a certain number of content projects in a specific timeframe. But quality should never be forsaken for quantity.
This desperation to stay fresh should never inhibit quality, whether it be replacing or hiding quality content. With an absolute glut of content on the web, only the best and brightest will make a mark.
Solution – Try not to set yourself quantitative content targets, and concentrate instead on producing high-quality content which will inspire your audience, appease the Google bots and hopefully drive traffic.
Consider tackling fewer, but higher quality, content marketing campaigns and projects, rather than a deluge of lower quality articles, snippets and brain farts. A single chateaubriand is far more memorable than 200 peas.
Evergreen content is a great example of this, providing real value to the brand and visitors to your brand’s site in the short term and the long term alike.
4. Straying From the Brand
Sometimes content marketing inspiration strikes and you are sure you’re about to change the whole game, drive amazing visitor numbers and sales, and earn that overdue pat on the back from your boss. Then you realise that the idea doesn’t suit the brand’s image or message, and no matter how much shoe-horning you do, it simply does not fit.
A million great ideas are left on the content marketing office floor because they don’t fit the relevant brief. At the end of the day, we content marketeers are working to a brief and not to our own egos.
Content marketing campaigns must stick to an overarching aim, and all contributions to the campaign should complement this, as well as all brand guidelines. A campaign which doesn’t sit naturally with the rest of the brand’s marketing and image could be disruptive and confusing for the audience.
Before embarking on the beautiful content marketing voyage, make sure that all members of the team working on the campaign understand the personality, values, aims and audiences of the brand. This will alleviate the risk of campaign ideas straying wildly from the brand.
Solution – Talk ideas out with the team before investing time and effort into making them a reality. Even before putting together a proposal, discuss the prospect and determine whether it really is a good fit with the brand, would appeal to the audience and could prove beneficial for all involved.
After this initial chat with a trusted member of the team, you’ll have a better idea whether you’re onto a winner or fitting a square peg into a round hole. If the latter is the case, the project should be dropped.
5. …And Ignoring Those Who Have Gone Before
As we forge ahead into this brave new content marketing world, we must remember the importance of strength in numbers. You are not alone; we are here to help, to guide and to hold your hand through the murky waters of digital marketing.
At the very heart of content marketing is the desire to create something new, something which will pique the interest of the target audience, something never before seen. This creates the temptation to think outside the box and brave new paths alone, and without the influence of those who have gone before.
If this works, it would be spectacular. However, the risk is great. Although the content marketing team is, perhaps, the most creative part of the digital marketing family, this creativity has to be tempered by a measurable approach – minimising the risk of the campaign.
Draw inspiration from past successes — either by your team, competitors, or leading agencies – and put your brand’s own spin on these, creating a unique marketing campaign directed by recognised success stories and the brand’s personality.
Solution – Utilise all the tools available to you, research the past successes of industry leaders, and develop content marketing campaigns which will appeal to your target audience and turn your hard work into a real success story.
There’s a wealth of case studies and campaigns from other content marketing teams which can provide inspiration, direction and clarity in your content marketing endeavours. Tools like BuzzSumo simplify the process of identifying audience trends, content trends and potential wins – so you can cut the guesswork out of your content marketing strategy and concentrate your efforts on ideas and campaigns with proven track records.
If you still need help with your content marketing strategy, get in touch with the Banc team today by calling 0345 459 0558 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.