1. No Targeting
Who are you talking to? Who is your content for? Why do they want it? When do they want it? Where are they in your buyers journey when they want this content?
You. Have. No. Idea.
Developing target personas is a fundamental piece to creating a content marketing strategy yet it's ignored by far too many businesses. Some will say, "well, our target market is women over 35". That is not a persona. That is a start to a persona. Is this target woman anywhere between 35 and 100 years old or is it a smaller range than that? Do they have a family? Are they working full time? Do they live in the suburbs? Why do they care what you have to say? Are they the decision maker? Are they buying for their family or work? Plus a million other questions that you could ask.
There are many questions that you must ask to really dig down and determine the personas that you'll target. It can be done by looking at your current customers, building a perfect customer, and even by interviewing your customers and salespeople. No matter how you do it, take your time and really think through every aspect of this person's life. It will help you talk directly to them and develop content that resonates with them.
2. You have no idea what a content marketing strategy is
We have heard it a million times..."I have a website", "I'm on Facebook", "We send out emails when we can". Those are NOT content marketing strategies. Gone (long, LONG gone) are the days of 'build it and they will come. Simply having a website, spending a little bit of time on a single social network, or sending out occasional emails is not going to cut it anymore.
Developing a robust content marketing strategy means determining the tactics (yes, plural) that you'll use to attract strangers to you, convert those strangers into leads, convert those leads into customers, and then make those customers so thrilled with your brand that they become evangelists for you. It's important to take into account your personas and develop your strategy around where they can be found online.
Some common tactics that you should consider include website design (or redesign), search engine optimization, social media marketing, pay-per-click, email marketing, blogging, calls-to-action, forms, landing pages, and content offers (whitepapers, checklists, videos, eBooks, etc).
3. You're not mobile
Everything is going mobile. As of last year, Google announced that more searches are being done on a mobile device than on a desktop! If your content does not translate well between devices (all devices) then you're missing the boat. User experience is a big deal and if your design is cropping weird, site is difficult to navigate, or your content isn't easy to find then you've lost that visitor.
Today, you simply cannot afford to not be mobile.
4. No teamwork
Please, for everyone's sake...be consistent! It's important to understand what your goals are and focus on achieving them through all channels. Your goals are likely to change throughout the year. Maybe your business is seasonal, you focus on a different part of your business during different times, or maybe you just have goals to grow a specific part of your business. Whatever you're trying to do, be consistent across your tactics.
Portraying the same message from social to web to email to blog to whatever else you're doing will build credibility and push all your goals together. Tactics working together are always better than when they work alone.
5. You forgot offline
Yes that's right...offline. Successful marketing strategies incorporate all elements of your marketing plan. Having your offline and online marketing strategies working together to increase leads, traffic to your site, customers, and revenue will make your campaign more successful. This means including your social media pages on printed material, telling customers on your radio ads to fill out a survey on your site to win a prize, and sharing your hashtag on your television commercial in order to make every customer touch valuable, no matter where you reach them.
Creating a successful content marketing strategy is no walk in the park. It takes time, strategic thinking, and creativity, but when you get all of your tactics working together with a unified message, you will be successful.
Everything is moving online. Customers are doing their research and making decisions before they even reach out to you or visit your store. Providing them with engaging, interesting, fun, and informational content will help you stand out from the crowd, but you have to do it with a diversified campaign. Think through your strategy and get opinions from those in your organization that you trust and value. Taking time now to focus on your strategy can (and probably will) be the difference between a successful campaign and a failure.
Inbound marketing is all about content marketing. It takes all the tactics that we've talked about and gets them working together to achieve your goals. Learn more about how inbound marketing works and if it's right for you and your content marketing strategy. Download our FREE Inbound Marketing 101 eBook! You'll thank us later. ;)