The Top Do’s and Don’ts of Content Marketing
How confident are you in regard to your content marketing strategy? Has it provided impressive results, or are you left less than satisfied? Not only is it important to recognise common content marketing mistakes to avoid, but appreciating the specifics can often spell the difference between success and failure.
How to Market Content Like an Expert
According to HubSpot, a full 82 per cent of successful businesses rate content marketing as their most important strategy. Of course, this makes perfect sense when we consider that connecting with potential customers is the best way to focus your efforts in the right direction. So, what methods should be employed?
1. Act as if you are one!
It may appear as if we are beating a (digital) dead horse when discussing the importance of spelling and grammar. However, these topics can never be taken for granted. Consider the two short snippets below, which are intended to promote the same product:
“Our new diet programme offers visible results, fast! If you want to lose weight, sign up for our newsletter to learn all about how it works.”
“Our diet is great at offering results. Lose weight is within your reach. Their is no better time to subscribe to our news letter.”
Which one of these promotions would elicit further action? The first has been written properly, and the keywords are contextually integrated. The second is tainted by grammatical mistakes, and the keyword appears to have been simply “forced” into place.
It should already be clear that spelling and grammar are two of the most useful content marketing tools at your disposal.
2. Keep safe by paying attention
This next suggestion is another one that should not come as a surprise. Thanks to the current state of global affairs, virtual interactions are now more important than ever before. In this respect, we are talking about live video feeds and webinars. The main takeaway point here is that this trend is expected to gain momentum in the coming years.
The majority of businesses that utilise these services have reported a positive ROI (return on investment) and thankfully, such methods are also some of the easiest to employ. The benefits attributed to live, online interactions can include:
- It is easy to communicate a message to your audience.
- Real-time interactions offer a more organic means to connect with customers.
- These presentations are ideally suited for mobile devices.
- Presentations and webinars can be used to reinforce the points made within the written content.
Thanks to software bundles such as Slack, Zoom and WebinarNinja connecting with your audience is no longer the preview of high-budget professionals.
3. Learn to focus upon the content experience
One common (and costly) mistake is to assume that content will speak for itself. Although quality material is essential, its primary goal is to generate interest. The content experience will ultimately determine whether or not a visitor chooses to take further action (such as confirming a purchase or signing up for a newsletter). What is meant by the term “content experience”? A real-world example will help to clarify this concept.
Think about the last time you visited a local supermarket. The experience inevitably involved much more than paying for your purchase at the checkout counter. You likely remember the ambience, how easy it was to find specific products and the interactions with staff members. Curating a content experience is critical if you wish to generate long-term loyalty. So, how can this be accomplished?
Text alone is certainly not enough. In addition to the live interactions mentioned in the previous section, try to embed other user-friendly utilities throughout the website. Infographics, previously recorded videos, authoritative outbound links, a page devoted to frequently asked questions, and tactically embedded CTAs (calls-to-action) can all help to promote a greater degree of interaction.
4. Double-down on search engine optimisation
Of course, no article discussing content marketing do’s and don’ts would be complete without touching upon search engine optimisation (SEO). This is why it is better to think of SEO as an all-around approach as opposed to concerning discrete practices such as finding the most appropriate keywords. On the contrary, there is much more than meets the eye in this respect.
A thorough approach to SEO involves other considerations. This post covers them in detail, but the highlights are:
- Use the proper HTML coding.
- Cater to a more local audience.
- Choose authoritative domain name suffixes.
- Examine the policies of your closest competitors.
- Track your efforts through the use of tools such as Google Analytics.
Ultimately, it is better to craft a solid SEO strategy from the beginning if you hope to avoid content marketing pitfalls.
Common Content Marketing Pitfalls
The etymology of the word “disaster” can be traced back to two Latin phases: dis (meaning a negative event) and astrum (star). In other words, disaster traditionally referred to a misalignment of the stars that would normally portend bad luck. In content marketing terms, even a single mistake can cause a cascade of headaches that may well be considered a disaster… Let us examine some potentially costly examples.
1. Failing to understand the needs of your target audience
When it comes to modern content marketing pitfalls, the wisdom of Neil Patel should never be taken for granted. He observes that one of the most common (and easily avoidable) mistakes involves not knowing what your audience desires. Just as you would never offer a free night out at a local pub to a recovering alcoholic, it makes little marketing sense to present irrelevant products or services to your demographic.
Still, this can be a somewhat slippery slope. It is quite common for those who are new to the online marketing community to browse authoritative sites such as HubSpot, Entrepreneur and Adweek. They then will repurpose this material for their own needs. Unfortunately, the information provided may have absolutely nothing to do with their visitors.
This is why establishing a buyer persona is a crucial step when formulating a bespoke content marketing strategy. When we remember that 55 per cent of all consumers are bombarded with irrelevant content, developing a more focused approach is essential. Obtaining real-time feedback, analysing which products are the most popular and researching customer interests are all viable approaches.
2. Using text alone when creating content
There is much to say about the power of a spoken word. However, no one enjoys wading through interminable blocks of text. Some businesses have therefore taken the approach of adding a single image in order to break up existing content. However, this is no longer sufficient.
The average website visitor is now looking for a much more informative (and immersive) experience. In the same respect, he or she will not normally have the patience to struggle through lengthy articles. This is once again why it is important to embed videos and clickable infographics within the material itself. Knowing how to do content marketing involves much more than grammar and syntax alone. So, be sure to spice things up if you hope to increase conversion rates.
3. Forgetting about the importance of evergreen content
Take a moment to think about the “shelf life” of your content. Will the information expire within a few months, or has it been written to stand the test of time? Evergreen content is designed to maintain its relevance, enabling a website to attract inbound traffic from a long-term perspective. Although viral marketing certainly has its place, you will soon be forced to return to the digital drawing board.
Curating evergreen content is, therefore, another great way to guarantee better SERP (search engine results page) rankings and to enjoy higher clickthrough rates as time goes by. What steps can you take to embrace a more timeless nature?
First, start off by analysing historical keyword data with the help of tools such as Rank Ranger and Google Trends. You will then be able to appreciate which words are associated with a greater degree of long-term popularity. Secondly, avoid time-sensitive elements such as dates, recent events, and short-term offers.
Here are some examples of evergreen article types to consider:
- Product descriptions.
- How-to and DIY posts.
- Articles written in the form of a list.
- Material intended to provide information about a well-known subject.
We can now see that “going green” is actually much easier than you may have thought.
4. Not including calls-to-action on a regular basis
A final content marketing pitfall involves not including calls-to-action within the material itself. Ironically enough, both novices and seasoned experts can occasionally fall into this trap. Of what use is a 1,000-Word post if the reader is not presented with a means to further engage with what it is that you have to offer?
Now, we are not necessarily recommending that you bombard the reader with actionable offers in each paragraph. It is instead much better to include these clever widgets in strategic locations such as:
- Across the top of each page in the form of a contact button.
- Alongside specific portions of text (such as immediately after a product description).
- At the end of an article.
The main point is to provide visitors with viable information and to encourage them to proactively take the next step. If you wish to examine real-world examples of how calls-to-action should be deployed, be sure to take a look at Neil Patel’s advice.
Appreciating the Best (and Worst) Content Marketing Practices
The content marketing do’s and don’ts listed above should provide you with a strong foundation for future success. However, remember that it can be just as easy to fall back into bad habits if you fail to diagnose potential problems at an early stage. Here are some signs that your content might require a bit of fine-tuning:
- Your website is difficult to navigate.
- Your search engine rankings are high, and yet, levels of engagement are inexplicably low.
- It has become difficult to generate quality leads.
- Clickthrough rates are much higher than actual purchases.
- On-site content has not been updated for some time.
Above all, knowing how to “do” content marketing should represent a constantly evolving process. Strategies will need to change from time to time which is a natural trait of the digital ecosystem. This is also why it is prudent to speak with the team at Textbroker if you are uncertain where to begin. When it comes to cutting-edge approaches, we make it a point to stay ahead of the game.
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About our authorRon is a prolific author who regularly contributes to on-site blog posts. His passion for creativity combined with a client-centred approach has brought him a significant amount of success within this competitive marketplace. Writing for Textbroker since 2012, his hobbies include martial arts and bodybuilding.