Content marketing has important functions for any business. It helps you establish brand identity and awareness. It provides helpful information to prospects, building stronger relationships with them. And, naturally, it entices visitors to proceed through the sales funnel.
Of course, thinking of content solely in terms of what it does for you is a recipe for disaster!
To be truly great, content needs to focus on the reader’s needs at the moment that content will be consumed. When this core idea is overlooked, content will always fall short one way or another.
Let’s look at some crucial content marketing mistakes to avoid:
Forgetting to Be Useful
When people go online, they are usually looking for the answer to a question or solution to a problem. Providing them with the right answer at the right time builds trust. Each bit of content should have a specific use that corresponds to a definite customer persona at a certain stage in the buying journey.
Selling Instead of Teaching
Most content will have a commercial call to action – at the end. Placing sales language elsewhere in the content can put readers on guard. Just by being on your website, they understand you have something to sell. Your free content serves as a reflection of the quality of your commercial wares.
Developing Stale, Dated Content
Content that’s timely and responds to new trends can be powerful, but most content should offer value far into the future. Evergreen content provides an overview or other information that will hold true for a long time to come. This reduces effort and allows you to re-purpose content more easily.
Building Content Backwards
“Building backwards” means writing the content you want to see, then hoping you can find an audience for it. In the B2B world, it’s important to start by asking yourself who your audience is and what those people want to see. Then, keep most or all your content efforts focused on them.
Not Optimizing Content
Content must be optimized on two major dimensions – for search engines and for social sharing. Good SEO requires you to know the keywords people use when they search for your products or services. Social optimization requires strong visuals, compelling hooks, and “scan-ability.”
Being Inconsistent with Content
Content can be an astonishingly powerful magnet for leads, repeat customers, and business allies. To reach that status, consistent investment of effort is crucial. You might develop dozens of content pieces before they yield reliable visits and shares, but the results are worth it.
Once it’s produced, content rewards your efforts like nothing else: It’s free and continues to work for you for months or years. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll see results!