Many companies have already embraced the importance of marketing themselves online and have already begun the process of claiming a piece of the internet for themselves. These same professionals have spent hours of their precious time researching the ins & outs of online marketing and have come away with a basic grasp of what needs to be done to successfully market their business on the internet. A large piece of that success is going to come from content marketing.
Content marketing is an ever-changing, ever-evolving beast. By the time you’ve come to grips with and mastered one aspect of content marketing, a new trend crops up and suddenly everyone is riding a new wave that threatens to overshadow the work you and your business have done to get noticed online. The frustration of trying to stay on top of content marketing trends and keyed into what is going on right now can lead to a helter-skelter approach to your content marketing efforts. Once this happens and you begin to feel like you are shooting at a moving target; you may find your efforts have become highly ineffectual, and sometimes even damaging to your business.
Some of the mistakes that often crop up as a result of confused feelings about content marketing can be avoided. Here are some common content marketing blunders, and tips for how these errors can be avoided.
Content marketing is about your audience and gives you the unique opportunity to interact with them. Often, what happens with content marketing is that we get carried away with ourselves and the content that we post becomes more about ourselves. An extension of this self-centered posting is when the content that we create, post, and share has nothing to do with the audience, ourselves, or our industry but rather showcases the marketer’s creativity.
Such was the case when the people behind the movie Dead Man Down hired Thinkmodo to do a bit of promotional work in advance of the film’s release. The result of this work was this video:
Whether or not you believe in the authenticity of this video, in terms of YouTube views, “Elevator Murder Experiment” was a great success and garnered over 6 million views. When it came to the box office, however, Dead Man Down grossed a pitiful $11 million. So what happened?
There is no doubt that this video is worth a watch. I would be inclined to watch many more videos of this nature. When it comes to selling something, however, nothing about this video makes me think I should go to a movie theatre and sit through a movie. Instead of creating something with the potential audience of Dead Man Down in mind, Thinkmodo created a neat video which is inarguably creative and worth the watch, but ineffectual when it comes to converting viewers to moviegoers.
Having a firm grasp on who your audience is, and what will prompt them to buy into your product is imperative. When developing your content strategy, spare no time, effort or expense on customer research. In the long run, this will save you from wasting time and money on content marketing ideas that fall flat in terms of conversion.
Now that you have a firm grasp on who your audience is and what you need to do to engage them, it is important to take a look at yourself and make sure you have a clear idea of who you are and what your goals are for marketing your business. With content marketing, it is not uncommon to lose site of your goals and instead get wrapped up in a frenzy to create and post content. Obsessing over a fervent need to post can lead to burnout, and the posting of pointless material which will, for the most part, go ignored by your audience.
Instead of over-posting, or posting material that won’t hit home with your audience or be particularly useful, stop before you make a post and ask yourself what that piece of content will do for you. Content creation for the sake of content creation tends to be a waste of time and resources. When it comes to content marketing, it is best to have a clearly defined strategy in mind. Bits of content that don’t fit into that strategy probably aren’t going to go over well with your audience and are best left as an idea for later consideration.
If you are putting out a lot of content, one of the challenges is avoiding it all becoming the same words just repurposed over and over. A common content marketing shortcut is article spinning. This involves creating a single piece of content then “spinning” it in dozens of slightly different ways. The goal of article spinning was originally to maximize SEO benefits for your website by providing lots of contents and anchor text for links. It is a round about way of cutting corners so that your website is full of content, but you had to put in much less effort.
The problem with article spinning is that Google is on to you! With constant updates to their algorithms, Google is laying down the law for online marketing corner-cutters. If Google takes notice of what you’ve done to your website, your article spinning is likely to result in your website being penalized or dropped from Google altogether for being too spammy. In addition, the spun content won’t be very engaging to your audience. For a bit of fun, check out SpinBot to see the mess that content spinning software can make of your webpage.
Instead of spinning content, there are a number of legitimate ways to get yourself noticed. If you don’t have time to create content for your site, hire a talented copywriter or marketing company who will provide you with what you need. Additionally, you could approach other websites and offer your services as a guest blogger for their site. Within the article that you create for someone else’s website, it would not be amiss to insert a few links back to your own website. While this may be more time consuming, it will prove to be the more effective strategy in the long run.
Upon learning about the value of keywords, it can be tempting for the first time content marketer to stuff their posts with targeted keywords meant to catch the attention of web browsers. The result of over optimized content is going to be a lack of engagement with visitors to your page making the potential for a temporary bump in web traffic pointless. Over-optimization is also something Google will penalize you for.
Instead of writing content meant for web browsers, write for your audience. A few well-placed keywords won’t hurt, however, they should appear within your post naturally instead of seeming forced. Writing with a human audience in mind will allow you to create content which is readable, interesting, and shareable which is the ultimate goal for content marketing.
You are an expert in your field, and that is as it should be. There are professionals who are experts in search engine optimization and online marketing. Chances are, you are going to know more about your industry than SEO professionals, but these SEO professionals might know a great deal more than you about online marketing. Due to time constraints and a number of other factors, many professionals outsource their SEO and online marketing to companies or individuals who are specialized in online marketing and SEO.
When choosing to outsource your SEO and online marketing to another individual or company, take the time to pick the right team. It is important you do your research on who you are hiring. A good SEO firm should have a portfolio of work for you to peruse and a list of clients, both past and present, who have been helped by that SEO firm’s work. Do your due diligence when hiring an SEO firm. The more research you do on the expert you are looking to hire, the more likely you are to find a firm who will be a great fit for you and your business.
Additionally, you and your SEO firm will be working as a team with a focused set of goals in mind. Before signing any papers or taking action to make the working relationship between you and your chosen SEO expert binding, make sure you have a clear and firm grasp on your goals and expectations, it helps if you are being realistic. No joke intended, but having goals that can not be achieved is a sure way to failure. Ironically good firms may not accept your business or will put real caveats on what they can achieve, less professional groups may not. Having clear realistic goals makes for a good working relationship.
The goal which you hope to attain needs to be communicated accurately to the SEO professionals and online marketing firm you have chosen. If you are not 100% on your own goals, the communication of those goals to your SEO and marketing firm will be that much more unclear and muddled.
Once you have settled on an SEO firm, stay on top of what they are doing and don’t remove yourself entirely from the process. You don’t need to micro-manage here, but checking in every once in a while should be anticipated and appreciated by your SEO firm. Everyone likes to feel their work is valued and appreciated and SEO & Online marketing teams are no different. Ignore them and they will assume you don’t care or don’t put value in their work, and they will inevitably stop giving you their A-game.The most successful partnerships between businesses and marketing firms are those with healthy, ongoing lines of communication.