8 reasons why your content marketing could flounder

by   |  05.15.13  |  Content Marketing Tips, Creative Copywriter

Content marketing tips:
content-marketing1In a perfect world where lamp posts are made of chocolate and I have a six pack – no, make that an eight pack – every piece of content we publish would be picked up by the New York Times and drive an additional 50 trillion pounds worth of revenue.

But this ain’t Hollywood folks. This is the real world and the reality is that not all content marketing campaigns rolled forth by expectant businesses are successful.

Why?”, you ask. “I read that content marketing is the second coming, that content marketing will give my company more coverage than Tom Cruise.”

Well, when it comes to content marketing, there are some basic issues that many businesses and marketers fail to address.

Here’s 8 reasons to get the list started

1. I’m the king of the castle, you’re the dirty rascal

Ok, if you’re going to take the time to publish content then make sure it is not all about you. It is such a common misconception that content should be navel gazing (love that saying, so Dickensian in its descriptiveness).

Customers don’t care about how great you are – they’ll be the judge of that. What your customers and prospects care about is content which entertains, educates and engages them. Answer their questions and fatten them up on a healthy diet of content.

2. Daddy, I’m scared

Don’t be scared when it comes to your content. Do something different. Dip your toe in the waters of controversy. Take a chance, see what works, raise a few eyebrows and get people talking about you in the process.

Use some discretion though and perhaps resist posting photos of your MD drunk at the company BBQ. Nobody likes seeing a naked middle aged man covered in mustard – well, most don’t.

3. Unless you’re a professional limbo dancer, set the bar high

Never settle for second best when it comes to your content. Make it the best in the sector. Better than the competition, better than the media, better than Rudyard Kipling – ok, the last one might be tricky.

Raise the bar and create mind-blowing content which mirrors back to your readers and all onlookers just how super-awesome your business is.

4. Ask the experts

Every successful business is populated by a family of passion experts. Get them to write and tell stories that make your brand the most trusted expert resource in your industry.

And think outside the proverbial box. Draft in journalists, commentators and – hello sir, over here – great content marketing agencies like CreativePen.

5. Tell the reader where to go next

Parachute appropriate calls to actions into all content. Think about what you want that specific piece of content to achieve and where you want the reader to go next.

Do you want them to read more of your fabulous content? Visit a sales page? Sign up to a newsletter.

Always give consideration as to why you created the content in the first place.

6. Get a strategy love

As a content strategist and marketer, a common issue I find upon commencement of work with new clients is this: they are doing all the right things.

They already have multi hands in multi pots when it comes to marketing, but they are missing an overarching strategy and everything is consequently operating in random chaos.

Introducing a content strategy can glue things together, getting all the parts working in harmony with the joint goal of achieving your business goals.

7. Be the shepherd not the sheep

There’s nothing more disconcerting than looking at the competition and seeing they are doing wonderful things with their content marketing.

The temptation might be to jump on the bandwagon and do what they are doing – after all, it’s worked for them. What would leave your competitors in the dust though is to pick a niche, an area of expertise and become the leading expert in that.

Nobody wants to be a sheep so be a shepherd and become the standard setter that your competitors look to.

8. Timeliness and accuracy

Truly effective content marketing requires the adoption of two traits central to the publishing industry – timeliness and accuracy.

Why timeliness? Well, if the newspaper editor misses his deadline Mr Smith’s breakfast table will be missing his favourite publication the following morning. Likewise, returning to a website only to find it hasn’t been updated since your last visit can be disappointing.

Regularly uploading content to your website sets great expectations (another Dickensian reference) with your readers. Fresh and frequent content also gets the attentions of Google when it comes to shifting your website up the search engine rankings.

So set a publishing calendar and know what and when you’re going to publish each month.

Why accuracy? Balancing timeliness with accuracy – or quality – can be tough. It is crucial though. This doesn’t mean being a control freak and editing your content to the point that it is unrecognisable.

It means setting in place great editorial processes, checking multiple sources, following a strict style guide and also allowing creativity to flourish in the process. Remember, be accurate as nobody likes a lawsuit before brunch (particularly Mr Smith because he’s still miffed about not getting his paper).

Can you add to the lists of reasons why content marketing might fail?

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