Articles about content marketing hit close to home. While my background is in editorial and I am a journalist at heart, I can’t deny the fact that I live in the digital age where content is not just for content’s sake – it’s often for marketing’s sake. Thankfully, I have a great marketing team to rely on to help when marketing is the goal of said content – but I am not entirely removed from the process. Quite the contrary. Apart from my blogging duties (scowling the web for news and information about the changing world of online marketing and turning that info into digestible posts for you loyal readers – a job I truly enjoy), I also spend some time working with the marketing team to figure out how we can benefit from some of the bigger, meatier bits of content we and our supporters produce – things like whitepapers, benchmarking reports, webinars and the like.
In all this trial and error, you often find out that a lot of what you’re doing fits into the latter (error, that is), which helps you figure out how to fit into the more desirable category: success. Econsultancy published an article a while back about how easy it is to make mistakes when marketing content and/or strategizing how your content marketing efforts will look. Surely many of you marketers out there are sitting in the same boat – figuring out what to do with content, what your strategy should be, etc. For you, I offer Econsultancy’s five mistakes that you should not make – especially after reading this. Here are the tips, straight from the source – I can’t change much because they’re right on point.
1. Relying solely on the marketing team
Don’t fall into the trap of believing that your content marketing strategy is a marketing-only affair. The knowledge, experience and insight that serves as the foundation for compelling content is often more likely to come from other parts of the organization.
2. Not going beyond owned media for distribution
Great content doesn’t distribute itself and distribution is a crucial part of any successful content marketing strategy. Many companies make the mistake of focusing only on owned media. If your company has highly-trafficked websites or blogs, this may not be so problematic, but most companies don’t have massive audiences through owned media, so not developing external distribution channels can be a huge mistake.
3. Thinking ‘viral’ is a strategy
For some companies, ‘viral’ is a big part of the content marketing strategy. The assumption: social channels like Facebook and Twitter will be used to great effect, delivering substantial eyeballs to your content. Social channels can be difficult to stand out in and, depending on your target market, may not provide the audience you’re after.
4. Selling too hard
At the end of the day, content marketing is like any other form of marketing: it’s supposed to help move the needle. As such, the content produced as part of a content marketing strategy should drive action, even if indirectly. That means content will focus on commercially-relevant topics, include a call to action, etc. What it shouldn’t mean: that your content reads like a brochure.
5. Not establishing metrics for data-based decisions
A good content marketing strategy should evolve as you learn what’s working and what isn’t working. The bad news: many companies aren’t monitoring their efforts closely enough to know.
For content distributed via owned media, analytics is a must. For content distributed via third parties, acquiring direct analytics data may not be an option, but that doesn’t mean you can’t establish metrics that measure success indirectly. If you’re authoring guest posts on a third party blog, for instance, tracking comments and social shares, for instance, can provide valuable insight.