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Creating a solid content strategy can be a challenge, but knowing what pitfalls to avoid can help you grow your strategic marketing efforts. There are a lot of tricky areas where content strategy can go awry, so we’ve narrowed down a few of the most common mistakes even the most seasoned pros can make. Check out our top ways to avoid content burn out while beefing up your marketing strategy with smart, purposeful, and targeted content.
1. Not Starting with Strategy
Strategy should always be behind your content marketing efforts. Whether it’s blogs, whitepapers, or any other form of content, you should never blindly write without first identifying audience, SEO keywords, marketing assets, etc. We make sure to explore what an audience should “think, feel, and do” with each piece of content. Keywords and other metadata can also help clarify the intent behind the writing. Without these elements, the content will likely be useless in your long term marketing efforts.
Having trouble getting started? Try a few of these great tools:
- Mural: A comprehensive digital collaboration tool designed to scale with your project and engage stakeholders with a common language and seamless onboarding.
- Gliffy: A powerful diagramming tool to allows your team to collaborate with shared assets and integration capabilities regardless of browser or platform.
- Google Analytics: A highly intuitive, widely used platform for analyzing SEO optimization, user behavior, and much more.
- Webtrends: An optimization service that works across channels in real time to create individualized and actionable solutions.
- Kissmetrics: A behavior analytics and campaign marketing service that automates customer engagement to increase conversions and retention rates.
For a comprehensive list of helpful content marketing tools, see Curata’s Ultimate List.
2. Not Optimizing Content for SEO
Make sure all content is optimized for search engines, regardless of format. By following basic SEO optimization guidelines, you will be able to gain higher rankings in search engines like Google. Increase key metrics like impressions and conversion rates with strong keywords, alternative text, targeted meta descriptions, and more. These easy solutions require a little effort, but can provide immense return on investment with improved search rankings to help you meet important KPI’s.
Some basic best practices:
- Headings: Key content should be at the top of the page, particularly in your headings. Search engines expect content to be indexed according to heading size and order, so utilizing correct headings is a must. Order headings appropriately (H2, then H3, H4, and so on) to keep in line with SEO best practices.
- Links: Employ relevant internal and external links to drive users further into your site or have third party sites link back to your material in order to boost your rankings.
- Alt Text: Use alternative text for images by including a keyword-focused descriptions in order to improve search engine rankings.
- Meta Descriptions: User-friendly tools like Yoast SEO allow you to reinforce target keywords and provide a description to entice clicks. Measure the applicability of your meta data by meeting the ideal length and keyword requirements for your SEO title, slug, and meta description.
- Keywords: The perfect keyword search takes careful planning, industry know how, and practice. Differentiate between short and long tail keywords for different content types, and ensure keywords are included in targeted sections of the page like headers and meta descriptions.
3. Not Appropriately Targeting Your Audience
There are a host of available tools to help you create proto personas, audience profiles, and much more. Still, no one knows your user better than you. Creating content without being able to identify your target audience’s habits, preferences, and demographics is counterintuitive.
There are fantastic waves of new technology that can help you personalize your content for target audiences, including the newest trend of real-time personalization. This allows you to leverage user information and profiles to create content that is geared towards specific users on the granular level. For example, you can use A/B testing to test variations in layout, design, or delivery of personalized content on your website. You can map users using geolocation, or create exclusive experiences for first vs. return users. Whatever you do, remember to create an exclusive experience that caters to your unique user profiles for maximum engagement.
4. Not Revising, Repackaging, and Repurposing Content
You should never let your content rest. Continuously update content with new links, new internal initiatives, and new technology that aligns with market trends. Repurpose good content that performs well by making a quality blog into an extended white paper, or by creating multimedia content like vlogs, webinars, or podcasts from the same source information. You’ve already done the research…now reap the rewards.
For more ideas on how to create a variety of great content, check out Core DNA’s helpful guide.
5. Not Promoting Your Content
Quality content is nothing without proper promotion. Web Crawlers and search engines help, especially when you’ve incorporated strategy and SEO-friendly content into your final product, but promotion is key. Leverage inbound marketing methods, email, newsletters, sponsored content, and of course social media to establish a digital marketing pipeline with regular content features for your audience.
6. Not Tapping into the Power of Social Media
Social media should be a key part of a comprehensive marketing strategy. No longer just a way for people to share viral videos and stay in contact, companies who want to reach media savvy generations and established CEO’s alike should leverage social media as one of the most powerful tools in a marketing team’s arsenal. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, or another platform, follow tips like these to create a strong social media strategy.
7. Not Establishing a Publishing Cadence (and Sticking With It)
This is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of effectively running a content marketing department. Clients, conflicting schedules, and the ever present daily grind can easily get in the way of regular content production. Finding not only the best cadences for publishing, but also figuring out how you want to research, write, edit, and promote each different type of content can be difficult for even the most cohesive departments. Once you find a feasible publishing cadence with assigned tasks, editors, and writers/producers, make sure you stick with it. Use helpful tools like Trello or Basecamp to manage projects, tasks, and due dates.
8. Not Choosing Quality Over Quantity
Following a publishing cadence is not the same as fulfilling a content quota. The first is strategic, targeted, and purposeful; the latter is not. One piece of quality content can do far more for your business than a dozen generic posts. This is particularly true when you incorporate strategic objectives into your content creation process, like including powerful keywords and targeted promotion efforts across social media platforms. One strong piece of content can be repackaged and repurposed into a dozen multimedia products, doing far more work than a single piece of content ever could on its own.
Use subject matter experts to give content value add and authenticity. Make sure to review the content production processes by differentiating roles and responsibilities amongst team members, adjusting as needed. A professionally-produced podcast, with audio and subject matter expertise, will certainly take more time and effort than a short blog. However, the reach and ROI of a high-quality piece of content will outweigh the time and materials spent creating it, every time.
9. Not Testing Content Against Your Audience and Expectations
It’s important to do more than just measure your traffic to your website. Yes, pageviews and conversion rates are important, but if you never do anything in response to the analytics you gather, it will be useless. It’s vital that you not only track analytics, but that you incorporate carefully crafted strategy into your analysis.
Begin by using free or paid tools like Google Analytics or Moz to track your site traffic and user behavior. There is even a Google Analytics plugin that can be used directly with your WordPress site which is easy to install and use. You should then break down your analytics into digestible elements. For example, there are dozens of factors that can play into your conversion rate beyond the actual website, including market up or downswings, buyer or seller conditions, industry shifts, and more. Set specific marketing goals, such as those you can implement on Google Analytics “Goal Tracking” feature, and do periodic reviews with your marketing and strategy teams to see how you are–or are not–measuring up to those goals.
10. Not Being Flexible in Making Adjustments
Once you see how you are performing against your strategic marketing goals, make adjustments to your content based on that analysis. This could include altering content, changing keywords, adding external links, improving imagery, or even changing your social media strategy. You can also test content variations against real user experiences using focused A/B testing through a service like Google Analytics Experiments (see our helpful breakdown of how to use it here). However you adjust your content, make sure to repeat the process on a regular basis with targeted marketing efforts throughout the year.
By implementing a focused strategy for content creation and curation, you will be able to avoid the most common pitfalls in your marketing efforts. An expert digital agency can help you plan, strategize, and revise your marketing strategy with tailored insights like these (and many more) as you scale your business efforts with customer engagement and growth in mind.