We’re all very busy in our day-to-day work lives….heck, in our everyday lives as well. We have meetings to attend, conference calls to be on, you need to take the kids to soccer practice, and oh yeah, there’s that weekly blog post that always seems to hold you up in the middle of the week.
You know you need to continue to create useful content for your customers, but you sometimes wonder whether or not you are making the best use of your valuable time. You often find yourself in a crunch and rush to put together a blog that serves very little use to your customers but you publish it anyway just to get something out.
Let’s face it, we’ve all been there and have had our bumps in the road. Only a select few marketers are capable of hitting a bull’s-eye every time, and you’re not one of them… yet (don’t worry, I’m not either).
However, failures can be a great learning experience. Recognizing mistakes can provide great insight on what not to do the next time around.
Avoiding these nine mistakes below can help take some of the pressure off and ensure you’re on target when it’s time to create that blog post your customers have been craving all week.
1. Not Having a Content Marketing Strategy
Before you start creating content you need to make sure you have a goal in mind. How is this blog going to help your business? Are you trying to gain more customers? Establish yourself as a thought leader? In order for your content marketing efforts to be successful, you need to consistently tie things back to your overall content marketing strategy
2. Not Developing Audience Personas
Understanding your target customer personas is a critical starting point to any content marketing strategy. You have to know who you are writing for before you can attempt to influence, persuade, or entertain them. Forcing yourself to write for your customer personas helps you stay on track, ensures you’re writing with purpose, and increases the chances you’ll write something that resonates with the people who read your content.
3. Not Using an Editorial Calendar
Creating an editorial calendar is a great way to stay focused and on track. You need to make sure that your content flows well and fits together, especially when you have multiple people from your company contributing to the blog. It is also good to establish roles and assignments for each of the contributors to help ease the process.
4. Blogging Only if You Have Time
In order for your blog to gain the likes, shares and clicks you are looking for, you need to make sure you update it regularly. A good benchmark is to publish at least once a week.
5. Not using Keyword Research
Before starting your content planning you need to confirm that what you will be writing about is something that your audience has been searching for. Keyword research is a great way to validate interest in your selected topic. And despite advances in search algorithms, such as Google’s Hummingbird update, keyword usage is still important. Choosing the right ones can dramatically increase the performance of your content over its lifespan. A quick way to validate your keyword choice and even discover new topic ideas based on a root keyword is to use Google’s undocumented autosuggest API.
6. Not Engaging Your Audience
Effective content marketing requires that you respond, comment, and engage with your audience. If someone drops you a comment and has a really good question, be sure you respond to that question in a timely manner. It shows that you are willing to provide value to your audience by helping to clarify any concern he/she may have and other casual readers will take note.
7. No Call-to-Action
You need to make sure that you give your audience something to do once they have read your blog post. What was the point of writing that blog? Do you want your audience to buy something? Sign up for your email list? Share your article or read another one? Once you have decided what you want them to do you need to make it as easy as possible for them. The Hubspot blog is a great example of one that consistently surfaces well-placed calls-to-action.
8. Not Building an Email List
In many cases the best call to action for a blog that’s trying to build an audience is going to be to join an email list. Niel Patel points out frequently on his blog that his email list is one of the keys to getting lots of visits and comments within hours of posting new content. Although email traffic accounts for just 13.91% of his overall traffic, visitors from his email list account for 41% of his blog comments, and email subscribers are 3.9 times as likely to share his content is social media.
9. Not Marketing Your Marketing
I recently wrote a post about seeding your content through social media. It’s such an important step that I need to mention it again. You can’t write something and just expect that the likes, clicks and shares will come without any sort of promotion – you’ve got to give your content a boost if you want it to gain a foothold. You need to make sure you are promoting your content through your social network channels – Facebook, Twitter and Google+ at a minimum. The more people you reach the greater chances you have of that content being shared.
You have to remember that content marketing is an ongoing commitment. You can’t invest in it and expect to see results immediately. Its takes time, patience and interacting with others in your industry. Once you have built up a nice audience you will start to see the long term benefits and will have hopefully created loyal customers for your business.
Feel free to share any other mistakes in the comments section that you feel are just as important to avoid in the comments below.