There's been a lot of talk about traditional marketing versus content or "inbound" marketing lately. While most businesses are making an effort to use both methods, content marketing is producing significant results, and it's those results that have so many companies chasing the bandwagon, trying to get on-board so they can share in the rewards.
The problem is, many companies are throwing their hat in the ring without really understanding what it is they're trying to do.
Traditional marketing methods (TV commercials, mail circulars, radio ads, etc.) are like stalk hunting - you're getting on your feet, and going through the woods, walking down your prey. Inbound marketing, by contrast, is more like setting up lures and snares. By offering customers something they want, they come to you. As long as you keep putting out the bait, there'll be a steady stream of traffic coming straight to you.
That's what content marketing is; the bait. This isn't an insult, though. Good bait is hard to find, and it's an essential tool for any hunter / marketer. However, it's also important for you to use your bait properly if you want to maximize your results.
Even if you're creating great content that sucks people in, these mistakes can still sink your traffic.
Mistake #1: Misuse of Calls to Action
A call to action is an essential part of any compelling piece of content. You want your readers to buy a product, follow your social media pages, and / or share the content with their friends and family. That's all well and good, but pick one goal, and do it. Because if you put a call to action in every other paragraph, they're going to blend together.
Think of calls to action like ninjas in 1980's movies. One of them is powerful, and nearly unstoppable. A hundred of them can be slapped aside like limp noodles.
Mistake #2: You Don't Have A Distribution Plan
You might have the greatest content in the history of the Internet, but if you don't have a way to get it to your viewers' eyes, then it's not going to do you any good.
And, in case you were wondering, "throwing up a link on the company FB page," is not a distribution plan.
This is where you need to start crunching the numbers. Which social media pages work best for your content? Which forums are most receptive to the kind of content you're creating? Is there a certain time of day, or a particular day of the week, when your content gets more traffic? Can you set up automatic distribution so you don't have to go through and manually post every link?
These are all questions you need to ask, and which you need to have answers for, if you intend to get your content seen.
Mistake #3: Standing Right in The Spotlight
One of the hardest things to do when it comes to content marketing is to take your ego out of the equation.
You're not here for you; you're here for your customers, prospects and clients, so, instead of talking about yourself, focus on the value your content provides for people.
If you're working on a series of gardening articles, for example, don't constantly inject yourself into them. This is a guide meant to help your customers, not explicitly sell your products. Answer a question. Demonstrate how you're able to solve a problem.
Your audience is going to be able to tell the difference between content meant for them, and content meant to tell them how great you are. Always go for the former.
Mistake #4: Your Content Isn't Useful
This is, perhaps, the biggest mistake you can make when it comes to content marketing.
The content you're creating needs to provide value to your audience, and it has to do something - whether it's informing, entertaining, or something else entirely. Each piece of content you create has to accomplish a goal.
Before you do anything else, ask yourself what need this content fills in the lives of your readers. If your content doesn't give them something, then your audience will move on to find content that does. Always think "value add" before clicking "Post."
This post was originally published on The Fried Side blog.