"Content marketing" is the latest buzzword.
But content has been a part of marketing for years. Companies like Coca-Cola have been using content-driven marketing for as long as anyone can remember.
Online, it's the Achilles's Heel of almost tactic you can think of. From your PPC ads, to each social media status update.
And you need to make sure that you're not only conveying your message, but also hitting your goals. Was your headline interesting enough to reach a big audience? Or was the copy intriguing enough to drive a higher CTR.
The obvious problem here is that if your content isn't good, then it will hurt your other efforts. Your SEO will struggle because no one will link to you. Your PPC ad won't perform well because people don't click on it.
And your social media presence will languish in obscurity because no one engages with it. Your social media attempts are almost futile. You know what they say... if you put lipstick on a pig, then it's still a pig.
Here are 3 content mistakes that are killing your social media department.Image courtesy of theilr
Mistake #1: Too Promotional
The first mistake is the most obvious, but also the most common.
Companies want to treat social media like it's a direct, customer acquisition channel. When it's not.
Forrester's latest findings declare that "Social tactics are not meaningful sales drivers". Sales coming directly from social media visitors accounted for only a percent or two.
But... Social media does drive sales. You just have to invert the process, and pull them in.
Start by getting and holding your prospects attention. Because attention is the most precious commodity in today's marketing environment.
That's why companies spend big on advertising in the first place. Once you have their attention and engagement, then you can worry about selling. So create content that's interesting, catchy, and "shareable".
This is especially true for aggressive or "boring" industries like insurance. Instead, tell a compelling story of how one person saved for retirement. Because insurance is really risk management, which is a small component of personal finance or someone's career. So you're not focusing on what you do, but what you do for others.
Which brings us to the next mistake.
Mistake #2: Too Selfish
People are inherently selfish.
We all have our own best interests in mind.
In a conversation, you can't have two people talking at the same time. You can't both be selfish and talk about yourselves, otherwise the conversation isn't going very far.
So don't blog about your product or service. And don't expect people to care about it either. Instead, talk about what they want to hear.
"Don't talk about what your company does, but what it does for your customers." [Click to Tweet]
So focus on the challenges your customers face, and what benefits them.
For example, no one cares about your hotel. So stop talking about it. If you do talk about it, people will only pay attention if you give them a discount.
Consumers travel because they want to relax, have peace-of-mind and a break from their mundane lives. So how about the entertainment at your hotel? Here's an email I received from the Wynn Las Vegas:
Vegas hotels have been using entertainment for decades to bring people in the doors. In this case they're positioning a sale as an opportunity, and using priority access as an incentive for me to buy (before tickets sell-out!).
And they're focusing on a customer benefit or experience, instead of simply promoting their own product.
Mistake #3: Too General
There's an old saying that says, "You can't be all things to all people".
The point is that you can't please everyone, all the time.
So why do organizations think they're different?
Pull up any corporate website and you'll see the same bland, vague, jargon-laced copy that's interesting to no one. And when you create content like this and begin promotion, it falls squarely on it's face.
It's no surprise that news-related media properties are in big trouble. Their business model is unfit for the digital age. But one of the most glaring problems is that their content isn't interesting. Nobody wants to read the same press release rehashed for the hundredth time.
People want stories that are personalized. That speak to them. They want to actually see an opinion one way or the other. (It almost doesn't matter if that opinion is right or wrong. Either way you'll get people talking and leaving comments, which is a win-win for pageview journalism.)
So go deeper. Focus on a specific subset, segment or customer challenge.
For example, one of the top online media sites for small business isn't from a traditional publisher. American Express started the OPEN Forum specifically for small businesses. They focused on a specific subset of customers they face unique challenges and needs. And they created a new brand because they didn't want it to be too commercial or selfish (see mistakes #1 & 2).
It's difficult to promote a company in financial services (like Amex) because people are suspect of their intentions.
But if you can re-position your content to focus on a specific audience's challenges and benefits or experiences, then you can gain traction, get more engagement and grow much quicker.
And you'll still get all of the branding benefits social media has to offer.