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In our previous blog, we introduced the topic of a content strategy to help focus your lead generation efforts and ensure everyone in your organisation is singing from the same digital hymn sheet. Building out a written plan, covering everything from approved topics right down to font type and length of posts allows organisations to keep on top of their digital marketing efforts and means that anyone in the company should be able to write a blog, or post on Social Media without comprising the company brand.

That being said, content marketing can be a tricky field to navigate. With so many available mediums, the reach and scope of the internet and the number of rules and guidelines for successful posting that can be found, it is easy to get overwhelmed. In our quest to make content strategy simpler, we’ve found some of the most common content marketing mistakes and how to solve them.

1. Forgetting the Groundwork

Every good strategy starts with the big picture. Without knowing where you currently are, how can you possibly plan for where you want to be and how you are going to get there? Before you ever sit down to plan your future content, you must first research.

Look at your current statistics; how many leads do you average monthly? Where do these leads come from? How many visits do your website and blogs get per month? What’s your follower count on your social media accounts? What’s your websites Google ranking / MozRank? Once you have answered these questions, then you can move onto the next step; setting goals.

It’s very common for small businesses to jump straight into the goal setting process without having anything to benchmark against and this is where problems can arise.

2. Focusing on a Single Content Type 

Even though it might seem much simpler to publish across a single platform, doing so limits your reach. A full strategy should include different content types, each designed to deliver a specific message to your various readers at different stages of their buying journey. By considering who you are trying to reach; the mediums that might best appeal and the platforms available to you - you can create a layered approach with messages to attract, nurture; convert and delight; and even encourage prospects to interact across a variety of channels.

Starting small with future plans to scale up might seem like the simplest idea however, if you don’t create an engaging atmosphere on a number of platforms it would be easy to lose out on a number of potential customers and for the ones you do have to become disinterested.

The ROI on certain platforms may be substantially more than on others but that does not mean those less successful ones should be abandoned – use those that achieve higher numbers of visitors to direct traffic to those that with lower numbers.

3. Not Using Personas

When developing content for your business it is vital to consider the potential customer rather than yourself when creating content. Many companies skip creating personas, preferring to publish content they think their audience will be interested in. Nothing could be further from the truth; research is important again here. Market trends, big issues in the field, and finding out what your current customers want to know are sure-fire ways to create content that your existing customers will share and that new prospects will be attracted to.

4. Not Including Keywords in the Strategy

It doesn’t matter how much you know about SEO, you should know that keywords are the foundation of almost all online marketing strategies. That’s what customers use to find the information and thus, you should optimize your content for various keywords. So while writing your content strategy, it is imperative that you include these keywords so that they can be used across all channels and messages.

When planning a lead generation campaign, the most important keywords you should be using include; lead generation, outbound marketing, inside sales, sales lead, and any other keywords that relate to your specific industry sector such as IT or Consulting.

5. Lack of Content Promotion

As we’ve said above, focusing on one content type is not enough to build a successful digital brand. Creating content and hitting publish isn’t enough to reach your goals. Once the content is ready, you need to promote it to make sure it reaches the target audience; be it through email, social media or on your homepage.

Your content will be quickly lost in the jumble that is the internet without promotion so letting people know it exists is important. Even reminding people of what you’ve posted in the past can be a valuable exercise. If the content is still relevant why not re-promote it? – Just don’t overdo it. People might get bored of reading the same old material again and again.

6. Over-Selling

Content is not about self-promotion, it is a tool used to educate your customers and potential prospects, increase awareness of your brand and allow you to become a trusted advisor or thought leader in your field – this is what will bring you sales. However, many companies think otherwise, they stuff their content with sales messages, pushing their customers away from it in the process.

It is vital to understand the sales process and the sales funnel, and realise that you should not be pitching at every stage. The only time you should be pitching your product or service is when you are creating Bottom of the Funnel content with the purpose of closing sales.

Conclusion

Building a content strategy is a fantastic tool to help you build your online brand awareness, streamline your digital communications and bolster your lead generation efforts with little trouble. No one will ever get it perfect first time and what works for one might not work for another but by considering these best practices you can avoid the pitfalls that might cause your marketing efforts to fall flat and aim, instead, for soaring sales figures.

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