2014 may not be over yet but we’ve already seen our fair share of content marketing success stories: Uber barreled onto the scene reinventing the way in which we hail cabs and blog with hyper-local entries; the White House launched an interactive photo gallery (boasting over 150 behind-the-scenes images); and British Airways demonstrated the power of social by unveiling a #lookup campaign, featuring children on live-action billboards who point every time a British Airways plane flies overhead.
But while a number of brands are enjoying immense content marketing success, the great majority is still lost in this new age of marketing. In fact, though 93 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing, only 42 percent of them feel they are effective, according to research by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI). The numbers are 90 percent and 34 percent, respectively, for B2C marketers.
Content marketing is quickly becoming the go-to strategy for today’s marketers; however, there are a number of common mistakes holding back companies from optimal success:
1. Diving in Blindly: The biggest danger when it comes to content marketing is donning blinders. You need keep both eyes wide open; take a look around to evaluate your competitors, evaluate your immediate needs and outline your goals. All too often, brands create a slap-dash strategy, launching blogging platforms, social media profiles and email marketing campaigns before they have fully baked strategies in place. According to the aforementioned reports, only 44 percent of B2B and 39 percent of B2C marketers have a documented content strategy in place, meaning a vast majority of businesses are simply winging it.
Tip: Take two steps backward before you take one step forward. Ask yourself what you want to achieve. Perhaps it’s driving profit? Maybe it’s establishing yourself as a thought leader in your respected space? Or maybe it is increasing the number of qualified leads? Once you understand your overarching drivers, spend ample time developing a comprehensive strategy.
2. Thinking Siloed: It’s never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket, especially if you’re new to the marketing game. The beauty of content marketing is that it encourages integrated marketing, or marrying together complementary vehicles to spread your messages and hone your brand identity. Unfortunately, many businesses adopt tunnel vision, focusing solely on one tactic. But your consumers and future stakeholders are everywhere, and that’s where you need to be.
Tip: Think integrated. Keep in mind that 72 percent of consumers want an integrated approach. Do you have a great blogging platform? Consider how social media could bump your blog up a notch. Do you have an effective email marketing campaign in place? Perhaps now’s the time to craft compelling white papers and case studies to fuel the email marketing engine.
3. Embracing a Company-Centric Mentality: Creating a strategy that is completely company-centric, meaning your blog posts, infographics, newsfeeds, white papers and videos are solely about your company, is a sure-fire way to fail. Your audience and prospective customers don’t want a sales pitch. Rather, they want you to address their pain points.
Tip: Do random gut checks to see if you are too company-centric. Check out your blog archive page and count how many times your name appears in titles. Sift through your last 10 tweets. Are any about the industry? Remember to share recent market research and promote other great content out there. Your ability to be a thought leader is just as important as your desire to share your corporate message.
It doesn’t matter your industry—retail, hospitality, food, education, finance, technology… —you need a platform to make your voice heard, and content marketing is your first step toward 21st century sales. But don’t get so caught up in the hype that you bite off more than you can chew.
Be patient, build a strategy, be wary of common content marketing pitfalls and be ready to course correct along the way. Happy content marketing!
Dubbed a “Chatty Cathy” from the time she uttered her first word, Content Boost’s Director of Content Marketing Carrie Majewski (née Schmelkin) is nothing short of verbal. Her love of talking matured into love of writing which inevitably transformed into a love of marketing. Carrie is responsible for overseeing the cutting-edge content marketing beast that is Content Boost—managing brand and editorial strategy, fostering client relationships, identifying new revenue opportunities and striking strategic partnerships. Carrie has worked with a variety of high profile clients on branding and copy creation from Sprint to Panasonic to AT&T to Emerson Network Power. When she’s not busy wordsmithing and debating content marketing versus traditional marketing, you can find her working on her swag in a hip-hop dance class, clogging her DVR with “Friends” reruns and trying desperately to make it up past 9:30 pm on the weekends with her hubby. #OldSoul.