“Learn from your mistakes, Konradik, and you’ll go far” my mother wisely told me, as I stood before her, red-handed (literally), with my arm jammed tight inside a cookie jar.
And she was right. One does learn a lot from their mistakes in life. And in business. And in marketing.
But luckily, you can learn a whole lot from other people’s mistakes too.
And by casting a spotlight on the most common content marketing mishaps, we can ensure your inbound strategy is set up for success. We can pre-empt the many pitfalls that other companies plunge into.
So here are the 16 biggest blunders that brands make daily. And more importantly: the key lessons you can learn from them.
It’s crucial to get to grips with these before creating your content strategy.
So bookmark this page. And brace yourself. It’s going to be a long (but value-packed) one.
MISTAKE #1: ALL ABOUT “ME, ME, ME”
This is a classic blunder. And as bizarre as it seems to me, an all-too-common one.
Tons of companies still use their blog as an outlet for sharing company news. Like the arrival of a new CFO. Or an industry event they’ve attended. Or a press release about a shiny new product they’re launching.
Why? Because they suffer from ‘inside-out thinking’ syndrome.
What the heck is ‘inside-out thinking’ syndrome, I hear you ask?
Perhaps the worst disease a company can be diagnosed with. Especially when it comes to content marketing.
What I’m referring to is the tendency of CEOs and marketers to think that their products, services and things their staff get up to, are somehow important or interesting. That they’re somehow newsworthy. That somewhere out there in the digital jungle sits a tribe of target prospects, so head over heels with their brand that they are eagerly awaiting company news, week in, week out. And that there’s nothing better they would rather do than take 10 minutes out of their busy day to read self-indulgent blog posts about how incredibly awesome that company is.
I hope it goes without saying that, unless you are Justin Bieber, this kind of hankering fan base simply doesn’t exist.
Your prospects aren’t interested in reading a blog post about your team’s adventures cleaning up those rabbit hutches in that urban farm on your away day. They don’t care about the CV of your new CMO. Or how fun that trade show was.
Sorry if I sound too harsh. But it’s the truth. And if you put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers, this should become crystal clear in a second.
Instead, you should be asking this powerful question:
Why should people give a damn?
Content marketing (and business in general) needs to be approached with an outside-in mindset.
Ask yourself questions like these:
- Where are your target audience active online and what are they doing/looking for there?
- What are they interested in learning or reading about?
- What information are they searching for?
- What problems do they need solving?
- And how can you create content which feeds that value (and/or entertainment) to them, and which aligns with your brand and services/products?
Close the gap between what value they seek and what you offer. Then create content about that.
MISTAKE #2: UNSTRATEGIC. UNFOCUSED.
Focus is vital in content marketing. Or any kind of marketing, for that matter.
Yet many companies still suffer from a lack of it.
The marketing team of a design agency we worked with, for example, would blog about all kinds of unrelated topics. Their favourite shoe brands, the latest episode of Game of Thrones, what they got up to at the weekend etc.
Because they wanted to come across as a friendly, approachable bunch.
But this begs that crucial question once more:
Why should people give a damn?
And how would these topics help to compel, convince and convert their target prospects?
Unless they’d cleverly revealed design or branding-related insights within those articles (e.g. “10 Killer Branding Tricks Your Company Can Steal from Game of Thrones”) – which would be a smart move – then they’re just wasting time.
And a blog which covers any/every topic under the sun is extremely unlikely to build a solid readership. At least not a focused readership of target prospects that will convert into paying customers somewhere down the line.
The solution? Carefully decide on four or five overarching themes which are connected to the services/products you offer, and which are thoroughly in tune with your audience’s needs and interests.
We call these content buckets (which is a term I learnt from my wise friend Neal Schaffer).
Because they catch your target audience groups like buckets catch water…or something like that.
MISTAKE #3: BLOGGING INSIDE THE BOX
This is, in some ways, the opposite of mistake No.2. And perhaps, an even more popular fail.
I was once asked to help some branding guys come up with an ongoing content and social campaign for Devon’s Custard.
Their initial idea? To create a carton-load of custard-related content.
Blog posts about custard. Custard-related memes. Videos with people throwing custard at each other. Custard, custard, and more custard.
Makes strategic sense, right?
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, let’s revisit my favourite ‘why’ question.
Do people really care about custard? Do they run custard-related Google searches regularly? Would you actively follow and engage with a Twitter feed which revolved solely around this one milk-based (albeit yummy) dessert sauce? And would anyone eagerly subscribe to their blog, desperate for their daily fix of custard-related updates like a toddler yearning for today’s episode of Peppa Pig?
I doubt it.
So in this situation – when your offering is very specific and perhaps not the most fascinating of subject matters – don’t bore your audience to tears with dull and repetitive content. Broaden your scope. Think outside the box (of custard). Create content buckets which belong to a bigger idea that is closely connected to your product or service, but which will actually attract and engage your audience.
For Devon’s Custard, this might be ‘school lunches’. Or ‘home-cooking’. And thus custard would only be the focus of some or part of some articles and updates. Not the entire focus.
For a London Moving Company, this might be ‘moving to and living in London’. And thus they would avoid drowning their audience in tedious packing tips.
For a SaaS company offering project management software built specifically for app developers, this might be the broader field of app development and all that comes with it. Rather than harping on about that one very-specific project management issue, they could build a large readership of potential prospects by establishing themselves as a thought-leader in the industry on the whole. And then sell the product to their subscribers later. (And other products, for that matter.)
Red Bull’s content strategy is a perfect B2C example of this ‘big idea’ approach in action.
Imagine if all of Red Bull’s content focused merely on its core product; an energy drink. If the theme of every single blog post, social media update and live event was the caffeine content of its products, or how much fizz each can contained.
Do you think they’d have developed the kind of cult-like following and brand recognition they’re famous for?
Instead they aligned the brand, and all of their content, with a bigger idea. One which is cleverly enticing to a carefully-defined audience. The kind of audience that might also enjoy their products.
They affiliated themselves with extreme sports and adventure, which is what pops to mind when you think: Red Bull.
Be the Red Bull in your industry. Not the strange custard guys.
MISTAKE #4: JUST ANOTHER THOUGHT-LEADER
Great. You’ve created content buckets and have your blog content topics razor-focused.
You’re on for a winner, right?
The problem is: there are thousands of other companies and individuals creating content about the same topics you are. If not bazillions.
The world of content is EXTREMELY saturated and every company is vigorously battling for attention, traffic, customers and those sacred few spots at the top of the SERPs.
So why do you expect anyone to notice your brand’s underwhelming content if it’s no different to the others?
This brings us to a very potent ingredient in your content strategy. One that is often overlooked, especially in the B2B world.
On top of following formulas that work, and reaping the benefits of the many lessons you’ll learn in this blog post, you absolutely must make your content different. To give it a unique edge. A distinct angle. Something – or many things – which make it stand out like a lemon in an apple field – but yet still remain relevant to your audience, and neatly in line with your core brand identity.
I like to call it: branding your blog.
Here are some super practical ways to differentiate your content.
And here’s how to create a distinct, authentic, powerful tone of voice which packs a powerful punch.
MISTAKE #5: LETTING VISITORS LEAVE!
What happens after prospects read that valuable article on your blog?
Good question. And one you need to be asking yourselves if you don’t want your content marketing efforts to fail miserably.
For companies doing things wrong; this happens:
Their prospects think “hmmm, what a jolly good read!” and then vanish back into the webosphere, never to be seen again.
For companies doing things right; this happens:
A full page pop-up suddenly appears before them, tempting them with FREE valuable gated content or offers (like eBooks, webinars, downloadable guides, checklists, or free vouchers). In order to seize this mighty opportunity, the readers must enter their contact details, and thus are pushed one step down the funnel.
That’s how you build your email list to epic proportions. That’s how you grow an avid group of content-hungry followers who will be the first to share your new top-funnel (ToFu) content with other potential prospects. And that’s when you start a lead-nurturing campaign that will turn blog traffic into actual, bottom-line boosting sales.
And no. A simple, static opt-in box which says ‘subscribe to our blog’ is not going to cut the mustard.
Do you ever subscribe through those things? Neither will your target prospects.
Encourage them. Incentivise them. Seduce them.
Here’s some recent research to help you optimise your opt-in conversions.
MISTAKE #6: NO NURTURING. NO CONVERTING.
Why the heck are you creating all this content in the first place?
Oh, that’s right. To increase your company’s bottom line. And achieve a wholesome ROI.
(Not just to show your mum).
That’s why lead-nurturing must be a crucial part of your content strategy. And the lack thereof is a wasteful blunder.
Once those budding prospects have graced you with their contact info, it’s time to reap the benefits and nudge them towards conversion.
How? By drip-feeding mid-funnel (MoFu) and bottom-funnel (BoFu) content to them over a strategically-planned period of time, which is dependent on the length of your sales cycle.
Here’s your chance to pre-empt and overcome those common buyer barriers and objections. To solidify their need or desire for the products and services you offer. To position YOUR BRAND as the best possible solution to their woes. To arm them with ammo that can be used to persuade other decision-makers and departments involved in this process. And to gently guide them, step by step, on that path towards conversion. However long or short it may be.
And all of this with: carefully-considered, triggered content. Plus of course, other marketing plays that will help you score the touchdown (e.g. sales calls and face-to-face meetings when possible).
Smart, ain’t it?
Here are 19 lead-nurturing email examples (from Hubspot) that will give you some food for thought.
MISTAKE #7: AN OBSESSION WITH SELLING
Let’s say your ideal target buyer – the key decision-maker – is the CFO or head of the treasury department in an enterprise with a billion dollar turnover. And let’s say you’re trying to slog them some new treasury management software.
Many marketers would opt for the ‘obvious’ topic route;
“10 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Treasury Management Tool”.
“Why Your Treasury Department Needs a Treasury Management Solution NOW”
“CFOS Like You Can Reap These Benefits Today”
And so on.
But if your content exclusively aims to catch (and convert) that particular prospect, right at the tipping point before purchase, are you likely to gain any kind of long-term readership? Or achieve any virality of your posts? Or have people share and link to your articles? Or, for that matter, do well in the search rankings without these Google-alerting social signals and organic backlinks?
And if your target decision-maker happens to be an extremely busy bee, who rarely finds the time to skim a Linkedin update – let alone subscribe to a blog – then what are the chances of them becoming an avid fan of your content?
In some cases; not a lot.
But fret not my friend. Their trusted peers and team members may be the exact kind of people to share your industry-focused content, subscribe to your blog, and refer you to those busy decision makers when the time is right. Especially if you help them do so.
Here’s where you need to be smart about your gambit. Consider the ‘sharers’ and ‘referrers’ as well as your target buyers, who may be harder to get to.
MISTAKE #8: ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT BUYERS
“Meet Sarah Temple. She’s a CMO living in Richmond in a large Victorian house, just a stone’s throw away from the river. She’s married, with two kids – Amy and Joel, who both attend the same Primary School. After a busy day at work, there’s nothing she likes more than relaxing by the fireplace with a mug of Earl Grey and a novel… yada yada yada”
Ever come across these kinds of buyer personas?
I’ve received much of this waffle from many a marketer. Sometimes three pages per persona!
Are they useful?
Are they merely an unhelpfully-specific list of assumptions made about a random day in the life of a made-up person?
These lavish descriptions may hold some merit as “after purchase” user personas. I.e. personas designed to focus the development of products on the users, which can help guide decisions on product features, navigation, interactions, and visual design etc.
But “before purchase” buyer personas should be designed to focus the marketing messaging and content strategy in a way that best persuades buyers – those evaluating whether to purchase your solution or not – that the product/service is the perfect solution for them.
Buyer personas should include a buyer profile – which is a hypothetical buyer archetype, including demographics and psychographics – much like a user persona. But much more importantly, they should include buying insights, such as the motivations, expectations, goals and doubts etc of those evaluating your product/service during the time of evaluation (and just prior to it).
To put it simply: You shouldn’t blab on about a random day in the life of Sarah Temple, your target buyer. You should blab on about THE SPECIFIC day (or week/month/year) in which Sarah Temple is considering a solution like yours. And what goes on inside her head from start to finish.
Still not sure? Consider this analogy:
You want to help a real estate agent set up some viewings for a friend of yours who’s looking to buy. You could:
- Tell the estate agent that your friend is tall, white, married with no kids, works as an architect in the city, plays tennis on a Wednesday, likes to drink cappuccino, reads the Guardian and supports the Labour party. Or…
- Tell the estate agent that your friend is looking for a 2 bedroom well-lit apartment with a garden, that must be within 10 minutes walk from a station on the Central line, won’t pay more than £500k and his wife (who he has to get agreement from first) is concerned about house safety.
Which of these is a more valuable tool to the salesperson?
You got it.
The first is a buyer profile, with demographics and psychographics. The second is a set of buying insights, like the ones you’ll be working on in your strategy. A proper buyer persona should include a little of a) and a lot of b).
Adele Revela’s epic book on Buyer Personas will teach you this methodology in-depth.
MISTAKE #9: TOO MUCH SEO!
“Make sure the content is packed full of SEO” those marketing guys tell me, benightedly, but with vigour.
But what do they actually mean? And what would that actually entail?
To most, this remains a mystery.
So let’s break it down.
SEO means Search Engine Optimization. Which essentially means: optimizing your website content for people searching for stuff. Which essentially means: giving those ‘searchers’ the info they seek and an all-round good experience when they land on your site. Which essentially means: providing them with content of value, which is useful and engaging enough to make them stick around or take action of some kind or another.
Does it entail forcing awkward keyword phrases into every blog post title and paragraph?
Because forcing awkward phrases into every blog post title and paragraph (known in the biz as “keyword stuffing”) doesn’t really go hand in hand with the idea of posting authentic, valuable, engaging content, does it? Unless you’re exceptionally lucky, that is.
Allow me to illustrate.
A so-called SEO expert once white-labeled our content creation services to help an IT services company based in Los Angeles. Naturally he decided to focus his client’s blog post topics on location-based keywords. So every blog post got a title like this:
“How to Find an IT Company in Los Angeles”
“The Secret to Hiring IT Companies in Los Angeles”
“3 Things to Consider before Choosing an IT Service in Los Angeles”
Every. Single. Post.
What’s the problem?
A monotonous blog like this just won’t gain any kind of readership. It won’t ginger up its readers and have them pining for more content. It won’t get shares and organic backlinks. It will, to be honest, probably bore people off within the first few sentences, if they do even decide to click on it at all.
And all of these factors will, in actuality, send the opposite message to Google that Mr SEO Expert was hoping for.
Not such an SEO-Guru after all, eh?
But does this mean that you shouldn’t use keyword phrases in your titles and articles?
No. But it does mean you have to be careful, and smart. And, as always, you have to get that balance right.
This article will give you a little more insight into how to create content for SEO.
MISTAKE #10: NOT ENOUGH SEO
Well, let’s be clear. You CAN create an effective inbound marketing strategy without tossing SEO into the mix.
But doing proper keyword research – and weaving keyword phrases into article titles, content and meta-descriptions – can certainly add fuel to your content marketing engine.
Some pieces of content, like those involving influencer collaboration, may achieve virality at the time. But those pieces focused on carefully-chosen long-tail keyword phrases – if they do end up reaching a top spot in the SERPs – can pull in river-loads of monthly visitors for years and years to come.
Create some viral hits AND some long term pullers. Then you’re on for a winner.
Just keep mistake #9 firmly in mind.
MISTAKE #11: UPLOAD, AND HOPE FOR THE BEST
“Publish tons of content and your bottom line will sing and dance!” they say.
“Content is king” they say.
Well, not unless people actually read it, watch it or listen to it.
I.e. not unless you have a successful way of pushing that content under people’s noses… The right people’s noses.
The moral of the story? Don’t just cross your fingers and hope for the best. Only create content for your company if you have an effective (and cost-effective) means to drive traffic to it.
This might include sharing across your social channels (once you have followers to share it with), Google PPC, paid social ads, content syndication platforms like Taboolah and Outbrain, peer sharing platforms like Triberr, influencer marketing tactics like ‘the Drip Technique’, promoting to your subscriber list, and cold-emailing out to potential prospects. Or all of the above.
What will be your way of pushing prospects into the top of that funnel?
MISTAKE #12: IGNORING INFLUENCERS
This isn’t a mistake per se. It’s more of a missed opportunity.
Influencer marketing has been in force since the days of chariot-racing in Ancient Rome. Legendary racers, like Gaius Appuleius Diocles, were given a toga-load of cash by local businesses, in order to represent and endorse them.
Because they were the heroes of the people. They had status. They had influence.
And who are the modern day equivalents of these Roman warriors?
The celebrities of the online world. I.e. individuals with mass followings, fan bases and/or readerships; “who have the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of their (real or perceived) authority, knowledge, position or relationship.” (Businessdictionary.com)
In the world of health and beauty, this might be big beauty vloggers like Zoella. In the marketing industry, it could be industry thought-leaders like Mark Shaeffer. In the cybersecurity sphere? Kimberly Whitler might be your lady. Sell cupcakes? Food bloggers like Izzy Hosack may hit the mark… and so on.
In a nutshell, influencer marketing involves;
- Carefully building a list of potential influencers in your niche.
- Building relationships with them through social media and/or collaborative content, in order to get your content in front of the eyes of their mass audiences. OR incentivising them to promote your content/products/services through that good old-fashioned motivator; moolah!
- Reaping the benefits of the traffic and brand exposure these popular people can bring you.
Here’s a much more detailed explanation, with actionable tips, written by yours truly.
And another take on it from the marvellous Kissmetrics blog.
If influencer marketing is injected into the bloodstream of your company’s content strategy, then your chances of success will be way better.
MISTAKE #13: ONLY BLOG ON YOUR BLOG
It’s a catch 22 scenario.
You’ve created high-calibre content but don’t have any traffic or readers yet. You need people to share the content in order to attract an audience, but without any readers in the first place, there’s nobody but Aunt Betty (and your staff members, if they’re willing) to share it!
The solution? Get your content on other industry publications which do have a readership already. And preferably, a massive one.
We call this ‘guest posting’. If it’s a regular fix on a specific publication, you might call it ‘byline content’. And if we’re getting saucy with semantics here, this kind of activity could fall under the bracket of ‘digital PR’.
For me, though, it’s just one of many ToFu pieces in the intricate inbound marketing jigsaw. But a very important and powerful one at that.
So where should you try to get your content placed?
On a) industry influencers’ blogs and b) well-known high-authority publications. If you’re not already a recognised and respected author in your field, then you’ll likely have a better success rate by first targeting the a)’s and then targeting the b)’s. Many top publications will only accept authors that already have a presence on Google, or some industry-recognition.
What should you write about?
Topics which are laser-focused on the audience of the publication you’re writing for. Topics which offer selfless value to the readers, just as the content on your website will. Opinion pieces which make some noise and position you as a top thought-leader in the field. And as a general rule; articles that grip and engage, and get your voice and brand name ‘out there’.
Will this help push prospects into your funnel?
You’re going to be smart when it comes to channeling and monitoring that traffic. We’re not doing old school ‘hit and hope’ PR here. We’re doing new school ‘track and trace’ digital PR.
Make sure you link back to your own content (if allowed by the publication) from within your pieces and bio. Especially to ‘gated downloads’ (like eBooks or eCourses) that will squeeze the contact details out of your readers.
Doing the above will:
- Position you, or whoever your company has chosen to be the ‘author’, as an industry thought-leader.
- Raise brand awareness massively over a short period of time, especially if you run a campaign that targets a high volume (e.g. 30-40) publications over one or two months. The accumulative effect will certainly perk up some ears.
- Drive relevant traffic to content on your own site, which can really help it get off the ground (or propel you further towards stardom, if it’s already ‘off the ground’).
- Push people down your funnel, which, thanks to this content strategy guide, will be carefully constructed to nurture and convert leads (you’re welcome).
- REALLY improve your site’s SEO, by providing you with those all-important backlinks from high-authority industry-relevant sites. In fact, there’s no better way to tell Google; you guys are a big deal!
And while I’m in a generous mood, here are a few extra freebies:
#1: If you’re unknown in your industry and feel like there’s a slim chance of influencers accepting your guest submission request; try building relationships with them first on social (following the steps I’ve mentioned here). Then, write some super long comments under their recent posts, almost blog post-length, that delve into the subject in expert detail, positioning you as a fellow thought-leader, showing off your writing skills, and flattering them at the same time. Flattery gets you….somewhere.
#2: Once you break into those lesser-known blogs in round one of this attack plan; link out to the higher-authority publications from that first batch of articles. This will increase the chances of them accepting your submissions in round two. (Even big publications love a bit of flattery and support).
#3: Chuck in some influencer quotes and insights (‘The Drip Technique’) to make the articles even more valuable. And of course, you should then reach out to those gurus to let them know you’ve included them – just as you would with the content on your own site.
MISTAKE #14: NOT MIRRORING THE MASTERS
I’m sorry to break it to you, but you’re not the bees knees when it comes to content marketing. Or blogging techniques. You don’t know everything there is to know. You haven’t tried and tested every possible headline variation, sentence style, article structure or blog post format.
But there are a shuckload of marketers out there who have. And because of that, there are a heckload of winning formulas you can borrow.
The mistake here is: going rogue with your company’s content, thinking you know best, and not applying tried and trusted recipes for content creation which have proven to increase engagement and conversions time and time again.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s important to be creative, test your own methods and bring your unique approach to the table. But learn from the masters first. Borrow formulas which work.
For example, here are 30+ headline formulas for tweets, posts and email subject lines by Kevan Lee from the Buffer App squad.
And 52 types of blog posts which are proven to work.
There are plenty more where those came from.
MISTAKE #15: KEEPING YOUR EARS AND EYES SHUT
Yes. I’ve just imparted a whole bunch of knowledge on you like some kind of content marketing God.
But, I’m not.
And as much as you should follow the guidance, instructions, formulas, and strategies of other experienced marketers and companies like me, there’s one group of people you should listen to even more closely…
Don’t just blindly copy tactics, assuming that they’ll yield the same results for your company, in your industry, with your audience – as they have for someone else.
Every situation is different.
That’s why you MUST track every stage of your sales funnel, keeping a close eye on what’s working and what isn’t. Split-test the heck out of everything (e.g. article and landing page headlines, email subject lines, publishing times and days etc). And always try to gain real feedback and insights from your prospects, readers and buyers.
Assumptions can lead you down the wrong path like a witch disguised as a pleasant old lady.
MISTAKE #16: RUNNING WITH A FRACTURED SPINE
Perhaps this should be mistake #1. Because if this is an ailment you need to remedy, then call the brand doctor immediately.
I’m talking about the spine of your business. Your core site. The branding. The design and UX. The copy and messaging on every page.
Is it unique? Is it persuasive? Is it clear, concise and instantly compelling? Does it speak to your target audience? Does it highlight your company’s USPs, and pre-empt your prospects’ common objections? Does it instil trust, build rapport and ooze brand values from every orifice? Is it packed full of uniquely-branded personality? Does it resonate? Does it CONVERT?
No? Then get this fixed first and foremost.
Why invest time and money in a long-term content marketing strategy, if the site you’re sending people to won’t do your business justice?
You might just need a copywriter to revamp your site messaging and tone of voice. Or a UX design agency to tweak the user flow. Or perhaps you have to strip things back to basics and work on a brand strategy.
Either way, cement those foundational stones in place, before trying to build your empire on top.
NOW USE THIS AS A CHECKLIST:
Here’s a bitesized recap of what we’ve just gone through. You should refer back to these 16 lessons when it comes to actually putting your content calendar together, and further in the future when it comes to review time.
The secret here is: balance.
Adhere to all these laws, and you should end up with one finely-balanced content strategy.
Lesson #1: Your content must be selfless; always focused on giving value (and/or entertainment) to the reader. BoFu content can, and should, be a bit more salesy and self-promoting. But you need to get prospects down that end of the funnel with all the subtle enticing stuff first!
Lesson #2: You must create content with a specific target audience in mind.
Lesson #3: You must be strategic about your topics, by using overarching ‘content buckets’ that all the content topics fall into.
Lesson #4: You must analyze other blogs in the industry and give your blog (and vlog and podcast etc) a unique edge. You must differentiate and ‘brand’ your blog and content.
Lesson #5: You must include an opt-in box, along with an incentive to encourage readers to subscribe (e.g. a downloadable content asset), plus a chain of triggered emails to keep the conversation going.
Lesson #6: You must create content for different stages of the sales cycle, so that you don’t just engage people with your content, but carefully and strategically nudge them towards conversion.
Lesson #7: You must also create engaging, industry-relevant content for ‘sharers’ and ‘referrers’. These people will bring more traffic to the site, and thus more prospects. You must aim towards growing a readership of loyal subscribers, not JUST trying to convert with every post.
Lesson #8: You must conduct buyer interviews to gain buying insights, in order to create lead nurturing content which truly helps and convinces your buyers.
Lesson #9: Your content must have the right balance of providing value, having unique insights, involving influencer marketing and other strategies. SOME posts should be very keyword-focused, when possible, without overdoing it.
Lesson #10: You should do thorough keyword research first to find relevant keyword phrases (connected to each content bucket) which have a high monthly search volume, but low competition. Then create blog posts which focus on one specific keyword phrase, whenever possible (keeping in mind Lesson #9).
Lesson #11: You must have a number of blog promotion tactics set up, including paid promotion, Triberr, enticing social media updates, promoting to email lists, content syndication (e.g. Taboola and Outbrain) and so on.
Lesson #12: You must identify the key influencers in your industry, perhaps divide them into four lists (one per content bucket), build relationships with them, and involve them in your content as much as possible, in order to harness their influence and traffic.
Lesson #13: You must create a guest posting strategy; ideally with the aim of getting guest posts across a number of valued, high-traffic, relevant industry blogs within a short space of time (e.g. one month) and/or continued byline content. Try the double-staged approach.
Lesson #14: You must constantly analyse your own past posts and re-use tactics that have worked well. You must also use tried and trusted formulas that have proven to work well for other expert marketers and brands.
Lesson #15: You must make sure you always pay close attention to audience responses, both on the blog, in social media and within the sales process. Then create content that answers their burning questions and concerns. And always, always, monitor analytics, and refine your strategy based on results.
Lesson #16: First, before any of this, you must make sure you have a strong, unique, memorable, relevant, durable brand with design, UX and messaging that shouts your brand values from every touchpoint – and converts!
So there you have it, 16 reasons why your content strategy could be hurting you more than helping. Now you’ve got the tools to build a glorious content calendar and matrix, go forth and be social!
Just a gentle reminder, though; remember to check back in with these fails every now and again. It’s good to have a sanity check, even when things are looking rosy.