Sometimes, it astounds me how little some people know about the power of content, and how important it is for a solid growth strategy. Even if you’re the prodigal sales mogul who could sell ice to an Eskimo – surely to make their place expand you’d want to throw a sofa and bed in there too? What I mean is – it’s all well and good selling the same thing to the same audience, but for them to really get on board with you and admire your brilliance, you need to be bringing new ideas to the table, and this is where content comes in. Content strategies can take a mundane product and service and turn it into that ‘must have’ that’s in everyone’s shopping basket. Well-written content can engage audiences in various stages of the buying journey and encourage them to convert. But what exactly is well-written content? What mistakes may you be making that’s hindering your content’s performance? What follows are 7 fixes to 7 content mistakes you may be making to ensure you never make them again!
Content Mistake #1 – Not Doing Keyword Research
Come on, you’re better than that. If you want to rank higher in Google, you need to ensure that you’re integrating the right keywords in a subtle yet natural way. You could write in as much detail as possible about the latest phone you’re selling, but if you’re not integrating search terms that your audience are using, then you’ll be lucky if you rank on page 4. Long tail keywords are especially important, because they’re more specific and include phrases such as ‘Buy latest Samsung 2020’.
Fix #1 – Do Keyword Research (well duh!)
Whether you use tools such as Ahrefs or Keyword Planner – there are plenty of tools out there to help you find the keywords that your competitors are ranking for, as well as their search volumes. From this, you can come up with ideas for new blogs, website pages and meta descriptions that will draw your audience in.
Content Mistake #2 – Not Understanding The Client
I’d argue that the kick off is meeting is one of the most important steps in any client-agency relationship, because it sets the expectations of what’s to follow. This is the opportunity to present research you’ve done, collaborate on strategy and use the meeting as a learning phase. I have set lists of 10-20 questions I ask in these meetings, and these include questions such as:
- What are your USP’s?
- What pain points does your product/service help to resolve?
- What is your level of support?
- What skills does your team have that you feel would impress your target audience?
- Please can I have an outline of how your product/service works?
By taking the time to understand who the client is and what their business involves, your content will become so much better than if you simply wrote based on assumptions that you may have.
Fix #2 – Set Aside Time For Regular Catch Ups.
Along with the initial kick off meeting, schedule in monthly catch ups to ensure you know where your clients’ heads are at. Is there perhaps something else they’d like to promote? Do they want to change campaign direction? You may never know if you don’t ask, and it’s always a good idea to come prepared with your own ideas too.
Content Mistake #3 – Not Defining The T.O.V.
If you wanted your brand to sound edgy and cool, and a content marketing agency presented new website content that just droned on and on about your history and the products you sell, you wouldn’t be too impressed. It might sound a bit cheesy, but your brand’s T.O.V. is how your audience relates to you as a business – it’s your company’s personality, values and company culture all rolled into one. Without a coherent T.O.V., your brand’s messages can become diluted, and possibly, not even engaged with in the first place.
Fix #3 – Create A T.O.V. Strategy Document (yayy!)
Heh – I love creating these. This involves doing in depth competitor research to consider how they are writing about and promoting themselves and picking out the best features. Discussing this with the client, we can then integrate this into how they want to be seen – to ensure the content we write is a true reflection of this. Don’t forget to ask for any branding documents they may have lying around either.
Content Mistake #4 – Not Writing Compelling Content
The most frustrating thing as a content writer is reading blog posts, articles and website content that is not only littered in grammatical errors (USE GRAMMARLY!!!!) but is doing the brand no favours. For content marketing to work, it needs to be relevant to the audience, show an understanding of their needs, and how your brand is different to all others out there.
Fix #4 – Know The Audience
What kind of content will interest them? Are they more active on social media, or would insightful and expert-driven blogs be more up their street? Do they respond better to a more conversational T.O.V., or does straight facts just do it for them? A lot of the time, content that appeals to both the emotional and rational really hits home, because you’re providing intelligible answers to emotional desires. Consider how the way in which you write and present content could be impacting results, and define a strategy that helps to improve them.
To gain audience feedback, you could set up Facebook and Twitter polls to discover the topics they’d like you to focus on next.
Content Mistake #5 – Not Promoting Your Content
Unless you’re a brand that everyone has heard of, it’s unlikely hoards of people visit your website everyday unless prompted to. If you post a new blog but don’t share it on social media (or integrate it into your email marketing campaign), how will people know to engage with it? Or even worse, how will they find out about a new product or service if you simply add a new page to the website and hope people find it? It’s pretty counterproductive, don’t you think?
Please ensure that you do the following:
- Promote your latest releases and new blogs and articles on your social media accounts.
- Add sharing buttons to your website and blog.
- Add CTA’s that encourage your audience to like, share and engage with your content.
CTA’s should be present throughout your content too, helping the audience down the buyer journey and creating leads and conversions.
Content Mistake #6 – Not Measuring Results
To determine content marketing effectiveness, you need to put a system in place to regularly track and measure its progress. You can’t improve upon your content unless you know what is and isn’t working, and if you ignore your data, you never will.
Fix #6 – Track. Track. Track.
From your website and blogs to your streams and social media performance, use Google Analytics to track which content is performing well, and that not so well. Consider why the latter is suffering; does it need a fresh injection of optimised content?; is it engaging enough? Create new content plans based on this, and find new and exciting ways to revitalise old content. Facebook Insights and Twitter Insights are always good too.
Content Mistake #7 – Missed Opportunities
If you take a step back and consider the reasons why someone may purchase a product or service from you, you’ll realise there are a lot more reasons than you may think. For example, you may only be targeting your brand’s headphones towards music producers, but these individuals have families and friends who may want to buy this for them as gifts. This is an example of a missed opportunity, and one that can easily be capitalised on with Fix #7.
Fix #7 – Check The Dates Before It’s Too Late
Think about the national holidays, sports events and times of the year that could coincide with your brand’s offering. If you sell gifts, then birthdays and anniversaries (not to mention Valentine’s Day and Christmas) are key times for your business – so why not collect this data from your audience through email subscriptions and provide offers to entice them once more to your website? If you sell sportswear – just think of all the blog posts and social media campaigns you could tie into local, national and international events. Make a content calendar and decide how best to promote your brand throughout the year.
Seen the error of your ways? Want to learn more about our fantastic content marketing strategies? Get in touch with us today on 0161 327 2635 to discover just what we can do for you.