Content marketing is the way to go, right? You’re competitors are doing it, and it seems easy. Write some blogs and drive traffic to your site—then just convert them into leads.
But most successful content marketers know that there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes—which is why less than 30 percent of companies that execute content marketing strategies are happy with the results.
Here are two common mistakes that companies make when they get into the new world of content marketing.
Mistake #1 Treating content marketing like an event, and not a process
As an example, let’s assume that you’re a human resource software vendor. As part of your content strategy, you know you need to build something as a giveaway that all of your prospects are going to want to read. Maybe it’s a white paper.
Good idea so far. So you assemble a team to put this white paper together. You order pizza for all the participants and Voilà!—The makings of a brilliant white paper emerges on containing healthcare benefits costs.
Then you put it on your site with the form to fill out to download the paper, and very few take you up on the offer.
The problem is that ever since the Affordable Care Act, there has been so much content created about how to bend the cost curve that getting on the coveted first pageof Google results is impossible.
Standing out in the crowd is extremely difficult. It may be a great white paper, and once someone is on your website, they may be willing to fill out the form and download it.
I should note that if you already have 100K monthly unique visitors to your site and you’re not converting a good number of them, then maybe the solution is in fact that one killer white paper used to better covert that traffic.
But the reality is that most companies don’t have the traffic in the first place, and you’re going to need some standout top of funnel content to get them there, because chances are that people aren’t going to find it in the first place.
This is where content marketing becomes a process and not an event. Because creating top of the funnel content is a drum beat that can never stop. All of the sudden, you have to start behaving a lot like a magazine or newspaper because you can’t simply keep republishing the same article over and over again hoping people will find you. And you can’t keep emailing people the same article over and over again—they’ll think you’re a spammer and opt out or ignore you completely.
So you need to be continually feeding your audience with content that speaks to the high probability pains that are not about you, but about the business problem. That means you’re looking not at 1 or 2 or even 10 topics, but potentially dozens, and eventually hundreds of topics over time.
So if the core business problem is actually further up the funnel, how do you drive traffic to your site in the first place?
Maybe you start a blog, and to fill it with enough content to drive traffic, companies often make the second strategy fail, which is:
Mistake #2 - They assign blog writing to their current employees.
I’ve made this exact same mistake myself, and we’re a content marketing agency. It sounds intuitive because it’s potentially an inexpensive way to solve the problem content volume—for example, I take four employees and assign one article a month to each of them, and that gives me a weekly blog. Done!
However, the reality is that most people are pretty darn busy with their current jobs, and even more importantly not everyone is a talented writer or good story teller.
Your prospects do not want to consume weak, crappy content. Google will probably not reward you for this content, or even worse, they may punish you for the content being too thin.
Writing good quality content that your prospects will want to consume is a process that needs to be done a very dedicated way because creating top-of-the-funnel content that drives traffic to your website is a never-ending process—it’s not an event that we can just assign to our current marketing staff or thought leaders.
I cannot tell you the number of companies that we do business with and that started with that exact same strategy then came to us because it wasn’t working.
The good news is that these mistakes are avoidable simply by developing a plan and ensuring that you have the resources in place to execute.
So if you’ve decided that content marketing is the way to go (and it may very well be), check out this white paper and associated calculator tool that will help you determine how much you actually need to spend to hit your growth goals.