You have converted to the gospel of content marketing. Congratulations. You are now a card-carrying member of the church of Joe Pulizzi striving to stay on the path of content righteousness.
You do your best to be a content marketing saint, but it’s not easy. We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of Copyblogger.
But fear not, humble pilgrim! By avoiding the seven deadly sins of content marketing, we can all avoid eternal damnation (or worse, irrelevance) and share in the glory of positive ROI.
“How hard can content marketing be?”
Content marketing is just a bunch of blog posts and an email newsletter anyway, right?
Just because it’s simple to publish content online doesn’t mean it’s easy. For content marketing to be effective, it needs a carefully crafted strategy, well-researched audience targeting, meticulous editorial planning, metric tracking and analysis, and a team of highly skilled individuals.
There are millions of articles being published online every single day. That’s more than enough competitors vying for your potential customer’s attention.
Why would anyone read your content? What makes yours special? How does it add value and not add noise?
“We should have done that.”
It happens to the best of us. You get a great idea for a content piece only to look online and find someone has already done it.
Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s traffic!
Instead of getting jealous, here are a few things you can do:
Share the existing blog post on your social channels
If you are in related industries and can form a relationship, the author will probably share your content too if it’s valuable to their audience.
Quote the author’s expertise in your article
If you quote them and let them know, they’re more likely to share your content.
Execute the content idea in a new and different way
Put a new, unique spin on the original idea or combine it with other ideas. This is how creativity happens!
Make the content better or more up to date
Maybe the idea is great but the design and formatting are terrible. Maybe the content was true five years ago, but everything is different now. Whatever it is, fix it! Then reach out to those who linked to the old blog post with your new and improved blog post. If they’ve already shared something similar, they’re likely to share your new version.
“Let’s publish ALL THE CONTENT!”
There’s much debate around the ideal frequency of blog posts. Should you post twice per month? Once per week? EVERY DAY?!
The best question to ask is not how much you should post, but what you post. Quality is always better than quantity.
Which would you rather read?
Ten blog posts that are short, fluffy, and not really helpful?
Or two blog posts that are in-depth, full-length pieces that answer your questions and solve your problem?
It’s better to be helpful and concise. Your audience will show their appreciation.
“I know! Let’s make this blog post about septic tanks SEXY!”
It’s no secret that sex sells. But that doesn’t mean that all marketing for all businesses should be sexy. Some industries just don’t have that special razzle dazzle, like septic tank cleaning, for example.
This is a good thing!
You don’t want to compete with everyone who is trying to be the sleekest and shiniest new thing. Play to the strengths of the business and forget the rest.
“Why isn’t this WORKING?! RAH!!!”
If your content marketing isn’t working, the first thing you need to do is ask yourself, “what does content marketing that ‘works’ look like?”
If you don’t know the answer, it’s time to take a look at your strategy.
Set clear goals
What are you trying to accomplish with content marketing? Traffic? Leads? Email sign-ups? Increased SEO? Be clear in setting your expectations.
Measure what matters
Don’t waste your time chasing vanity metrics that have little actual meaning. Instead, align your metrics to your goals to stay on track.
Test, test, test some more
If your results aren’t measuring up to your goals, try something new. Look to analytics for insights as to what performs well and what doesn’t. Don’t get mad. Get data.
“This blog post will get a TON of sales!”
Many companies make the mistake of believing that sales will come directly from their investment in content marketing.
It doesn’t quite work that way.
Content is meant to be friendly, helpful, informative, and even entertaining. It’s not supposed to feel like reading the script of a used car salesman.
In other words, don’t push it. Know the role that content marketing plays in the overall sales funnel and don’t try to make it into something it’s not meant to be.
“Oh, we can publish that next week.”
The content marketing game is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes stamina and a strong commitment to consistency to generate long term results.
If you’re not consistently posting high quality, helpful content to your target audience on a frequent basis, it’s easy to slip into irrelevance.
Don’t get lazy! Keep at it.
Create a comprehensive editorial calendar and stick to it. The more helpful content you post, the more channels potential customers have to find you.
Thou Shalt Go Forth And Prosper In The Land of Content Marketing
Content marketing is a long term strategy that requires commitment and devotion. By avoiding the seven deadly sins of content marketing, you can have faith your efforts will bear good fruit. Go forth and prosper!