How to Fix These 6 Common Content Marketing Mistakes (Part 1)

By Kat Liendgens — Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 at 10:00am
How to Fix These 6 Common Content Marketing Mistakes - Part 1

Delivering a steady stream of high-quality content to your audience is more important than ever before. After all, now that most organizations are investing in content marketing, differentiating yourself is becoming increasingly challenging. We’ve all heard the phrase “content is king” ad nauseam. It’s true that content can make all the difference in the world to your web marketing success. But what if your king is not working for you? What if he has a personality disorder? Let’s take a look at some common content marketing mistakes and discuss what you can do to fix them.

#1 - Creating Content for the Wrong Audience

You invest a lot time in developing and promoting your high-caliber content. Much to your delight, you see increased traffic to your website. However, you notice a few red flags. You drill down to the “time spent on page” metric and realize that the vast majority of visitors only spent a few seconds on your content. You also see that your bounce rate, which measures the percentage of visitors who came to your site and left without any interaction (such as clicking on a link or playing a video) is high. Finally, you wonder why your form conversion rates are so low. All of those indicators may lead you to the conclusion that you may be attracting the wrong audience.

  • Make sure that you know and discuss what your marketing personas look like. Have you captured your personas for your content contributors and content managers to see? If you need help getting started, feel free to check out our downloadable template.
  • Don’t create your content on the fly and at the last minute. Don’t publish a piece just to check a box on the list. Instead, be more intentional about your content and leverage an editorial calendar.
  • Keep an eye on your referral sources and inbound links. These are sometimes considered the underdogs of analytics data, but they can provide you with some valuable insights about your audience’s interests.
  • Get feedback from your audience. Host sessions with focus groups in order to find what type of content they find most valuable. You may also consider putting a quick survey on your site.

#2 - Ignoring the Sales and Marketing Funnel

The sales and marketing funnel can no longer be ignored, not even in higher education. Consider this: typically, visitors are 60-70% through the sales funnel before ever interacting with a sales rep. For higher education, this means that your prospective students are a good ways through their decision-making process before they engage with an admission rep for the first time. Do you really want to leave them to their own devices all this time and hope that they use just the right search terms in order to find what they’re looking for when you want them to find it? It’s not enough to create the right content for the right audience. You also want to ensure that you deliver the right content to the right personas at the right time.

  • Map your ideal visitor journeys and experiences on your site and also map all of your marketing collateral (including print) to your personas at each stage of the sales cycle. Then, adjust your personalization, information architecture, calls to action, and your email campaigns accordingly.
  • If your CMS and/or content marketing tool has functionality that can deliver targeted content based on data collected on your leads, leverage it to your advantage.
  • Communicate with your content contributors. As strange as it may sound, it’s challenging enough to get your content contributors to actually contribute content. The truth is that the more you can educate them on how their content fits into the overall nurturing process, the more effective your efforts will be.

#3 - Relying on Hope as a Strategy

Let’s face it: data can be brutal - and often, data can be interpreted in a number of different ways. But, that doesn’t mean that you should discard it in favor of decision by committee, by the highest paid person’s opinion (HIPPO), or by anyone’s personal preference or intuition. Don’t rely on hoping for the best when it comes to your marketing efforts. Hope is not a strategy.

  • Track and measure as much as you can. Consider getting Google Analytics certified. Show your stakeholders the correlation between your actions and your results.
  • Foster a data-driven culture at your organization. If you’re genuinely interested about the quality of your online presence, the engagement you foster, and, ultimately, the ROI of your efforts, then you have to empower yourself, your marketing department, and your organization to make smart decisions. That’s not to say that you can’t pursue an unproven idea or go with your gut feeling. It just means that you should identify the key metrics that will allow you to measure whether you’re on track to meet your objectives.
  • Develop a documented content strategy. According to Content Marketing Institute’s 2015 report, only 27% of marketers have a formalized content strategy in place. Not surprisingly, the marketers that do have a documented strategy consider themselves to be more effective. If you truly strive to become better at your craft, be sure to collaborate with your marketing team to develop a documented content strategy.

Have you ever encountered any of these pitfalls? How did you overcome them?

Join us Thursday, to find out what the other 3 content marketing mistakes are and how to fix them!

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