Danni White is the CEO of DW Creative Consultingwhich helps professional service companies and nonprofits grow their organizations.
Content marketing is one of the most effective ways for organizations to attract and retain customers. In fact, one survey found that 50% of respondents expected their budgets for content marketing to increase this year.
When I work with small to midsize business owners, for the most part, they know content is what they need to work on and share with their audience. But the biggest struggle I hear is not knowing what to produce, how to make it relevant and useful, and when to produce it.
A lack of content creation is what hinders the success of content marketing efforts in business. Many of these mistakes can be avoided by employing a few best practices.
A Scattered And Unclear Strategy
One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make is jumping into content marketing without a clear strategy. It’s not enough to throw something on a screen and then see what sticks. Without a clear strategy, your efforts will be scattered and inconsistent, which can lead to confusion around your brand and a lack of engagement from your audience.
Having a clear, focused strategy helps to build trust with your audience. To get started, create a plan that outlines your goals, understands your target audience and aligns the right formats with your goals. This will help you create more focused and effective content that resonates with your ideal customer.
Some of the metrics I recommend reviewing are click-through rate, conversion rate and even bounce rate for landing pages and website pages. You know your efforts are working when your metrics align with your goals.
Lack Of Understanding Your Audience
A second common mistake small businesses make is creating content without understanding their target audience. It is essential to know what your audience cares about, how they consume media and where they exist actively online.
Knowing who your ideal audience is will help you tailor your marketing efforts to their interests and preferences, which can make what you produce more engaging and effective. Many business owners have an idea of who their ideal client is, but having the data to support you will help you focus on your content.
What does that data look like? It can look like you setting up your goals or key performance indicators for your content, whether it’s more followers, lead generation or a certain number of email subscribers. Whatever those goals are, in measurement, you want to identify the biggest KPI and align metrics to that.
There are multiple ways to discover your audience. For example, conduct market research, analyze your website traffic and engage with your audience on social media to better understand their interests. What pages are they liking and following? Where are they commenting? What questions are they asking?
Focusing Too Much On Sales
Selling is not the goal. It is one of the supporting actors. While the ultimate goal of content marketing is to drive sales, focusing solely on promoting your products or services can be an immediate turnoff to your audience, especially if you’re just getting started.
Rather than selling, focus on building trust and providing value to your audience through informative, educational or entertaining content. This will help you establish credibility with your audience and lead them to be excited about what you’re producing, so they’ll be more likely to share it and buy from you in the future.
For example, let’s say your company sells coaching services; you might want your content to be more about the type of coaching you do, such as wellness. In that case, you might want to talk about the benefits of fitness, mental therapy, food hacks and work-life balance. You don’t want to actively sell your coaching program all the time.
To avoid this mistake, create a calendar that balances both sales-enabled and educational content.
Creating at least one piece of content every day might seem like a lot, but with a strategy, calendar and the appropriate time given to it, it won’t feel like such a daunting task.
Creating and posting inconsistently and infrequently can hurt your brand’s credibility, decrease engagement and impact your search engine rankings. It’s essential to create a consistent posting schedule to keep your audience engaged and improve your visibility online. To avoid this mistake, create a calendar that outlines your posting schedule and ensures you have a steady stream of content going out. You can also use scheduling tools to plan in advance and save time.
Not Paying Attention To SEO
Search engine optimization is changing and adapting to artificial intelligence, but it is crucial to ensure you’re reaching your ideal audience. A lack of SEO can result in your content not being found, which, ultimately, can lead to a lack of traffic.
For blogs, websites or other resources that are openly available online, optimizing it for keywords that your audience is searching for can be useful. You can also use internal and external links to improve your website’s authority, fix technical errors and ensure your website is responsive and mobile-friendly.
Content marketing can be an incredibly effective way for small businesses to attract and retain customers. However, it’s essential to avoid a few common mistakes that can hinder your success. By creating a clear strategy, defining your audience, building trust and offering value, posting consistently and optimizing for search, you can create a successful campaign that engages your ideal customer and drives results.
Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?