Small business owners everywhere are realizing that an effective content marketing campaign has the power to reach more potential customers than traditional marketing methods like flyers, brochures, radio spots, and billboards. Even better, a great content marketing campaign doesn't have to cost a lot of money. With inexpensive web hosting and free social media accounts, marketing has never been cheaper.
Unfortunately, though, there are some very easy ways to kill your content marketing campaign. Let's take a look at these common mistakes so you can avoid them and get your content marketing campaign running like a well-oiled machine.
1. Moving Forward Without a Plan. Unlike the old days when you had to wait for a printer to print your brochures and then wait for the postal service to deliver them, today you can post something on the Internet in a matter of seconds. Thanks to the Internet's instant gratification, it's easy to let your enthusiasm carry you away. If you've ever posted eight blog posts in the first two weeks and then not even looked at your blog for six months, you're not alone.
To combat this tendency, funnel your initial enthusiasm into creating a plan. With a plan in place, you're much more likely to stick with a schedule, cover the range of topics necessary to promote your business, and delegate tasks when you're overwhelmed with other aspects of your business. Your plan should include the type of content you want to produce (web pages, blog posts, social media posts, YouTube videos, e-books, etc.), the publishing frequency (weekly blog posts, daily Twitter tweets), and the topics you'll cover. With this plan in place, it's easy to delegate tasks without losing sight of your goals.
2. Using Tired, Worn-out Topics. Although a content marketing campaign may be inexpensive, people won't read your content if it's not interesting. But how will you know what topics people will be interested in?
Customize your news to get headline updates on keywords for your industry. For example, if you use Google News and you run a salon, personalize your news to include the following keywords: "celebrity hair," "spa treatments," and "styles." Every day when you check the news, you'll see the latest news for your industry. Tweeting and posting content based on current events not only increases your hits, but it also tells readers that you're on the cutting edge of your industry.
3. Being Inconsistent. Whether it's fair or not, the way you handle your online presence shapes customers' impressions of you. If your website hasn't been updated since 2010, customers will think that your business is stagnant or declining, even if your shop front is as busy as ever.
To be consistent with your content marketing campaign, give yourself deadlines and meet them religiously, even if you have to hire out some of the work.
4. Depending Too Much on Text. As if attention spans couldn't get any shorter, today's consumers expect more than just text. They want to see infographics, professional images, how-to-videos, and even audio blog posts. For people on the go, long, detailed text-based articles will get passed over.
To reach the most people, produce content in a variety of different forms. Some people like to read thorough technical articles. Others like to watch videos. Still others want to post stunning pictures on Pinterest, and if you have an informative article behind the picture, they'll lead others to your site. When deciding how to present information, think about what you have to say and which medium can best represent your ideas.
5. Keeping It All to Yourself. I know a business owner who created a beautiful, informative blog. The blog was a treasure trove of helpful resources full of professional images, links to other sites, and well-written text. The problem was that nobody ever read it.
Why? Because she didn't know how to spread the word. Don't keep your content marketing campaign all to yourself. Tweet your blog posts, include links to your social media and website on all of your marketing material, including your business cards and emails. Make connections with suppliers, clients, and friends who can spread the word. Write guest posts for other blogs, and interview industry leaders on your own blog.
Avoid these common content marketing mistakes and you'll reap the benefits of the Internet's marketing power. Excellent, timely content gets forwarded and forwarded to people you never could have anticipated marketing to, and your business will grow and thrive because of it.
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