Whether your current content marketing campaign is based off tons of research and planning or you've just taken a stab at what you think needs to be done, there are a few key signals that you're heading in the wrong direction. Don't ignore these five warning signs that might be trying to tell you that you're off to a rocky start.
1. You Started With Keywords
Keywords definitely play an important part of a successful content marketing campaign, but they should never be the focus of your efforts. A content marketing campaign is about connecting with real people and providing them with solutions to their problems.
Always start by thinking about who you want to talk to. Think about their problems and how these problems affect their daily lives. Are they troubled at work or inconvenienced at home? Is it about themselves or a family member? Or a supervisor? Then, figure out how you can solve these problems and generate your content around those solutions.
2. You Started With a "Big Idea"
Content marketing campaigns are not like advertising campaigns. In advertising, there is a tendency to brainstorm and concentrate on coming up with a Big Idea and then deploy the Big Idea to make a splash.
Content marketing, on the other hand, is all about the long game. While it's good to have some consistency throughout all the content you create, each piece of content needs to be a targeted, specific Small Idea and able to stand on its own legs.
3. You're too Worried About the Competition
It is definitely good to keep tabs on what competitors are doing but your content marketing campaign should be light years away from what they are doing. Don't try to mimic what everyone else is doing thinking that they have some insight or information that you don't have.
Remember that the goal of your content marketing campaign is to connect with people. You want to give them a reason to first choose your content over the others and then to choose your products over the competition's. If you're just blending in, they'll never know what the difference is. Always be original and try multiple types of content marketing.
4. You're Not Fully Committed
A successful content marketing campaign needs dedication and regular attention. It's not something that you can play around with in your free time and ignore when you're busy with other projects. Instead, it requires regular care and feeding if you want it to flourish.
Nowhere is this more true than blogging. Most experts will recommend that you blog at least once or twice per week to get the best results. The same goes for your social media accounts, although the frequency depends on your audience and your message. You don't want to annoy people by clogging up their news feed with a post every hour, but if you only post once a month then you run the risk of being forgotten.
5. You're Focusing Too Much on Isolated Metrics
If you're blogging several times per week as part of your content marketing campaign, you might be tempted to focus on the number of hits each page gets or how your rankings are affected with each post. The sales team might be focusing only on how many more dollars have been generated to see if sales are increasing.
The trouble with isolating these metrics is that they leave out so many other signs that your campaign is doing its job. For example, your social media accounts may get the most engagement from customers who have already made a sale and they're slowly becoming loyal repeat buyers based on the attention they're getting on Facebook. In this case, sales have not increased... yet. You need to be patient to see the benefits of content marketing.
To get a clear idea of how well you're doing, you want to see the big picture to see all the areas that are improved including customer retention, referrals, number of new leads, conversions, total sales over time, and overall website traffic and ranking.
Don't Throw in the Towel
One of the best things about content marketing is that it's never too late to pull the plug on what you've been doing and start fresh. Unlike expensive advertising campaigns, content campaigns can take a new direction at any time. Small changes can have a big impact so if any of the above signs look like they're pointing at you, simply adjust your focus and move forward in a better direction and you'll find success. To learn more about the importance of your content marketing campaign, check out our white paper, "What is a Digital Content Strategy? And Why You Need One!"