Avoiding the pitfalls of content marketing

young professional exhaustedEditor’s Note: This article originally appeared on the Strategic Communications blog.

In today’s marketing environment, content is king. Content is what drives potential customers to your website and gets them to know your brand and what your organization has to offer. Often, potential customers are first and foremost content consumers. They don’t care about your products or services, but if you have something interesting to show or tell them, they might keep returning to your site and getting to know your brand in the process. But content marketing isn’t easy, and there are many pitfalls.

Identify your target audience

For example, many content marketers have trouble managing their target audiences. Effective content marketing requires balancing the desire to reach a broad audience and the need to be focused enough to keep the interest of your visitors. You can’t be everything to everyone, but that doesn’t stop marketers from trying!

Taking the time to not only very carefully think about the specific audience segment you are hoping to influence (and in what way), but also to do thorough research on that audience and its interests/concerns can help mitigate this risk. If you have an audience that is too broad, you won’t be able to effectively engage with any of the members; a narrow focus is much better because it is then easier to identify content that is likely to resonate with that audience in meaningful, and more personal, ways.

Publish content consistently

Another common hurdle is not consistently generating content. Content marketing isn’t a one-off. If you want potential customers to keep coming back, you need to have something fresh and worth coming back for. An article by Content Marketing World cites one estimate that content marketing can take up to 15 months to get a business result, compared to roughly six months for SEO. That means you need to be in this for the long haul.

To manage the content beast, we encourage content marketers to establish documented processes that can be used to ensure that content is created, evaluated/edited, posted and monitored regularly. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time and, in fact, when you have good processes in place, your content creation and distribution efforts can be very seamless—and very effective. Tools like Hootsuite, for instance, work well for scheduling posts across multiple channels ahead of time so that they will be sent automatically.

Whether you’re a natural or struggle at the practice, content marketing is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future, so it’s important to develop an aptitude for this form of brand promotion. Learning to avoid the common pitfalls can help make content marketing a regular and routine part of a successful marketing campaign.

Don’t make these content marketing mistakes. Attend Linda Pophal’s session: “Strategic content marketing: Building a plan for efficiency and results.”

About the Author

Linda PophalLinda Pophal, ABC, is owner and CEO of Strategic Communications. She is a marketing and communication strategist with expertise in strategic planning, B2B content marketing, PR/media relations, social media and SEO. Pophal’s background as a freelance business journalist, advertising copywriter and corporate communication professional provides the foundation for understanding how to produce and use high-quality, personalized content to inform, motivate and engage audiences.

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