Content marketing has quickly become an essential part of the overall marketing strategy for many of today’s most successful brands. Eight-four percent of top-performing companies are already using it or plan to incorporate content marketing in the near future.
But with that widespread adoption comes a great deal of error. It’s easy to get tunnel vision with a new marketing approach; but like any marketing tactic, content marketing requires a great deal of time, planning, and consistent action in order to deliver proper returns.
Here are some of the most common errors companies make when hiring on content marketers.
1. Not promoting the content that is produced.
Creating content is only a small part of the workload. If you’re going to invest in a content marketing team, agency, or freelance writer, you need to make the full investment to promote that content. Content promotion starts with you taking action.
No matter how good the quality of the content, it won’t be effective if you don’t promote it.
Buffer is a tool I stand behind for scheduling content to be distributed across your social channels. Given that it’s a platform for social sharing, the Buffer team knows a thing or two about the process.
Each of their posts utilizes a strong call to action for sharing, and it’s one of the reasons their blog posts consistently rack up thousands of shares.
You also need to reach out to influencers every time they’re mentioned in your content, and do this 10x over. This is how you’ll get the biggest influencers in your industry sharing your content -- and you’ll build up quite an audience.
The importance of reaching out to influencers can’t be overemphasized. In fact, one of the first things I look for when I'm hiring content marketers is their ability to write outreach emails. It’s a must-have skill for my team.
2. Focusing on content quantity over quality.
There are a lot of stats out there that tell us content creation is important, like the fact that 60% of marketers create at least one piece of content each day.
But there’s the rub -- success with content marketing has a lot less to do with quantity, and a lot more to do with quality and consistency.
Great content is going to be shared more often, so it stands to reason that a lot more great content will net a company even more visibility, right?
In theory, sure.
I applaud a brand for being ambitious, but creating great content takes time and significant effort. Without a strong content team to handle the demands of content creation, you’re going to get overwhelmed pushing for a high quantity right out of the gate.
Start slow. Take the time to examine what you learn and then adjust your strategy and goals based on what works and what doesn’t. As entrepreneur Matthew Toren writes, “Find the minimum quantity of content your website needs to achieve maximum results without affecting quality, then work from there.”
3. Being too focused on production.
Customized content produced for a specific audience is a growing trend, with 57 percent of marketers reporting that custom content was a top priority for them back in 2014, according to Altimeter.
A big mistake that companies make is getting stuck with the mindset that it’s all about creation.
Your audience certainly wants to hear from you. It’s why they follow you on social media in the first place. It’s also why 70 percent of people say they always open emails from their favorite companies.
Customers want you to engage with them prior to a sale. By providing quality content, both original and from industry leaders and even competitors, you position yourself as a trusted source in the industry.
“Content curation is an integral part of content marketing, too,” writes Neil Patel. “Hundreds of thousands of great pieces of content never get seen or read. If you can find that content and make it easily accessible to your audience… you’ll stand out.”
When your audience sees content from other sources, it tells them that you’re interested in providing value – and that builds trust. Once you have that trust, they are far more likely to become a new customer or to continue to engage with your business as a repeat customer.
A service like Quuu.co makes it easy to curate content relevant to your audience, and it can feed automatically into your Buffer account to be scheduled out through your social channels.
4. They aren’t solving a problem.
There are a lot of ways to publish content. You can rely on visuals with images and video. You can create long-form content filled with statistics and amazing facts. You can even churn out live video to interact directly with your audience.
But some companies focus so much on the production value of the content, that they neglect the most important aspect: it needs to solve a problem.
“Get laser-focused on your customers’ desired outcomes,” writes Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute. “Instead of primarily writing about products or services you are trying to pitch, focus first on what the reader is looking to get out of the content you provide.”
Hiring a content marketer only for the sake of creating content is arguably the biggest mistake a company can make. Everything you do should revolve around solving the frustrations and problems of your audience, and getting them the answers and solutions they desire.