Content is king! We’ve all heard this cliché a million times before, but it’s true. In fact, it’s never been more valid than it is today. Your content is increasingly critical to generating leads, encouraging referrals and making sales, regardless of your industry. A recent study showed that a full two-thirds of buyers relied more on content to make buying decisions in 2015 than they did the previous year.
Still, most content marketers struggle to formulate the right strategy. What’s more, the vast majority of content marketers make at least one of the same three crushing errors. These killer mistakes sabotage their strategy from the get-go, ruining the potential of their content to connect with potential buyers. Ouch!
“So how do I avoid these mistakes?!” you wonder. I’m glad you asked. Let’s dig into the three crushing mistakes most content marketers make -- and how you can avoid them:
1.Their content doesn’t connect with a specific target audience.
Writing content for your target audience might sound like a no-brainer, but it’s actually one of the biggest challenges in content marketing. Many content marketers opt for “shock-and-awe” click-bait tactics instead of writing sensible content for potential buyers. This couldn’t be more damaging to their credibility -- or their bottom lines.
Your prospects already get bombarded with publicity stunts, flashy ads and brainless content every day. They don’t want to see more from your business. Instead, your prospects want to see specialized content that applies only to them -- not a broad-sweep maneuver to win every consumer with a credit card. So, although it’s always critical to use catchy headlines that intrigue readers, it’s doubly important that your content has real substance for a specific target audience.
If you aim to write high-value, customer-centric content, you’ll ultimately gain a loyal following of readers. And those readers will become your customers. To avoid the crushing mistake of writing content that doesn’t connect with your prospects, you must first identify your target audience before writing any piece of content. Then carefully craft your message to appeal only to that select group of potential buyers.
2. They lack a plan to consistently generate content ideas.
Coming up with writing topics can be a daunting task, particularly for entrepreneurs. But effective idea generation is crucial to a successful content marketing strategy for a growing business. It’s also key to reaching current and prospective customers. (No pressure, right?)
It’s understandably tempting to throw your hands up and say, “It’s all been written before! I have nothing new to say. My customer base has already heard it all.” Many content marketers get stuck in this slump because they have no idea-generation strategy in place. The result is uninspired writing that fails to engage your audience, and an unpredictable flow of content creation. But if you simply implement a strategic plan for idea generation, you’ll be shocked by how many relevant, compelling and powerful writing topics you can conjure up.
This is the process of turning on your “idea fire-hose” -- an endless stream of content ideas that will spout like a torrent once it’s been activated. Figure out what technique works best for you, whether it’s interviewing colleagues, writing about current events, emulating the top thought leaders in your field, or surveying your own audience to find out what they want to read. Then create a weekly plan to generate enough writing ideas for each month, and stick to it.
3. Poor writing quality hurts their credibility.
This third mistake is by far the simplest and also the most common. The majority of content marketers skip the crucial last step of reviewing and revising their content before publication. Why? They think no one will notice a little typo, and they’d rather publish right away than spend time ensuring high-quality writing. This is a dangerous mentality.
In reality, consumers expect to see clean, clear, professional-quality content from the businesses they hire. Rightly so. Even the least discerning readers are put off by sloppy writing, spelling errors, or typos in a company’s business content. They might even decline to hire that business purely because its content is unprofessional.
That’s why it’s time to commit to always revise your content before it reaches your readers. And yes, you really have to. After all, if you don’t care enough to produce high-quality content in your own name, why should your customers trust you’ll do a professional job for them?