As the marketing and PR industry continues to grow and change, so do the demands for content creators and marketers.
If you are one of 84% of marketers increasing your content marketing budget for the upcoming year, make the most of it by leaving these common content marketing blunders behind.
Mistake #1: Blindly creating content
“A campaign is only as valuable as the insights its messaging is based on,” says James Rubec, Cision’s Content Strategist.
If your content is not useful, valuable and relevant to your audience, they won’t read it. Discover what is most interesting to your target audience by listening to them carefully before you start writing anything. A social listening campaign will not only uncover what your customers are concerned about, it will provide insights into what other content they consume, and how they engage with that content.
It’s time for brands to listen beyond brand mentions. Media monitoring and social listening tools are powerful friends. They can tap into the online conversations of your target audiences en masse, and of your industry as a whole, giving you statistically relevant data to guide your next content move.
See how the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo in Northern Alberta and the NHS in England have benefited from social listening campaigns that saved money and achieved communications objectives, here.
Mistake #2: Operating without a content calendar
If content marketers needed a license to operate, the test would be 80% content calendar development. It is essential for planning and preparing effective campaigns that connect with the right people at the right time. Seeing your content themes mapped out in weekly and monthly spreads will bring fresh ideas to light – guaranteed. You may realize a particular creative endeavor would be more appropriate for back-to-school timing than March Break, for example. Or that you don’t have as many work weeks as you thought before that conference in June.
The CNW 2017 editorial content calendar was created to get you started and is available for free download here. This calendar will help align your content with important seasonal events and when layered with your product marketing or business strategy roadmap, it will help ensure you have a solid content plan in place for the coming year.
Make the most of popular content pieces by recycling them periodically throughout the year. Including re-promotion in your editorial calendar will help you to create a balanced cadence between the promotion of fresh and evergreen content.
Mistake #3: Leaving out Calls-to-Action
Never miss an opportunity to get results by showing your audience what you want them to do next. Don’t be shy about it, either. This is no time to be coy.
Want downloads? Be sure to provide a place to “download now.” If your goal is social media engagement, add social sharing features to your news release or blog post. Encourage readers to sign up to your newsletter with a pop-up subscription box or draw their attention to a clearly visible “request a demo” button.
Tracking engagement with your CTAs allows you to demonstrate the value of your content — which is important when discussing budgets and resource allocation with the C-suite.
Excluding a call-to-action (CTA) is a rookie mistake that you won’t take with you into 2017.
Mistake #4: Thinking it’s all about you
Smart marketers avoid the hard sale within content pieces. Including a mention of how your product can help solve the reader’s problem is perfectly acceptable but your content marketing piece should not resemble an online flyer.
“You’re marketing a product and service, but at the same time, your customers expect a compelling narrative from a human perspective,” explains Talya Miller, community manager at digital marketing agency, Sculpt on the topic of finding the right balance.
Find your balance by first listening to your customers to understand their needs and expectations from your brand.
Mistake #5: Ignore influencers
“Awareness is fine, but advocacy will take your business to the next level,” explains Joe Tripodi, CMO, for The Coca-Cola Company.
Advertising no longer attracts customers the way it once did; consumers are turning to influencers to connect on a more organic and natural level. Choosing the right influencer to partner with is a challenge many marketers face. Listening (see point 1!) will help you monitor conversations to see which influencers your target audience are following and engaging with.
This Cision Canada blog post looks at ways brands can use data and insights to choose the perfect influencer for their next campaign. A tip to Canadian marketers: consider disclosure laws and ensure your brand is compliant at all times.
Mistake #6: Don’t promote your content
Consider content creation as the first of many steps in the content marketing process. Too often, brands publish a blog post and it sits on a website, unread and unable to inspire sales.
In 2017, pledge to share your content on all channels to reach the widest audience possible. The most successful content marketing strategies include distribution tactics. Tweet a link to your latest blog post or send a news release to promote your upcoming Facebook Live event. Our white paper, The Distribution Effect: Bring Your Content Marketing to The Next Level, provides advice and tips as well as a checklist to guide you through a distribution strategy that will meet your business objectives.