Have you thought about content marketing to launch your business? Do you want to avoid the biggest mistakes while building your business online? Look no further. In this article, you’ll discover 13 big mistakes that screw up your content marketing strategy and how to avoid them.
#1 Having No Clue Who You are Talking To
The biggest mistake you can make is not knowing who you are talking to. Launching your business online, means defining who you want to serve (target audience or niche market). If your business focuses on everyone, you are attracting no one.
Start by answering these 4 questions:
- -Who do you want to help?
- -What are their problems and desires?
- -How can you reach them?
- -What content are they looking for?
#2 Sharing Poor Content
The most obvious mistake is sharing poor content. You might have heard the phrase: “content is king”. It’s still true. What is great content? It’s the kind of content that people are looking for to solve their problems or fulfill their needs. So, it’s not about what you think is important! It’s all about your customers, clients, prospects, audience, or whatever you like to call them.
#3 Driving No Traffic to Your Central Hub
The next thing you need is web traffic. Great content without traffic is like writing a bestseller without readers. It does not work!
So, what do you do to generate traffic to the content on your central hub? Build relationships. This takes time and effort. Reach out to other experts, comment on their blogs. Follow other people on twitter. Re-tweet great content that’s published by others. Become a fan on Facebook and leave a personal message on the wall. Connect with other professionals on LinkedIn. Include other experts in your Google Plus circles. All these connections will organically drive traffic to your website.
#4 Proclaiming Your Skills Instead of Demonstrating Them
Content creation without content promotion doesn’t get you anywhere.
Let other people talk about your content. Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing. If you offer great content, people will distribute it for you.
Social media -like Twitter or Facebook- are all about building human emotional relationships. Use these social platforms to reach out to your audience.
Listen to your audience, share great content and they will start sharing it for you for free! Get the initial spark so people pay attention to your content and just want to share it with their friends, fans, followers or Google circles.
#5 Afraid to Give Away Too Much Content
Content strategy is all about demonstrating confidence and sharing your expertise. You can never share too much content. If you run a service business, the more you tell, the more you sell.
By consuming your content, people will start to understand they need an expert to get the job done. It better be you they’ll hire. Use the bikini method: give away 90% and offer the last 10% if they become your client. Develop a special product or service for this last 10%. If 90% of your content is great they want it all and buy your last 10%.
#6 Running Your Business on Alien Platforms
Your website is the center of your business. It’s your media property. If you follow a content strategy, start to realize you are a publisher. It means you should own and manage the platform that publishes the content. Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus are great platforms to engage with your audience, but you don’t own them.
Once Mark Zuckerberg or Google decides to pull the plug, you are out of business. That’s why you need to run your business on your own platform.
#7 Ignoring the Diversity of Social Platforms
When people are actively looking for a solution to their problem, they are going online to find great content. Online is becoming such an important channel. You can build your business just with social platforms. But, you need to know how to use them. Think about this: if you buy the best race car there is, but don’t work on your driving skills, you are never ever going to win that race.
Each platform is unique. Social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google Plus are all about building relationships. However, the type of relationships differ from platform to platform.
Campaign platforms offer another environment to use the social dimension for your business. Companies -like Strutta, Wildfire or NorthSocial – offer great solutions to start a campaign for raving fans. Think about the type of contest that fits your skills, your business and suits your audience. Read “How to Run a Successful Social Media Contest” to learn how to ignite user generated content.
#8 Focusing on Selling instead of Helping People
Your content strategy will only work if your primary motivation is helping other people. This requires a certain attitude. First and foremost you need to start by listening. Ask open questions. Have patience and use words that communicate “I want to help you” instead of “You need to buy”.
To quote Jay Bear (owner of Convince and Convert): “The difference between helping and selling is just two letters, but those letters mean everything. Find a way to genuinely help other people via social media, and it will come back to you five-fold eventually”.
#9 Inviting people without Building a List
Online, you don’t buy a list, you build one.
If you don’t have access to your audience, you can never offer them your products or services. Don’t use social media to sell your stuff. That’s where your website comes in. Use social media to invite people to great content on your website. Offer them something of value in return for their email and name. Think about a free e-book, research report or online video tutorial. Use your list to share more great content with your subscribers. And then invite them to check out your special product or service.
#10 Having No Call to Action
Your online visibility depends on the actions that other people take. If you have a blog site to share content, make sure you add a clear “call to action”. Ask for comments, invite your audience to share the content with their friends, followers or fans. Tell them how they can register for your newsletter or online webinar.
If you tweet your latest article, don’t hesitate to ask for a re-tweet. Don’t be shy, but prevent to be pushy.
#11 Not Using Stats to Learn What Your Audience Values
How do you know what content your audience values? The answer is in the stats. Google analytics offers you great stats on the number of page views, the number of unique visitors, the popularity of certain pages, the origin of your visitors, the kind of browser they use, if your website gets organic traffic by Google or if it’s generated by social platforms.
#12 Paying Zero Attention to Search Engine Optimization
People start online when they look for something. Google still drives most of the traffic online. You better make sure part of this traffic hits your website. The magical word here is search engine optimization. It’s knowing which “keywords” to use on your site. How? Learn which “search phrases” your audience uses to find a solution to solve their problem or fulfill their desires.
Where should you use these keywords? Put them in domain names, taglines, permalinks, post tags, categories, headlines, subtitles and in the paragraphs of your articles. Be consistent with this.
If your website is optimized for search engines, you’ll need patience. Soon, your content will rank high on Google for these keywords. In other words: your articles appear on the first page of Google.
If you want to know how to find the right keywords for your niche, read “5 Golden Rules of Laser Targeting Keyword Research”.
#13 Selling somebody Else’s Stuff
So, you have your blog site with fantastic content. Stunning social marketing and magical search engine optimization to generate web traffic. You’re almost there. But, don’t make the mistake by selling somebody else’ s products or services.
Maybe you think you can make money with advertising revenue? It’ s possible if your site attracts thousands of unique visitors per day. Most websites do not attract these huge number of visitors. So, you need something else. Start creating your own products and services.
Make sure your products and services are visible. If you have a newsletter, this is the perfect medium to offer you products or services. Do it on a regular bases, without being pushy. Share best practices. Use real-time cases to demonstrate your expertise and invite your audience to check out your products or services.
Avoid these 13 mistakes, and I’m sure your content marketing strategy will launch your business to places you couldn’t imagine. It’s my wish, to guide you with this.
Do you have any questions? Please use the comment box to share your reaction.
Before I leave, I like to give credits to Robert Bruce and Brian Clark. By listening to Copyblogger Radio, I got a ton of tips about internet marketing for smart people.
Juan is also the senior editor and contributing author of Nieuwe Media Gids. An online magazine to support Dutch entrepreneurs and marketers with new media marketing.
Juan writes for one of the 4 major magazines in the US, fb&business, where he shares his latest insights on Facebook for business.
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