Columnist Arnie Kuenn presents some helpful tips for all of you out there that do not have a content marketing budget of $1 million or more. Sorry, Coke.
There are many misconceptions about how companies are “supposed” to implement content marketing. And in a perfect world, with a hefty marketing budget and infinite resources, all of us would execute content marketing the “right” way. Unfortunately, that often isn’t the case.
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be. Truthfully, there are many unglamorous (and usually not presented) ways to be effective with content marketing notwithstanding the size of your budget or amount of resources available.
Following are eight ways in which content marketers often waste time and money on content marketing – accompanied by tips to be efficient yet successful without wasting resources or breaking the bank:
Mistake #1: Pitch Your Executives On Content Marketing & Social Media
Getting buy-in from management for new marketing initiatives is always somewhat challenging, and that is no different when it comes to content marketing. And as content marketing has grown in adoption, many executives think they know what it’s all about, but may associate it with big brands and therefore, big budgets.
Because of this, you will most likely be met with objections when trying to pitch content marketing to higher-ups. So instead of focusing your pitch on content marketing and social media, pitch them on listening, teaching and helping your customers.
After all, teaching and helping your audience is the most important aspect, and it’s something most bosses can relate to and get behind. You might be surprised at the difference this subtle change in your pitch can make.
Mistake #2: Creating A Full-Blown Content Strategy
Having a well-documented content strategy can do wonders for a business – if people actually apply it. Unfortunately, lots of time and energy are spent creating big “strategy documents” that are rarely used or referenced when it comes time to carry out the tactics.
Fortunately, there are many resources available that can help get you on track to achieving content marketing ROI without a full-fledged, documented strategy. Sometimes checklists, templates and content calendars are all a business needs to get started. Worry about that full blown strategy later — or never.
Mistake #3: Believing In Content Shock
Some marketers expect that someday, the Internet will become too crowded with content, which has come to be known as “content shock.” Personally, I don’t believe that will be the case.
Great content will always rise to the top; it has been that way throughout the history of content creation. If you’re creating compelling content that is useful to your audience, content shock isn’t anything to worry about. Besides, your competitor is creating something right now; they are not looking for excuses not to create content.
Mistake #4: You Have To Be Awesome At Storytelling
Being awesome at storytelling is always a plus when practicing content marketing, but it’s not a requirement. However, being able to help and educate your audience through the content you create is essential to achieving success. If your content doesn’t meet those criteria, it really doesn’t matter how good “the story” is.
There are many ways to teach and help your audience, be it through “how-to” videos, well-designed infographics or turning your blog into a learning center. However you choose to go about it, always aim to educate, entertain or assist your audience when creating content to provide the best user experience possible. That’s the only “story” you need to tell.
Mistake #5: Content Has To Be Perfect & Long
Often, people agonize over the details of their content, trying to make it perfect before publishing and promoting. Though creating quality content should be the goal, you can’t let perfection be the enemy of good.
Perhaps all you need to get your point across is a short blog post, or a 30-second video. That’s fine! Your audience would surely rather you provide content that is helpful but short, rather than content that is “high quality” and perfectly crafted, yet useless. Focus more on providing the best possible information to your audience, and less on how perfect or long the final product is.
Mistake #6: It’s Too Hard To Measure ROI Of Content Marketing
Measuring content marketing ROI in terms of effectiveness can be difficult when you’re first getting started (and even as your program begins to mature). Too many organizations get bogged down in trying to measure too much. If you are spending hours and hours analyzing likes, retweets, shares, brand awareness, etc., you might be focusing on the wrong data.
What’s important to your business? Usually it boils down to traffic, leads or sales. So maybe that’s all your measurement should focus on.
Keep it simple. Once you get a good handle on that data, then you might have time and expertise to start diving deeper into the analytics.
Mistake #7: Salespeople Just Get In The Way; Let Marketing Do It!
To be successful with content marketing, you need to have great content, right? And to create truly great content, you need to find out exactly what your audience’s pain points are and personalize it to their needs. Who better to tell you what your customers want to know other than your sales team – the people who spend their days talking to and emailing with clients and customers?
Salespeople can be some of your best content creators. They know what problems and frustrations your customers face, and they are probably asked the same questions over and over again. That is what every company’s content focus should be – customer problems, frustrations and frequently asked questions – as the goal is to be helpful and useful. Move over, marketing, and let sales contribute to your content marketing strategy!
Mistake #8: Measuring Conversions Is All That Matters
Not to be confused with ROI (#6 above), engagement metrics should not be overlooked. Social media sites can generate traffic, amplify your reach, and help you build trust with your audience.
Though you may not be able to figure out how much a Facebook “like” is worth, engagement metrics can be used to determine which content resonates most with your audience. This data is extremely useful in shaping your content marketing plan going forward. Additionally, metrics like referral traffic and time-on-page can be telling – find out where your audience hangs out online based on your referral traffic, and uncover the top performing content through time-on-page.
Overall, there are a number of ways companies with any size budget and amount of resources can realize content marketing success. Don’t get caught up in creating a detailed strategy, being the best storyteller or striving for perfection. Instead, focus on helping your customers – and driving revenue, cutting costs and building trust while doing it.
What other content marketing misconceptions have you heard? Share with me in the comment section below.Image Credit: TaxCredits.net, Sybren Stüvel and CollegeDegrees360