Does content marketing actually yield heightened sales, loyal customers and cost savings as it almost always? Or is there more to it than meets the perennially trusting eye? Global biggies including Microsoft, Michelin, Cisco Systems and John Deere have all embraced content marketing thanks to its ability to give actual results – increased sales, greater customer engagement and improved bottom-lines.
The upper echelons of technology-driven society have gone one step further in declaring that content marketing is the future of the business world. In many ways, it really is, considering how far it has come from the late 1990s when marketers used to rely on emails, blogs and digital media to proliferate content marketing and gain traction for their products/ services.
Back to the present, and future. Aggregated content is the mantra and second chances are a thing of the past. One wrong move and your entire business structure crumbles faster than a pack of cards. It is not without a reason that social media tycoons like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc are all making content marketing ubiquitous and imparting a new dimension every few months.
That being said, content marketing can also become a company’s worst nightmare if it’s not taken seriously. Here are seven deadly mistakes that marketers and start ups can ill-afford to undermine.
Missing the mark
For a startup, it is imperative to pay utmost attention to every marketing aspect because you need to get the word despite all limitations. You may not have the financial backing or the right type of connections with ‘those who matter’, buy you do have the two most precious resources– an idea that can potentially transform lives by altering the status quo – and your conviction in its merit.
Now, it’s your job to get others to feel excited about your ideas as you are. Often, most attention remains focused on the production, development and maintenance – for the right reasons too. Now add the component of agile marketing to prioritize areas that need to reach the people who need to know it.
Content marketing is inexorably a key step in customer engagement, acquisition and retention because of its penchant to have contextual relevance at every single touch point.
Emphasize on the unique perks, benefits and high points of the content, even if there are just a couple of them to begin with. Play with words with actionable integrity and infuse life and meaning into your cherished offering to the business world. This pique and sustain your audience’s interest for the company.
Conveying everything but the truth
A misleading, deceptive content provided by the company about a particular service or product is a sure way of bring about the downfall of the entire company. The stakes are higher than ever before and maintaining absolute transparency about your service is no longer optional.
The last thing knowledge-hungry users will tolerate is cooked up or half-baked information. For instance, a food major that chooses to reveal ingredients or veil any information about the content or its packaging is downright unethical.
Always, always remember to do a thorough research before inundating customers with facts, figures and statistics. Cross check the collated information and be ever-ready to furnish detail proofs for every statement that you make, project and share on your website or social media platforms.
Neglecting the creative aspect of content marketing
There are millions of blogs that do nothing more than churning out the same type of content, day in and day out. How can you be sure as to which of these websites deliver genuine content that solves problems or adds value? Many websites and blogs egregiously continue to produce content to satiate the compelling demands of SEO, much to their own peril.
Stuffing down meaningless, unhelpful or repetitive content is a sure way of making your audience regurgitate, just like they would if you forced them to eat the same food at an interval of 30 minutes, without any respite.
The art of playing safe and depending on the tried and tested formula is an outdated practice that is a sure shot way to fail because it is a reactive approach. This era belongs to those who reach out to their audience proactively before they realize their own pain point by anticipating their challenges before they actually manifest.
In other words – solving tomorrow’s problems today – is the only way forward.
Missing out on customer feedback
Not paying attention to customer feedback can make them feel let down because it clearly demonstrates that you’re taking them for granted. Inevitably, it is a recipe for disaster because it has a negative impact on customer perception, which is oftentimes even more important than reality itself.
It is a predicament that most content marketing in the existing times is done online, which makes it difficult to gauge the real-time emotional response of your audience.
As opposed to sharing online feedback forms which are not always filled in accurately by customers, conducting virtual surveys is a better means of understanding what is it that they are thinking about and is more important to them at this point in time. In turn, this can encourage brands to fine tune the quality of their products and prolong their shelf life.
Too much complication
John Jantsch put it beautifully, “Your impact is measured not by what you do, but by what happens to other people when you do it.”
Content marketing is all about simplicity, really. While there is some method to the madness about alluring audiences to get interested in what you have to say by weaving magic with words, the message and its essence must be simple to understand.
Making the content sound complicated using technical jargon just for the heck of it is a fantastic way of making your audience look the other way. Remember, content marketing is, to a great extent, responsible for helping your audience realize the value you’re attempting to bring in their lives with your idea/product.
For that to happen though, they must understand what you’re trying to say and then relate to it. A single lapse in this lifecycle can break the momentum and create chunks of communication gap. That is a mistake you can ill-afford to make. By the same token, if you’re able to get them to ‘get it’, that’s half the battle won.
The thing about these death traps is that they are easy to miss, much like a seemingly innocuous speed-breaker than can create havoc. Predictably, this makes them that much more lethal. The need of the hour is to maintain a strict vigil at every touch point, double check and repeat. Content marketing is an evolving landscape that can be navigated safely as long as you’re in charge and do course correction, whenever necessary.