You invested considerable time, money and effort into building up your content factory.
You hired the best writers this side of the universe, employed the most talented designers, and have scripted a few “killer” marketing videos.
Website with blog? Check.
Social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube? Check.
SEO optimized keywords in your content? Check.
Now, you rolled out your content and wait. And wait. And wait. And nothing happens.
Wonder why your content marketing efforts aren’t working? Let me go through the ways.
#1 Uberly narcissistic content
Have you encountered companies who love to talk about themselves?
Yep, the kind who loves to boast about their latest state-of-the-art whatever, or share for the umpteenth time about how great thou art. After receiving their continual self-boasting spam, you will do one of two things:
Remove them from your feed
Unsubscribe from their mailing list
There is a time and place for bragging (humble or otherwise). Doing it all the time kills interest in your brand.
#2 Excessive link baiting content
Admittedly, we all have to do some link baiting now and then. After all, there are a gazillion articles out there in the Internet, and we all know how “You wouldn’t believe what happened next…” or “Watch how she makes her dad proud” articles just catches those eyeballs.
The problem with doing too many of these posts is that it may damage interest in your “ordinary” content. Your readers and followers may only show interest in your content when it thrills or titillates. What’s more, you could end up attracting audiences who may not be the CEOs, marketing directors, and procurement managers whom you are targeting.
#3 Boring like hell content
While excessively entertaining content may attract the wrong target audience, boring your readers to sleep will also do harm to your brand.
Most of the folks who read your stuff are doing it on their mobiles and tablets. If you can’t catch their eye enough through the use of vivid visuals, clever copy, and useful shareable content, you are dead in the water.
#4 Unrealistic content marketing expectations
Content marketing is a long and hard slog. Trust me, I have been doing it for years, and I’m still trying to press the magic button to “instant millions”. While there are various ways to “growth hack” your way to content marketing success, the truth is that it does take at least a few months to start seeing success.
You also need to be realistic about your chances in your industry.
Here in Singapore (and perhaps much of Asia), content marketing is still very much at its infancy for the B2B sector, especially heavy industries like manufacturing, construction and engineering.
While it may take some time to see success, you should still keep creating and sharing quality content which meets your customer needs and brings in leads.
#5 Perpetual promotion machine
Have you noticed how some company’s Facebook pages are mere “promo dumps”? In other words, virtually every single post is an opportunity to sell, Sell, SELL!
Now there is nothing wrong with sales. Without sales, companies die. However, content which is perpetually promotional in nature is spammy, and nobody likes spam.
Remember that the idea behind content marketing is to provide useful information which helps you gain trust and likability. Use the 80/20 rule in content marketing to ensure that you only sell 20% of the time. Only after you have earned the affection from your targeted communities should you then try to make a sale.
#6 No Call To Actions
One of the things about content marketing is this – you need to make it all funnel downwards towards the KPI trinity of lead generation, customer purchase, and customer advocacy.
If your content doesn’t prompt your customers to take action of some kind, you will just be another online magazine. Having said that, do note that you need to space out your CTAs. There are times when you just want to share valuable content to educate or entertain your followers without any strings attached.
What are some of the useful Call To Actions (CTAs) that you can weave into your content?
Invite them to sign up for your mailing list. Services like MailChimp make it easy for you to set up your own mailing list and to reach your clients.
Include a promotion code specially for readers to redeem something valuable. This can be downloading an eBook from your website, a free trial course, or a limited period discount for purchase.
Ask a question to get your communities to respond to your post. These days, the engagement tend to be more on your social networks like Facebook or LinkedIn rather than your blog itself.
#7 Now you see it, now you don’t
Harry Houdini may be famous for his disappearing act, but that doesn’t mean that you should do likewise.
Like all things noteworthy, content marketing success isn’t built overnight. It doesn’t just happen through a momentary flash of brilliant content which gets shared all over town and made you a viral success.
Rather, content marketing can only work through consistent and reliable work. It requires you to publish quality stuff on a regular basis, using a calendar to manage the frequency of your posts.
#8 All over the shop content
Let me confess that I was/am still occasionally guilty of this. I loved to explore different rabbit holes and to write on widely varied topics here on my blog. However, you can see that I am starting to sharpen my focus around the topics of influencer marketing, content marketing, and personal development.
Having said that, I noticed that the most successful content marketers are often niche bloggers. While they may have an occasional mix in their content, their core content focus usually forms 80% to 90% of what they share online. This can be anything from food, fashion, travel, photography to niche areas like pet photography and wedding fashion.
#9 Excessively creating false scarcity
As a content marketer, I subscribe to numerous mailing lists to get an idea of what others are doing. I often get a good laugh when I read emails from “content spam” marketers who implore me to “Sign up for this NOW!” or “Grab this deal within the next 24 hours before it expires” or “EXCLUSIVE – Only if you act within the next two days”.
Come on guys. We know that you are applying the “scarcity” principle highlighted in Robert Cialdini’s six principles of influence (read Who’s Your Influencer ).
An occasional time-bound offer may work in your favour. Doing it repeatedly, however, will make you appear spammy and desperate. And that’s not a good place to start.
#10 Not sharing or caring
Finally, content marketing only works if your content is searchable and shareable. While a quality piece is more likely to gain traction, you need to also cultivate relationships with your community. Remember that “reciprocity” is another one of the principles of influence.
To win friends and influence people, you need to also read and share the content of others in your field.
Participate actively in interest groups on social networks, and share the content of others. Engage with your community members by responding to their comments or commenting on their posts. Retweet thoughtful tweets from others.
What other content marketing sins can you think of?