Content Marketing is one of the best ways to connect with your customer base, gain a loyal, long-term following, and establish your business as the expert in your industry, all while enhancing your sales through a low-cost technique. In order to maximize its potential, you need to avoid these three costly mistakes that could derail the entire effort.
Over the last few years I have created thousands of pages of content online. I wrote, edited, photographed, videoed, and graphic designed content using hundreds of contributors spanning hundreds of topics. It has consumed a big fat portion of my life, but it was all necessary to create online information that received millions of views to date, and eventually allowed me to sell my website to a larger company.
For people who don’t understand the purpose of content marketing, you can read my upcoming article, “Content Marketing: You Don’t Get It” (coming soon). You need to gain an understanding and appreciation for the awesome potential of this unique marketing method and how valuable it is in the rapidly developing information age.
One of the most common questions I get asked from business owners is:
“Won’t you run out of content eventually?”
My answer is always, “Of course not!” Just like everything else in life and business, information is constantly changing. It’s proved and disproved. It rises and wanes in popularity. It grows and evolves.
Even if all that wasn’t true, the creators of the information (you and I) are constantly changing. It’s not impossible to have a very strong belief in something one day, and a very strong disbelief in the very same thing the next. That is the nature of life.
The good news is that this occurrence means that we’ll never run out of new information. The bad news is that you have to organize it properly to track and grow along with it.
In order to do that, you need to have a system in place, you must follow it, and you must avoid some of the most common pitfalls of creating and organizing content for online consumption. Those pitfalls are as follows.
I hear it all the time; “That subject has already been covered a million times.” The fact is, that doesn’t matter because YOU or your company, hasn’t covered it. You’re telling me that your opinion on any given subject is EXACTLY the same as someone else’s? Of course it isn’t! You need to put your spin on it.
In addition, you need to stop thinking of your website/company/blog as a PART OF the internet. You need to start thinking of yourself as THE resource. As THE place for the best information. You are better than your competitors, right? So, why would you accept anything less than your faithful customers to come to you first for something you’re supposed to be an expert in? You shouldn’t.
This is the argument of a lazy marketing/advertising department. Do you really think that your customer base is so limited and dependent on your wise words that they will wait for you to consider their interest important enough for your attention? You’ve got to be kidding me. The moment they realize that you haven’t covered the basics of a subject they will know that you are not the expert resource you claim to be. They’ll then go to Google and find someone else who is.
The fact of the matter is that every industry and topic is extremely vast and your visitors have a ferocious appetite for information. You think Wikipedia will stop growing at some point in any area? It won’t, and even if your topic is extremely niche, chances are that you haven’t covered all the bases, much less kept an educated visitor entertained. The largest websites come out with more and more information daily, not less.
The easiest argument I can levy is supported by simple mathematics. Let’s say that your comprehensive article took you a total of 20 hours to write, edit, and publish (it could have graphics, photos, videos, and more involved). This article did very well. It got 30,000 hits in a month. You do one of these each week, totaling 120,000 hits (I’m being nice here and leaving the obvious deferment schedule out). Conversely, the good content marketer does 10 pieces of content each week during that same 20 hours. Each piece receives far less hits, only receiving about 5,000 visits for the whole month. Even so, that equates to 200,000 hits for the same time investment, and that logic doesn’t take into account the next pitfall!
This is probably the most shocking lesson that you will constantly be learning while content marketing. You never really know which pieces will be hits and which ones will be misses. With proper evaluation, persistence, and time you can start to get a better idea of what your existing followers will prefer, but you will rarely be able to predict the impact on the entire internet (if you can, then get ready to write your own ticket at any company you want to work for!).
I’ve always been amazed at which articles get a lot of hits, both through social media channels and organic traffic. It’s rarely the one I look at and say, “Wow, I’m really proud of myself on this one!” It’s usually the one where I’m thinking, “Wow, this is a stinker, but I got to get something up today and I’m out of time!”
There are so many factors that go into the tides of information online that trying to figure them out could be a waste of time. You need to be aware of them, sure. You might see a viral trend happening, throw up some content, and get some good hits, but that also requires that you can create content quickly!
I’ve always found it better to create a comprehensive posting schedule using a variety of types of content and stick with it for at least 3-4 weeks before making significant changes. You need a plan and you need to execute. The beauty of this is that it will save lots of time, allowing you to evaluate performance and catch those viral tides when they come around.