They say that failure is a part of life, but why subject your content marketing strategy to failure when you can simply learn from other people’s mistakes?! If you want to handle your content marketing the RIGHT way, you’ve got to understand these 4 failures and make sure that you never, ever repeat them:
1. Assuming there’s no money to be made
I’ve done both paid advertising and guest blogging, and I’ve fetched far more clients with informative articles and blog posts than I have with my ads. That’s because publishing informative and interesting content allows me to show people that I really DO know what I’m talking about. I can establish much more expertise in a piece of well-written content than I can in a few lines of ad text. In fact, that’s what content marketing is all about — establishing expertise and building relationships.
Plus, my guest posts show people that my insights and opinions are respected enough to be published on top-quality sites. After all, I look at websites VERY carefully before I offer to write anything for them. On the web, you get judged by the company you keep — but as long you’re surrounded by other experts, that’s a good thing!
As an added benefit, my guest posts aren’t going anywhere. Unlike paid ads — which disappear as soon as you hit your daily budget limit or as soon as you stop paying the bills — people will be able to read your great guests posts forever. I’m still getting traffic and sales from articles I published years ago, and you can, too!
2. Thinking you don’t have any time to do it
Saying you don’t have time for content marketing is the same as saying you don’t have time to keep up with goings-on in your niche, or saying that you don’t have time to share anything of value with your target audience.
Remember, smart marketers build relationships with their customers (and potential customers). The only way to show people that you’re trustworthy and genuinely looking out for their best interest is to publish great content. Whether it’s a new article on your website or a short post on your blog, you have to make time to share interesting and important facts with your audience (even if your time commitment ends with finding a great writer to handle the bulk of the work for you). If you don’t, they’ll do all of their shopping somewhere else!
3. Focusing on quantity over quality
Posting 10 blog posts in a week isn’t going to do you any good if they all stink. If you’re going to commit to a content marketing strategy, you have to commit to doing it well. Otherwise, you’re going to damage your reputation!
How is that possible?
Let’s say you publish a bunch of stuff without proofreading it (because you’re in a rush to publish as many things as you can, as fast as you can). If a few spelling and grammar mistakes make their way into the finished product, your readers are going to think you’re either lazy or not quite as smart as you like to claim. Either way, you’re doomed!
Or, let’s say you publish a bunch of content without taking the time to do solid research (because you think that you HAVE to get a certain number of posts published by the end of the week). In the end, your readers are going to think you either don’t care about sharing hard-core facts with them, or that you’re simply trying to disguise a sales pitch as an “article”. Your reputation would be much better off if you only published 1 or 2 GREAT pieces of content, as opposed to 10 ho-hum pieces.
4. Not relating to your audience
So many wannabe content marketers are in such a rush to publish new stuff that they don’t even bother to think about what their readers want to see! However, your readers are coming to you because they have a specific problem that needs to be solved, or a specific question that needs to be answered. If you don’t give any thought to what THEY think is important, you’re never going to be a successful content marketer. Instead, you’re just going to be the guy who jams random information down their throats — the same guy that they don’t want anything to do with!
Relating to your audience begins with putting yourself in their shoes. Imagine what it would be like to have the same problem/question. Think about what it would take for you to trust a particular author. Then, envision seeing the information, and then think about how you would want all of the details laid out so that the answers and solutions were easiest to understand. Should you opt for a bulletpoint list? Nice, neat paragraphs? A lengthy article? Short, witty blog posts?
The best way to ensure that your content is as relatable as possible is to picture ONE member of your target audience. Instead of envisioning a group of middle-aged women reading your article, picture one woman sitting down to read. What does she look like? What’s going on around her? What’s going to make her feel better about her problem or question?
Until you answer those questions, you can’t possibly hope to build a relationship with your readers — and that’s the biggest content marketing failure of them all!