There’s no shortage of failure opportunities in different aspects of business. And it doesn’t matter what stage of entrepreneurial journey you’re in, either. It’s not a question of whether you will fail or not – you will. And although it may not be something that you (or most people) would like to hear, it has to be accepted as part of business – and of life.
It’s quite easy to give in to resentment and frustration at the wake of a failure and have a pity party. Why me? Why did this happen? Why did I fail after I put in the time and effort to undertake a project? But rather than dwell on such questions, which will make you wallow even more in depression, it’s best to take the situation as a chance to learn what’s wrong, so you can improve on it and develop a different approach moving forward. In other words, there’s such a thing as asking the right kind of questions.
Take content marketing as a good example. Of course it can work, and when done correctly it really does. But if you’ve been putting in the work and not getting the results you want – or worse, not getting any results at all – it’s high time to examine what went wrong.
Below are some of the most common content marketing mistakes that are worth taking note of – and what you can do to make it right.
- You don’t define what success means for you.
It may sound like a motivational cliché, but it really is very important. After all, how can you hit a target when you don’t even know what it is? A lot of marketers tend to have a habit of not defining what success means for them, and so they never reach it. Content Marketing Institute released their 2018 research report that states 54% of content marketers have metrics that are not well aligned with what they want to accomplish in terms of their content marketing.
You have to turn this around if you want to be successful with your content marketing strategy. You need to give yourself a benchmark so you’ll know what to measure and make adjustments as you go along. You don’t necessarily have to set an ambitious target; starting out with a modest one is fine. But the thing is you have to be as specific as possible.
- You don’t create content that supports your customer’s journey.
Remember that content marketing – and digital marketing in general, for that matter – is not a one-size-fits-all type of strategy. This simply means that you can’t create content for just one type of buyer. For example, you want to hook in new customers. At the same time, though, you also want a repeat purchase from people who bought your product or availed your service before. And of course, you can’t possibly have the same content for both groups – unless you don’t want your tactic to work, that is.
You’ll need to be more strategic in your content planning to help ensure that you support your customer’s journey in whatever phase they may be in. It’s definitely going to be more time consuming, not to mention will require considerably more effort, but you’ll also raise your chances of success significantly.
- You don’t give content marketing enough time to work.
Rule of thumb: content marketing is not a strategy to implement if you’re impatient. You generally need to give it around six months to even start generating results. If you want to see noticeably good results, you may need to wait as long as a year. Of course, if you’re used to tactics like Pay Per Click (PPC) where it’s quite common to see sales within an hour or two after you launch a campaign, then waiting for half a year definitely sounds like an exercise in frustration in comparison. And it’s also going to require you to generate a lot of content ideas during that amount of time. Yes, it’s definitely not going to be easy.
- You don’t incorporate SEO in your content.
Out of the many metrics you can check to measure success, one of the most essential is your website traffic. And in order to get consistent traffic, you need to do effective SEO. If you haven’t thought about it, or you’re not paying much attention to it, you’re not alone. It’s not at all uncommon for small business owners to put SEO on their proverbial back burner, so to speak. But it’s important to realize that when you do, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities to improve your website traffic. So rather than continue putting it off, it’s best to start familiarizing yourself with SEO – and actually start using it.
- You don’t do list building or lead generation.
There’s a difference between trying too hard and doing your best. Content marketing is like that. The fewer sales pitches you have, the better chances you get of making it work. That being said, being strategic about your lead generation doesn’t have to come off as too salesy. Instead, you can use that to your advantage and frame it as the next piece of content you’re offering to your readers. For instance, you can say something along the lines of “if you enjoyed this blog, you can check out our white paper articles.” It’s a low-pressure way to encourage your readers to read more of your content – and in turn build your list and generate more leads for your business.
And even if your company doesn’t want to focus on lead generation, you’d still need to have a pretty decent email list – even if you don’t intend to sell through it. That’s because even with the popularity of social media, emails still prove to be a classic and useful means to distribute content.
Learning from your mistakes is a great way to improve yourself and develop your business. But first, of course, you need to realize that you’re doing something wrong; acknowledge what it is; and develop a plan to turn things around.
What content marketing mistakes have you made? How did you work around them? Share with us in the comments.