Trust us on this: You don’t want to be the brand that’s tarred and feathered in the public square of content marketing. No one wants a scarlet letter in the form of lost opportunity and market share.
To keep you from purgatory, I have come up with a list of content marketing misdeeds to avoid at all costs (unless you’re hell-bent on failure). Here are the Seven Deadly Sins of Content Marketing:
Don’t be like Hester Prynne when it comes to keywords. You don’t want to be known as an SEO trollop. Believe it or not, Google will penalize you for keyword stuffing. Yes, keywords are important, but too many will dilute and, more importantly, frustrate your audience.
Take the time to get to know your buyer personas. Determine the amount of keywords they typically respond to that are in alignment with your business and industry.
There are some days when I’d rather pull out my hair strand by strand than deal with what’s on my desk. Completely understandable. But those are precisely the days a cyberbully/Twitter troll/irate customer on a sharing rampage will come at you on social media. They’d rarely rear their ugly heads when you’re calm and fully caffeinated. Fact.
While you have to respond — 88 percent of consumers are less likely to buy from a company that ignores complaints aired on social media — you must resist the temptation to stoop to their level. Don’t post a snippy retort (even if it is brilliant). Always remember you’re the voice of your company…and Google has a long memory.
Here’s how to deal with a negative comment:
- Take a quick breather, if necessary, but don’t take too long: 42 percent of customers who complain on social media expect a response within 60 minutes.
- Resist the urge to ignore or delete the offensive comment. It’s social media suicide in the content marketing sphere.
- Always remember the customer is right, even if you can prove them wrong.
- Don’t simply acknowledge a complaint. Acknowledge, apologize and offer a solution.
- Take the conversation offline as soon as possible.
Customers go through 57 percent of the buying cycle before they contact your sales department. They’re savvy when it comes to content; they know 69 percent of it lacks quality. Don’t insult their collective intelligence.
Buyers have attention spans shorter than goldfish. You have 8 seconds to convince them to invest in your content. To reel them in, you have to anticipate their issues and answer their questions with informative, compelling content that doesn’t reek of a sales pitch. Anything else will be ignored.
In your quest for content marketing domination, you may fall victim to the lure of forbidden fruit in the form of vanity metrics. Vanity metrics are the number of followers, likes, retweets, page views or impressions you generate on your social media pages. The superficial stats may make you feel pretty good about yourself or impress your CEO, but they don’t translate into much.
While vanity metrics can easily be manipulated to make your efforts appear successful, audience engagement, conversions and ROI actually gauge your effectiveness. You have to dig deeper if you want to deliver content that truly resonates with your audience.
If you’re just delving into content marketing, you are late to the party. Don’t let your tardiness cloud your judgment. Just because your competitor is going gangbusters with an infographic on LinkedIn doesn’t mean that you can or should duplicate their efforts. Be strategic. You may find it makes more sense to focus on Facebook, for example.
The Content Marketing Institute’s 2015 B2C Benchmark Report shows that 47 percent of the most effective content marketers have a documented strategy. You will maximize ROI when you develop a content marketing plan that’s in alignment with your brand and resources, not a competitor’s.
The worst thing you can do is to build a content marketing platform and abandon it. Some customers may even think you’re out of business if you fail to update your blog for months.
Consistency pays: Brands that blog 15 times per month generate 1,200 leads per month. They also enjoy heightened visibility through SEO and keyword rankings. When you produce thoughtful content on a regular basis, you can cultivate your audience, position your brand as a thought leader and drum up new business.
You know what you’re selling is all that and a bag of chips. Congrats. You can pound your hands on your chest like a boss if that makes you feel good— but, please—for the love of content marketing—do it in the privacy of your office.
When you step behind your laptop to write content, check your ego at the door. Content marketing is not all about you or what you sell. It’s completely customer-centric. They dictate the terms. Your job is to address their wants, concerns and problems with quality content on a regular basis.
Seventy-eight percent of consumers believe brands that craft custom content are interested in building positive relationships. If you deliver content that’s on-point and easy to digest, you will be rewarded with all the goodies: positive customer feedback, social media traction, brand visibility and sales-ready leads. You just have to get out of your own way to truly engage with customers. Again, no one cares about you. It’s all about them.
What do you think of our seven deadly sins of content marketing? Is your company a saint, a sinner or a bit of both?