3 Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
Just as with any other form of marketing, there are plenty of mistakes to be made with your content marketing initiatives. Here are three that I believe are the most common based on my own personal observation.
It’s Not a Sin to Write Strategically
Content marketing is all about providing useful information to people in order to strengthen your brand, which, so the thinking goes, will increase the likelihood of those people buying from you down the road. And it works. That much is clear.
However, some purists will tell you that you should take a very altruistic approach to developing your content. In other words, you don’t want to appear to have a hidden agenda – which, of course, you really do have. You want your efforts to result in increased sales. You’re not creating all this great content as an act of charity.
The altruistic approach to content marketing might work for well-known consumer brands like Coca-Cola or Proctor & Gamble, but I believe it’s inappropriate for financial technology. After all, the value proposition for a can of soda pop is pretty straightforward. On the other hand, when you’re marketing, for example, IT automation software, the value proposition is a little more complex.
My point is, in a B2B setting, I don’t think you have to choose between giving your audience the information they think they want and giving them the information you know they need. With effective writing, you can do both. You can provide useful information while still offering a message that supports your brand. You just need to make the effort.
What We Have Here Is a Failure to Promote
It goes without saying that once you publish great content, you need to spread the word so that your content actually reaches your audience. However, there are two potential pitfalls here:
Not taking advantage of all the communication channels at your disposal.
Not crafting an appropriate message for each channel you use.
Make sure you consider all the possible ways you can get the word out. Of course, you’re going to tweet it, post it on LinkedIn and mention it on your Facebook page. But don’t forget the old classics either, like sending out a press release or putting a hyperlink in your email signature. Every person in your opt-in email list should know about your new content the same day it’s published. You can never think of too many ways to promote your content.
Don't be lazy in this effort, either. For example, you can set up Twitter to post your tweets to LinkedIn and Facebook on your behalf. This may be a tempting shortcut, but trust me, it’s a stupid idea.
For starters, Twitter is limited to 140 characters. Why would you want to limit your LinkedIn and Facebook posts to 140 characters?
More important, though, each e-distribution channel has it’s own personality – it’s own tone, if you will. Due to their limited length, tweets must be super concise, to the point of being somewhat cryptic now and then. This is okay; Twitter followers expect this.
Facebook is a much more casual medium than LinkedIn. Thus your Facebook post should have a more casual tone, while your LinkedIn post should be written with business professionals in mind. Invest the time and money to do this right, or don’t bother doing it at all.
To Gate or Not to Gate?
In the world of content marketing, gating refers to the practice of requiring a user to provide some amount of contact information in order to access or download your content. If your content is ungated, users can download it anonymously. Which is a better approach? There are two schools of thought.
I recently read a book called Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi. Pulizzi is considered by many to be the capo di tutti capi of content marketing. In his book, he makes the case for ungated content, rightly claiming that ungated content is downloaded more, which means it’s shared more by those downloaders. In other words, ungated content reaches a wider audience.
In a hypothetical scenario, Pulizzi compares the value of putting your content in the hands of 20,000 anonymous users to putting it in the hands of 2,000 identified users. According to Pulizzi, more is always better.
Frankly, I’d much rather have the 2,000 identified users. These are people that I can reach out to in various ways, who I can monitor and nurture. This is especially important in a B2B environment, and even more important for fintech providers. Plus, gating your content gives your competitors at least a modicum of incentive to keep away.
Obviously I’m not talking about gating your blog, for example. I’m talking about major pieces like white papers, e-books, and case studies. Collect at least an email address from each user or you’ll be blowing a big opportunity, IMHO.
In the End
If you have any questions or just think I’m full of baloney, feel free to leave a comment below or drop me an email. But no matter what, I urge you to take your content marketing efforts very seriously.
That is all.