Marketing Best Practices

5 Content Marketing Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Matt Wellschlager By Matt Wellschlager October 1, 2014

Content and Inbound marketing are being utilized by more and more brands. Content is here to stay, and that’s great news!

Unfortunately, many brands misuse their content––they are missing critical pieces of the inbound puzzle. Though some of these mistakes may seem small or even inconsequential, they in fact have a drastic effect on your overall content strategy.

Check out these 5 content marketing pitfalls and how to avoid them.

1. No Interactivity

We harp on this a lot, but the shift from static-page content to interactive content really can’t be overstated. Content is as much about informing as it is about delighting. The two go hand in hand; your audience is more likely to retain information they are delighted by. Getting specific bits of information to stick in the minds of your audience is the fundamental goal any effective content campaign.

2. Untrackable Content

Tracking specific metrics is one of the most important strategies for creating an effective, ongoing content strategy. It may not seem like it, but precision back-end analytics go hand in hand with interactive content. The data that can be read from interactive content, compared to static-page content, is like comparing 3D to 2D––there’s literally a whole dimension of data missing!

PDF based content is the most infamous example of static and therefore untrackable content. It may feel like a fast and easy way of digitizing your content, but PDFs are completely flat images with no interactivity and therefore no precise method of tracking specific viewer events.

You just created a beautiful 20-page document and got tons of downloads – did anyone actually read it?  If so which content did they find interesting so you can make the next one even better? None of this can be tracked in PDF-based content.

10ten media, a creative agency, used precise data, driven by their highly interactive content, to increase unique visitors by 78.5% and interaction clicks by 250%. This was all because of the connection between interactive content and powerful analytics. Check out the full case study here.

3. Content for Content’s Sake

As content and inbound strategies gain speed in the marketing world, marketers clamor to shift their campaigns. Their hearts are in the right place, but their strategies aren’t.

Content isn’t supposed to sell, it’s supposed to inform and delight. While this is pivotal, content must be both relevant to a brand and also to the personas that brand is trying to reach.

Take Chipotle’s Scarecrow campaign: they created a gorgeous, well-made video about the negative aspects of the mass-production food industry.  It was a well intentioned piece, but it didn’t successfully empower the audience to bridge the gap between content and brand.

In this case, Chipotle understood the persona, but did not connect that persona to their brand. The result was an interesting video that had little or nothing to do with Chipolte.

4. Im-mobile-ity

As consumers use more and more devices to shop, engage, and learn, content strategies must also shift seamlessly between devices. Omni-Channel marketing empowers your audience to continue through your brand’s story unhindered as they move from device to device.

An IBM study found that, though 90% of consumers said they visited a physical store before making their final purchase, 35% of shoppers were unsure whether they’d make their next purchase in a store or online. Also 9% of in-store shoppers used a mobile device while in the store. According to another IBM study, omni-channel marketing has led to a 49% increase in online sales.

Content has to be able to move in tandem with your audience wherever they engage your rband in their buyer-journey.

5. Social Deafness

Content is all about communicating with your audience. Content marketing is an open dialogue––there is no more open channel than social. Regrettably, repurposing content to fit on social channels can be a problematic process––it can sometimes render your content inert, sterile, or even worse, totally taboo. The converse is also true: successfully socializing your content can be the fast track to huge success with little strain on your workflow (think viral videos). Social Media is a capricious, high-risk/high-reward channel.

The best way to do this as marketers is to really listen and, most importantly, internalize your audiences’s ideas and complaints.

A recent survey conducted by Conversocial found 50% of social media users use social to communicate directly with brands. Around 78% of them felt social channels would replace conventional customer service. But unfortunately for the user, about 33% of these social communications were completely ignored by the brand. The scariest part for brands: 90% of social media users said they would be less likely to buy anything from a company that have social pages with unanswered questions and complaints.

These stats speak for themselves: listen to your audience!

The Takeaway

Content is constantly in flux––best practice today could be faux pas tomorrow. The positive aspect of this: if you can keep up with the changes your campaigns will always be on the cutting edge. Keep evolving. Strive to find the best strategies for your content campaign and you could be the next content marketing trend-setter.

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