Commentary

What Most People Get Wrong About Content Marketing

As someone who has been blogging for more than half of my life, I was using content marketing before people even knew what to call it.

With that said, I’m also noticing that lots of businesses have misconceptions about content marketing. At its core, content marketing works. The issue isn’t with the concept, but rather with the application.

So what do I see most people getting wrong?

They get the context wrong, which makes it difficult for marketers to create and distribute content effectively.

The main idea of content marketing is to build an audience and distribute digital touchpoints with each new piece of content you create. The type of content that gets created and the way those touchpoints are distributed will vary for each business.

Establish Clear Goals

Since so many people struggle to properly define content marketing, they fail to have any direction with their campaigns.

For example, they find out that their biggest competitors are all blogging. So, they automatically decide that they should start blogging too. They publish promotional blogs related to their business, such as “Why You Need XYZ Services.”

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However, that’s not always effective. What is the goal behind this content strategy?

If they were trying to imitate their competitors, they nailed it. Otherwise, this is potentially a missed opportunity and improper allocation of time, money, and resources.

The type of content you create will change drastically based on your goals and your audience.

When I first started blogging, my main goal was to build organic traffic. Creating a brand name was a secondary goal of mine. So, my entire content strategy revolved around these two aspects, and I set the KPIs accordingly so I could measurably track my progress to reach those goals.

Leverage the Right Distribution Channels

Once your goals have been established, it’s much easier to figure out which type of content you should be creating. Then, it comes down to learning how to effectively distribute that content.

So how are people getting this wrong?

I’ve seen so many businesses that create content for the wrong platforms. First, you need to identify which distribution channels will reach your audience. Next, determine the type of content that works best for those channels.

To build organic traffic to my website, I put heavy emphasis on long-form written content. My goal today is still the same, but my medium and distribution channels have expanded.

Now, I want to increase YouTube traffic. So, naturally, I create more video content and distribute them on YouTube. I share that content on other platforms as well.

It’s crucial for you to understand the difference between medium-specific content and niche-specific content. For example, I don’t embed YouTube videos on Facebook. That’s because Facebook’s algorithm ranks videos higher when they are uploaded as Facebook videos. As a result, that content is medium-specific.

I have a colleague who takes amazing photographs. He leverages his Instagram profile to promote his website about photography. That’s niche-specific.

Even if you create amazing content, it won’t be effective if it’s distributed on the wrong channels.

Let’s say you have a business that sells hair products directly to consumers, so you make videos about hairstyle tips, and tricks. This type of content would perform better on Instagram as opposed to LinkedIn.

Meanwhile, a B2B company that offers CFO outsourcing services and blogs about financial tips would distribute on LinkedIn over Instagram.
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Think twice before you blindly implement a strategy without any sense of direction. You can:

-- Define your goals clearly. This will help you determine the right KPIs to track.
-- Take the due diligence to understand who your audience is. This will help you determine the type of content your audience likes to consume.
-- Discover where they “hang out” online. This will help you decide the right channels to distribute your content.

If you can follow this formula, you’ll avoid being one of the thousands of people getting content marketing wrong every day.

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