Heading into the New Year with a resolution to step up your marketing efforts? If you didn’t get the results you wanted in 2016, here’s a quick checklist you can use to identify weak spots in your content marketing. Assuming you’ve made some effort to publish content during 2016, here are the four top mistakes we see that diminish the results:
1. Putting Little Effort into Content Creation
With so much content online, if you’re not making a big effort to create content that hits home with your audience, you might be wasting your time creating content at all.
Short shallow articles that state the obvious won’t hold audience attention even if a catchy headline entices people to click through to read it. And what’s the point of attracting visitors to your website or LinkedIn article if they’re going to roll their eyes and click the back button?
The bad news: good content takes time and effort to create.
The good news: even one or two excellent articles a month, properly promoted on social channels, can increase your audience, and help you connect with prospective clients. If your team can’t devote the time, there are content writing services who will be happy to help!
2. Failing to promote content on social media
Many business owners believe that simply publishing regularly on their blog will drive additional traffic to their websites and deliver extra business. If you undertake your keyword research and publish well optimised posts, you might indeed garner some extra traffic to your website. But you’ll bring in more if you’re drawing people’s attention to your content via social media, and putting effort into building those audiences.
But remember point one – if you’re content isn’t of interest your efforts can go to waste.
3. Driving traffic to a website that’s outdated or poorly designed
Have you ever searched for a supplier, and landed on an old fashioned or badly designed website? Do you recall your reaction? Rightly or wrongly, we often make judgments about a business based on the quality of our experience visiting the website.
What conclusions are visitors jumping to based on the presentation and content on your website?
4. Driving traffic to a website with content that doesn’t convert
Plenty of website visitors but hardly any enquiries? It could be that visitors are reading your main pages and feeling you’re ‘not a match’ for them. There may be one or more reasons, but here are some of the common ones:
- A website doesn’t clearly describe the product or services offered;
- The benefits of using the product/service aren’t described, making it hard to judge suitability;
- The site content suggests you predominantly service (for example) small businesses, but your visitors are from large corporations; or vice versa;
- There’s no pricing information at all. Not always expected, but for some services, people will visit several sites to get an idea of pricing at an early stage in the buying process. If you don’t have any, a competitor who does may connect with prospective buyers first.
- You don’t compel visitors to move forward in the buying process with a ‘call to action’ and a ‘next step’ they can take to find, receive or download more information. When you don’t do this, you increase the chances they’ll leave the site without taking any action, and later forget your business name or site address.
Sometimes the simplest of changes make a big difference.
Identifying the problem
If your site design doesn’t appear to be the issue, then a review of your content and practices should shed some light:
- Review the content on your main web pages. Does it speak to the audience you hope to attract? Does it use their language? Are the benefits to them clear? Does it show them the way to more information or give them an opportunity to take another step, such as requesting a quote, downloading a guide, or filling out an enquiry form? Does your page structure and content layout make it very easy for visitors to find the information they want?
- Review your blog content. Are you creating content that furthers the readers’ knowledge? Importantly, do your articles speak to your intended audience, and do you have content for all stages of the ‘buyer journey’?
- Review your social media activity level. Are you maximising the opportunity by consistently promoting content?
Create a plan
Don’t throw in the towel if you’ve come up with a long list of content related issues – create a plan to tackle them over time, starting with high priority items. For example, if your main site content needs rewriting or re-organising because due to a low enquiry rate, it makes sense to attend to that ahead of activities designed to drive additional traffic to the site.
Whatever makes it onto your to-do list, you’ll need to find the time and money to do it. For ongoing commitments like content creation or social media, consistency is the key to making it work, so determine how much time or money you can realistically allocate. If you’re outsourcing to a content writing service, look for one with professional writers who will have the capacity to create the type of thoughtful in-depth content you need.
For larger companies, consider having a content strategist undertake a thorough content audit, map content to the buyer journey, and identify content suitable for re-purposing or content that requires updating to remain relevant.
Above all, be consistent and follow through on your plans – companies big and small waste resources by starting projects that are never completed!
Happy content publishing in 2017!