Last updated on April 30th, 2022 at 10:20 am
Content marketing is one of the most important ways that businesses build relationships with their customers. It’s a great example of how knowing your target audience and their preferences can bring more leads to your website and promote your products and services. Does this mean that you should publish articles every day and spread them as far as you can? Not necessarily. In this article, we’re going to share our experience and give you real examples of how businesses still make mistakes.
You might be doubtful about the effectiveness of content marketing. We’ll walk you through the numbers to show you why you should give it a shot even if it’s unfamiliar.
- According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing to reach customers.
- The CMI says content is one of the most effective ways to promote a business. Almost half of all marketers plan to use content to reach their customers.
- The CMI’s digital content marketing stats show that 72% of marketers say content marketing increases engagement, including leads.
- 70% of people would rather get information about a company from an article or blog post than from a traditional advertisement.
- 73% of consumers have been impacted by a brand’s social media presence when making a purchase decision.
- 98% of B2B marketers believe that content performance justifies the cost.
These statistics are driven by the tangible benefits that content marketing brings B2B businesses. These benefits include:
1. Increased brand awareness.
It’s becoming more and more difficult to get people to notice your brand among thousands of similar companies. And if you’re not making an effort to spread the word about your brand, a new audience will never know that it exists. Your company will be outperformed by a huge lineup of other businesses regularly producing high-quality content. Providing your users with relevant information through multiple channels including social media, email, and blogs will help them learn more about your brand and see you as a trustworthy educational platform. Expanding your audience worldwide will require translation to a variety of languages. With this, you’ll need documents translated into the languages of where your audience is. With SEO best practices applied, you can generate content on topics that your audience is searching for and make your brand visible and memorable. High-quality content marketing will help you quickly grow your audience and create buzz around your brand.
2. Improved search rankings.
Although SEO and content marketing are different types of traffic strategies, they often overlap. For example, in blogging, it’s preferable to evolve your content around the target keywords you’d like to rank for. Search engines like fresh and unique content, and if you use SEO best practices, Google will reward you with higher search rankings.
According to Hubspot research, brands with a blog have 434% more pages indexed by search engines than those that don’t. That translates to 434% more opportunities to rank on page one of organic search results. Having a blog with answers to your audience’s questions will increase your domain authority (DA).
Start developing your blog if you don’t already have one or invest more time into researching interesting topics. Use targeted keywords and phrases in titles, subheadings, and throughout the copy. Use topic clusters and pillar pages in order to sort your content by keywords.
3. Higher quality leads.
Content marketing is not only about creating buzz around your brand; it’s about generating valuable content, increasing your leads, and improving their quality. There’s a huge difference between creating content for the sake of it and educating your audience. Without a specific content marketing strategy, you’ll get a few random people scrolling through your pages, but they likely won’t make it all the way through, and they probably won’t click your CTA button. If, on the other hand, you target your content to your desired audience, you will have more chances to build relationships with users, form your online community, and engage high-quality leads that are interested in your business and the solutions that you describe in your blog.
4. More opportunities to learn about your customers.
By producing different types of content and identifying which blog posts get the majority of views and comments, you can better understand what preferences your audience has. Analyze and measure which blog posts get the most engagement (views, likes, and shares), and learn more about what your customers want. Paying attention to these indicators will help build trust with your audience. Why? Because when you understand your users’ needs and answer their questions, they are more likely to trust you and rely on your business for recommendations and advice. The more quality content they see, the more likely they are to have a positive feedback loop.
5. Higher domain authority.
Domain authority is a metric that shows how well your website is ranked in search results as well as the value of the information you provide to the reader. If the content you create has more inbound links from external sources, your website’s domain authority will increase. So the more content you produce and the more backlinks you have, the more likely you are to appear at the top of search results.
6. Opportunities to educate readers about your product and services.
Content marketing is one of the ways to walk your reader through the buyer’s journey. And if your product or services are not quite understandable at first glance, blog posts and articles are a wonderful opportunity to educate your potential customers about it.
If you’ve tried content marketing before and it hasn’t worked out, take another look at how you’ve presented your content. When you get your product or service in front of the public, it’s important to understand the difference between traditional advertising and content marketing. A few years ago, advertising like radio or television ads was among the most effective ways to spread your message, but for the last few years marketing has been moving in a different direction. Today advertising works as part of a comprehensive marketing strategy and helps drive visitors to your website. To understand the difference better, let’s take a closer look at each one in a bit more detail.
Advertising is a method of influencing consumers’ decision making through particular techniques. The nature of advertising is to show a product or service and grab someone’s attention. Advertising is closely connected with emotions and uses a variety of methods to make viewers or listeners feel a specific way. The messages used by advertisers are usually punchy (e.g., L’Oreal — Because You’re Worth It), concise (e.g., Nike — Just Do It), and persuasive (e.g., Dunkin Donuts’ “America Runs on Dunkin”).
There are lots of formats for advertising currently in use, like:
- Direct mailing
There are also options for digital advertising, like:
- Display advertising — Banner advertisements are placed on websites (such as LinkedIn or Facebook) that publish ads. They encourage people to click on the banner and follow the link.
- Paid search advertising — As a rule, these ads appear at the top of the search results and are triggered by search queries. Such advertisements usually have a higher click-through rate and drive more conversions.
- Mobile advertising — is extremely popular nowadays as more and more people spend their time on mobile phones. Mobile advertising can include mobile banners, in-app ads, and SMS advertisements.
- Native advertising — is a type of advertising that can take many forms (reviews or product placements in a video, display ads on a page, etc.). The main advantage of this type of advertising is that it doesn’t look disruptive or irritating because it exists within the context of the rest of the site.
- Social media advertising — involves generating content on social media platforms. This is a go-to advertising approach to communicate with your audience where they are.
- Video advertising — refers to advertising that plays before, between, or after streaming content. It is considered one of the most effective ways to grab a viewer’s attention with moving images and dynamic music in the background.
- Retargeting — advertising based on cookies. When a user visits your website, they will then see your ads everywhere. The idea is that the ad will remind visitors about your website so they are more likely to return.
Content marketing includes the creation and distribution of high-quality and educational information targeted to a specific audience. It’s not just spreading your message around the Internet; it’s more about delivering your message to the right people at the right time. The main goal of content marketing is to explain the value of your product or service through blog posts, articles, social media posts, videos, and other formats. So when users are looking for, let’s say, alternative ways to hire software engineers, they are probably going to end up on your page if it’s well-optimized and provides useful information. The main difference between content marketing and advertising is that content marketing aims at building relationships rather than selling something.
As with advertising, there are a lot of forms of content marketing, like:
- Blogs. The purpose of blogs on your website is to attract potential customers to your product or service and answer their questions. To engage more users, blogs should be SEO optimized, topical, and focused on relevant products.
- Infographics. It’s not a secret that long lines of text are not easy to read. Infographics are a captivating way to catch your readers’ attention, structure information, and make your product more reputable. The big plus is that it can be used both independently and in conjunction with blogs or social media posts.
- Videos. This type of content marketing is gaining popularity because users prefer to watch videos instead of looking at static pages.
- Case studies. This is a good way to show your potential customers the projects you have successfully completed and the kind of innovative solutions you suggest to your clients. Potential customers can see exactly how relevant your experience is to their needs.
- Podcasts. Producing high-quality podcasts can bring more awareness to your company. And if your storytelling is easy enough to listen to it while driving or multitasking, you are likely to hook more prospects.
- Whitepapers. This is a well-researched report on a specific topic containing lots of persuasive data and information. It describes a problem, offers a solution to it, and educates the audience about a particular issue. The main goal of a whitepaper is to inform the reader and persuade them based on plain facts.
While content marketing is a powerful and commonly used tool, there are certainly paths that end in poor results and few conversions. We identified seven major mistakes companies can make and explain how to correct them.
№1. Not Knowing Your Target Audience
Make sure you know whom you’re creating content for. Many businesses write about their products and services without a clear understanding of who their target audience is and what message they would like to convey. Without knowing the demographics and aspirations of your audience, you are not likely to ignite interest in what you produce and deliver value to your current and potential customers. Targeting doesn’t mean excluding potential customers; it just means tailoring your content to the people most likely to enjoy it. You can do this by:
- Analyzing your current customer base. Try to identify who your current customers are and why they are interested in your business. Try to find some common characteristics among them and create a portrait of your ideal customer.
- Checking out the competition. Look at your competitors and who they are targeting. This can help you find untapped audience members that you can create content for.
- Analyzing your offering and why it’s helpful. Be honest with yourself. Look at your product or service objectively and identify concrete ways that it provides value to your customers. You may find that you don’t have the clear benefits it provides listed on your page or that you haven’t explicitly stated how it’s different from other products and services. Add this concrete information to your content.
- Evaluating your decision. Once you’ve identified your target market, rethink your decision. Write down the message you’re trying to convey and how it fits into particular market niches.
№2. Being Self-Promotional Or Having Too Much Advertising Per Paragraph
One of the most common mistakes in content marketing is being over promotional. This means that you are talking more about yourself than about what others need from you. You should shift the focus from “our products are the best” to “here is the solution to your problem.” The priority should be your customer. Ask yourself what your customers want and what problem they would like to solve. Does your offering fit these needs? Do you take into account their preferences? Plan how you are going to convey your message and show that you care about your customer.
Self-promotion isn’t entirely bad; it just needs to be done in concert with educational content. Let’s take case studies, for example. Start with your achievements from a recent project as illustrated by facts. If you conducted an SEO audit for your client and created a list of keywords and topics, check the website’s current SEO ranking and see how it’s changed since you came into the picture. Combining storytelling from your experience with the client, hard data from the SEO rankings, and a brief call to action will provide you with the right balance of useful content and self-promotion.
№3. Ignoring SEO
More and more businesses neglect SEO research in favor of sales. Some of them don’t invest time in an in-depth analysis while others focus only on one angle. The SEO strategy should be based on an integrated approach. You should take into account what your customers are searching for and what the most popular inquiries are and optimize the pages accordingly. To start with, create a list of keywords your pages will be ranked for and analyze how difficult it will be to do so.
Make a list of topics you would like to cover and think about how you can incorporate these keywords into them. The next step is to build pages around the topics. Try to use the pillar topic to create one page that gives a comprehensive overview of the topic using long-tail keywords. In the end, the number of topics you create should be based on your business needs (for example, the number of products or services you have). This will make it easy for your customers to find your pages in search results.
Another investment in your SEO strategy is incorrect structuring for your content. Heading tags are used to mark your content. For example, H1 relates to the title of the page, H2 to the subheadings, and H3 to the sub-subheadings. That’s how search engines understand the content structure, so don’t place these tags randomly because the search engine will not get what parts of your page are important.
№4. Having No Plan
Even if you do everything else right, without a clear strategy, you’ll probably end up spinning your SEO-optimized wheels. A comprehensive content marketing plan gives you an idea of your position in the market, how your marketing goals can be achieved in support of your business goals, and what’s wrong with your planning. Don’t blindly follow trends or put quantity over quality. Think about how your pieces of content connect with the overall content marketing funnel.
Every piece of content you create should have a purpose. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Why are you creating this piece of content?
- What is your final goal? (increasing website traffic, making readers sign up for your blog or filling out a contact form, downloading an item, sharing the content on social media, etc.)
- How is this goal connected to the business needs of your company?
- Who is it targeted at?
- What is the value of this piece?
- How can you extend its value and create other opportunities to convert?
If you’re still wondering how to develop a content strategy that works, check out our recent article. There we share expert tips on how to set up a blog that expands your brand awareness and increases your company’s sales potential.
№5. Not Promoting Your Story
Your job’s not done when you’ve written a well-researched article and pushed the “publish” button. If you don’t promote it, your chances of being found and recognized are slim to none. You should go into writing a piece of content with a plan for how you’re going to promote it through keywords and topics on multiple social media platforms. The more effort you put into promotion, the more successful your article or blog post will be.
№6. Quantity Over Quality
This can be a huge problem for content marketers. They rush for numbers of articles, blog posts, and topics because there is a common misconception that the more articles in circulation you have, the more followers and activity you will gain. But that’s not true. You can regularly publish content, but if it’s not carefully researched, designed, optimized, and proofread you won’t get a single link or share.
Our advice is pretty simple: spend as much time on your content as you need. Include more analysis, details, links to highly-respected resources, and well-grounded arguments. Of course, it’s more difficult, time-consuming, and costly, but in the long term, you’ll end up with much better-performing content.
№7. Sticking To One Type Of Content
You can’t continue engaging your audience over a period of years if you stick to only one or two types of content. Readers love changes and experiments, so why not try something new?
There are a lot of ways to educate an audience. In our recent article, we shared a list of content marketing types that will be popular in the next year. They include:
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- Case studies
- So much more
Another way to bring fresh ideas to your content is to repurpose it so you don’t need to create something from scratch. To decide which type of content to start, try to understand the buyer persona and what suits them best. For some audiences, videos are a great way to spice up your content, while other groups may like detailed infographics. Just try your hand at a few different formats and you’ll see what your audience prefers most.
With so much content produced today, it’s important your content marketing strategy gets results. In this article, we’ve shared the most common content marketing mistakes that can cost businesses thousands of dollars. Try to avoid them so you can maximize your marketing ROI. If you’re still struggling to spread your message, contact an experienced content team that will help you enhance your online visibility.
Bio: Alesia Traichuk, a content marketing specialist at Exadel, a software engineering company based in Walnut Creek, California. Previously, I worked as a lead generation specialist for an outsourcing company. I graduated from Linguistic University with a bachelor’s degree in translation and linguistics. My current interests are AI, mobile development, QA, and content marketing.