Careful, Ad Ahead: The most frequent mistakes in marketing content (and how to avoid them)
Write for users and not CEOs; Speak in one voice across all channels and don’t forget to promote – Content is king, but it’s important to know how to do it right
With content playing such a crucial role in building marketing strategy, marketing and brand managers are required to produce different types of content for different channels. When dealing with content we often look through the scope of advertising, a viewpoint that takes two primary goals into consideration: a clear and immediate ROI (i.e. understanding exactly what every shekel invested will yield); and reinforcement of the brand through repeated name mentions.
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Mistake no. 1: More is better: the more mentions of our brand name, the better the content
Actually, it’s not. We may repeat this a few times in the following paragraphs, but content is not about advertising. In fact, the more frequently the brand name is mentioned, the more likely readers are to abandon the content. As the bounce rate increases, your digital asset will quickly become accursed in Google. That means it will not go high in organic searches. Remember that when you try strengthening the brand through reiteration, you are actually weakening it and making it tiresome.
Mistake no. 2: Content is here to sell
Here, too, it’s going to have to be a hard no. The best content occurs when your brand’s needs meet the needs of your users (who are also the customers). In other words, content is first and foremost intended for users as they search the web (sometimes without even knowing they’re looking) for various kinds of products – but also various interests. True, when we write content we do have sales targets in mind, but regardless of whether that content is a video, an article or a Facebook post, we should not have *only* sales in mind – sales will not always be the first and primary objective of the content we create. If there is any doubt, we will always prefer that our users gain more benefit from our content than we do.
Of course, quality content that is relevant, interesting and accessible will enable your users to relate to the brand, bringing them back to the various commercial platforms or offline stores. Also, you can target audiences and use that data for effective remarketing campaigns.
The bottom line: content has sales power – but we need to understand its strengths and shortcomings.
Mistake 3: Lofty Linguistics (Fancy language)
In most marketing content texts we reviewed, the language was very different from the language used in newspapers or posts on social networks. The further we move from the way users are accustomed to reading their content, the less likely they are to become immersed in the content we offer. Having a commercial agenda does not require us to use fancy or official wording – in fact, the opposite is true.
Mistake 4: Speaking in many voices
It would never occur to you to publish different logos for the same brand on Facebook and your website, would it? Would you ever use one color palette for your web campaign and another for your billboards? A brand’s language – both visual and written – should reflect its strategy. Of course, we have to take into account the specific characteristics, limitations and styles of each digital channel, but as the brand and marketing manager – it is your responsibility to speak in one voice across all channels. Language may be a derivative of the target audience, the product you are marketing, the platform and type of content you’re writing, but it should reflect values that are uniform across the board.
Mistake 5: Creating content for the sake of content
Marketing plans often include annual (or monthly) Gantt charts detailing planned brand activity. These include campaign peaks, which usually correlate with production peaks, seasonality, and, of course, budget planning. Sometimes there is a tendency to force the content strategy on this Gantt as well, resulting in decisions like publishing three blog posts in a month, for example. But we don’t always have something to write about, and uploading content just to tick off the Gantt checklist is rarely the right move. Remember that International Spaghetti Day may be relevant to a pasta manufacturer, but does not really matter to users. That’s why it’s good to have your marketing content plan anchored in your Gantt, but you shouldn’t stick to them blindly. Every month, check to see how content may serve your brand and increase sales.
Mistake 6: When content is out of context
Many brands tend to upload content to fill up space on their primary digital asset. This often may be a blog or magazine article, into which much of the content flows. But uploading content without promoting and streaming traffic into it, whether through Google, Facebook or OutBrain and Tabula, is almost futile. We have to get our users interested and to make them come in, spend as much time as possible on our content and browsing the site, and hopefully to complete the purchase cycle. In short – don’t upload content without promoting it on the media.
In this context, content is an integral part of our commerce activity, which is why it should be integrated naturally and organically. If, for instance, you have an online clothing store – don’t leave your fashion review of summer shorts somewhere up on a toolbar in a remote blog – put it in your digital catalog. The opposite is true as well – if you’ve written your fashion review, provide a quick link to buy.
Mistake 7: We’re done reading, now what?
It’s not easy to produce quality, meaningful marketing content that will draw our customers in. But once we’ve done so, we are obliged to provide them with the simplest way to continue the process. We have them convinced that we know our stuff; now it’s time to give them the fastest and easiest way to contact us or to purchase our product. Leave a phone, a lead form, a link to buy or chat, but don’t you’re your customers on an endless hike across your site. For example, now that we’ve shown you how well we know marketing content, all you need to do is click here.