At practically every digital convention or webinar, everyone’s talking content. “Do you have a content strategy?” “A content matrix?” “Who’s in charge of your content?”
It’s clear that the wrong content play can erode brand value. At the very least, it leaves money on the table – losing conversions, page views and purchases. Ignore the new market mandate for custom content, and customers may flock to competitive websites.
But effective content strategy is easier said than done.
Start with the basics. What are your goals? How will you gauge your efforts and demonstrate ROI? Clear expectations help managers justify website investment and make the business case for resources and budget to do the job right.
Let’s take a look at some of the costliest content mistakes for Chief Marketing Officers. Avoid these downfalls to navigate today’s complex landscape and transform your brand into a content juggernaut.
1: He Said, She Said: Conflicting, Inconsistent Messaging – With so many digital formats – social media, website, Twitter, Instagram, blogs – pay attention to the big picture for your brand. Smart content marketers keep the look, voice and tone reliable and believable. Cover topics that are off-brand, and you’ll seem insincere. Publish content inconsistent with your brand, and risk weakening brand reputation, or even a PR crisis. Regularly assess and align your content with brand standards and mission statement.
Effective content builds key brand attributes with content that strengthens target loyalty.
2: Marching Without a Map: No Clear Content Strategy – Many companies think “digital content” and assign an intern to manage their Facebook page. Little thought is given to the scope of content and the long term content planning. That approach might result in words to populate the website, it doesn’t mean they’ll move your brand in the right direction.
Do you have a Content Matrix that notes every content asset in the current website? Identifies what’s missing? How about an Editorial Calendar? Do you know which sales promotions you’ll want to carry out over the next year? Successful Content Marketing includes all this and more, increasing traffic and raising brand awareness (and increased leads and sales) in the process.
Take the time to set a strategy and decide how you’ll execute it. Develop a clear definition of your Personas, the audiences the website must serve. Conduct a thorough content inventory. Then compare findings against your Personas to identify the gaps. With a Content Matrix of useable material, you’ll be on your way.
3: The Snooze Patrol. Low Engagement = Low Interest. Let’s face it. We sometimes get so entrenched in our brands that we forget that consumers don’t eat, sleep and breathe our product. What we consider the cat’s meow may be a ticket to snooze city for visitors. Publishing volumes of articles and white papers runs the danger of overwhelming visitors.
Keep interest high by offering interactive tools for engagement. The beauty of digital is that it’s easy to test in different channels and get accurate measurements to see what’s working and what’s not. Is it the right channel? Is it bringing new customers to your brand? Leading to repeat business? Pay attention to the formats that get the most clicks – and you’ll soon know the best fit for your target audience. Shift more toward those formats, and your content will become more dynamic and engaging, boosting awareness, interests and conversions.
4: Foot in Mouth Syndrome – “Did we really say that?” In a rush to publish, the sage wisdom we give teens also applies to businesses. What you put out digitally can stay out there forever. Take the time to evaluate every piece of content associated with your brand and consider its consequences. Don’t let your brand take a major hit because of one carelessly planned and executed digital effort. Off-color humor, an ill-placed political statement and the like can create unwanted problems. An independent Content Marketing Specialist can be the expert in your corner who’ll protect your brand while offering insight into the latest and most effective content marketing tactics available.
5: Fuzzy Success Metrics – How can you be sure the content you create drives return on investment? Too often, companies are just tossing out there, hoping something sticks.
Set a benchmark so you’ll know when you’ve succeed. Anything less is a game with no scoreboard. A Content Strategy Partner will focus on building revenue by aligning strategy to digital marketing channels to optimize conversions. Through detailed analysis and measured results, your efforts will provide the best return on investment while maximizing conversation rates.
6: The Trip to Nowhere: Bad UX/UI – Regardless of any political leanings, any ordinary person would agree that Healthcare.gov may go down as one of the biggest social content blunders of all time. We don’t have to relive all the problems, but let’s just say it’s a great example of what not to do. A bad user experience can often be a deal breaker for any consumer. The key to content marketing success lies in what we call the Customer Journey.
It is made up of three phases – Awareness, Consideration and Decision. Personas are portraits of typical clients, developed to give a strong understanding of their needs, wants and habits. How do you reach them? Consideration should be given as to which format elements, or channels, will best reach them. This could include, but is not limited to, articles, videos, testimonials, white papers, interactive, live events, trends and info graphics. The purpose of the Customer Journey is to give the right information at the right time to the right audience. In fact, that’s the whole idea behind Content Strategy.
Avoid these pitfalls and if content marketing is done right, a brand will experience increases in traffic; higher brand awareness, a surge in conversions, new leads and sales.
About AIS Media
Founded in 1997, AIS Media, Inc. (www.aismedia.com) is a strategic digital marketing and creative agency proud to serve some of the best brands, companies and organizations in the world. AIS Media helps clients propel business and revenue growth through innovative digital strategy, digital marketing and award-winning web design.