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Seven Mistakes Which Will Derail Your Content Marketing in 2018 Identify these 7 mistakes in your content marketing, dismantle them immediately and unleash the potent impact of content marketing from your arsenal.

By Santosh Kanekar

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Content Marketing Institute's 2017 content marketing research says that 85% of B2B marketers ascribe Content creation as the No.1 reason for increased success in the last year.

No wonder, 91% of top marketers are going all in for content marketing.

But there are also some companies which are stumbling in their content marketing activities. Sometimes badly. Why is that?

While the intentions are pure and the teams are ready to do the hard works, some basic but dangerous mistakes creep in which takes you away from the promised land of success.

Identify these 7 mistakes in your content marketing, dismantle them immediately and unleash the potent impact of content marketing from your arsenal.

#1 Not Having a Content Marketing Strategy

Fire.Fire.Fire. Endless rounds into deep dark space and then wondering why there is no bull's eye?

Content marketing needs Strategy. The strategy does not mean you write a 5000-page tome on what you will do. All you need is a clear picture of the Why, Who, What, How and When and Where. I can't stress how this is important. I see a lot of startups chasing the new shiny thing or whining about algo changes in social media.Techniques later, strategy first.

Having a content marketing strategy helps in guiding your team's efforts through the minefield of distractions of new technologies and tactics.

Strategy first means you map out the Why and How clearly so that every day you are taking action which is focused and on target. You have made your strategy but is it linked to your overall marketing strategy?

#2 Not Linking Content Marketing to the Overall Inbound or Total Marketing Strategy

Just having content marketing strategy is not enough. Content marketing is an integral part of inbound marketing but is only one part.

There are several key components e.g. developing a buyer persona, doing SEO Audit and making your audit SEO friendly, having a social media strategy; there are other moving parts in your overall marketing strategy.

When your content marketing strategy is not aligned with the overall marketing strategy, then you run the risk of your efforts falling part. Why is that?

If different parts of your marketing strategy are moving in different directions, then your customers may get a confused picture.

Worse, those customers who have started moving through your marketing funnel may drop out if the funnel is not conversion optimized to move through to BOFU.

When the content marketing strategy is developed, make sure you as a CMO get all the team together to get everyone aligned. Have the sales representatives also at the meeting. This is to make sure that the marketing qualified leads are passed on smoothly to the sales for them to close the sales.

Handover the written content marketing strategy to each one in the team.

You have a documented content marketing strategy, haven't you?

#3 Not Having a Documented Content Marketing Strategy

The ROI difference between having a documented strategy and not having one is huge.

Documented does not mean you print it in fancy photo paper and have a diamond-studded cover.

It does mean that the strategy, the steps and who is responsible for what and when are clearly outlined. Having a checklist and roles clearly defined is a must.

This removes any errors which may happen due to miscommunication. Also, a documented content marketing strategy means that you will have a clear idea of what you are testing and how you will measure it. Remember what you will measure, will happen.

A written content marketing strategy also means that you and everyone in the team will have a content calendar to work out.

#4 Not Developing a Content Calendar

I cannot emphasize how important this point. We all have a desk calendar, haven't we? It may be a pretty physical calendar or a desktop calendar with alerts.

What is the main function of this planner?

At one glance, you can see how the week and month is going to unfold. Also, it shows how the content calendar is aligned to your business calendar.

You may have a launch coming up or a major UX overhaul or new modules which you are offering. Seeing how the content amplifies these events or works around them helps in the team being very clear about the big picture. The content calendar also helps in planning and executing content which you love. Not really!

#6 Falling in Love with One's Content

I get it. You put sweat and tears (hopefully no blood) into making your magnum opus ie your content. And then you fall in love with your content. You post the content and close your eyes waiting for the applause. Instead, you hear crickets, no one is engaging or watching your content. It happens.

The next step is critical. If you get angry ("they don't know how to appreciate my content") or sad ("it's pointless, I will never get my voice across") then you are not a marketer but a failed writer.

What you need to do is compare with other content which you have generated:

  • Check your buyer persona - does your content reflect their problems and their journey?

  • Check whether you have thrown too many ideas – it is better to have one thruline than many unconnected ideas

  • Check if it lacks emotional content – emotional content is engaging, data is boring if it does not tell a story

  • Check the day, time of the day – sometimes other events may have absorbed all the attention or the time you are posting coincides with heavy workload and your prospect is not online at that time

While you may be right about the content, you should make sure you don't obsess about technology.

#7 Focus on Technology Instead of How Valuable It is

You bought the latest high-end camera and just to be sure, even hired a videographer. You made sure the lighting is straight out of a Spielberg movie, and the sound is worthy of an Oscar.

You dressed like a diva and delivered your content like Churchill. You had the best scheduling software deliver the message right in front of your prospects noses. And the prospects turned up their noses. Why? Oh, Why? Because it was not relevant to them.

Relevance trumps technology. Make content which reflects the buyer's journey and their problems and your proposed solutions. Technology is only a support. Developing content with the right technology is just the start, what is your promotion plan?

#5 Not Bothering About Promotion

Derek Halpern from Social Triggers says that content marketing is 80% promotion and 20% content

Promotion means you need to make sure that as many prospects get to see the content which you have created for them. Are you ticking off all these promotion possibilities?

  • Send content on your owned media like your own twitter, facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest to name a minimum

  • Create video and visual content on YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram

  • Having a cycle of promotion for your content. Be aware of changed rules for Twitter where they don't allow repeat content

  • Sending your content to your email list is the minimum

  • As part of your link building strategy, connecting with influencers and requesting them to share your content on their networks

The road to success is paved with mistakes. However, some mistakes are like deep pits. To come back from them while your competition is racing is difficult. Avoid the ones listed above and put your marketing machine into full throttle.

Santosh Kanekar

Startup Mentor, Leadership Coach and Author

Author of Stop Reset Start, Growth Rocket Launcher, and Leadership Coach, Santosh Kanekar founded BeLive Corp, which advices many Global Hedge and Alternative Funds based in New York, London, Singapore and Hong Kong. He regularly advises Startups on Business Planning and business acceleration.

He has coached hundreds of individuals and businesses to deliver high-performance results and launch their own Growth Rocket.

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