As an entrepreneur, you’ve almost certainly heard the saying “content is king.”
This statement, made famous by Bill Gates way back in 1996, has essentially shaped the way marketers have operated for the past two decades.
For those who are just setting out on their entrepreneurial journey, though, this sentiment can be a bit misleading. Sure, creating content can absolutely help you to gain visibility and generate leads among your target audience. However, the wrong approach to content marketing can cost you a ton of time, money, and energy — and cause a ton of disappointment in the process.
So, while it doesn’t exactly have the same ring to it, a more accurate statement would be “content done right is king.”
With that said, let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes business owners make when venturing into the realm of content marketing for the first time.
3 Things Most Businesses Get Wrong About Generating Leads via Content Marketing
As we’ve alluded to, it’s not exactly uncommon for a company’s content marketing initiatives to fall short of the organization’s expectations.
While any number of problems could potentially cause such failures, we’re going to focus on three of the most common reasons that a company’s content marketing efforts fail to pan out as expected.
1. A Lack of Strategy
For those who have little-to-no experience in the realm of content marketing, it can be easy to assume that content creation is a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants process. Perhaps one where companies simply write about whatever comes to mind, publish it, then watch the leads come trickling in.
This just isn’t the case.
As it is for everything else in the world of business, you need to approach content marketing strategically if you want to have any hope of gaining anything from your efforts.
First off, keep in mind that creating content isn’t just for attracting an audience – it’s to attract an audience and also to begin the process of getting them to convert into paying customers.
So, not only does your content need to be engaging and informative, but it also needs to prompt your audience to take further action with your brand (e.g., digging for more information, requesting a demo, or making a full purchase).
Additionally, it is important that you pay attention to the logistics of your content creation in order to maximize visibility and engagement among your target audience. This entails creating content centered on the right topics and keywords, developing the type of content your audience wants to engage with, and publishing and distributing it on the platform and at the time your audience will be likely to engage with it.
Without a strategy behind your content creation, you’re relying on luck every time you hit the “Publish” button.
2. Not Focusing on a Specific Customer Segment
Failing to create and publish content with a very specific audience in mind is yet another major mistake organizations often make.
(Source / All things to consider before you start creating content.)
Instead, in an effort to reach their entire target consumer base, these companies churn out rather general pieces of content that engage nobody.
So, before you begin the process of creating a piece (or series) of content, you need to first nail down which of your customer personas you’ve created it for. Once you’ve done that, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- What does this persona want to read about?
- Why is this topic relevant to both this persona and my company?
- What are the next steps I want the persona to take after they read this content?
To illustrate just how big a difference specificity makes when it comes to content creation, consider the following hypothetical blog post titles:
X Things to Consider When Buying a Home
X Things College Graduates Should Know Before Buying Their First Home
Here, it’s more than likely that the first article will provide general advice to a general audience – which, considering the sheer volume of blog posts published on a daily basis, can be found on a large number of other websites.
In contrast, the second example takes into consideration the circumstances of a specific persona – and almost assuredly provides advice that this specific audience will find highly valuable.
The takeaway here:
Don’t create with the hopes that “someone” will find it valuable. Take the time to determine who you hope to attract.
Then create content just for them.
3. Not Following Through
With all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating such valuable content, it can be tempting to sit back and relax once you’ve actually published your work.
However, the content you’ve created is merely the means for creating engagement. You have to push forward to actively create that engagement after publication.
As we mentioned earlier, millions of blog posts and other types of content are created on a daily basis. You can’t simply put your content “out there” and assume your target audience will find it.
Instead, you need to get “out there” and point your target audience to your content yourself, and then keep them engaged once they land on your site.
Share your posts on social media and other online platforms.
Respond to your readers’ comments.
Encourage those who love your work to share it with their network.
The more active you are in this process, the more likely that your audience will move closer toward converting.
Similarly, your lead-generating content is just the first piece of content your new audience will see from you – but it shouldn’t be the last. You’ll also want to develop supplemental content for qualified leads to digest once they’ve shown more than a passing interest in your brand.
This might include content such as how-to videos, white papers, webinars, or anything that provides further information about your services.
The moment you’ve wrapped up a given piece of content is the same moment you should begin thinking about what else you can do for your audience. In doing so, you’ll all but ensure they remain engaged up until — and way past — the point of conversion.
When it comes to generating leads, content is king – but only if you use it correctly. As long as you remain strategic in your efforts, and stay laser-focused on creating engagement among a specific customer segment, your content marketing initiatives will continue to evolve. And you’ll end up reaching a ton of potential customers in the process.
Feature Image Credit: CC 0; Public Domain. View original feature image on Flickr.com.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.
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