Dec 19, 2017 / in Comms Best Practices / by John Stevens

Lost everything

According to research from Content Marketing Institute, 65 percent of businesses using content marketing have experienced an increase in ROI compared to a year ago.

For content marketers, this is good news — as it indicates that content marketing is still as effective as it has always been. However, a good portion of people using content marketing are not getting results due to making one mistake or the other. As we get ready to enter 2018, if you want to get results from your content marketing efforts, you want to avoid the following mistakes.

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1. Not Having a Documented Content Strategy

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When it comes to content marketing mistakes, it’s easy to focus on tactics, but the number one content marketing mistake by far is not having a documented strategy.

According to a study conducted by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, not having a content marketing strategy is the death knell for most people’s content marketing efforts. In fact, the study found that 60 percent of businesses with a documented strategy will get results. When the strategy isn’t documented and only verbal, the percentage of businesses that get results reduces to 32 percent. When there is no strategy at all, only seven percent of businesses get results from their content marketing efforts.

The good news is that it is not too late to start preparing your content marketing strategy for 2018. More importantly, make sure you document your strategy in a way that each action you will take is clear and properly highlighted.

2. Ignoring Press Release Distribution

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One major content marketing mistake most companies make is focusing only on tactics instead of a holistic strategy. Smart businesses use content marketing to build their brand. They then use their brand to amplify their content marketing efforts — and one of the most effective ways to amplify your brand value is by using press releases.

In case you don’t yet realize how essential focusing on your brand is, here are some interesting statistics:

  • Brands that are perceived as strong generate a higher earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margin than brands that are not.
  • 75 percent of buyers want branded content that helps them research business ideas.
  • Consistently presenting your brand can increase revenue by up to 23 percent.
  • According to 89 percent of readers, the brand a piece of content is coming from is important.
  • You need to make an average of about seven brand impressions before people can remember you.

With a good press release distribution solution, the same piece of content could be distributed to over a dozen authoritative publications, creating a lot of different brand impressions — this is good for both brand visibility and increasing the perceived value of your brand.

3. Not Integrating SEO into Your Content Marketing

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Any content marketing strategy that doesn’t integrate SEO isn’t complete. The following few facts establish why:

  • The top two online activities are search and email — in other words, as hot and hip as social media is, most people start with search.
  • 93 percent of all online traffic comes from a search engine.
  • Search engines drive 300 percent more traffic to sites than social media.
  • You’re likely to close 14.6 percent of leads from search compared to 1.7 percent from outbound leads like prints and advertisements.

In essence, if your content marketing strategy doesn’t integrate SEO, you’re missing out on a huge portion of traffic, conversions and sales. Here are some SEO tips that will work for content marketing in 2018:

  • Double down on your content strategy — content is still essential to good SEO, and Google Search Quality Senior Strategist, Andrey Lipattsev says the two most important signals Google uses to rank websites are high-quality content and link building.
  • Create longer content. SEO research from Blacklinko shows that longer content ranks better, with the average results on Google’s first page being about 1,890 words.
  • Try to use media — especially images — within your content to increase its chances of ranking well. The same research from Backlinko also shows that using a single image within your content can significantly increase its chances of ranking well.
  • Regularly monitor your keywords — both for your content and key pages. You can only effectively optimize what you know where you are ranking for. When tracking your rankings, if you can’t automate the process, be sure to know that your location, or the fact that you’re signed in, could influence your results. Consider masking your IP with a VPN service (popular options include PureVPN) to get unbiased results. Better yet, use solutions that automatically monitor your ranks and send you regular reports.

4. Not Having an Email Marketing Strategy

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If you want your content marketing efforts to pay off, your email and content strategy must be in sync. If you don’t do email marketing, you will only get lackluster results from your content marketing efforts. This is clearly demonstrated by research:

  • For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect a ROI of $38 — this makes email the most effective inbound marketing channel.
  • Email outperforms both search and social media, combined, when it comes to conversion — this was based on research that analyzed over 500 million shopping experiences.

With the above two facts established, it’s time to revisit your approach to email marketing — if your content marketing strategy doesn’t have a detailed email marketing plan, it’s time to rework it.

5. Ignoring the Marketing Rule of Seven

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There’s a lot of lessons from age-old direct marketing that we can use in modern internet-based content marketing. One such lesson is that of the “rule of seven.” According to the rule of seven, you shouldn’t expect people to take note of your offer unless they have seen it at least seven different times.

This means you have to employ different means to ensure that key messages are seen by prospects more than once:

  • Employ different channels and make sure your message is communicated using all of these channels.
  • Re-share your message on the same channel more than once — research shows that resharing content on social media can increase engagement to that content by 686 percent.
  • Ensure your content marketing strategy includes a content distribution plan — this means you will have to repackage content from one format into others, and then distribute the repackaged content through different mediums and channels.
  • Look for sites and platforms that allow content syndication and work on a way to have them syndicate your best content.

6. Not Integrating Your Content Marketing Efforts With Your Sales/Conversion Process

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For every smart business, content marketing should be a means to an end. A means to get more attention and expose them to your products and offerings. Unfortunately, though, most businesses make the mistake of running their content marketing efforts in a vacuum. For example, while their blog has lots of good content and quality traffic, it doesn’t direct readers to their main offerings. There is no clear CTA that tries to get readers to check out their products. The problem with this approach is that there is a popular blog with lots of traffic but little ROI since readers aren’t being sent anywhere. This applies not just to blogs but to other content channels.

As a business, your end goal is to make sales. Every piece of the puzzle in your content marketing effort should be coordinated towards this goal. There should be clear CTAs and links throughout your blog aimed and getting people to check out your product and offerings.


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As we head into 2018 the importance of content marketing will only become clearer, however, you will only get results if you know what you are doing. If you want to get results from your content marketing effort, be sure to avoid the above mistakes.


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