The big mistakes that content marketers need to avoid when planning their campaigns.
While many are aware of the benefits and importance of content marketing in the interaction-driven online universe, some of us still forget the countless dangers that can cause your campaign to fail before it starts generating meaningful results.
Content marketing works on a premise of building a relationship through value and intellectual or emotional connection. However, relationships need time and commitment which can render content marketing campaigns complex and messy. Tasks start piling up; team members lose sight of the goal and the initial infatuation with the project evaporates.
To avoid going down the wrong path when planning your content marketing campaign, it’s essential you keep an eye on these risky areas:
1. Poor Management and Communication
Including weak managerial approach seems pretty obvious, but the obvious mistakes are usually the easiest traps to fall into. So, whether you are one person managing hundreds of little tasks or a team leader overseeing a handful of content creators, you need to watch out!
Bad management can lead to:
- Brand inconsistency. Most companies have some form of brand guidelines in place. But how do you ensure everybody is on the board and following the rules? If someone takes a shortcut (which is likely when content is produced quickly for multiple channels and without clear direction), it can hurt your brand.
- Irrelevant content. Every marketer knows the importance of relevant, helpful content, but many still underestimate the damage irrelevant, inappropriate or unnecessary content can cause. Delivering the wrong message at the wrong stage of the buyer’s cycle can cost your brand subscribers, customers, and, by default, money.
- Unreliable sources. When content gets produced rapidly, and without a proper quality check in place, it's easy for unreliable sources to infiltrate your strategy. Promoting false information can significantly hurt your reputation and lower whatever "expert" appeal you were trying to build.
- Losing sight of the campaign’s purpose. Time is tricky, and our minds are good at forgetting and twisting information. Thus, the longer the campaign, the clearer should the instructions be. Lack of communication in your team followed by random & unsolicited implementation of ideas and last minute changes, can all dissolve the focus of your campaign and lessen its overall effect.
Put as much thought and effort into your management technique as you do into planning your content strategy.
One of the best ways to track the progress of every task in your content marketing campaign is by employing reliable project managing tools. This will allow you to:
- Organize & keep track of all tasks and team members
- Enable smooth collaboration and communication as well as overall visibility
- Track time spent on tasks
- Manage your budget & invoicing
Even the best strategy can fail without a good management to see it through. Therefore, getting the right tools to help your cause is an item on your list that shouldn't be ignored.
2. Wrong Approach to Outreach
Every content marketing strategy requires some form of outreach. Focused blogger outreach or any other kind of link building is the key to generating interest in and engagement with your content and marketing campaign. Therefore, the outcome of your outreach process has a large impact on the success of your campaign.
The biggest issue with outreach is that is can be incredibly time-consuming, and the results of your work can’t always be seen as quickly as you'd wish. On top of all that, there are quite a few complications that can mess with your plans:
- Blogger (or influencer) databases often provide inaccurate data
- You get stuck with a badly estimated budget
- Not all bloggers/influencers you find match your brand voice
- Your product or campaign style may not fit with their audience
- Some bloggers you target can already be covering your competitor
- Response rate from blind blogger outreach is fairly low
- All the contacts, emails and relationships are hard to keep track of and can get messy
Once again, a straightforward solution hides in getting your hands on specialized outreach management tools. Automating repetitive detailed-oriented tasks will give you more time and space to focus on the quality of your outreach strategy rather than the technical part of it.
Most outreach tools will provide:
- Smart and simple project and email setup
- Prospecting options that help you avoid creating low-quality backlinks.
- Automated email management (templates, customization, scheduling, follow-ups)
- Reporting system to keep you up to date
- Decent customer support
Whatever your style of work, today, the market offers a plethora of tools. You are bound to find one that has a decent learning curve, appropriate pricing, and workflow that suit your needs.
3. Not Enough Resources
Even though content marketing is the cheaper of the advertising options currently available, an appropriate budget can still be the deciding element between failure and success.
Content marketing is all about consistency and quality over time. Lack of resources can throw you off your game quickly and unexpectedly, and since the content is published continually, the issues are very hard to hide. Some of the common problems you may encounter include:
- Lack of fresh content. Insufficient resources lead to a lack of quality content creators producing valuable content. Of course, you can offer less money (there are A LOT of entrepreneurs offering “generous” $5 per 500 words) but the practice is not very well received, and you cannot expect or demand much quality or originality.
- Struggling to hire the right workforce leads to inconsistency and inconsistency kills engagement. Relying on chaotic bits of content to get your point across is like trying to hit the mark blindfolded.
- No content promotion. Even if you manage to produce the most interesting and helpful content in the history of the Internet, it’s unlikely to attract attention without a bit of promotion. Be it through outreach or ads; you have to get your content out there, and insufficient budget makes this task significantly more challenging.
- Not tracking or measuring results. Not having the right tools at your disposal can rob you of one of the biggest advantages of content marketing - its ability to adapt during the campaign based on reactions and responses. Failing to track and evaluate your efforts is an unbelievable waste of the little resources you have already invested.
Simply put, do not underestimate the cost of content marketing because once you get going, interruptions can be fatal. Freezing in the middle of your "performance" can not only cost you resources but can also hurt your brand image.
Nonetheless, you shouldn’t give up the opportunities content marketing has to offer. There are hoops, loops, and techniques to help you plan and control your content marketing spend. Some of the most common content budget saving tips include:
- Planning in advance. Design and write it ALL down; having a physical representation of your strategy be it in the form of guidelines or a presentation, will help you maintain focus and stick to the plan.
- Reusing old well-received content. Content repurposing is a popular technique and can save your skin when the budget gets really tight. Do a regular audit and inventory of your content; it’s full of diamonds in the rough.
- Getting comfy with content curation. You don’t need to create every little piece of information. Show your followers you are keeping up with the trends, and your intention is truly helping instead of just promoting yourself. Plus, mixing things up with a relevant third-party content can help you establish, as well as leverage friendly relationships with the influencers whose content you are sharing.
- Advice to spend money might seem a bit off in this money-saving section but think about it before you judge. Isn’t it better to hire a professional and get great content from the start? Wasting your precious time and resources with an amateur whose content is more likely to damage your brand than help it? If you do not have the skills you need in your company, outsource the job and outsource it well. Instead of focusing on the burden of initial cost, focus on ROI.
- Tracking & Evaluating. If there is an ultimate resource-saving strategy in content marketing, it’s using the gathered analytics to your advantage. Get crazy A/B testing and finding the most efficient way of raising your reach and impact.
The key is to be smart and study up. Always remember that decisions and plans you make are only as good as the information you based them on.
Martina - [email protected]