Content: it’s what keeps marketers up at night. You lie in bed, sleep eluding you, wondering if your blog posts, content offers, guides, and white papers will draw customers in or send them running for the hills. Or, maybe, that’s just me…
Content can either make or break your business. Quality, targeted content will attract website traffic, generate qualified leads, and boost conversion rates. On the other hand, a poorly thought out, unfocused content marketing plan will only sabotage your sales and hinder progress.
Your content won’t produce desired results until you’ve mapped out a sophisticated plan for your marketing efforts. If you’re worried about the effectiveness of your content, here are some warning signs that your content marketing strategy is doomed to fail.
1) Your Content is Lacking on the CTA Front
“Let me just aimlessly wander your website trying to figure out what the next step is…,” said no person ever. Readers expect a call-to-action when they finish a blog post or open an email. After reading a blog on why cats go nuts for laser pointers, it’s only natural for a reader to click on the CTA button, “See More Examples of Cats Being Cats.” Failing to include this CTA would be a serious oversight on your part. I mean, who wouldn’t click on that?
Effective calls-to-action convince potential customers to take action. They provide clear expectations of the next logical step, whether that’s reading more articles, scheduling a demo, or requesting a quote. Make sure you’re including CTA’s in all of your content to entice readers and encourage them to visit your website or, if they’re already on your site, stick around for awhile.
Create targeted, personalized CTA’s that consider the reader’s interests and where they are in the buyer’s journey. While CTA’s are essential for a solid content marketing strategy, be careful not to go overboard. If there’s a CTA every other sentence or paragraph, you may turn off potential customers and come off as too salesy. It’s ok to offer a secondary CTA, but too many choices will overwhelm readers.
2) You’re A Copycat
We all look to our competition for inspiration and marketing ideas. There’s nothing wrong with using competitors’ triumphs and downfalls to shape your content marketing efforts, but you want to steer clear of mirroring their every move. Your content should bring something new, different, or extra to the table if you want to stand out from the pack.
Instead of obsessively focusing on your competitors’ strategy, concentrate on your own marketing efforts. We’re not saying you should ignore your competitors - you should keep an eye on them to make sure you have the upper hand. However, you should avoid imitating their every advertisement and blog post. Since you share a similar target audience, the last thing you want is for potential customers to experience deja vu when they see a content offer on your site that closely resembles your competitor’s. And, for all you know, your competitors’ marketing efforts may be failing.
3) Your Content Strategy Takes After Groundhog Day
It’s not rocket science. If you promote a whitepaper one week, it doesn’t make sense to offer that same content over and over again. While a blog post or guide may resonate with one person, another visitor may be looking for something else entirely. That’s why it’s important to mix it up and share content on a variety of relevant topics. Writing new and fresh content on a regular basis will keep your brand top of mind and encourage visitors to come back for more.
Make sure you create content that appeals to prospects at every stage of the buyer’s journey. One blog post may inform a reader of a challenge they’re experiencing while another piece of content suggests a potential solution for this pain point. Above all, your content should inform and educate your reader rather than tell them something they already know.
It’s only natural for you to want to write share-worthy content. After all, your content is the lifeblood of your marketing campaign. Keeping these guidelines in mind will help you prevent future writing missteps and implement a solid content marketing strategy.
Courtney is the content writer at Stratus Interactive, where she is responsible for writing original, thought-provoking blog posts on a variety of topics. Courtney has been writing stories since she was a wee little one and has experience in B2B and B2C content marketing in addition to SEO. See all Courtney Feairheller's posts.