Content marketing has picked up speed in recent years, driving businesses to recognize its value in steering the conversation about their brands with consumers. But some companies have fallen asleep at the wheel, with some disastrous results. These brands aren’t completely totaled; they just need a little repair work on their content marketing strategies.
Here’s a look at 7 Content Marketing Wrecks (and how to fix them):
1. The Social Snafu
It’s the ultimate PR nightmare: a crass corporate tweet. Sometimes, it’s just insensitivity on the part of the poster. Other times, it’s a total mistake: usually posting from the company account rather than a personal account. The latest scandal involved Kitchenaid, maker of home appliances, who sent out a controversial tweet about President Barack Obama’s deceased grandmother during a presidential debate. It sparked an ugly barrage against the company and prompted an official apology. How to avoid? Consider having employees use two separate Twitter applications, one for personal and one for business. It’s more work, but definitely safer.
2. The Used Car Salesman
Brands that approach content marketing from a purely sales perspective are missing the mark. People are not looking for another way to be bombarded with sales material. They are looking for information on how to solve a problem they have. That solution may very well be connected to your product or service, but let them figure it out for themselves. Business owners who understand that content marketing is about education and information, rather than selling, will benefit in the long run.
3. The Silent Partner
No one likes to have a one-way conversation. Today’s consumers expect interaction… and fast. This week, Public Relations guru Peter Shankman was unhappy about the accommodations offered to him at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. He let them know via Twitter and when he didn’t get a response, unleashed at them on Facebook. MGM Grand eventually replied, Shankman acknowledged and said he was looking forward to continuing the conversation offline. The take away? Be prepared to respond to comments, answer questions and engage your audience frequently and in a timely manner.
4. The Email Error
Chances are your company is (or should be!) using some kind of email marketing by now. It could be as simple as an order confirmation or as in-depth as a regular newsletter. Emails go a long way in solidifying relationships with your customers. But it doesn’t matter how great your email is if it never makes it into an inbox. Return Path reports that 83% of the time an email address is not delivered to an inbox, the sender's reputation (defined by the sender score) is to blame. So, stay away from purchased lists and know the rules. It’s illegal not to include an option to unsubscribe in your email, it’s also illegal not to honor the request. After all, you don’t want to end up in the Email Marketing Hall of Shame.
5. The Blog Blunder
What began as a daily initiative became a weekly task and is now a monthly chore: blogging. Company blogs often go the way of an endangered species, only seen in rare moments. This can affect your bottom line. Hubspot reports businesses that published blog entries on a regular basis (more than once a week) added subscribers over twice as fast as those companies that added content once a month. Get your neglected blog back on track by committing to a blog schedule and developing an editorial calendar.
6. The Confusing Infographic
We are a visual society. Pinterest has over 10 million users, Instagram is a household word and you probably encounter at least one infographic a day. Infographics are graphic visual representations of knowledge. This mix of art and science can be a great way to convey a story while using statistics. But often, they can be a confusing jumble of images. Good infographics have a clear goal, effortless flow and offer reliable sources and valuable information. Imagine trying to boil down a scientific timeline of the universe from the big bang to heat death in an infographic. Oh right, it’s been done. But take it with a grain of salt, the information came from Wikipedia.
7. The Website Wasteland
Has your company website not been updated since 2001? Can you make changes to it yourself? If not, get your website under control with a Content Management System. This inexpensive way to manage your website doesn’t require a programmer or special software and with built-in easy design help, you won’t be known as the World’s Worst Website. Yes, this site actually outlines the most common mistakes made by web page designers. Warning: seizures can occur from viewing this site.
There are so many opportunities and channels that allow you to create and publish content, it can be overwhelming for many businesses. But if you create a content marketing plan and stick to it, you won’t end up as a content marketing casualty.