3 Common Mistakes Small Business Owners Make with Content Marketing
Imagine this: you’ve spent a whole bunch of time researching and writing some brilliant content, published it on your blog and shared it out via your social channels.
Now you’re wondering, why isn’t your content leading to sales? Where are the eager people scrambling to sign up for your newsletter or share your awesome content to their networks?
I hate to break it to you, but they’re probably not coming.
While you did a great job writing your content, you missed a few other steps that are just as important. The good news is that most other people miss them too. So if you learn them, you’ll have a leg up. Here are three big ones.
Mistake #1: No strategy
Let’s be frank here, you’re not creating content just for the pure fun of it. You’re creating it to drive cash flow. No cash flow means no business. So you need to ensure that any content you create is designed to turn visitors into leads, and leads into customers.
This doesn’t just happen on its own. You need to have a game plan for making it happen—in other words, you need a content marketing strategy.
Grab a pen and answer the following 5 questions:
- What does the business want to achieve in the next 6–12 months?
- What does marketing need to achieve in the next 6–12 months?
- Rank the following 8 things that content can do for you in order of importance:
- Build brand awareness
- Educate buyers
- Move leads along the purchase path (nurturing)
- Engage with key influencers
- Serve existing customers
- Cross-selling or up-selling
- Generate new sales leads
- Establish your expertise
- If you haven’t already, brainstorm your ideal buyers and create a brief persona for each. Summarize each buyer persona in a few bullet points and prioritize them based on most important to the business to least important.
- Each piece of content should move a prospect to the next stage of the buying journey. For each persona, write down what type of content you’ll create at each stage of their buyer journey:
- Awareness content (letting them know the business exists):
- Interest content (getting their interest in what the business does):
- Desire content (connecting their desires with the business’ services):
- Action content (asking them to work with the business):
Hint: It can be helpful to list the questions that buyers have in each stage of the buying process. Then develop content that answers the questions appropriate to the stage you’re targeting.
That’s it! (Okay, I get that it’s still a lot, but you can take your time, and it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time. Remember, just doing these steps at all is putting you ahead of hundreds of people who aren’t.)
The key is to make sure that you’re showing the right content, to the right target audience, and the right time in their buying journey.
Action step: Create the content for each stage of your prospect’s buyer journey and put it online so they can access it.
Mistake #2: No measurement
Management consultant Peter Drucker is often quoted saying “What gets measured gets improved.”
This is no different for content marketing, but sadly this is not the case for many small business owners.
Three tools we recommend to our clients for measuring content marketing success are:
- Google Analytics – for gathering data on website traffic, including where your traffic is coming from as well as what your most popular blog posts are.
- Email marketing software – for tracking email list signups and email campaigns. Some popular tools in this space are Convertkit (our favourite), Drip, ActiveCampaign and Infusionsoft.
- A simple spreadsheet, with fields for tracking regular campaign objectives, metrics and results.
Action step: Install Google Analytics on your website, set up your email marketing software, and create a spreadsheet to track your content marketing results.
Mistake #3: Not optimized to be found by Google
“If you publish it they will come…” said NO successful content marketer.
Your content needs to be discoverable by search engines, and more importantly your target audience.
When they jump onto Google and search for whatever words, phrases or questions that relate to their specific problem (that you can solve), YOUR website should come up.
So pay attention to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and make sure that you’re creating content that your target audience are actually looking for.
- Choose one of the following options to improve your SEO:
- Use a keyword research tool like Google AdWords: Keyword Planner to identify what keyword phrases your target audience are searching for often and then create content based on that.
- Alternatively, find and hire an SEO expert to do the keyword research for you.
- If your blog runs on WordPress, we recommend Yoast SEO plugin. It’s quick to install and super easy to use.
So there you have it! We’ve just covered 3 of the most common mistakes small business owners make when it comes to content marketing, and some practical actions for you to take to improve your own marketing.
None of this will help you if you don’t implement, so make sure that you put the time and energy into taking action if you’re serious about improving your results online.
As a parting tip, always focus on adding value to your target audience with your content. Make sure it’s presented in a way that is easy for them to consume (looks and reads good), publish consistently, and optimize for search engines (so people can discover your content).
Here’s to creating better content that helps your business grow!
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