Seventy-three percent of B2B companies have a content marketing strategy, according to “B2B Content Marketing – Budgets, Benchmarks, and Trends,” a research report produced by the Content Marketing Institute.
Content marketing—a popular and effective marketing strategy—has taken on an even larger role since the beginning of the pandemic, when many in-person events and meetings were cancelled and suppliers and engineers increased their reliance on content to connect and achieve their objectives.
However, despite marketers’ best intentions around content marketing, mistakes happen, mostly due to lack of insight or experience rather than lack of effort. Here are some of the top content marketing mistakes and how you can avoid them.
Not understanding your audience
Some organizations produce generic, general content that doesn’t take into account the information needs of their audience. This type of content falls flat. Overcome this mistake by conducting the upfront research to understand your audience. Use surveys, interviews, and industry research to identify exactly who you are targeting and what type of content and messaging will be most effective to connect with them.
Creating sales-oriented content
Engineers hate being sold to. Content that tries to sell rather than educate will rarely move the needle with your audience. Sales-oriented content has a place near the end of your customers’ buying process to motivate them to get over the line, but in earlier stages, the focus of content must be educational, informative, and technical. One simple guideline: consider your audience’s needs and not your company’s sales goals to produce more valuable and effective content.
Publishing but not promoting content
The strategy is called content marketing, not content creation. Too many companies publish content—blog posts, articles, web pages, etc.—and mistakenly believe they are engaged in content marketing. Then they wonder why they aren’t gaining traction with their audience.
Publishing content is just the start. You need a marketing plan to promote the content: audience, timing, channels, tracking. Just like any other marketing campaign.
Not creating enough variety
Writing a blog and promoting posts via social media or email is not a broad enough content marketing approach. Some engineers prefer to read, others like to watch videos, some enjoy podcasts, others respond to graphics and diagrams.
Try to create content for different stages of your customers’ buying process and in a variety of formats: longer form white papers, webinars, and articles; comprehensive how-to videos; infographics and drawings; social media posts, discussions, and comments; product comparisons and ROI calculators. The more variety in your content, the greater your opportunity to create a connection with your audience.
Forgetting search engine optimization
Marketing content should be optimized for search engines. Focus on specific keywords for each piece of content. Make sure web pages have keyword-focused titles and description-rich metatags. Create incoming links to content from your social media assets or other external websites. Remember this mantra: always be optimizing.
Leaving out calls-to-action (CTAs)
Every piece of content you produce should include some type of CTA. It could be to download another piece of content, click to read the next article, register for a webinar, sign-up for an exclusive newsletter, or any other call to action that will help keep your audience active and moving along in their buying process.
The other advantage of including CTAs is the reminder that all of your content is interdependent and needs to work together. No content should be an island unto itself.
Not producing evergreen content
Evergreen content retains relevance and continues to drive engagement long after it is first published. Tips, how-to’s, FAQs, and product reviews are examples of content that can serve in an evergreen role. These types of content tend not to be time sensitive and can be optimized for search engines. Not all of your content needs to be evergreen, but a few pieces should have a long shelf life.
Lacking ROI data
Only 36 percent of B2B marketers say their teams have excellent or very good ability to demonstrate content marketing ROI (Content Marketing Institute). To overcome this challenge, you first must define your content marketing objectives, be able to carve out your content marketing costs, and track metrics related to ROI for your organization.
Because content gets published across multiple channels and is accessed by users at different stages in their buying process, having a marketing automation solution to track and measure content performance can be an extremely valuable asset for marketers. There are many low-cost solutions available on the market.