I think we can all agree with Alan Lakein that “failing to plan is planning to fail.” It goes for weight loss just as much as it goes for business. And within business, you can apply this principle in everything from your budget to your business plan to your content strategy.
But too often, business owners get to their content strategy and they freeze. They’re tired of planning or they’re just not sure of what it is that they’re supposed to be planning.
The goal of content is to market your business to your audience. To be seen as the expert in your industry so you can attract new audiences. To grow the know, like and trust factor so people will buy from you.
What does that take? Tons of content about your services? How-to videos and blog posts? Social media post after social media post?
Yes and no. A quality content marketing strategy could include all of these things, but that doesn’t mean it has to. What you include in your own strategy could be holding you back, even if you’re doing everything else right. Here are just a few of the mistakes you could be making with your content strategy.
[bctt tweet=”Don’t have a strategy? Your content is doing you a disservice.” username=”AbbyMHerman”]
If you want to be seen as a professional and an influencer, start publishing professional content. We’re talking blog posts, videos and social media updates that are readable and exactly what your audience wants to hear about. Any time you publish content on the interwebs, take a look at it and make sure it represents the image and message that you want others to see.
Too often, content is hastily thrown together (because there’s no plan in place and they just have to publish something already). This makes for content that has little value to readers and viewers. Without a plan in place behind the content, without a reason for it, there’s really no point in publishing it.
Not only that, but content that’s thrown together quickly typically isn’t high quality. It looks rushed because it is rushed. So take your time or hire it out. Not everyone is a great writer and not everyone knows how to style graphics to match their brand. But I guarantee that someone out there can do either of these (and more) for you.
Not Aligned to What Your Audience Wants
Do you know what your audience wants from you? I mean, really? If you haven’t asked them lately, then your content strategy is probably aligned with what you want to create rather than what your audience wants and needs.
While yes, it’s your business so you get to make the decisions, if you want to stay in business then you need to listen to your audience too. Survey your audience from time to time to find out where they’re finding your content and what they want more of. It doesn’t take a ton of time and if you have a loyal following, they’ll respond!
[bctt tweet=”You have to publish the content your audience wants if you want the content to make an impact.” username=”AbbyMHerman”]
As business owners, we’re all probably guilty of having lofty goals that we want to achieve. When it comes to creating content, we may want to hit “publish” more than the next guy. But more content doesn’t always make for a good strategy.
Think about it. Creating more content means less time to work with clients. And it means less time to create each of your own pieces of content. That could mean you’re watering down your message, or watering down the quality of each piece you publish. If you want to be seen as an expert, you’re going to want to only put out your best work. If you’re scrambling to publish each piece of content because you have to publish more than the next guy (you don’t), the quality of what you do publish will diminish rapidly.
Not a Strategy
Not only does your content strategy need to align with what your audience needs and wants, it also needs to align with your business goals. Creating content because it’s what you want to create isn’t a strategy. And it’s not going to get you where you want to go.
A content strategy includes content that helps to lead your audience down a path. It takes them on a journey to teach them something, or get them ready to buy something (eventually). If you don’t know why you’re creating the content, don’t create it. If it’s not aligned with some business goal or future offering, put the keyboard down now. You need a strategy before you create anything at all.
Using Content to Sell
Content is part of your marketing plan. Marketing is getting your voice and your message out there to build brand awareness. It’s not about selling. Though if done right, it leads to sales.
If your primary goal in creating content is to sell your product or service, you’re doing it wrong. Content should be about educating and informing your audience. Warming them up for the sale. Giving them what they need to know so when they’re ready to work with you, they’re actually ready.
[bctt tweet=”Your content isn’t there to sell your services. It’s there to sell YOU.” username=”AbbyMHerman”]
In general, you’re not going to get a huge financial ROI from your content marketing. You’ll gain followers, attract some leads, nurture relationships and start conversations. But don’t expect many to buy directly from a few blogs or emails. That’s not what they’re designed to do.
Not Actually Sticking to It
Being consistent with your content marketing strategy is tough. It can be time-consuming and difficult to stay on top of when business gets busy. But because it’s strategic, you need to follow through with every piece of it. So not only do you need to publish when you plan to publish, but you need to publish the content that’s aligned with your business goals and your messaging (your strategy).
When you simply publish content whenever you feel like it, on whatever topic you feel like, your audience is confused and frustrated. This consistency is probably the most difficult piece of the whole strategy puzzle.
You’re Following the “Leader”
You have leaders in your industry you follow and trust. They offer similar services as you. And they’re pretty cool, too. So you should publish content just like them. Right? Wrong.
First, no one likes a copycat. And second, you and these industry leaders? You’re different people, with different personalities, with different areas of expertise, running different businesses. Don’t play follow the leader. Do your own thing.
If you struggle at all with creating and maintaining a content strategy for your business because you just don’t know where to start or you don’t have time to create what your audience needs and wants, carve out some time each week to create. It doesn’t have to take a ton of time to batch-create content and it’s okay to start small–with just a blog post every two weeks or so.
The point is, you need to get content out there so your audience can grow to know, like and trust you. So you can get your message out there. And so you can attract the clients you need to your business and continue to grow and thrive.