Three reasons content marketing fails

Content marketing has grown to become one of the most popular online marketing strategies in recent years. Companies are more interested than ever in knowing the reasons content marketing fails or succeeds. A 2016 report by the Content Marketing Institute shows that 30 percent of B2B marketers believe their organizations use content marketing effectively.
Likewise, Tempesta Media’s first Current State of Content Marketing and Marketing Technology research report shows that 90 percent of companies with growing revenue deployed content marketing campaigns.
Although there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to online content marketing, there are a few obvious don’ts certain to kill an organization’s content marketing platform, such as a blog. Content marketing fails because of poor keyword research, poorly researched topics, no CTAs and poor audience interaction.
Read on to learn more about why content marketing fails, and how to avoid them.

Disregarding the relationship between SEO and content marketing

With Google emphasizing the importance of original, high-quality content as a key ranking signal, content marketing has overshadowed traditional search engine optimization as a marketing tactic.
This, however, is the wrong tack. As many marketers have come to learn, content marketing and SEO form a symbiotic relationship. In fact, for content marketing to succeed, it needs to be integrated with SEO – a factor many organizations fail to recognize.
Content creation tactics should feed off of comprehensive SEO analyses. This includes, among others:

  • Keyword research
  • Landing page effectiveness
  • Page speed
  • Clickthrough rates
  • Bounce rates

SEO is important because of its focus on visibility. Even if an organization pushes high-quality content, it would be useless if no one sees it. This is exactly where SEO comes in, providing the necessary tools and data to increase a content asset’s visibility.

Not amplifying the content

An organization may have created a great piece of content, complete with optimized SEO and a call to action. That’s fantastic, but if all it does is sit on their blog or website, they won’t see the results they’re are looking for. Organic traffic isn’t enough to hit the target numbers.
The content needs to get in front of as many eyes as possible. How? Through amplification and various forms of sharing, such as influencer marketing, social media outlets, email marketing and paid advertising.
It may take a little more investment, but amplification increased leads, resulting in greater success for your content marketing and sales initiatives.

Not using any calls to action

The bottom line with content marketing is to use content assets to encourage readers to take action, which is also known as a conversion. With content marketing, it is not enough to simply publish content and wait for results to happen. Should this continue to happen, the campaign fails to maximize the organization’s return of investment.
Oftentimes, all it takes for readers to click the like button, share the content asset or even to turn into paying customers, is a nudge in the right direction.
A call to action literally tells people what to do after reading a content piece. Although there are many strategies to implement calls to action, an organization’s CTAs should depend on its content marketing goals.

  • Is it to spread content and boost brand awareness? If so, content sharing should be the priority.
  • Is it to generate sales? The CTA and the content itself should focus on product information and encouraging the reader to buy.
  • Is to generate leads? Then the CTA may have to be geared towards gaining newsletter subscriptions

Inconsistency with content marketing

Content marketing is also about building a brand’s image and reputation, and consistency is key to ensuring an organization’s target audience maintains a favorable view of the company. This means doing the following:

  • Sticking to a consistent message
  • Posting content on a consistent basis
  • Consistently targeting the right audience.

The effects of inconsistency are easy to understand. For example, if an organization’s website or official blog has not been updated in three years, customers may think the company is inactive, or worse, in decline.
Admittedly, publishing content consistently may be a problem for organizations with small writing teams, or none at all. This is where the value of outsourcing content marketing, or at least the content creation aspect of it, shows itself.

Failing to measure content and campaign performance

Producing content is just one aspect of the online content marketing process. Measuringcontent performance is just as importance – this is the best way of determining a content asset’s effectiveness. Although many organizations will cite the lack of tools and analytics systems to measure content performance, more often than not, the reason boils down to a lack of motivation.
Measuring content gives content marketers a plethora of valuable data, such as:

  • The most effective topics with readers
  • The best times to post content
  • Bounce rates, or the percentage of readers that click on a content asset but leave
  • Audience engagement

In summary

  • Content marketing has grown to become a critical component of online marketing
  • Although there are several approaches to content marketing, there are a few content marketing mistakes to take note of and avoid
  • Remember to treat SEO and content marketing as separate, but very intertwined strategies
  • Always use calls to action on all content assets
  • Consistency is critical to content marketing success: consistency in message and tone, publishing frequency, and target audience
  • Always measure the performance of content assets

Need help?

If you have a content marketing program or are planning one, download our e-book “100 Mistakes Businesses Make When Starting, Optimizing and Scaling Content Marketing Programs.”
This e-book will walk you through the mistakes of hundreds of other companies and the challenges they faced in implementing their content marketing programs. To learn more about how Tempesta Media can help you streamline your content creation process and deliver quality content at scale, contact us today.

Case study projects for a content marketing candidate interview

Case studies are a great wait to see if what the interview candidate says they can do during an interview, actually matches up to their skills. Case studies also help sniff out how interested a candidate is in the job.  The reason why Tempesta Media uses case studies during the hiring process is because hiring the wrong candidate can actually slow your business down.
Here are a few ideas of case studies that you can create for candidates who are applying for a content marketing position at your company:

Create an email nurturing campaign with at least five different emails:

This person should create the email and the blog article for each component of the campaign. Look for attention to detail. Does this person include subject lines, call to action descriptions, and proper links?
Nurturing campaign case studies also allows you to determine if the candidate can customize the content to match the audience or where the reader is in the marketing funnel.

Develop an editorial calendar with topics

Ask the candidate to create a brief one month editorial calendar. This will demonstrate the content marketing expert’s creativity and ability to research.
Do the topic suggestions involve something that’s already been written about?
Is the topic timely or segmented towards the audience?

Repurpose a white paper

Provide the candidate with a white paper and recommend that they break it up into smaller blog articles. See how they’re able to do it, and how they would execute it. This is a great example of someone taking initiative and being able to interpret the content that you create for them.

Ask for content marketing goals to determine ROI

Goals are critical to determine whether or not your content marketing program is successful. By asking this question during the interview process, you’ll be able to tell if the candidate is analytical and goal orientated.
Do they have a business sense?
As with any case study deliverable, pay close attention to the questions they ask, the timeliness, and the overall style of what’s produced. Need help with a strategy, How to create a simple content strategy.

Multiple phases of approving content slows down companies – Part 1

Most companies are challenged with meeting objectives that might be diametrically opposed. For example, how to scale up content marketing while not sacrificing quality, is a challenge that many companies are facing today.
One of the keys to scaling content while still ensuring that the messaging is clear, is to have an effective internal approval process. An internal approval process is necessary for content marketing, regardless of whether you’re creating content in-house, outsourcing your content production, or using a hybrid of the two.
There process needs to be streamlined, because if it isn’t, people will avoid the process, making it useless all together.
Smaller businesses face different challenges than larger businesses when it comes to quality assurance for content. Larger businesses have more complexity and more approvals that are generally required before content can go onto the Web site or be used for the purposes of this article. This article focuses on specifically on smaller businesses.

Approving content could be your bottleneck

So let’s talk about how the approval process goes.

  1. Generally, the first thing that happens is that someone comes up with a topic idea to write about.
  2. Then the topic idea is sent over to a content creator. And it’s that person’s job to create that content.
  3. Once that content has been created it needs to be edited initially for spelling and grammar. Nothing removes credibility from your brand than a typo!
  4. After the initial proofreading edit, the content should be checked for any inadvertent plagiarism.
  5. After a plagiarism screen, the article has to go to the appropriate business people within a company. These people will make sure that what is being covered within the content is aligned with the company’s business objectives.

All the parties involved are capable of editing for spelling and grammar. They are able to utilize a separate software to conduct any plagiarism screening. They may even have internal resources to create the content.
The problems often happen with getting approval. Oftentimes approvals have to be done at an executive level. As everyone knows, most executives never seem to have enough time to handle the myriad of tasks that are put in front of them… approving blog articles being one of them.
Learn more by reading our second series to this post: How to speed up content marketing approval when multiple people are involved.

What are the most common mistakes companies do with their content marketing?

Content marketing is often something that is talked about within an organization – as something that you know you need to do but can’t seem to get around to. It keeps falling farther and farther behind on your to-do list. Here are the most common mistakes companies make with their content marketing program:

They don’t consider the time it takes to write content

The ideas are great but putting pen to paper takes a lot more time than people realize. Additionally, time should be allotted for the research and the editing. Content marketers also optimize content for SEO by incorporating proper meta titles and meta descriptions, along with great links.

They start with high frequency and then lose steam

Content marketing takes time to develop results. Think of it like a diet – you eat healthy for one week, or maybe a month, and then go back to your old ways. Content marketing is that same way… unless you make a business change and truly adopt a practice of writing and promoting content on a regular basis – you won’t be able to make progress.

The content isn’t focusing on a particular persona or Voice Profile

Content is most effective when it speaks to the reader. By understanding everything about the reader and narrowing in on what their pain points are – you can create content that adds value to the reader. People want to read articles that are helpful.

Start with benchmarks to create reasonable goals

Look at your google analytics to see what your current bounce rate is, pages viewed, and time spent on site. Use these metrics to create realistic goals to achieve once incorporating your content marketing program. Pages indexed will be hugely valuable as well.

10 email marketing mistakes to avoid

Email marketing is an extremely effective way to get your message out to prospects and customers. Email allows for segmentation so you are able to target your message to those who will most want to read it. In fact, HubSpot found that 13 percent of all leads come from email marketing.
According to Pew Research, 92 percent of adults use email. Additionally, Radicati Group found that while social media is popular, there are three times more email accounts than Twitter and Facebook accounts combined. Campaign Monitor reports customers are six times more likely to click-through from an email than from a Tweet.
Committing yourself to email marketing is an important business step. Here are 10 common email mistakes you want to avoid:

Not getting permission

A surefire way to stop your email marketing efforts is to spam people. Not following the CAN-SPAM Act can get you into legal trouble. Make sure the people who supply their email addresses understand you will be contacting them via email. If you have an email form on your site that doesn’t specify this or if you upload a list of addresses you gathered somewhere else, permission is not granted. Be clear about how you will use an email address.

Not being aligned with your marketing plan

Every part of your marketing efforts should be cohesive. Email marketing never should stand on its own. Doing so confuses the recipient. Your branding, colors, fonts and logos, should be part of your email campaign. Make sure links within the email go to your website.

Poor subject lines

According to Convince and Convert digital marketing advisers, 33 percent of email recipients open email based on subject line alone. One third of your list will look at the subject line and decide right then and there.
Take the time to clean up and craft your subject line. Get personal. According to research by Adestra, personalized subject lines are 22 percent more likely to be opened. Avoid buzzwords, be concise, descriptive and limit the subject line to 50 characters or fewer. Add a sense of urgency, if possible. But don’t make every email one that needs to be opened “now!”
Finally, remember to test. A/B tests help you figure out which subject lines are better. Testing helps you determine what resonates best with your target audience.

Not focusing on the audience

You have to remember that not every email (or other marketing tactic) is an automatic conversion. Make sure your email messages are not about you and your needs (such as “buy now!”). Marketing is about the customer and his or her needs.
Every one of your emails should focus on your target audience. Be the solution to their problems. Don’t just try to sell to them. Instead, focus on helping them. If you forget about your audience, you will lose them.

Improperly segmenting

Keep in mind that not every person in your target audience is the same. Email marketing allows you to zero in on individuals and be more personal. Take the time to segment your list so you can speak more intimately to specific people in the audience.
When segmenting, considering different regions, locations, states or zip codes. If your product or service differs depending on age or gender, be sure to segment accordingly. Pay attention to engagement and buying behaviors; new customers should be targeted differently from long-standing customers.
Remember, shouting through a megaphone is different from whispering in someone’s ear. When you send the same message to everyone, it’s done through a megaphone. Taking time to target your customers let’s them know you are speaking directly to them. After all, no one in Texas, New York or Arizona, for example, will care about an offer that’s only available in Chicago. Shouting that out via a general email message will alienate those readers and likely lead to unsubscribes.

Long and confusing messages

Keeping in mind the way your emails are received is also important. Research by Campaign Monitor found 41 percent of email is opened on mobile devices. When you consider how a recipient sees your email, you’ll want to shorten it. Most messages are too long. You have approximately three seconds or less to engage a reader.
Additionally, don’t confuse your readers. Give them a picture, paragraph and a point of action. Make your message clear and concise.

Ineffective images

Using the correct image can gather attention and make an immediate impression. When deciding to use an image, make sure you have the rights or have purchased the rights to the photograph. Never use something that might invite legal problems.
Large images take a long time to load. Crop photos so they are no wider than 600 pixels. Always preview the email before sending. Make sure the image appears properly for mobile users.
Limit the number of images in your email. After surveying more than two million of their customers, email provider Constant Contact found, “with some industry specific exceptions, emails with three or fewer images and approximately 20 lines of text result in the highest click-through rates.”
Remember to optimize for blocked images. Approximately 60 percent of your audience will have images disabled. Thus, more than half of your readers will miss the call to action (unless they agree to download the images). While embedding in-line images can help with some blocking, it is not effective on all email clients. Create well-written alt tags to provide information about the image and give readers an idea about what they are missing if they don’t download the photo.

Not optimizing

Considering how many people open emails on a mobile device, marketers who do not optimize their email messages for mobile lose customers.
Email service provider Constant Contact found that 80 percent of smartphone owners say it is “extremely important” to read emails on their mobile devices. If they cannot, 75 percent of the nearly 1,500 survey respondents said they were “highly likely” to delete the email.
However, the good news is that 23 percent of readers who open an email on a mobile device open it again later according to Campaign Monitor.

Too much mail

Findings from survey conducted by YouGov showed that over-communication turns customers off. Two-thirds of those surveyed (in the United States and United Kingdom) said they would unsubscribe if they received too many emails. Research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey revealed 69 percent of subscribers said that too many emails is the No. 1 reason they unsubscribe.
Do some research to determine what your target audience is willing to accept. In general, once a week or once a month works well. You might even consider creating your subscription form in a way that lets the reader decide. Allow him or her to choose to receive emails on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Not monitoring, measuring or managing

One of the most common mistakes email marketers make is failing to analyze the results of a campaign. If you don’t learn from your results, your future campaigns will suffer.
The data you collect in email metrics can be a gold mine. First, you’ll discover a list of good and bad addresses. Remove hard bounces. They will only cost you money as you resend emails that will never be opened.
After a period of time, typically three or six months, take a look at inactive subscribers. If they have not opened or clicked-through, consider removing them from the list as well. Remember, you want to focus on your target audience. If these subscribers are not engaged with your mailings, they are not part of the target audience.
Examine open rates and days and times that emails are opened. By doing this, you can find the best time to send future emails.
Additionally, diving deeper into the data may allow for better segmentation based on who has opened, how often they open, when they open and whether they have shared the mailing with others. Being able to pinpoint specific readers helps you be more personalized with your mailings going forward. When that happens, a bigger percentage will be opened and you will engage with your customer more successfully.
If you have a content marketing program, or are planning one, download our ebook:  100 mistakes businesses make when starting, optimizing and scaling content marketing programs.  Learn from the mistakes of hundreds of other companies.  100 mistakes walks you through common and uncommon challenges that they faced with their content marketing programs.
Do you need content for you email marketing efforts. Tempesta Media is a managed services provider of custom original content for digital agencies, PR firms and enterprises.

8 content marketing mistakes to avoid

Content marketing is an essential component of an overall marketing plan. But successful content marketing doesn’t just happen overnight. Companies need to put time, thought and effort into the type of content that they produce and distribute. With these three components will come success, provided organizations sidestep certain mistakes.

Here are eight content marketing mistakes to avoid:

1. Not having a content strategy

Having no strategy is a risky approach. Take the time to think through your goals and develop a strategy that will strongly support them. Will there be blogging involved? White papers? Podcasts? Imagery and videos? How often will you publish content? What about social media? There are many components to consider and they should be fleshed out in the planning phase.

Additionally, it is important for a firm to avoid creating marketing channel silos. In other words, do not pay attention to just one channel and ignore others. The Content Marketing Institute suggests: “Think like a media company. The greatest media companies of all time focus on all three legs of a stool – digital content, print content and in-person content.”

Tossing up static content on a website is not enough. Develop a well-rounded strategy, follow it and nurture it.

2. Sporadic content

It is, of course, important to be consistent when publishing content. Stagnant content is not only boring; it will also deter visitors from returning to a website. To avoid this pitfall, set a calendar for new content and stick to it, whether it is daily, every other day or weekly. Having a set schedule where visitors know when new content is published can go a long way in developing an audience and holding its interest.

3. Weak content

It is smart to stick to the established formula in a content strategy, but it is just as important to include some wiggle room to build or introduce new kinds of interesting content. Additionally, you should avoid generic information. Content should contain unique elements to get an audience’s attention. Try adding:

• Infographics
• Current trends
• News
• Podcasts
• White papers
• E-books

Do not be afraid to mix it up. Varied content makes for a dynamic web experience and demonstrates a company’s expertise.

4. Poorly documented claims

Always publish reputable content and include sources to back up any facts, statistics or other objective information. While your clients want to be portrayed as the experts, claims do need to be documented.

5. One-way marketing

Over the decades the primary way businesses promoted themselves was through one-way marketing. Companies spoke and audiences listened. This doesn’t happen much in today’s markets. In fact, consumers spend time in online spaces and expect interaction, significantly making marketing a two-way street.

Through a solid content strategy, businesses can provide helpful hints, fun facts and other useful information that attracts online attention. Content can include “gentle” sells, but should mostly avoid the hard sells that are purely promotional.

6. Choosing the wrong social media venues

With all the social media platforms available, sometimes marketers sign up for more of them than they can handle. This is a particularly bad idea because it takes a lot of time and resources to run each profile.

Do the research to see where your targeted market is spending time on social media and focus on a select few profiles. Social media is an essential part of marketing these days, but profiles also have to be active in order to succeed.

7. Outdated content

It is important to realize that outdated content equates to lost audiences. Who will want to do business with a company that is not up-to-date on developments? For this reason, a website should contain fresh information on a routine basis. Evergreen content can be a successful approach, but it is not enough. Make sure your client’s website contains the most current information that will interest customers.

8. No ‘voice’

Ideally, content should sound as if it were written by one person, or at least a collective group of individuals who share the same perspective. This doesn’t mean the company needs to have just one writer — just that it should aim to find its own distinct “voice” and stick with it. Ask clients what it is they represent, what they believe in, what perspective should be used and overall how they want to be perceived. Once established, it is indeed easier to find the right voice.

The internet is a wide open place where you can find numerous opportunities. There is a huge audience out there and it is vital to actively try to capture your portion of it. Avoiding these blunders can ensure both the business and its content strategy are off to a good start.

Tempesta Media is a managed services provider that assists digital agencies with developing content strategies, topic development, production, plagiarism protection and SEO optimization. Contact us today to speak with a content marketing expert.

Get more information on what Tempesta Media can do for you.

Things to think about before you hire a freelance writer

Online businesses prioritize providing great website content, but the time and resources required to craft the information needed pose a challenge. As a result, many businesses seek to outsource this task to freelance writers.
Hiring freelancers to produce content can be an effective strategy because it frees up employees to focus on core competencies. However, there are a number of risks and challenges for companies who work directly with freelancers. These potential problems can end up costing a great deal more than just the freelancer’s fees.

Missed deadlines

Timely and steady content is especially important for companies that have a schedule to keep. People get sick, go on vacation or fail to meet deadlines for a variety of reasons. Additionally, freelance writers are typically juggling many projects at once. Some have full-time jobs and freelancing is their side project.
If you have a time-sensitive schedule, directly hiring a writer can be risky. There’s a chance the person may not complete the work on time. Also, most freelancers don’t have a back-up lined up to take over the job. Purchase content through a managed services provider to eliminate this risk. That way if one writer becomes unavailable, there are other writers on hand who can jump on the project to ensure the expert content is well crafted and delivered on time.

Plagiarism

Most professional writers would never dream of stealing the work of another person. However, there are those who try and pass themselves off as qualified writers and commit plagiarism. A business often finds it difficult to determine the originality of the content provided. Inadvertently publishing content that has been plagiarized is the last thing any business wants.

Freelance legal risks

Legal issues are another consideration. The said plagiarism risk can bring legal problems if the original content creator pursues action under copyright laws. Another challenge is associated with contracts. Because there are a lot of details to be covered, if one is missed, this could lead to legal conflict. Businesses need to specify the freelancer is writing on a work-for-hire basis. They also need to emphasize that the content created is owned by the company so there is no dispute on who owns the material.
Additionally, firms that hire freelancers directly can potentially end up with tax issues. If the freelancer has no other clients and is told specifically what to do, this could be a slippery slope. The line between freelancers and part-time or temporary employees gets blurred. Companies that outsource content creation to a managed service provider can also outsource these potential headaches.

Freelance writers may not have the expertise

Businesses want to be sure they hire a writer who is a subject matter expert (SME) on the type of content needed. Some writers eager for work may try to pass themselves off as being a specific SME when they really aren’t qualified. The results can be embarrassing for everyone involved.
Firms outsourcing their content need to be sure the freelance writer being considered is a proven SME. If there is no sure way to vet the writer, this is risky because no business wants to end up in a situation where its writer is less savvy about the content than its readers.

Finding the right voice

Each writer has his or her own strengths, and hiring one freelancer directly poses a challenge. While the writer may be experienced and well-versed in the subject matter, he or she may NOT be good at writing certain types of content. For instance, the writer might be an excellent choice for writing white papers or e-books but doesn’t have the right “voice” for the company blog. That is why it is important to work with a company that has a network of writers possessing a variety of specializations. They will be able to match a firm’s specific content needs with the right writer for the job.
Working with a managed services provider such as Tempesta Media can have a number of benefits because the provider takes on these responsibilities and risks. Tempesta Media can ensure the quality and originality of its custom content because it continually rates the quality of each writer’s work. And every bit of content produced by Tempesta Media is checked for plagiarism and edited by experienced professional editors.
The experts at Tempesta Media can take the stress out of producing quality digital content for you and your customers. And they can do it for significantly less that the cost of alternative sources.
If you have a content marketing program, or are planning one, download our ebook:  100 mistakes businesses make when starting, optimizing and scaling content marketing programs.  Learn from the mistakes of hundreds of other companies.  100 mistakes walks you through common and uncommon challenges that they faced with their content marketing programs.

Get more information on what Tempesta Media can do for you.

 

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