By David Spark
Making mistakes and learning from them is a healthy part of running a business. Repeating mistakes and not learning from them is not only unhealthy, it’s unnecessarily costly. Fortunately, most business mistakes are highly visible because they result in a loss of business, money, or time.
Content marketing mistakes are not always readily apparent. With vanity metrics and anecdotal stories, we can fool ourselves into believing that our content marketing efforts are successful even when they’re not serving the business.
In both the video and the article below, what follows are some of the most common and repeated content marketing mistakes made by respected business professionals. They fessed up to their mistake, explained what they did to fix it, and at the end I offer up some advice on how to avoid this mistake so that you’re always serving the business.
Let’s just publish it and hope something eventually happens
“The biggest mistake I ever made was not laying the groundwork to measure results,” admitted Kerry O’Shea Gorgone (@KerryGorgone), host of the Marketing Smarts podcast and director of product strategy, training at MarketingProfs. “A piece of content absolutely can drive email sign-ups, webinar registrations, appointments, and even sales, but you’ll never know whether it did unless you establish measurable benchmarks for that piece.”
Serve the business: Two common ways to generate leads are having a booth at a trade show and gate keeping an eBook that’s promoted through social advertising. Which one costs more? Generates more leads? Gets more engagement from those leads? Which one garnered more business from those leads? If you set out to measure these variables beforehand, you will know the answers to these questions.
Shorter is ALWAYS better, right?
“In the early days of my show, many friends I trusted complained that it was too long at an hour,” said Bob Knorpp (@bobknorpp), host of The Beancast, a marketing podcast. “They told me no one would listen to a business show that was that long. So, to attract new listeners I started a five minute snippet show that highlighted one important insight from the main show. But after a year of doing this, the only people listening to it were a small segment of the existing audience for the long show, while the long show kept growing exponentially. Lesson learned: Being interesting is compelling at any length.”
Serve the business: Stop falling for completely baseless arguments like “shorter is better.” Research shows that long form content ranks higher in search, has better conversion rates and longer videos rank higher on YouTube.
Unless you’re selling an impulse purchase product, people with short attention spans that only want to spend eight seconds with your content are never going to become a customer. Don’t cater to them.
My content takes off by itself. I don’t need to pay for promotion.
As the longtime host of the “For Immediate Release” podcast, Shel Holtz (@shelholtz), principal of Holtz Communications + Technology, has successfully built his thought leadership profile on series-based content.
Given such a successful track record he naturally thought it would be easy to launch a video series without any promotion. It wasn’t.
Serve the business: While there was a time you could just build a content series and it would take off on its own, it doesn’t happen so easily anymore. All content marketing efforts must now be matched with paid promotion.
“You can’t create video content without paying to promote it anymore,” agreed Holtz who realized that $35 spent on Facebook advertising would have made a significant difference in the videos’ visibility.
Create it, publish it, and then forget about it
“Pour a lot of resources into a single landmark asset, and then you complete it, you have your campaign, and then you move onto the next thing,” said Steve Kovsky (@skovsky), director, content and digital marketing for CrowdStrike.
Kovsky’s mistake was ignoring the value of what he had done in the past. By just moving forward and not looking back at what you’ve done, you may be unnecessarily expending too much time and money.
“You don’t realize the value of the library of content that’s smoldering in your resource center,” said Kovsky. “It takes the fraction of the resources to refresh that content and redistribute it in a new way than it takes to start again in full cloth.”
Index existing content and search it before you begin any new content project.
“If interest reemerges in that subject area or you can find a connection where customers are looking right now, you may have a wealth of content that’s waiting to be introduced to a new audience,” said Kovsky.