You’ve got a business strategy going, and you’re proud of it. Somewhere in between all those details, you’ve managed to outline a content campaign too. But, you’re guilty in the sense that the strategy is just to create content for the sake of creating content. And this is a common mistake; too many businesses feel the overall objective of content marketing is just to be creating material for the sake of it. That’s how you get seen, right? Surely just crafting enough stuff is what pulls the eyes in.
A lot of the time, this misconception comes from a lack of understanding about your objectives and motives. Like any digital strategy, you have to have an end-result in mind. You wouldn’t spend thousands of dollars on SEO to not expect results from it; and chances are you have numbers in mind, too. The same goes for content – if you don’t expect a clear-cut goal from it all – other than just doing it – then you’re already heading down the wrong track.
Before we dive in any further, stop and consider your answers to these two questions:
If you can’t answer, then chances are you’ve been stuck in the common bubble of ‘creation’, and not thinking beyond it. The positive is that there are plenty of businesses that do this. In fact, 80% of small businesses currently don’t invest in content marketing at all, and when they do, they see less than effective results.
Why? Because when they do decide to jump on the bandwagon, they’re doing it for the wrong reasons. In a world where 62% of marketers are using this tactic to drive website traffic, they’re not creating engaging enough material to help bounce rates and engagement at the same time. The result? All those negative signals you’ve come to dread are being sent through to Google to let the giant know that there’s some less-than-quality content floating around your site.
So how do you avoid all of these dramas?
No step is more important than this. If you know you need to generate material, it needs to have a purpose other than just existing. There’s far too much subpar content already plaguing the internet, and you don’t want to feed this growing trend. Be a beacon and stand out – create something that has a strategic basis, and that will give back to your bottom line.
And that all starts with having the right mindset to get started. Only the most successful strategies come from an approach where reward and value is the foundation; where you genuinely care about what you’re giving the reader. Not just purely for your own sake. Which leads us to…
Unfortunately, a big part of digital marketing these days (especially in content) is just getting your name and face out there. Be it video blogging (vlogging) or throwing out post after post on LinkedIn – more and more consumers are becoming frustrated about the lack of authenticity that’s popping up. Just because you’re showing up absolutely everywhere in front of your target audience, it doesn’t mean you’re doing so for the right reasons. Are you just trying to be seen because you feel it’s the best possible way to get traction? Or do you have a resolution to the pain points your target audiences are experiencing?
“yes you have a Lambo, yes they are super cool, yes most people would love to own one, yes it is weird you always vlog in front of it”
NOT TO MENTION ANY NAMES (dot, dot, dot)
The latter is what your purpose and intention should always be. If you’re aiming to appear on a certain channel or platform, it should be for the reason that you’ve got something to offer. Not just because you feel like your annoying five seconds of fame for the week, narcissism isn’t a great look – be different for the right reasons.
If the above made you rethink whether you’re in it for the fame and fortune, rather than assisting your readers, then it’s time for a shift in mindset. Take your ‘I’m doing this because I feel I have to’ notion to be ‘I have an answer for my prospects’ biggest problems.’ Then, let THAT guide your strategy – that’s where your goldmine is. You have something to offer, and your target audience is looking for just that; not your face just because you can show it.
Quality content creation has a solid foundation, and while there’s no set formula, there are a few guidelines that help shape it into something profound. Ultimately, you are offering value to your prospects by solving their issues. That will always be the driving factor for what you’re doing. So as you sit down and start to draft your next piece, consider whether it’s contributing to this motive. If it’s not, rethink it.
The next most important factor is understanding that it’s not your blog or video blogging platform that will make you those hard-earned dollars. It’s the substance of your content, and just how informative/helpful it is for those who consume it.
Showing up in a ‘daily advice’ video on LinkedIn, or a Live broadcast on Facebook is all well and good, but if you’re not dishing out the most helpful tips, then you’re only contributing to the noise. Go above and beyond what the herd is doing and be more powerful; be bolder and strive to be creative. But remember always to consider the building blocks of what your main messages are. Ask yourself:
If you’re only raising more questions for your target audience, then you’re doing more harm than good. Stop feeding the confusion and be the sense of clarity they need.
Another point that’s worth mentioning is the notion that Google loves long-form content, no matter what quality bracket it sits in. This couldn’t be further than the truth. While the search giant will see this particular blog as a 1500-word, meaty piece of material, likely, it will also pick up on just how valuable it is for those reading it.
Notice the structure of this piece. Examine the subheadings, the dot points and the language used. Quality content is all about nurturing those who spend their time reading it, and Google acknowledges this now more than ever before. More so, those nifty crawler bots of theirs aren’t stupid, either – you can’t fool them, so creating content that’s set around intention, purpose and value is where the real benefits come in for your business.
Would you expect Google to rank an article of yours that doesn’t actually answer a question? The platform is a business, too, and it needs to meet the demands and queries of its own target audience. If you’re not contributing to that, then you’re not contributing to anything positive at all, and you’re likely wasting your own time (if not money).
So, if you’re gearing up to sit down and smash out a few thousand words, then good on you, truly, it takes a lot of commitment and energy to do that. But remember that you need to be doing it for the right reasons, and not because you feel you have to. If you don’t know where to start, a great way to tackle the beast is to ask yourself what your target audience’s biggest questions are, then form your content around that.
For example: let’s assume we’re trying to create a piece on ‘how to create a content strategy’. To provide enough value, we’re going to need to answer the most critical questions. This is where our friend Google comes in handy:
Type it in that little box of yours and see what pops up…
There are already a few examples of what people are looking for, and how you can tailor your content to answer these points. But the especially helpful stuff is when you search for a question on this topic… Let’s try changing the initial search query from a statement to a question:
And here’s what we get:
BINGO. There’s your piece, in a nutshell: strategic, valuable and to solve problems and answer questions.
All that aside, there’s a difference between all this talk and acting on it. So, if you’re having trouble mixing up your content mindset, we recommend getting in touch with our experts to help guide your purpose.
Give us a shout now – we’re here to help.
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