So, it’s international ‘I Forgot Day’ on Saturday, a day aimed at making amends for those things that you’ve forgotten.
But, true to The Power of Words (TPW) form, we thought we’d flip it on its head and use this random day as a peg to advise you of the content marketing mistakes that you may have unwittingly committed, as a reminder not to do them again.* Just forget them – and move on.
Frequency turns to folly
Last year, a Hubspot report revealed that 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing. It’s hardly surprising that there’s such a focus on churning out content, given the relatively high return on investment (ROI). Businesses that blog allegedly generate 13 times the revenue of those that don’t.
But it’s also true to say that this perpetual whirlwind is creating a content conundrum: brands know they need to jump on the bandwagon, but they’re showing an ill-considered willingness to sacrifice quality. Here’s the thing: bad content is worse than no content at all. So, don’t fall into the trap of sacrificing quality for quantity – commit to the creation of clever, captivating content.
Writing reams and reams
Of course you feel passionate about your brand and the products and/or services that you have to offer. Such passion is sure to shine through in your writing. Still, you should stop and ask yourself whether your readers are likely to have as much interest in the minutiae as you.
This isn’t to say that you should place a strict limit on the length of your blogs or web pages. And, as you may well know, Google has a penchant for blog posts between 1,760 and 2,400 words. Sigh.
But you shouldn’t pour your heart, time, and money (if you’re hiring a writer) into saying everything there is to say in one go. Think miniskirts when you think content: long enough to cover the essentials, but short enough to keep it enticing. You never know, there may be scope for a series, or a blog trilogy (TPW’s particular favorite).
Ad hoc = unadvisable
Content without a plan is just noise – that people may find distracting at best. Blogs, eBooks, case studies, and whitepapers (try not to use that word; it’s a sure-fire way to make someone not read your content) play a crucial role in convincing clients and customers to engage with your business.
But if they’re distributed willy nilly then there’s no story and no educational journey to go on for the reader. This is where Top of Funnel (TOFU), Middle of Funnel (MOFU) and Bottom of Funnel (BOFU) come into play. But we’ll save that for an entirely different blog.
Planning is absolutely essential if your content is to be suitably engaging. You’ll ideally resist the temptation of immediately putting pen to paper. Sure, you might come up with a one-hit-wonder. On the other hand, it might not resonate much at all.
Either way, it is an ill-advised strategy that won’t lead to sustained content marketing success. It’s always better to plan ahead, weighing up your ideas, and reaping the rewards of your forward-thinking content strategy.
We get it – you want people to visit your website and buy your stuff (B2B or B2C). But care must be taken not to scare away your prospective customers with conversion-focused copy. It’s far better to take a softly-softly approach – engaging your audience with stories that are zeitgeisty, and have zeal – oh, and that also happens to tie in with your USPs.
Advertorials are your only opportunity to get away with a bit more of a sales approach. Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, it’s disguised as editorial. But, TPW thinks that’s ok. Everyone is playing this game. Readers aren’t stupid and they’re not to be duped. But just remember to keep it newsworthy and not overly promotional.
As Head of Content, I’m quite used to receiving requests for blogs about office relocations and digital transformation. While such news may be a boost for the business itself, it’s generally of no interest to its clients or customers. ‘Back of the knitting’ is our favourite phrase. It’s too inward-looking – too focused on you, leaving your audiences on the sidelines.
Showing how you solve clients’ problems is the content marketing gain or even just educating them a little on what they may not know. Like a post-it note to your target audience’s brain, it needs to be memorable, yes; but only to those that matter to you. So easily said. So hard in reality.
Pegging content to random international days
TPW will learn from this content mistake, forget – and move on.
First published on thepowerofwords.co.uk