Have you ever wondered why your content creation strategies are not working? Investing in your business’s content marketing strategy is the equivalent of hiring a team of sales and marketing professionals that will work 24 hours a day, every day of the week to provide your customers with key information and answer their questions. So, as a small business owner or entrepreneur, why wouldn’t you invest in a content strategy?
However, a successful content strategy is a long-term process that requires a great deal of dedication. The nature of the world of content creation makes it particularly vulnerable to mistakes and faux pas that can harm your brand’s perception. Here are some of the most common content mistakes that businesses make.
7 Common Small Business Content Creation Mistakes
1. Not Defining your Target Audience
Every piece of content that you or your team members write needs to start with whomever the author is to sit down and take the time to ask yourself some important questions:
- Who is my target audience?
- How can this content be positioned to reach my target audience?
- What is my target market?
- What key information needs to be in this piece of content for visitors to find the information they are
- looking for or to answer the questions they are asking about.
- What is our end goal for a qualified site visitor that finds my business because of this piece of content?
2. Not Establishing your Brand’s Voice
Your content should also contain verbiage written in a manner that your target audience will appreciate. For example, a piece of content with many technical details and in-depth details would likely be more interesting and well-received for a business looking to reach than a business writing content targeted at C-Suite leaders and Executive Leadership.
3. Being Overly Promotional or Sales-Focused in your Content
As a small business owner or an entrepreneur, one of your goals for putting the time and effort into a long-term blog is to increase your revenue stream in some way or to grow your brand awareness, ultimately also growing revenue stream(s). However, many brands write their content in a way that sounds like a written sales pitch. Giving readers the “hard sell” rarely works in today’s content world.
Modern readers are knowledgeable and are looking for something that will provide them with some type of benefit; they are seeking something specific that will help them in some way. Your header might be seeking information, knowledge, answers to questions they have, or something that will make their lives better or make something more convenient. When you push your products and/or services too hard on the reader, you will recoil at your content and feel that uneasy feeling that comes from someone being too aggressive with a heavy sell.
While many businesses make the common mistake of selling too much, many make the mistake of forgetting to sell at all, meaning that they are actively losing potential leads. Don’t forget to gently weave in a friendly sentence that will resonate with the end goal of your article and provide some type of call-to-action that will complete a step that ultimately moves the reader of your content farther down the marketing funnel.
4. Writing Content that is Too Short and Lacks Enough Information or Too Long and Loses the Reader’s Attention
Research conducted by Buffer regarding what length of online content is most popular found the following highly-specific statistics on what length of a blog post should be around 1,600 words for best results. Buffer’s research also found that around 74% of the digital content fully read takes the reader less than 3 minutes to read. That number skyrockets up to 94% as the percentage of digital content that takes no more than 6 minutes to read from start to finish.
The takeaway here regarding length is the importance of writing content that is lengthy again to contain all of the information that the reader is looking for or to fully answer their question(s), while also not running on too long, over 6 minutes according to Buffer’s findings, and losing the reader’s attention/interest.
5. Writing Content as a Thought Follower, Not as a Thought Leader
Unfortunately, many small or mid-sized businesses that publish content today on their own site or other relevant platforms, make the highly unfortunate mistake of writing about a subject with the approach of a follower in the industry, not a leader.
Surely you have heard of the buzzword phrase “thought leader.” No matter what industry or vertical your brand is in and whether you are a B2B or B2C business, you have thought leaders within that industry. Whether it is you or a member of your company that you are looking to position as a thought leader, it is important to write content with the tone and voice of a true industry expert, possibly even an industry genius.
Here are a few ways to approach content writing with the voice of an industry thought leader:
- Think like you are already a thought leader if you want to write like one
- Use personal stories to relate to the information approached in your content
- Never be scared to share information about what you know and don’t second guess yourself and your knowledge about the topic
- Don’t be afraid of a little self-promotion or promotion for your business
- Stay consistently up to date and informed on what the already-established experts and thought leaders in your industry are talking about and refer to their opinions and sharing their views in your own content, helping associate yourself with existing thought leaders
- Establish a unique, consistent tone in content that flows similarly to how you would sound if you were talking directly to the reader
Remember, writing two or three great pieces of content as an industry expert will not land you in the position of being regarded as an industry thought leader in a few weeks or on accident. Utilizing content to position yourself and your company as thought leaders is a long-term, consistent effort. However, the incredible positioning for your company and yourself are truly worth their weight in gold when you consider your business’s success levels and revenue streams.
6. Not Tracking Analytics and Hard Data to Build and Adjust your Business’s Content Creation Strategy
No matter how much time, effort and dedication you and your team put into your company’s content marketing campaign, it won’t reach its full potential and achieve the goals your company desires if you aren’t collecting and using hard data to help your content creation strategy thrive. By now, you’ve established your target audience(s) for your company’s product or services. Now comes the part that requires a trial-and-error approach, determining what kind of content actually resonates with your audience.
Modern analytics platforms and tools are incredibly accurate and will give you an incredibly in-depth look at how each piece of content on your website is performing with your target audience. You can see the word-count of the articles with the most traffic, You can also view data such as which pieces of content have the lowest bounce rate and the longest average time that visitors stay on specific pages to read those specific high-performing content pieces. You and your team would then write more of the types of content that perform best. By looking at the articles with the highest bounce rate, you will know what type of content isn’t resonating with your site visitors and discontinue writing those types of articles to focus more on high-performing content.
You should also be using these analytics tools to monitor and analyze how your competitors’ digital content is performing and what type of content is garnering your competitors the most return on investment (ROI). You can also work with a marketing agency or digital professional to set this up and/or report data to you.
7. Lack of Consistent Content Publishing
Finally and most simply, always, always, always be consistent in your content publishing schedule.