Four reasons why your content marketing strategy hits with a whimper and not a bang

Is your marketing not doing the job? Here are four reasons why your content marketing strategy hits with a whimper and not a bang.

When you run a small business, branding is everything. Of course, that’s not to say you don’t need to invest time, effort and capital in the pursuit of operational excellence. But the truth is that there’s little point being the best at what you do if your target audience doesn’t know who you are.

Branding is a highly multifaceted discipline that incorporates a broad spectrum of techniques. Your brand is so much more than your logo, your slogan and your product packaging.

It’s in every customer interaction whether on-site or online. It’s how you answer the phone. It’s how you deal with returns. To paraphrase Jeff Bezos, it’s whatever people say about you when you’re not in the room. And when it comes to giving new prospective customers a flavour of your brand, the conversation inevitably turns to marketing.

Your approach to marketing is crucial in driving awareness of your brand and converting  today’s passing browsers into tomorrow’s loyal customers.

In the current climate, where every sale is hard won and every customer is a gift, you need to think harder than ever about your marketing spend and how to increase its ROI. Paid ads can allow you to target your audience with accuracy and precision… but they can quickly become a budgetary black hole.

It’s important to capitalise on the momentum they give you by taking active steps to keep traffic coming back organically. That means ensuring that your content marketing game is on point!

You’re more than likely already “doing” content marketing.But if you’re making the following errors your content strategy could hit with a whimper rather than a bang…

1) You’ve adopted a “me first” approach to blogging

Your blog is the heart of your content marketing efforts. It’s where your customers and new prospects go to get a daily dose of you. And if you keep readers coming back, it can be a great way to organically boost your SEO.

Search engines value a lot of the behaviours that come as a consequence of having an engaging blog. Readers spend more time on page, they scroll deeper and they move around your site from one post to another. All signs to search engine crawlers that your website is of high quality, and therefore worthy of prominent listing. 

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Your content should be a showcase for the personality and identity that you bring to your brand. It should also be a platform for you to demonstrate your knowledge, expertise, experience and the unique insights that you bring to your business. After all, these are all things that your competitors will never, ever have!

But don’t let this compel you to adopt a “me first” approach to blogging. Your blog isn’t an opportunity for you to regale your readers with tales about how amazing you are, or “you had to be there” anecdotes.

Every post needs to be viewed through the lens of how it brings value to prospective customers. It needs to help them solve a problem or address a pain point that they face regularly. You need a “customer first” content strategy. And your blog is the best place to start.

2) You’re not using video

Blogging is great! But it may not be the best way to engage everyone in your target audience. Think about how most of your target audience will use the internet.

Since 2016, the majority of us have been accessing the internet through a mobile device rather than a desktop computer. That means we’re using the internet on the go in shorter bursts. And long form copy like blog posts isn’t always the most sympatico with these consumer habits.

Video, however, is much more attuned to how people use the internet today. It’s engaging, succinct and allows you to convey a lot of information in a short space of time.

With the right video hosting solutions and a dash of creativity, you could create engaging and compelling video content that takes your brand to the next level.  

Of course, video takes time and resources to create, and you may have to slay some personal demons to put your face in front of a camera. But there are few better ways to build a genuine connection with your target audience.

3) You’re not using compelling lead magnets

Your content marketing isn’t just about getting your audience to notice you. It’s about value-added. It’s about generating great value, goodwill and positive associations with your brand before that all-important first transaction. 

Email marketing is a great way to deliver a daily dose of value to customers’ inboxes every day. From specially targeted discounts and offers to snippets of blog posts repurposed into newsletters and magazine-style copy. And even in an era dominated by social media, there’s ample evidence that it works if you do it right

But of course, the hardest part is getting prospects to trust you enough with their email address. This can allow you to identify them as a lead and move them through your sales funnel. A compelling lead magnet can be an effective way to get them to sign up and see the value in starting to build a relationship with your brand.

There are all kinds of lead magnets that you could use to engage prospects. Depending on the nature of your business and your audience you may want to look at using one of the following:

  • Ebooks (repurposing and expanding on blog posts can be fertile ground for ebooks)
  • White papers and other guides
  • Case studies 
  • Quizzes
  • Free trials / software
  • Online seminars

Anything that will bring value to your prospects. 

4) You’re hiding your personality under a bushel

Finally, there are many different kinds of content that can be used to engage your audience. But each is an opportunity for you to let your personality shine through. People respond to other people. And being the face of your brand can allow your audience to develop a personal relationship with you. The kind that results in long-term loyalty. 

So don’t hide your personality under a bushel. Let it shine in all of your content marketing copy!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio