Almost everybody has a blog these days – big brands, small businesses, industry experts, students, professionals, even a few unusually dexterous cats. But while everybody has an opinion that online technology allows them to share with everyone else, most businesses have yet to fully harness the power of web content.
Most would acknowledge that online content is important. So why are so few investing in it? Put simply, they don’t think they’ll get a return on investment. Which is probably true, because the same people who are usually charged with creating a business’ content strategy usually know very little about what content strategy actually is, which is usually a recipe for disaster.
Don’t worry, help is at hand. Here are the four most common content strategy oversights. Catch them before execution and you’re guaranteed to get a larger and more measurable return on investment.
1. Your content is ego-centric
You’re not writing this for yourself. You’re writing this for your potential customers. They want to be engaged and entertained, so engage and entertain them.
Not only should you be using the right tone of voice to appeal to them, but they should want to share it around after they read it. You need to lure them in on every level. If they’re sharing it around, that means more people are reading about you, your brand, your service, your product. And the more people read it, the more sales you’re likely to make.
In terms of tracking the ROI, that’s simple. You should have Google Analytics installed. Plus you should have social sharing icons next to every article you write. Now you can see how many times what you’ve written is shared directly, plus you can use Google Analytics to monitor how many additional visits your website got as a result. Compare this to your sales figures, and voilà.
2. You haven’t figured out the purpose of your content
What is it that you’re trying to achieve with your content strategy? There are several uses:
- To help with online marketing activities
- To create a brand voice
- To create awareness of services / products
If the purpose is to assist search engine optimisation (SEO), then you need to make sure that you’re using the appropriate keywords and phrases. You need to be posting regularly – a minimum of once per week – for your efforts to be worthwhile.
If you’re trying to create a brand voice, then your content needs to exemplify what you and your customers stand for. Remember Seth Godin’s awesome definition of a brand when creating your content: “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
If you’re trying to generate awareness around your products or services, then that’s exactly what your content should be focused around. Keep your consumers in the loop about the latest developments, upcoming releases and potential sales.
3. You’re not sharing the content
If nobody’s reading or passing on your content then creating it is a pointless exercise. Even if you are publishing content primarily for SEO purposes, social sharing is a massive help to that cause (see our blog post All About Social Media, Linkbuilding and SEO for why). Consider also that not everybody will be going to your website to read your content – unless you’re a global brand, most people won’t know your website exists. But if they see it on social media platforms, then they’re likely to go to your website for more information.
Having your contact spread around the internet across social media platforms, relevant blogs, other websites or via e-mail chains can only be a good thing. Send it to your friends. Send it to your clients or even potential clients if you think they’ll find it interesting or relevant. Get in contact with anybody you can and tell them to pass the message along.
More eyes on your writing means more brand awareness, which will have the correlating effect of more sales.
4. You’re only posting on your own website / blog
As I’ve already mentioned, only a tiny fraction of the online population will ever visit your website. Guest blogging and posting on various other websites is a great way to gain additional exposure and credibility. There are plenty of industry blogs and online magazines that are searching for content. Things change so rapidly in the online world that articles are released by the minute, so fresh content is always a commodity.
Content strategies have huge potential for driving awareness, helping SEO and generating sales. The potential simply needs to be harnessed and directed appropriately. If you don’t have the time or resources to create content, then find an agency that can help you. It’s well worth the investment.