One of your clients has called and asked you to help them liven up and improve the content on their website. Up until now, they’ve only been using the site for basic information about their company and products.
Now it’s up to you to step in and give that stale content a makeover.
Content marketing, a process of using words, graphics, and videos to generate creative, educational, and engaging content will help your client:
- Build awareness of, and demand for, their products and services, without using hard-sell tactics that consumers have begun to avoid.
- Better understand the wants and cares of their customer base, an essential part of building brand loyalty.
- Generate leads to acquire new customers.
- Improve their search engine rankings.
And while content marketing has truly been around since before the World Wide Web came to be … there are still five key mistakes many web writers make that you’ll want to avoid.
#1: Not Having a Plan
Most companies struggle to produce meaningful content because they don’t have a plan.
But your client has come to you for help, and you’re going to define a clear and concise content marketing strategy that builds brand recognition and generates traffic for your client.
Your strategy should focus on the following:
- Quality: I know, I know, you’ve probably heard this before, but don’t write just to write. It’s not the quantity of your content, it’s the quality.
- Value: Your content needs to be both engaging and informative; try to focus on helping the consumer rather than using hard-sell tactics. For example, let’s say your client is a custom knife maker. They have several categories of knives. You might take at least one knife in each category and tell a story instead of just writing a description and specifications. So for a 16 1/2” large survival knife — not your everyday pocketknife — you could write a story about crafting a shelter. Put your reader right there in the picture as you walk through the steps of creating what might be a life-saving shelter.
- Reputation: You need to write content that makes your client the go-to source in their industry. Again, using our custom knife maker as an example, rather than just writing about the knives they make, you could highlight information about steel properties used throughout the industry. That would give their customers a better insight into knife making as a whole. Provide research and links to other articles that back up claims showing the benefits of one steel over another. This will help make your client an authority in their field.
- Concerns: If your client’s company is well established, make sure that your content takes into consideration any past questions or concerns from their customers. For example, if your client has been making plastic bowls used in the food industry for 12 years, they may have received many questions about the safety of food stored in plastic bowls. So, you might create an FAQ page to answer those questions and concerns. Then, as you write pages for individual products, you can link back to the FAQ.
Or if you’re working with a company that is relatively new, make sure your content is proactive. Try to address any questions and concerns while the customer is on the product or service pages, to keep them engaged as long as possible in their area of interest. An FAQ is still very useful in a new site, but if you do a great job in your content creation, the customer won’t have to refer to it as often.
- Variety: I can’t say enough about graphics, and more importantly today, video. Dollar Shave Club, a 2011 start-up company created a video in March of 2012 that went viral and netted them 12,000 new customers in just two days.
The additional four mistakes to avoid will round out your plan. Let’s move on to the next mistake to avoid …
#2: Failure to Target/Know Your Audience
Many web writers, when putting together their content marketing strategy, fail to adequately “get to know” the client’s customers.
You need to spend some time with your client’s sales department getting to know the percentage breakdowns of each segment of the population that they sell to.
You wouldn’t want to write content mainly targeting middle-aged women when your client’s customer base is over 80% twenty-something males.
In the case of the plastic bowl maker example, many of the product inquiries they receive concern the safety of their product. That tells you something about your audience, as well. And it creates the perfect opportunity to target those concerns and to connect with your market through content.
One approach would be to write weekly blog posts highlighting the steps your client takes to ensure the safety of their products. Ask for comments and get to know their audience even better.
Content marketing as a whole should appeal to both prospects and existing customers, but individual components in your content marketing plan should target consumers at different points in the buying process.
These first two mistakes, and how to avoid them, are the basis for the creation of a great website experience.
The final three mistakes will be covered in Part Two.
This article is part of the Common Content Mistakes series.
Series Table of Contents:
- 5 Mistakes to Avoid in a Content Marketing Project: Part 1 (This Article)
- 5 Mistakes to Avoid in a Content Marketing Project: Part 2