Every business has its fair share of ups and downs. Some things work and some things don't. It's just the way things go. When it comes to content, however, some business owners don't realize the mistakes they're making until it's too late. They invest all their time, hard work and money, only to lose it all because they failed to develop a solid strategy to properly market their content.
Why a Content Strategy Is Necessary
Content is one of the most important elements of any business, yet it's something most don't spend a lot of time on. It's the driving force of communication between businesses and consumers. The better you are at developing great content, the easier it is to build an audience and turn people into loyal followers.
If your business is failing to thrive online, your content might well be the problem. The only way to fix it is to identify the mistakes you're making and make the necessary changes to turn things around.
Mistake #1: You Only Write With Your Own Interests in Mind
Everyone likes to think they know what's best for their audience, but too many companies write content that sounds good to them. They focus only on topics that cover their own interests. If you want your content to be successful, you have to write with your audience in mind. Craft your content so it speaks to them about the issues they are actually facing.
How can you find out what your readers want? The answer is already out there. Read through consumer reviews, social media comments, question-and-answer sites and forums for your industry to see what makes your audience tick. What are they asking questions about? The better you are at identifying their wants and needs, the easier it will be to tailor your content marketing plan to suit them.
Mistake #2: You Aren't Adding a New Perspective
People won't seek out your content if it only rehashes the same information they see in other articles. Instead, invest time in coming up with original angles of approach or solutions for old problems. If you want to position yourself as an authority in your field, you'll have to put out genuine thought leadership content.
Another strategy is to dig deeper into the topics you've already planned. To be authoritative, content should be both thought-provoking and thorough. Describe your theory, provide examples, add media (such as pictures or videos) and link to other resources that continue the conversation. You've got to do what you can to stand out from the crowd. Whatever the case may be, one thing is certain: Don't be afraid to be different.
Mistake #3: You Don't Have a Voice
Behind every successful content marketing strategy lies a powerful persona. The voice you write with should be personable and consistent in tone and presentation. It's how your audience connects with you and is what turns casual browsers into fans and followers. If your content is overly formal or noticeably inconsistent from one piece to the next, your content won't have the momentum to build a steady readership.
There are a few key guidelines for establishing your content's voice. First, make sure that the content you write hones in on a few central topics. For example, if you run a finance blog, you don't want to create posts about rock climbing techniques, even if it's a hobby you're passionate about. Wandering off-topic and scattering the theme of your content will only confuse your visitors and weaken your authority on the subject.
Second, writing for a business blog doesn't mean you have to be stilted or jargon-y. While the degree of this will vary from industry to industry, in general blogs should be accessible, and this usually means writing with an informal yet knowledgeable style. For example, content creators shouldn't shy away from using the first-person, addressing readers directly or relaxing their language in a blog.
Most importantly, determine your style and tone before you publish many blogs or push them out through social media. By doing so, you will be able to establish your voice right from the start. By making a strong first impression, you will send out a more cohesive, targeted message while streamlining your own content creation process.
Phil Laboon started the multimillion-dollar company, Eyeflow Internet Marketing, from the ground up when he was 20 years old. Eyeflow has grown rapidly, recently being named by the Pittsburgh Business Times as one of 2012's Top 100 Fastest Growing Businesses in Pittsburgh, with over 100 percent revenue growth in the year. Laboon has consulted for everything from startups to Fortune 500s, developing techniques to maximize clients’ online credibility. He is also a member of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs.
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