Here’s why your content strategy isn’t working

On the face of it, creating content seems easy, right? You tap out some articles on a regular basis with some tie to your brand and the job’s a good ‘un. No doubt the masses will flock to pour over your magic words and be instantly moved to empty their wallets. Of course, this isn’t the case.

It’s true that anyone can do content, but few brands do it well. The number of sad-looking company blogs and 'knowledge hubs’ I’ve trawled through is testament to this. Surely you don’t need a big old strategy for hashing out a bunch of blog posts - that’s for the direct marketing guys and those SEO wizards. Nope. Here are some pitfalls that are all too common when brands are trying to create content.

 You’re doing it because the boss said so

Want to know the worst reason to do content? Because upper management wants it. Vanity is big in marketing and chucking out lumps of grotty articles because the boss says so isn’t uncommon. If your boss wants you to launch ‘content marketing’ and doesn’t give you a particularly good reason then it’s time to take a step back and evaluate. Don’t rush into it.

 You don’t know your audience

You’d be surprised how many businesses don’t actually know who they’re marketing to. “Oh, well it’s everyone, really,” is a phrase I’ve heard all too often before slamming my forehead into the keyboard. Guess what, even if what you provide is the most generic thing imaginable, you’ve still got an audience. Carrying out audience segmentation is absolutely worth it if you want to write effective content. How else will you know what your audience’s desires and pain points are? Solid demo research is the bedrock of a good content strategy.

 You’re not setting goals

Content should never exist for its own sake. If you’re not measuring performance then you will never know how to improve - it’s that simple. You need to be setting realistic goals and KPIs to hit those goals, evaluating them on a monthly or weekly basis. What are good goals? Traffic is a fine example. After all, you want as many people as possible to see what you’ve written and you want to convert those readers into loyal customers. KPIs here could be increased monthly visitors and dwell time, lowering the bounce rate and increasing percentage of readers who come back for more. Sales leads is another goal and one the bigwigs upstairs will be most interested in. Find out what content is the most effective at converting. What is the current customer journey? Is it effective? Get your goals in order and you’ll be shaping your strategy nicely.

 Irrelevant topics

This can be a tough one, but it’s important. As a gardening brand your expertise lies in the best flowers to plant in winter, creating a lovely trellis or the secrets to keeping your lawn looking amazing. You are not able to talk about the socioeconomic status of Botswana or the ethics of stem cells. People will be put off if you’re out of your wheelhouse. Granted, some brands can be broader than others - Coca Cola famously talks about many topics that they feel is part of the ‘Coke experience’. But few of us are Coke.

These are just some pointers to think about when you’re setting up a content strategy and are by no means exhaustive. Still, I hope they’re useful.

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