By Amie Marse, Content Equals Money
Content marketing: a popular catchphrase that gets tossed around as if it holds the answer to all of your problems. Well, since you're still reading articles about content marketing (and since I'm still writing them), it's obvious that it's not a magic fix-all solution. In fact, if you want to do content marketing really well, you might have to go through some months of working fervently and fruitlessly. (Trust me, the results aren't immediate, and the troubleshooting process can be frustrating.)
If you feel like your company's content marketing efforts are on the road to nowhere, then I'm willing to bet that you might be facing one of these four deadly content marketing sins.
You're Too Sales Oriented
This "deadly content marketing sin" is first on the list for a reason. I can't tell you how many company blogs I've seen that only focus on the product and the hard sell. I'm sure you've seen these blogs, too - you probably just don't remember them because you left the site never to return after about twenty seconds.
The truth is, sales copy is a turn off unless it's really well done, and the reader is hungry for it.
Your blog is generally not the place for sales copy, and unless you have a sales copy master cranking it out, then it's probably not translating well to your blog readers. A little bit of the "soft sell" is OK from time to time in your company blog, but for the most part you should focus on offering value-oriented content and strong thought leadership.
You're Having a One-Way Conversation
OK, so maybe the "sales talk sin" isn't your issue. I ask you to consider this question: are you having a one-way conversation, or are you creating dialogue with your blog-readers? It really grinds on me to read blog posts that talk to the reader, not with the reader. Remember, this is "inbound marketing," (or "permission marketing," to use a phrase Seth Godin made popular). You should be engaging in dialogue with your readers. If you aren't doing this, here are a few tips to help you get started:
Open up the comments section on your blog. There's no point in blogging if you aren't going to let your readers reply publicly.
Share your blog posts on your Twitter and Facebook pages. When you share the posts, formulate the tagline in a way that encourages dialogue.
Review every paragraph of your blog, asking yourself, "Is this valuable to my reader? What could she respond to in this paragraph?"
"Me, Mine, My, I, Myself, Me, My..."
This content marketing issue ties in with the last point, but it extends well past the parameters of the blogging world. We've all seen these blogs and Twitter pages. It's the ones that only share the author's own content. Remember, social media is "social," not just "media." Make sure your content marketing efforts don't just focus on your own products, services and content. People who only talk about themselves are boors; if your content marketing strategy is totally self-focused, then your business will be boorish, too.
Speaking of personality, does your blog have one? Really, think about it. Are you doing all you can just to bang out 400 words and put up a post every other day, or are you taking the time to infuse your blog posts with your personality?
Readers know the difference between a blog with a human voice behind it and a blog that's written by lifeless robots. Want to see a company blog that's steeped in personality? Check out the Scoutmob Tumblr. Your blog doesn't have to be over-the-top personable to have personality. Just make sure that you have a clear voice - a voice that's unmistakable.
If you haven't seen an upward ticking trend in sales after months of content marketing, step back from your blog, review these four deadly content marketing sins, and give it a try again. I think you'll notice the difference.
About the Author
Amie Marse, is the founder and managing partner of Content Equals Money, a content writing service for agencies and Web-based clients.