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According to Econsultancy's recently published Content Marketing Survey, the number of search queries for the phrase 'content marketing' has more than doubled in the past two years, a reflection of the fact that more and more companies are turning to content marketing to promote their wares.
When used effectively, content can be one of the most powerful marketing tools, but many companies dipping their toes in the content marketing water are making huge mistakes in how they develop and execute their strategies.
Here are five of the biggest that can easily be avoided.
1. Relying solely on the marketing team
Content marketing is marketing, but don't fall into the trap of believing that your content marketing strategy is a marketing-only affair. The knowledge, experience and insight that serves as the foundation for compelling content is often more likely to come from other parts of your organization, so it's usually wise to ensure that the appropriate non-marketing teams are involved in content marketing where appropriate and desirable.
2. Not going beyond owned media for distribution
Great content doesn't distribute itself and distribution is a crucial part of any successful content marketing strategy. Unfortunately, many companies make the mistake of focusing on owned media because, well, it's easy. If your company has highly-trafficked websites or blogs, this may not be so problematic, but most companies don't have massive audiences through owned media, so not developing external distribution channels can be a huge mistake.
From opportunities to provide guest posts on third party sites to content distribution services, there are plenty of ways to ensure that your content is seen by more people, and the right people.
3. Thinking 'viral' is a strategy
For some companies, 'viral' is a big part of the content marketing strategy. The assumption: social channels like Facebook and Twitter will be used to great effect, delivering substantial eyeballs to your content.
While social can play an important role in your company's content marketing efforts, don't fall victim to the belief that social is the strategy. Social channels can be difficult to stand out in and, depending on your target market, may not provide the audience you're after.
4. Selling too hard
At the end of the day, content marketing is like any other form of marketing: it's supposed to help move the needle. As such, the content produced as part of a content marketing strategy should drive action, even if indirectly. That means content will focus on commercially-relevant topics, include a call to action, etc. What it shouldn't mean: that your content reads like a brochure.
5. Not establishing metrics for data-based decisions
A good content marketing strategy should evolve as you learn what's working and what isn't working. The bad news: many companies aren't monitoring their efforts closely enough to know.
For content distributed via owned media, analytics, for obvious reasons, is a must. For content distributed via third parties, acquiring direct analytics data may not be an option, but that doesn't mean that you can't establish metrics that measure success indirectly. If you're authoring guest posts on a third party blog, for instance, tracking comments and social shares, for instance, can provide valuable insight.