Google loves brandsWe have all heard the phrase, ‘Content is King.’

At this point, most companies realize that they need to have a content strategy to create traction with their consumer base. But most businesses are still doing it wrong.

Not just wrong, really wrong.

Because any old content isn’t king. The reality is remarkable content is king. Remarkable content stands out. It engages people. It gets shared. Your Linkedin and Facebook news feeds are filled with it. You see it ranking all over the place on Google too.

This is the type of content your business needs to be producing. Your prospects will love it, search engines will love it even more.

So what’s keeping you from pulling it off? It could be many things, but we’ve compiled the ‘big 4′ below.

Here are 4 huge mistakes that businesses make when trying to implement a content strategy.

Mistake #1: They don’t have one

In our social media age, the balance of power has shifted between organizations and consumers.

There was a time when a brand would buy above the line advertising space and watch the dollars roll in.

Things were more simple. It just worked.

In this model of active business to passive consumer marketing, it was capital that did the talking.

But times have changed. Now that everybody can be a content creator thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and most importantly blogging platforms, we are now experiencing a currency of content.

In order for brands to prove that they are worthy of consumer investment, they have to prove it. And the way they prove it is by creating original and relevant content that convinces prospective consumers that they are a reputable brand and leads them through to purchase.

Businesses that refuse to acknowledge this shift towards content creation and neglect to form any kind of content strategy are failing to acknowledge the power of inbound marketing in the 21st century, and will fall behind their competitors as a result.

Mistake #2: They don’t know their audience

When a business does recognize that they need a content strategy, it is not necessarily all plain sailing from there. A content strategy has to be matched with buyer personas in order for that content to have any traction with the target audience.

When top business owners create product lines, a great deal of research goes into understanding a target audience to ensure that the product is sellable and that the business will be profitable. Through this research process, businesses are effectively creating buyer personas that can assist every function of a business by creating a better understanding of what interests consumers have, where they hang out online, what they do with their free time, and crucially, how they spend their dollars.

This valuable data needs to be mapped into a content strategy too. In fact, it may be one of the most important things most content strategies neglect.

This is important!

Every piece of content created needs to not only unique and engaging, but it must also be genuinely relevant to the target market of the business.

Mistake #3: They don’t map their content to the buying cycle

After understanding buyer personas, it is vital to ensure that content is mapped into the buying cycle of those consumers. When each of us considers a purchase, we go through a number of stages before we commit to opening our wallets. Namely, there are 3 basic stages: awareness, evaluation, and then purchase.

Awareness: Leads have either become aware of your product or service, or they have become aware that they have a need that must be fulfilled.
Evaluation: Leads are aware that your product or service could fulfill their need, and they are trying to determine whether you are the best fit.
Purchase: Leads are ready to make a purchase.
buyingcycle
For a content strategy to maximize it’s potential, unique content must be created for every stage of this cycle, and it must also be posted to the most appropriate online platform and distributed the right way.

For example,

At the awareness stage, you create an offer (free ebook) about a common issue you have identified that is relevant to your target audience’s interests and/or problems. In the ebook you provide solutions, and tie in your product/service that could potentially be a solution. You promote this offer via social media, and your website.
At the evaluation stage, you have an industry report that showcases all of the unique features of your product. You build a compelling case on why your product is superior to the other options that are available. You send this report through email to all your leads who have indicated they are interested in more than just information (lead nurturing).
At the purchase stage, you get the prospect on the phone and provide a detailed product demonstration. What happens next? Your sales person closes the deal.
The better you get at this process, the more customers you will win.

Mistake #4: They don’t have a publishing calendar

We all have big plans. Big dreams. Big hopes.

Often times we know what needs to be done, but we simply can’t get ourselves to do it. This is true in business, just like it’s true in our personal lives.

How do you combat this inaction? A publishing calendar.

Without a planned editorial calendar for content distribution, a company will be pushing content into the ether at random times that are not optimal for gaining consumer traction.

By creating a content calendar (ideally plotted for the next three months), a business can ensure that it is pushing out content every day, and that there is a mix of content being distributed within any given week.

A calendar overview can be a great way of ensuring you are reaching every single buyer persona at every single stage of the buyer cycle, and that there is a mix of content being published. Without this calendar, a business may find that it is reaching out to one consumer group too much, or that it is placing too much emphasis on purchase with too little focus on creating brand awareness.

Conclusion

It’s unfortunate, but we see businesses doing things wrong way too often. Stop making these 4 mistakes!

Instead,

Get a content strategy in place.
Know your audience with precision.
Map you content out to match up with your audience’s buying cycles.
Create a calendar and stick to it!
A content strategy executed perfectly can be magical for growing a business. Don’t worry, we can help.