Over the last few years, every brand has had to become a content marketer. Whether it's posting regular social media updates or running a full-on blog, the digital age has brought with it a demand for consistent, high-quality online content.
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Like other types of marketing, content marketing requires brands to continually think outside the box, and learn from past performance to know what's going to be effective with their audience. However, creating great content can't be done with a cut-and-paste formula. By its very nature, content marketing can't be automated if you want to be successful at it, said Austin Paley, corporate marketing communications manager at digital marketing agency Blue Fountain Media.
"Great content marketing requires everything to be unique and well-tailored to an audience, as opposed to trying to create content that fills a template that has worked for someone else in the past," Paley told Business News Daily. "Sure, you can model a content strategy on a competitor's success, but the content itself has to be unique to your brand and captivate audiences in a way that cuts through the noise of everything else on the Internet."
There's no question that content creation and marketing strategies are getting more sophisticated, and small marketers need to keep up with the times if they hope to compete against their larger competitors. Paley shared four common mistakes in content marketing, and what you should do instead. [Content Marketing Is Getting More Personalized and Helpful]
Accepting every guest-blogging opportunity
Guest blogging and contributing bylined content to outside publications used to be one of the most popular content marketing strategies out there. Paley noted that this tactic is no longer as valuable as it used to be, and can in fact hurt your business if your brand's post gets published on a site with poor domain authority.
"In the past, good content marketing dictated that you should write high-quality content as often as possible for sites that requested it, but in the modern age you have to be a little bit more careful," he said. "Even valuable, well-written content can become problematic if it is posted on a website that houses low-quality content."
Content marketers should take the time to check out the quality of the websites that are looking for guest authors before they write, Paley said. This means that you will get the most out of your blogging and avoid any publications that could make search engines penalize you.
Only using social media to share content
When you write a piece of content, what's the first thing you do to share it with your audience? Post the link to your social networks, of course. While this is certainly a very fast, cheap and effective way to spread the word, content marketers with regularly published articles may want to consider additional solutions to increase their ROI.
"There are a lot of new programs on the Internet that can help disseminate good content and get it front of a business's target audience," Paley said. "Taboola and Outbrain are two examples of this, but going one step further, Quantcast, and the technology they offer in terms of audience data, is an interesting one to watch."
Paley predicted that content marketing is going to shift from creating targeted content for individuals to finding the individuals that have shown they might be interested in what you have to offer and guiding them to your content. If a small business doesn't have the resources to achieve this level of data analytics itself, finding an appropriate third-party tool can help the business jump on this trend.
Failing to consider other sites' SEO
SEO plays a major role in the success or failure of content marketing. Marketers are aware of this, but often only consider their own website's SEO, and forget about the other sites they may be associated with. Before you connect with any outside website to help you with your content marketing efforts, whether through guest blog posts or link mentions, you want to make sure that the site has the proper domain authority to keep you in good standing with Google.
"In order to get high-quality placements, [marketers] need to understand what a good online publication is from an SEO perspective," Paley said. "While getting included on a highly trafficked or good-looking site may seem like a good placement, it can often hurt a business [if the site has poor SEO]."
Not developing great PR skills
If you've determined that a website seeking guest posts is of a high enough quality to benefit you, the next step is marketing your content to these well-respected media outlets. To do this, you'll need to brush up on your public relations know-how, and not every content marketer takes the time to master these skills. Paley emphasized the importance of learning how to create and maintain strong media relationships to ensure continued placement and visibility for your brand's content.
"There is a lot of great content that never sees the light of day, or simply doesn't get any links due to poor pitches," Paley said. "Both SEO and PR professionals need to understand and utilize each other's skills seamlessly so that they can identify what sources they should be pitching online and also effectively build relationships. A single piece of content [shouldn't be] the end of a content marketing effort, but just the beginning."
Originally published on Business News Daily.