Delusions of Grandeur and Other Content Marketing Miscues

  • Categories:

    Content Marketing

  • Date:

    May 31, 2022

Delusions of Grandeur and Other Content Marketing Miscues

Content Marketing

Creating effective owned content can be a balancing act of competing goals, motivations and passionate opinions. When the scale sits true, the process results in storytelling that rises above the competition and delivers real-world results — but when left unsteady, it can sometimes derail what otherwise could have been a world-class effort.

Personally, I’ve been there: Writing a feature on how my company helped a customer succeed, weaving in my own creative flair and feeling like I’d helped tell an engaging story. Then, while running through a gauntlet of required reviews, I watched as my work was edited, reformatted, edited some more and, finally, returned to my inbox as something I hardly recognized.

My first reaction was to push back on the changes — because a story you believe in is worth fighting for. But here’s the thing: Once I removed my feelings about it, I realized those changes helped turn a good story into a great piece of owned content primed to get results.

That’s how I learned that success sometimes means swallowing your pride and living to fight another day — or whatever metaphorical saying helps you realize the success of content marketing lies in how it is received by its target audience, not how it feeds our ego.

With that in mind, here are four other common content marketing miscues and how to avoid them.

1. Creating Content That’s Too Brand-Centric

While separating your personal feelings from your work is a big step, separating your brand’s business objectives from the needs of your customers is often even trickier.

Your content will likely fail to realize your broader marketing objectives if it doesn’t speak directly to your target audience’s motivations, interests and goals. Content developed solely to promote your brand or sell a product is an indulgence that offers limited value to your audience — and even runs the risk of having them tune out your future content.

Instead, use these guardrails to help stay focused on delivering an experience that speaks to your target audience:

  • Do your research: If you don’t understand your audience’s needs, how can you deliver content that helps them?

  • Find your voice: If your content uses a variation of “me” more often than “you,” then you’re not speaking to your audience, you are speaking to your own needs.

  • Build trust: Showcasing your expertise in the topics that are most relevant to your target audience not only establishes credibility, it increases engagement and creates a scenario where they are more likely to purchase the products or services you offer.

2. Ignoring the User Experience

My buddy Lucas, Wray Ward’s director of digital platforms, will tell you “a website is the most important of all your marketing efforts,” but if you ask me, ensuring your content works in harmony with your digital home to create a remarkable user experience is the real secret sauce.

Far too often a brand will view content marketing as simply a way to showcase their product or service. They’ll write a blog or film a video, edit it and hit publish. But what often gets lost in such a tunnel-vision scenario is failing to create a touch point that engages your target audience, keeps them on the page and leaves them wanting more. Putting the onus on your audience to navigate a less-than-intuitive content experience or an experience with a bunch of dead ends is a recipe for losing their attention — quickly.

Ask yourself these questions about your content:

  • Do you make it easy for your audience to identify and navigate the different topics your content covers?

  • Do you find ways to keep your audience engaged by prompting them to explore related content?

  • Do you make it easy for your audience to move to the next stage of their decision-making journey?

  • Do you know how your content renders on mobile devices and how that impacts the user experience?

3. Creating Single-Use Content

From ideation to publishing, the journey to creating a high-quality, high-value piece of content can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. Which really just means: You better have a strategy to maximize the investment — and repurposing your content is an easy way to accomplish that.

Creating reusable content allows you to take what could have been a one-and-done post and translate it into a variety of formats. For example, a blog that’s chock-full of data points can be turned into an engaging infographic you offer as a gated download or a visual shared via your brand’s social media accounts.

And the great thing about content marketing is there are a wide variety of content formats at our disposal — in fact, here’s a list of 14 of the most popular.

Evaluating your current content for reusability can help improve your marketing ROI and increase the odds that your target audience is exposed to your message. However, when you really see this strategy pay off is in the development of content with the purposeful intention to be leveraged in a variety of formats. This means planning and structuring your content from inception in a way that makes it easy to reconfigure and adapt it into the content vehicles that best speak to the informational needs of your target audience, when and where they want them.

4. Failing to Plan

Speaking of planning, you better have one for your content marketing programs.

Starting with a content marketing strategy will help you avoid falling into the trap of self-serving content that doesn’t lead with a solution for a challenge your audience is facing. A sound strategy considers not just the content you plan to create but also who your audience is, how you will reach them, how content will support different stages of their journey and more. By building this type of road map, you will become better positioned to create content that serves your audience and achieves your objectives.

Leaning on your content marketing strategy, your content calendar should be led by information such as seasonal trends and SEO research (speaking of which, get our SEO tips to help Google find your blog). Without a plan for how to support the complete content lifecycle — from content creation, reviews and approvals to deployment, promotion and measurement — you may not experience the results you expect.

Here are some critical questions I suggest asking whenever you are developing a content plan:

  • Who is your target audience?

  • What topics are most important to your target audience?

  • How can your content solve a challenge for your audience?

  • What is the right format — written blog, video, case study, photo essay or something else?

  • What is the right timing for publishing your content?

  • How will you get your content in front of your target audience?

  • What action do you want your target audience to take upon consuming your content?

  • Do you have a CRM solution to help generate, capture and nurture leads?

If any of these questions have you stumped, shoot us an email and let Wray Ward help take your content marketing to the next level.

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