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8 Common Ways Most Content Marketers Fail

Marketers are pretty resourceful. Many of us create amazing campaigns and pieces of content, sometimes even with limited resources. From one-(wo)man operations to teams with every position imaginable, we all have areas that could use improving.

Many of the areas where we make mistakes center around the experiences that we’re delivering to our audiences. For years, we’ve all been focused on creation, distribution, and insights into what we’re doing, but without giving the content experience its fair share of the attention, our campaigns and tactics end up missing that extra oomph to bring us from good to outstanding marketers.

But fear not! All of these mistakes have simple fixes.

1. Your Content Lives in Multiple Locations

Marketers create a lot of different types of content, from blog posts to videos, and from white papers to eBooks. Great! The more mediums available creates a lot of opportunity to appeal to different types of content consumers.

However, many marketers end up hosting these pieces in multiple locations. The blog lives on a website, videos live on YouTube, and white papers have to be downloaded as PDFs.

Once a visitor picks a content type, they’re sent out to a different location and are unlikely to return to your resource center to browse other types or topics. With a centralized content experience, marketers can keep all of their content in one place. Visitors can easily switch from a video to a blog post without ever leaving one domain.

2. You’re Presenting Content in Silos (vs. Tailored Experiences)

Because content is living in different locations, marketers tend to organize content based on its type. Webinars stay organized with other webinars and white papers stay organized with other white papers. However, people rarely go to Google and search for “white paper.” Rather, they search for the topic that they’re trying to learn about.

For a visitor trying to navigate through silos, it can become frustrating very quickly. Say they’re trying to research "SEO best practices." What if you only have webinars on this topic, but they start their search through your white papers? They may think that you don’t have any content focused on SEO at all; rather than spending more time looking, they just go back to Google to find the information elsewhere.

By creating a tailored content experience, visitors can easily navigate all of your content to find what appeals to them most. Grouping your content by topic, persona, or challenge, rather than content type, can allow your visitors to easily find exactly what they’re looking for.

3. Your Front-end Experience is Weak

They say to not judge a book by its cover, but it’s hard to not judge a website or landing page by its front-end experience. A poorly designed and poorly organized resource center, blog, website, or any other digital asset can make visitors leave as quickly as they arrived.

Creating an experience that is visually appealing and easy-to-navigate can help you ensure that visitors will stay on your site longer. By creating a flow that is conducive to how your visitors will be searching for information, you can make it easier for them to find content and make it likely for them to consume more.

4. You Haven’t Considered the Content Journey

Say you already have a nice looking front end. You’ve attracted your visitors to a piece of content, but what happens after they’re done reading it? Keeping them engaged with more content can become difficult if your visitors aren’t given a clear direction of where to go next.

Creating a content journey for your visitors is important to not only keep them reading content, but to ensure that they’ll come back for more. Serve up a piece of content related to what they just finished reading or get them to sign up for your newsletter. You can battle the "silo-ification" of your content with a good content journey by keeping your topics well thought-out and optimized.

5. Your Content Is Not Optimized For Conversion

Once the content journey is in place, your visitors need to be given the option to eventually level up their interactions with your company. Continually feeding your audience top-of-the-funnel pieces or journeys with no clear way to take the logical next step will never give your readers the chance to move from consumers to prospects (and ultimately, customers!).

Now, don’t just go CTA crazy and put a form over every piece of content. This may deter your audience from ever engaging with you in the first place. Construct contextual CTAs that align with the experience you’ve created.

Remember your visitor who was searching for SEO information? After they’re done reading a blog post, present a CTA to sign up for your upcoming SEO webinar or read your white paper on the latest Google release. By presenting the value of your content to your visitors, they will be more likely to fill out a form.

6. Your Marketing Team Has Sole Ownership Of Your Content

If your marketing team is the only group in your organization that touches content then you’re missing out, big time. Marketers aren’t (or at least, shouldn’t be) the only ones in the company who create and distribute content. In a customer’s journey, they should be presented with various types of content at different levels of the funnel to give them the precise information they need; sometimes, this content is better received if it’s not coming from marketing.

Your support, development, and sales teams can all have a hand in content. Creating a knowledge base with articles written and videos produced by support gives customers (and prospects) a more technical view of how they can use your product and gives them an easy way to troubleshoot any problems they’re experiencing. Likewise, your development team can distribute release notes or use cases for how to better connect to your API.

Finally, your sales team can create custom content journeys for their prospects. If they know that a customer works with one of your integrations and is in a certain industry, a sales representative can bundle relevant content to send to their prospect, rather than having them search for the information on their own.

7. You Have No Insight Into What’s Working

When content marketing first became a “thing,” the method marketers adopted was “spray and pray.” Today, insights into what’s working and what isn’t have come a long way. Marketers should be able to look at their content metrics to get a better understanding of what their visitors and prospects want to see. However, this isn’t the case for a lot of marketers.

You probably monitor clicks, page views, and time on page (among a few other metrics), right? How do you know if, once your white paper is downloaded or your video is viewed, that your visitor is actually engaging with the piece? Personally, I have downloaded many pieces of content and they end up just living in my download folder or desktop, never to be touched. Without proper insight into engagement, you may be reporting that your content is performing better than it actually is.

You can now get insight into what your visitors are doing once they start reading a piece of content. Check out when most people are dropping off, what they are clicking on, and what pages they spend the most time reading. If they drop off after the first or second page, maybe your title was misleading or you didn’t provide enough value up front for them to continue reading. Likewise, you can monitor how your videos are viewed. See if viewers watch the whole clip or if they replay any parts. With all of this information, you can go back and make changes or create new pieces of content that focus on what people really want to learn about.

8. Your IT Team Is a Bottleneck

IT teams do so much for our companies, so it makes sense as to why making changes to marketing sites isn’t always their top priority. All too frequently, marketers must submit requests for changes for everything from a simple copy change to the design of their resource center, and those requests end up sitting in IT’s queue for far too long.

Using a solution that gives all of the control back to marketers allows them to spend more time creating content, rather than creating tickets. With the ability to make changes on the fly, marketers are able to do more testing, ultimately resulting in better-converting content.

Have you fallen victim to any of these mistakes? It’s not too late to optimize your content experience to give your visitors exactly what they want.

Download the Modern Marketing Essentials Guide to Content Marketing to succeed as a content marketer by avoiding these common content failures.

Modern Marketing Essentials Guide to Content Marketing

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