Guest post by Jenna Heitlinger.
Content marketing has gone from an interesting concept back in 2012 to a critical component of strategy for both B2B and B2C marketers today. Content helps to define your brand, spread awareness about your products or services, and generally point people on the web toward your business.
Yet, not all content is created equal — because not all content is created correctly. If you are struggling to achieve success with your content, it might be due to a failure at the very beginning of the content marketing process: ideation.
Here are a few common mistakes business leaders often make when developing content ideas and how to ensure greater success in the future.
Writing From the Wrong Perspective
You have a perspective as a business leader that allows you to write with confidence on your products and services, complicated industry issues, and other topics related to your business.
Unfortunately, your perspective may not be the same as your audience’s perspective, and what you find interesting to write and read about might not grab your audience’s attention.
When ideating, it’s vital to start by thinking about what your customers and prospects need and want, from your content and from your company. It’s helpful to create buyer personas that describe the demographics and other key characteristics of your audience, so you can better empathize with them in the ideation phase.
Forgetting Your Marketing Goals
Then again, it is easy to get wrapped up in marketing personas and lose site of your content marketing strategy. Your business should be engaging in content marketing for clearly defined reasons, which take the form of achievable goals. If you reach 1 million views overnight but fail to translate any of that attention into conversions, your ideation efforts could still be failing.
It isn’t always easy to generate realistic goals for content and develop a strategy to reach them. If you are struggling with goal-setting, you should obtain content marketing services. Content professionals can help you map your buyer’s journey to help you identify how to ideate better content to assist your overall strategy.
Failing to Engage Emotions
One big reason content is such an effective marketing tool is that it can tell a story, drawing upon audience emotions, personalizing the content engagement experience, and creating deeper audience relationships than mere ad copy could inspire. However, if you don’t ideate with the intention of telling a story, you won’t be able to draw upon this power to convince and convert.
Regardless of the medium you are developing content for, you should approach your content with a narrative in mind. Even data-dense infographics can tell a story using titles, subtitles, context, highlights and images.
If you aren’t a creative writer and struggle to find the story in your content, you should consider outsourcing this (or every) element of content creation to a qualified content creator.
Selecting the Wrong Medium
Though every medium needs a story, that doesn’t mean every medium is appropriate for your content idea.
Just as some stories which work wonderfully in books don’t translate well to feature-length films, some content ideas are appropriate for blog posts and others for white papers, infographics, videos, or other content forms. Ultimately, you want your content’s message to shine because it fits its medium.
Because the medium is so impactful on the content experience, you should be selecting the medium at the very beginning of the ideation process. Again, working with experienced content marketers and creators will help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of different formats.
Neglecting to Perform Sufficient Research
Though content marketing is about leveraging human connections with your audience, participating in content marketing doesn’t free you from the responsibilities of data. In fact, the best content is driven by substantial research — on your audience, on your conversion funnel, on developing content trends, on your industry, and so much more.
Content ideation and research applications are among the key types of tools to use for content strategy and planning. You should have this research at your disposal while you ideate, so you don’t waste time looking into content concepts that can’t be backed up by data.
Not every content idea will make it to publication — and that’s a good thing. Ideation is part art and part science. It requires you to be creative while substantiating ideas with information gleaned from your audience. If you do ideation right, you will end up with a collection of content you can be proud of, and that produces results.
With nearly 10 years of marketing experience, Jenna Heitlinger has helped hundreds of companies develop content for various platforms.