Are you writing your content with a final goal in mind? If so, you may start to realize some of the steps in content marketing workflow are not effective or even redundant.
Doing pointless things seems to be a purely human problem, as most of the rest of the animal kingdom don’t waste their time on tasks that don’t help their final goal of survival. Interesting, right?
The Most Pointless Content Marketing Efforts on the Planet
What are the most common pointless content marketing efforts? Here’s a list of the top seven:
1. Treating Content ONLY Like Sales Material
Content is so much more than just sales material. Treating it like it’s a brochure or a flyer meant to draw in a customer and convert them is a mistake. Content is richer and deeper than sales material. When you’re doing content marketing, you’re trying to attract the customer, yes. The end result, however, isn’t solely for a conversion. Although conversion can be an end result, the true goal of your content is to bring value to your readers’ lives. Good content enriches the consumer and that should be how you should treat your content when marketing it. Don’t just see it as a quick, hard sell.
2. Not Having Any Goals
If there is one thing I love to do, it’s setting goals. I started out in college doing this, on a wall calendar, with all my test dates lined up for half a year in advance, and my study goals. I still whiteboard my goals for the month consistently, and bug everyone in the office to do the same.
But on a serious note, when it comes to your goals for your content marketing, far too many content marketers don’t set clear goals for their marketing. As such, they don’t know where they should be aiming for. We all know that content marketing does have a plateau, and in order to get past it, content audits and new approaches to your content is needed. Unless you start setting goals from the start about where you want your content marketing to take you, you’re not going to know how well your marketing has done and if it can or should be improved. Setting goals and meeting them is one of the most important things for a content marketer.
3. Forgetting Who Your Audience Is
This goes hand in hand with treating your content like its sales material. Your audience is the motor that drives your earnings, and your content is supposed to attract and interest them. This means that you need to engage your audience on a level that is comfortable for them.
Emotional response is one of the most effective ways to get people interested in your product, but it’s not exactly the same for your content. You have to treat the reader with respect and not talk down to them. This includes making false claims in your content marketing, because when you do that, you assume your audience just won’t check your references and call you out on it.
4. Tracking the Amount of Likes Your Content Gets on Facebook
Yes, analytics are a good way to gauge how your content is performing, but the amount of likes you get on Facebook is a useless metric to follow. Facebook allows a user to click “like” on a post without ever actually visiting the site it links to. When you use social media such as Facebook as an intermediary for sharing your content, you have to be wary of taking a like as more than a click on Facebook’s feed.
There’s a benefit for having a lot of likes: you tend to show up in feeds more often. But that metric if pretty useless when it comes to gauging the actual popularity of your post since you can’t be sure who read the thing and who just hit the “like” button because the headline was attractive.
5. Counting Your Ad Impressions
Ad impressions counters are fickle creatures. Their code can be done in a number of ways which makes this metric pretty misleading for a content marketer to use. Some ad impression counters add one to the count every time the page loads, whether or not the ad was actually visible to the user. You can see where this can be a problem, since if the ad isn’t visible, it’s really not making much of an impression.
Looking at the number of impressions can give you a false sense of how many people are actually seeing your ad and in turn can make you think that you need to change the ad copy, when all you really need to do is change the location of the ad (or the ad counter software).
6. Blog Comments
As an avid blogger myself, I know the kind of joy that comes from getting a comment on my blog. It’s a feeling that’s far better than seeing a like on my Facebook content because it is actual interaction! One thing you come to learn pretty quickly is that the number of blog comments is another one of those misleading metrics since the actual amount of comments on a single post doesn’t necessarily correlate with the amount of visits or leads you get from the post.
Although the amount of comments is a metric that some advertisers use as a go-to, it really is not a very accurate descriptor of a blog’s performance business-wise.
7. Reports That Analyze the Entire User Database
Many content marketers spend hour after hour poring through their database and the reports generated from them. The sad thing is that although these reports are no doubt useful, they are only useful when limited to a particular subset of the overall user database. The problem is one that many beginner statistics students face early into their first semester: a misrepresentative sample.
Your entire database comprises users across all the demographics that you may or may not directly target. Any report generated from this mass of information will most likely be unusable in a targeted marketing campaign because it does not actually target a demographic. It is a much better idea to do reports on each sub-grouping of users by demographic (age, gender, profession etc.) as these results will be more indicative of that particular sub-group.
Get Down to Business With Your Content Marketing
Pointless marketing sucks up time that should be spent doing the real work of getting your analytics sorted out and improving your amount of visits and amount of conversions. Sadly, far too many of our content marketers spend too much time caught up in reading metrics that are misleading or not having a clearly defined direction for their marketing strategy.
The time you are wasting could be put to use improving your marketing strategy and streamlining your campaign. Content marketing is a competitive field and as the saying goes, “If you snooze, you lose.”
Featured Image: Feng Yu via Shutterstock
Image #1: Dirk Ercken via Shutterstock