As Q1 closes, it’s that time again: time to make sure your content marketing strategy is set to succeed, and not to fall into one of the many traps experts are already seeing. It’s hard enough to differentiate and succeed, so don’t make it harder right from the jump by having to make up ground with your audience. Let’s identify some of those threats here, and save you the trouble of wandering into them unawares.
Social Media: Showing Up Isn’t Enough
Social media is a perfect place to start, as it’s where so much of modern life seems to germinate—everything from fashion, art, entertainment to business initiatives reach the 3.6 billion active social media users quickly and repeatedly. That’s why, as Oliver Stasinzsky writes for Social Pilot, “mere social media presence… is not enough.” Think of social media presence as being at the party: it’s important if you want to meet people, but you’re going to need to have something more to contribute if you want the guests to remember you.
Actually, an important adjustment to that last thought—you’re going to need to contribute the right things, since you don’t want to remembered for the wrong reasons. It’s safe to say that few brands are aiming for infamy, after all. Since we’ve written on the importance of knowing one’s audience (and dangers of not knowing it) before, let’s bypass that discussion and look at tone.
Use the Right Tone
Stasinzsky correctly conveys that proper tone is vital in your social media marketing, and that while humor is great, what’s perhaps most important is avoiding jargon and complex language. Talking like a chatbot and spewing specs and benefits of your product will never gain you any ground—and it’s far more likely, it will (in this order) bore them, frustrate them, and turn them away.
Again, while humor is great, this advice to avoid hyper-technical language is not a mandate to be funny; sometimes, your organization, product, or service is simply not suited to humor. In these cases, maintain a middle ground—don’t get jargonistic, and don’t pretend to be more lighthearted than you are. Speak appropriately, whatever that may mean for your brand.
Stasinzsky also wisely counsels against “Assuming that all Social Media Platforms are the Same.” If you’re selling financial advising services, time spent on Tik Tok is not equivalent to time spent on Facebook. The time, and money, spent on Tik Tok branding in that situation is considerably less valuable, because you’re reaching the wrong age range. It’s the same reason you don’t want to spend time creating Facebook ads for teen fashion: they’re not really there to see them.
Don’t Follow Trends that Don’t Fit
BetterMarketing has some interesting “Obscure Content Marketing Pitfalls to Avoid in 2022,” with one of them standing out right away as indeed obscure: using the example of NFTs, don’t jump on bandwagon trends just because they seem cool. This is an interesting point because it sounds both highly avoidable and highly tempting; since “huge brands like Taco Bell and Twitter have already started minting their own and selling them to the mass market,” it might be more potentially tempting than it sounds.
But should you dive into non-fungible tokens? “Definitely not,” is the straightforward answer. Run trends like this through a three-point test:
- Does it suit your brand?
- Will your brand be able to execute it well?
- Does this add value to your customers in any way?
Let’s say I’m a small construction firm, and my strategy with my marketing is to increase my market share in my local region. My customer base, and name recognition, is good, but I’d like to grow it. Do NFTs suit my brand? It’s hard to imagine they do. Will I be able to execute the creation and sale of NFTs well? Probably not, at this stage in my business. And to the question of customer value addition… what value will they get from an NFT of my regional construction firm? Who will they sell it to?
Don’t Forget Podcasting
These kinds of trends are a bad idea for many firms. Podcasts, on the other hand, should not be avoided. Even with the exact same example, podcasts are “a more personal way to reach out to your audience. They get to listen to your values and beliefs in a more human manner.” This is exactly what any company should want, especially an organization looking to increase its relevance and customer base in a smaller area.
Podcasts also typically involve a lower barrier to entry, financially and technologically, and offer flexibility to listeners—they can “listen… while they do other things” and absorb your message without feeling like their time is being interrupted or invaded by advertising.
Finally, not publishing enough is a danger, but so is publishing too much. Specifically, the danger of overpublishing comes through mistaking quantity for quality; “just having something up, especially if it doesn’t match your niche, won’t get you the results you want.”
This is a worthy final point, as it’s one of the more common marketing missteps: posting too much, whether it be on your website, through newsletters, or through social media, can turn even loyal customers away from your brand.
Here’s a thought experiment to get an idea of how much is too much. Think of a brand that you have neutral feelings towards. Whatever it is (a soda, a car, a band, etc.), how many times a day do you need to be externally reminded of it? Now, take that one step further by specifying the external reminder’s identity as the brand—in this experiment, we’re excluding the times the product comes up in conversation with your family, friends or coworkers.
Your answer will vary here, of course, but imagine that there are people both less and more willing to deal with it. Adjust the number you arrived at with this margin of error, and then think about how much you’re posting. If you’re way over it… you’re doing too much. Avoid these errors in content marketing judgment, and you should be in a good place in the rest of 2022. Content marketing is just as important as ever—it just needs to be undertaken carefully and intelligently.