Content marketing has become quite familiar in the land of marketing. Most companies are now using it in one way or another. Publishing a weekly blog or newsletter, for example. But that alone won’t cut it, of course. How do you keep reaching your target audience online and actually convert them into customers? In this blog, you’ll get a handy overview of recommendations and common mistakes.

#1 Make it all about yourself (don’t)

Hopefully, you know about this one if you’re working in content marketing: don’t talk constantly about your product or service. It won’t catch the attention of someone in your target audience randomly doing a Google search and as a reader it’s also annoying to read through a boring sales pitch.

#2 Call someone, ask critical questions (do)

So what is valuable content, then? Of course, that depends on the needs of your specific target audience. Generally, this is true, though: instead of copying or rewriting other articles on the internet, it’s smart to tap into your own resources.

That can simply be your own expertise, but it’s even better to call an expert in the field (like one of your suppliers or an external expert) to ask them some pressing questions about a topic of interest to your audience. Try to tackle that the way a journalist would.

#3 Publish wildly (don’t)

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work,” says bestselling author Stephen King.

The same thing goes for publishing your own content. Waiting for inspiration is always a bad idea. It’s much better to figure out which time of the week is most popular for your published content and then compile a content calendar in which you map out when you plan to share which content.

#4 Set measurable goals (do)

You’re not just doing content marketing for fun, so you need to set attainable goals. For example, in one year’s time, you aim to rank higher in Google searches than your competition. Our customers can use the Content Ranking Index (CRI) to continuously monitor how they are performing for a specific keyword in comparison to the competition, and how much site traffic it can lead to.

#5 Expect short-term results (don’t)

Content marketing isn’t something you just ‘try for a few months’ before deciding whether or not to continue. That time frame is much too short to find out whether your efforts are paying off. Even if you make a shift in intensity (from one weekly blog post to multiple posts, white papers, and newsletters), you need more time to measure your success. The road to quick results is to advertise on Google, but of course that will end up costing you much more in the long run.

#6 Content for every step of the customer journey (do)

Operators of online stores tend to push for content aimed at converting sales (“buy bike”). There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but it’s unlikely that every visitor will be ready to complete a purchase. Especially in the case of more costly items. If you’re in the service business, that’s even more strongly the case. That’s why you should aim to create content for future customers at every step of their journey.

#7 Write for everyone (don’t)

As the British public broadcaster, the BBC has the near-impossible task of catering its content and tone of voice to every single Brit (and even to viewers of its services worldwide). It’s a tricky balancing act to avoid any viewers with a more academic background feeling under-stimulated and for anyone with a lower level of education from feeling left out altogether.

For many other organizations, those kinds of limiting guidelines aren’t really an issue. You might be writing for men or women, for folks with higher or lower education levels, and you probably have an even more specific target audience than that. So keep that in mind! A great place to start is the Tekst Conversion Optimizer, which helps measure readability, credibility, target audience (men/women), and the required reading level of your text.

#8 Stay connected to your content (do)

Content marketing is about more than just sending, sending, sending. Engaging in conversations will eventually lead to more customers. Perhaps it’s not the person you’re communicating with, but rather someone witnessing the conversation online. That’s why it’s important to engage with every reaction on your (guest) blog. Research the answers to follow up questions and formulate responses to criticism. You can also choose to respond concisely on the blog, but continue the conversation in a longer email.

#9 Forget the call-to-action (don’t)

Every written article has a purpose. Decide what that is before you start writing.

Our primary goal for this post is to help our readers to publish online content more successfully. In passing, we can then bring up the functionality of Webtexttool, like the Conversion Optimizer and the Content Ranking Index. The call-to-action is a link to the practical SEO and conversion tool that our readers can try for free for 14 days.

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