It’s officially spring … the cold, dull winter is finally over and with this change in weather comes fresh, new content blooming like the season’s first crop of daffodils. This is the time of year for new beginnings, and the perfect opportunity to take a good hard look at your content, assess how it’s performing, weed out poorly performing content, strategize new ways to invigorate your marketing plan, and implement these new strategies.

Is your content in need a refresh this season? Find out how your content scores with our free content scorecard.

Avoid Common Pitfalls

One of the first questions you should ask yourself if you’re looking to revise your current marketing strategy is “What isn’t working?” This is more important than identifying what is working because you want to stop wasting time (and money and energy) as soon as possible on any feature of your strategy that isn’t pulling its weight. Listed below are common content marketing mistakes to look out for as you assess your current strategy:

Pitfall 1: Great Content but the Wrong Audience

This is one of the most common mistakes business make with their content marketing. Generally, the content either isn’t in the format that the audience prefers, or doesn’t address the audience’s needs, pain points, interests, or budget.

Avoid This Pitfall: Always test out a variety of content with your audience and be sure to gather analytics on these tests. Consult your analytics to see which content and formats have performed well—then rinse and repeat with future content.

Pitfall 2: Not Gathering Analytics

According to the 2015 B2B Content Marketing Trends report, 49 percent of B2B business owners are having trouble measuring how effective their content is.

Avoid This Pitfall: Be sure to set clear goals and expectations for your content, then track corresponding performance metrics to gauge how well the content met these goals.

Pitfall 3: Assuming Prospects Don’t Know They Are Being Sold to

Commercial messaging and ads are ubiquitous in today’s online world, so assuming that your prospects don’t already know that you are trying to sell a product through your marketing is underestimating your potential customers, and that is a big mistake. Your blog readers, website visitors, and social media followers know that you’re a business, which in turn means that your goal is to sell a product or service. There’s no need to try and hide that.

Avoid This Pitfall: Don’t be afraid to tell your audience why you’re running a promotion or offering free products—this transparency is a big opportunity for you to make a valuable connection with your prospects and build trust.

Pitfall 4: Misunderstanding Where Your Content Fits into Your Marketing Funnel

Your content should always be part of your shop’s overall marketing funnel, but it’s easy to get caught up in content production and get into the habit of creating content for content’s sake. This is another reason to always review and track how well your content is performing—if your content isn’t moving prospects down your funnel, it’s not doing its job and should be revised or eliminated.

Avoid This Pitfall: As mentioned previously, it is important to define clear goals for your content in order to measure its effectiveness. Define goals for how you want your customers to engage with and react to your content in terms of moving through the marketing tunnel, and measure the results, then use these analytics to make strategic decisions about current and future content.

Pitfall 5: Not Strategically Distributing Content

Once you get great content, you are eager to get it out the door and in the hands of your customer—and how the content gets there is often ignored. Although delivery tends to be an afterthought, make not mistake: it is a crucial element of content marketing success.

Avoid This Pitfall: Take time to consider all of your available delivery channels, like email blasts, social media, influencers, bloggers, and paid media, and determine which ones are best suited to each piece of content.

Stay Ahead of the Curve

Rising awareness of the value of content marketing is already making an impact on the business world, motivating business competitors to create more and more inventive marketing strategies. Keeping your finger on the pulse of what’s new and important in marketing is vital in today’s business landscape. Below are some forecasted trends for the year ahead to keep you up-to-date and ahead of the curve—garnered from trusted business sources around the web including recently-published articles by both Forbes.com and Inc.com.

  • Visual Authority
    Visual content is a must in today’s marketing landscape. Items such as infographics, photos, and videos will be essential supplements to all content.
  • Ubiquitous Personalization
    In 2015, more and more businesses will begin to study customer behaviors and use this information to create personalized content marketing strategies. This personalization, by nature, will span across multiple current and emerging platforms.
  • Mobile-Friendly Expectation
    In 2014, mobile device usage passed PC use for the first time ever, so brands are adjusting their content marketing campaigns to better fit smaller screens and short attention spans, incorporating localization and location-based search terms as well.
  • Growth in Collaborative Marketing
    It seems that many businesses have discovered that sharing information and ideas with others in your industry is mutually-beneficial for all parties, and this collaboration trend will likely continue to gain steam.
  • The Birth of the “Storymonial”
    Short videos and client “storymonials” will become one of the most effective and powerful tools business will use to build their brand and humanize the customer-business interaction. This type of content marketing works well to engage and build healthy relationships with prospects.

Free Branding Evaluation Tool: Find out how your content scores with our free content scorecard.

The Bottom Line

Your customers and prospects are the most important aspect of your business—let them know you care this season by giving them a bouquet of freshly-cut content.

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