Before I begin, some of you are gambling when it comes to your digital content--and you know you are. So stop it! Even if you feel like you're getting lucky right now, that isn't to say you wouldn't be winning even bigger, more consistently if you'd start playing the odds instead of just rolling the dice and crossing your fingers.However, most people who are gambling when it comes to their content just don't know it. This could be you, if:
You have a blog (and only a blog).
It's true that blogging can indeed be beneficial, but just having a blog is not enough. If your only marketing activity is blogging, you may be attracting prospects at the earliest stage of the buying process. But what then?
You need to have calls to action for next steps and intention behind the posts to guide your prospects along to the next point in the buyers' journey. Usually this is more digital content. You also need something to appeal to folks who are further along in the process and need more information. Without higher level content for those who are hungry for more, you are just a first stop in fact-finding.
The same follows if you only do email, social media, white papers, or any other marketing activity. Even if you are experiencing some degree of success by putting all of your eggs in one basket, you could be doing better if you were looking at the bigger picture instead of focusing in on a teeny tiny part.
You don't do it yourself.
There is nothing wrong with outsourcing. We wholeheartedly endorse it, and it's something we've done ourselves. However, you have to be involved with your digital content creation to some extent.
If you are hands off, whoever is creating your content can run wild, and this may not lead to positive results. For instance, too much publishing (including low quality publishing) can really ding your ROI. And if you aren't engaged with the content creation at all, it's highly likely that opinions expressed may not be in line with yours and the work could end up off brand. You may also be leaving your content creators without enough to go on. Regardless of how good and trustworthy that freelancer or agency is, if you don't check in, they will start to slip off the rails.
You do it when you feel like it.
Content and other marketing initiatives need to be done on a consistent, ongoing basis. Just posting when you feel like it won't get the job done.
If you end up with current or potential clients who pay attention, your willy-nilly approach to content development will drive them nuts. Instead of giving them regular releases to look forward to, you leave them hungry for more. Don't be surprised if they've stopped caring and don't follow you anymore by the time you've decided to dole out your next installment. Also, this inconsistent schedule looks less than professional; you'll seem a little flaky.
Here you're gambling on two things. First, you're gambling on whether your spotty stuff will make an impact. Second, you're gambling on whether or not anyone will notice.
You don't measure and adjust.
You need to know how the content you create is doing, and you need to adapt what you're doing depending on that analytic data. If you aren't measuring how your content is performing, you don't know what works and what isn't. You could end up creating more of the stuff that's missing the mark and drive off potential customers. Or you could end up pounding away at an expensive and under-performing promotion strategy.
It's even worse if you do keep tabs on how your content is doing and not do anything in response. You should probably adjust your tactics based on performance about once a month.
You don't have a solid foundation.
Before you embark on any digital content creation adventure, you need to have a solid base. In general, at minimum, this includes brand guidelines, style guide, buyer personas, and goals.
- Brand guidelines go over who your brand is. This includes what words and images represent it, what colors are used for graphics, and mottoes and mission statements.
- Your style guide goes into how your content should be created in a technical sense to create a consistent, professional, unified brand voice for all content. In the style guide you choose things like whether you will use the oxford comma, put spaces before and after ellipses, or write out the word "percentage."
- Buyer personas are profiles of current and prospective customers. These aren't actual people. Your personas are composites based on research and analysis.
- You should set goals for your business, and we recommend "SMART" goals. You should reference your goals when making decisions for your business, including marketing-related calls. If the choice you are going to make doesn't support your goals, you may want to give it a second thought.
If you don't have these, you are definitely taking a big risk with your content. It's hard to speak for your brand if you don't know who you are, can't be consistent, don't know for sure who you are talking to, and don't know why you are doing what you're doing.
You don't have a plan.
You need a legit marketing plan, and any digital content creation, social media marketing, or influencer outreach needs to fit into that plan. There are many businesses that have proper plans, but their content initiatives aren't part of these. Content sometimes is tossed in as an afterthought, and it doesn't have the same level of focus other strategic measures have in the marketing plan.
This is gambling with content big time. You are just throwing blog posts and infographics out there and hoping they hit and they stick. Picture closing your eyes and throwing darts in the general direction of the board versus stoping, looking, and taking aim.
Want to learn more about winning at marketing? Watch our recorded webinar. It's free, darn it!