When asked what content marketing is, the average person will probably say online ads, blogs or maybe social media posts. “Content” is synonymous with “written text” in the minds of many, but that isn’t the case—and it’s getting less the case each year.
Studies such as the B2B Demand Generation Benchmark IndustryView 2013 from technology review firm Software Advice suggests that more people want image-driven content such as short, digestible videos, infographics or images. Blame it on the MTV culture if you want, but the written word is getting a serious run for its (marketing) money.
Content marketing is both a skill and an innate talent that marketers need to constantly be developing. There’s “good” content marketing and then there’s “bad” content marketing. Understanding the bad, or the “cons,” can help you avoid costly mistakes whether you’re a marketing professional or simply trying to figure out how to get more followers for your blog.
Best Content Marketing Practices in 2014
In 2014, there are officially more Americans on mobile devices than desktop according to Pew Research Center and reported by CNN Money. That means they want their content (whether text or image) easy to consume. This is done in several ways, including:
- Responsive design: Any website that features your product, services, company or brand needs to load quickly and in an attractive manner no matter what devices a person is using. This means it needs to be “responsively designed,” whether it’s being browsed on a 10-year-old desktop or the latest smartphone from the UAE.
- Mobile readiness: There’s some crossover between responsive design and mobile readiness, but with mobile readiness it could mean developing a separate site or app for your website. This is most important for heavy traffic sites such as major news sites, banking sites or social media sites. Regardless of whether you design a mobile app or site, make sure your website is easily viewed from any and all mobile platforms.
- The highest quality: Whether it’s written, a video, meme or anything else, content quality is king. Don’t post something just to post. Make it matter.
- Short and sweet: A general rule of thumb is that paragraphs shouldn’t have more than four sentences and bullet points are your friend. A good size for a blog is around 500 words.
More Images—But at What Cost?
Alright, now you know your customers want images and videos. That’s great—but did you know videos and big images can also seriously slow down page loads? Website owners might not even realize it if they personally have the latest laptop or tablet. That’s why testing for responsive design is paramount. A reputable web designer has the tools and ability to test regularly for companies, or there are many online tools to test for yourself such as Responsinator or Responsive Design Checker.
Customers aren’t as loyal as you think and the site of that hourglass spinning can create rage in even the calmest of web surfers. Don’t swap speed for images. Instead, wait until you’re capable of providing image-driven content that can load quickly.
Biggest “Con”tent Marketing Mistakes
Creating quality content isn’t easy and, contrary to what some believe, not everybody can do it.
Think you have what it takes? Here are a few of the most common mistakes with content marketing and how to avoid it:
- Bad spinning: “Spinning” content is sometimes unavoidable, especially for news sites that are covering the exact same story. If it can’t pass Copyscape (an invaluable tool), it doesn’t pass muster.
- Bad writing: Writing is half skill and half art. You wouldn’t expect anyone to be able to whip up a painting masterpiece, would you? With writing, like any other art, you get what you pay for.
- The wrong match: A great writer might just have the wrong voice for a particular niche or industry. That happens, but the mistake occurs when neither party calls it quits.
Are you ready to take the “con” out of content marketing? It all starts with having the right tools, including a professional writer and/or graphic designer in your corner.