The last year has seen an explosion in the number of companies creating online branded content. And while there are many great examples of how companies are engaging with their audiences/customers in this way there are also plenty of brands who have delivered content that is simply not being read.
For, no matter how great your branded content is you still need to spend time and money to ensure that it is as widely read as possible.
Here then are the five most basic mistakes that brands make when creating branded content.
1 Not creating a strategy - It sound so obvious, but there are still brands who experiment with content marketing, yet don’t really have a strategy for tieing it in with their business goals and objectives. Just doing something because everyone else is doing it is no strategy at all. Brands need to think about why they are undertaking content marketing and how it will help them achieve deeper relationships with their customers. They also need to ask whether it is essential that engagement is turned into sales - or is their content marketing focused more on brand building? Another mistake is not creating watertight editorial strategies - such as agreeing content calendars, style guides and crisis management policies.
2 Creating content that no one will want to read - One of the most common mistakes brands make when creating content is that they deliver words, images and videos that might accurately reflect the brand, but is dull and boring. Branded content at its best is steeped in a company’s values but it is also entertaining, engaging and sometimes educational. If you don’t find the content you create interesting then how can you expect your customers to engage with it?
3 No thought given to SEO - If you create branded content then you need to think about how people will discover that content and that means spending time, and often money, to optimise your site’s Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy. SEO may feel like a strange black art, but its basics are really very simple. What Google, and other search engines want are clear and concise headlines, and copy that includes the key words that ensure the search engine can easily file and rank the posts. There are many basic SEO packages for content management systems, such as the excellent Joast for WordPress, but even if you use a bespoke CMS you should ensure that the technical side of SEO and the editorially driven side - key words etc are fully operational.
4 No social media support - Other than search engines the way that most people find content is through social networks like Facebook and Twitter. So if you are creating branded content then it is essential to be able to broadcast it via social media. This might mean working with an existing social media accounts that the brand already has, but for it also might mean starting from scratch. And that could entail spending time working out which network is likely to deliver the most engagement from your followers. Be patient too as building large audiences on Twitter and Facebook can take time. And also consider how much time you can allot to engaging with the readers via social media.
5 Not considering paid for promotions - Some larger brands might not have to worry too much about creating an advertising strategy to promote their content as they already boast huge social media accounts. However, for most brands it makes sense to look at how they can push their content out to as many people as possible. In social media this might mean buying followers or promoting individual posts. There is plenty of evidence for both Facebook and Twitter that buying followers also leads to a surge in the number of followers gained organically. Many content marketers have also started to experiment with content recommendation engines like Outbrain which drive traffic to sites from widgets that are placed at the end of posts on mainstream media. For other companies Google’s advertising offerings are useful at driving traffic too.