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12 mistakes to avoid in content marketing in a new business


Published On: Feb 19 2024
Written By: Krishnan Sethuraman
Category: Content Marketing


 

I have been running businesses for more than 10 years now and throughout my journey I have made numerous mistakes when it comes to content marketing. 

The internet is abundant with videos teaching content marketing but most of them are not structured and provide a clear strategy to use content marketing as a medium of lead generation for your business. 

It took me years to understand this basic stuff that most influencers are not uploading videos to teach the novice entrepreneur on how to do content marketing. Instead their goal is make us register into their sales pipeline. 

So from my learning over a decade I have in this post, pointed out the 10 mistakes I made with content marketing. 

If you avoid these mistakes I am sure your content marketing strategy will definitely generate inbound leads over a period of time.  

 

1. Build a outbound sales process or strategy

When you start a company of any kind the first step should be to sell your offering and get the cash register rolling asap. 

Sales should be the primary goal of a business. If that’s not the case then what you have started is a project and not a business. 

Build a sales strategy which has answers for the following questions, 

  1. what you will sell
  2. to whom you will sell
  3. how you will sell
  4. and at what price you will sell.

This is important because as a new business you need to reach out to your target audience and start selling. 

This will ensure that you find out if you have the right product targeting the right target audience. 

Content marketing if done right will definitely give results but it is not a magic wand. It will take time for the results to appear. Hence for a successful business there needs to be an outbound sales and marketing strategy. 


2. Results take time so be patient

Contrary to the Hollywood movies or the influencer you are following, content marketing is not going to yield results in the near future. For quite a long time no one will show up to read your blog posts or watch your content. 

Not a single soul is going to care about what you write and what you have to offer, but that does not mean you should stop producing and publishing content. 

Consistent production and distribution of content is the key to creating brand awareness and putting your business in front of the right audience.

For a software as a service business it is important to rank higher in the google search. Articles published on the blog and on the website are the key components here that improve seo ranking and help in making the business show up on the first page of the search result. 

However, for your blog or website to appear in relevant Google searches is not going to happen overnight. It will take months if not years for your content to show up on Google’s first page search results. 

So be patient and keep producing and publishing good quality content on your blog or any other platform as your case might be, so that over a period of time you build credibility and eventually start appearing in the top google search results. 

 

3. Know your target audience

To create good and useful content it is paramount to know who you are going to create the content for? 

For example, cartoons are created for children, romantic movies are created for young people and so on. 

So before jumping into creating content it is important to identify who your target customers or audiences are and then create the content to suit their interests so that when people land up on your content, they stay to consume it instead of scrolling away. 


4. Niche down your offering

During my early years as an entrepreneur I would think that I have launched a business and almost everyone will buy the product. It took me a couple of years to understand that, it is not going to work 99.9% of the time. 

With more and more offerings and choices for consumers in the market the competition is very tight. So it is important for new businesses to really niche down their product to a very small segment. 

At the outset this might appear to be a wrong strategy but it is a sure shot way to acquire customers and build a brand as a new business. 

A targeted niche is mostly small segments of the market that are too small for the big players, so you will not have much competition.

For example, for Daysupport I have not competed with Freshdesk or Zendesk. Instead I have niched down to the point where I am targeting only small businesses and startups. 

There will be plenty of opportunities to go up market after you have built a customer base and revenue stream. 

 

5. Start ASAP

Websites or blogs or domains that have been active for a longer period get precedence in google search ranking when compared with new websites and domains. 

So go online ASAP. The moment you decide on the type of business also decide on the name and buy the domain and host a landing page. 

On the landing page explain precisely what you are building and what problem your product will solve. 

In addition to the landing page, have a blog and link it to the landing page. On this blog write about your journey and learnings that you are having while building your product. 

This is important as it will help you in building the traffic to your landing page even before you launch your product or service.  

Even if you do not get any traffic and it is totally fine. These blog articles will only increase your credibility as you reach out to prospective clients after launching your product. 

After you make the initial pitch they are going to google you and when your articles show up their trust will increase. 

 

6. Be consistent

As a business owner it is quite possible to get occupied in work every day and not be able to allot time to produce and publish new content consistently. 

Though it is an acceptable reason to not produce content, the reality is by not publishing new content consistently you are also undoing the gains that were gained by publishing content in the past. 

Business and the realities of the market are unforgiving and if I am allowed to change one thing in my past then that will be to not come up with reasons for not posting content consistently. 

Coming up with a content calendar can be very helpful in setting goals and targets for producing and publishing content consistently. 

For this blog my target is to produce and publish two to three articles every week. To ensure I have enough ideas to produce content I also work hard and do interesting stuff. 

I write code, learn a new topic and read about marketing and sales every day so that I have enough fodder material to produce content for this blog. 

Do whatever it takes to build and run your business but never take a decision that affects the consistency of producing and publishing new content. 

 

7. Distribute content

Though initially I would not worry too much about distributing the content but nevertheless at some point you have to focus on this. 

What I did for my businesses was to first focus on consistently publishing content on the blog. 

Then once the blog had accumulated 10+ posts and I had a process of publishing content consistently then I started distributing the content. 

I focused on one platform on which most of my target audience were active. For my business it was LinkedIn. I signed up for a free Buffer account and used it to schedule the posts every weekend so that they get published throughout the week. 

 

8. Do not spread yourself thin

Not spreading yourself too thin is critical to succeeding in business. 

Running a business is not a 100 metre dash. It is more like running a marathon. So one needs to adapt to a comfortable pace to reach the end line. 

As a new business, focus on publishing one type of content and distribute it on one platform. 

For me the content type was blog posts and the platform was LinkedIn. Depending on what the business is, this can vary. For some it might be videos and Instagram or micro posts on Twitter. 

Whatever is your content type and platform, choose only one. This will ensure that as a small business owner you are not spreading yourself too thin. 

The goal is to focus on a few items but do a good job consistently instead of doing too many things badly and inconsistently. 

 

9. Hire a freelancer or an employee if required

If you are not able to produce content consistently then it is sensible to hire a freelancer to do it for you. 

Though hiring someone to produce content might be expensive at the beginning, especially when your business is not making any money, it is much better to spend money and ask someone to produce content for you instead of not producing any content. 

One problem that I had while hiring freelancers was that they hardly had domain expertise and the ones that had domain expertise were way out of my budget. 

To address this I would take notes and write down important points which would form the outline of the content that the freelancer can use to create. 

With domain specific knowledge in the form of notes from you and the context the freelancer can quite easily produce content for you which you can publish and distribute. 

While working with a freelancer it is important to note that their way of writing will be different from your way of writing. Accept it as it is. 

As long as the content conveys the point you want to make. Do not waste time by editing or rewriting the content that you received from the freelancer. I have made this mistake and it defeats the purpose of hiring a freelancer in the first place. 

 

10. Ditch the stealth mode

I have seen many entrepreneurs build their product or launch their business stealth mode.

I have done that too. It’s not a mystery to know what the end result was for the business that I launched on stealth mode. IT FAILED !!

Personally to me it is nonsensical to work on a business in stealth mode, especially when it is the first business and we do not have a strong financial backing. 

The purpose or the agenda of running a business is to sell our product or service which our customers will use to solve their problems and in the process making money. 

Running a company in stealth mode neither helps us as entrepreneurs nor our target customers.  

If it is your first company then your primary goal should be to make money. So launch as soon as possible and do outbound marketing to get the word out and get the initial clients. 

Simultaneously do content marketing to build a brand and get inbound leads in the future (6 to 18 months).  

 

11. Use AI tools to produce content sparingly

AI tools are good and I have experimented with them and they come in handy to produce content when time is a luxury, but use them sparingly. The internet is filled with content produced by AI and we should not be one among them. 

A human written content is always going to have that personal human touch and feel which makes it much more easy to connect with the reader. 

 

12. Do not skip keyword analysis

Do keyword analysis before writing your content. This will ensure that you can have a list of keywords that you can use on your blog posts so that they eventually rank for the specific keywords when someone is searching for related information on Google. 

The existing keyword analysis tools are quite expensive and honestly to start with you do not need to complicate things. 

Just open ChatGPT and type in the kind of business you are doing and the kind of content you are going to create and then ask it to give you the keywords. 

Boom you have done your keyword analysis without spending a dime. 

This might not be the best strategy and it gives us a starting point to start producing content. 

 

Conclusion

The current trend looks like every company in the future will have a well equipped department to produce content on the same lines of that of the engineering department. 

Producing content and getting them in front of people is going to be a necessity for businesses. 

 

Popular Wisdom

As long as you are consistent your efforts will yield positive results.