More and more companies are using content marketing to build their brand – but could they be doing more harm than good? From excessive jargon to self-indulgence, copywriting expert Konrad Sanders looks at some of the most common mistakes.
When it comes to copywriting and content marketing, here are some of the biggies:
1. Focusing on the company or product
How amazing it is, how much experience it has, how nice the staff are etc – rather than putting the spotlight on the most important part of the equation; your customer. You should paint a picture of how incredibly awesome your customer’s life will be with your service or product, not bore them to tears with your life story.
Write about benefits, not features. Use the word ‘you’, not ‘we’. Sell a good night’s sleep, not the mattress!
2. Using tediously-formal, jargon-filled ‘business talk’
Whatever industry you’re in, whether it’s B2B or B2C, your copy is going to be read by real people.
And real people are just naturally far more receptive to conversational, easy-to-read content that talks directly to them, much like having a chat with a good old pal.
Too many companies still make the self-harming mistake of using old-fashioned, incredibly formal business talk. Or overly technical language, written for some kind of industry-obsessed robot.
What often comes hand-in-hand with this last blunder, is the excessive use of cliché-riddled sentences. Copywriting is very much a part of branding, which involves differentiating yourself from the ocean of competition. This is done by creating a unique and relevant tone of voice and linguistic style, not by dribbling out overused clichés.
Here are some words and phrases that make me feel a little sick on the inside:
- Integrated solutions
- Giving 110%
- A one-stop shop
- Think outside the box
- Next level
- Once in a lifetime
- We are the future of ________
- Results oriented
4. Blogging about your latest company news
Who cares!? Your blog should be educational and/or entertaining, and should provide real value in some way or another. No one gives a flying monkey how your latest event went. Or which award you won.
5. Sleazy, salesy content
Same problem again. As I said, your reader wants value, not a sales pitch!
6. Self indulgence
One more time – don’t think about you and your product! Think about your customer, why they are browsing online, how you can provide them with the value they seek, and what will engage, entertain and inform them – so much so that they’re eager to come running back for more.
7. Not having an opt-in box
Almost all of the people who will stumble upon your blog will not be looking for your services, at that very moment. That is why you are writing a blog which provides value and thought leadership within your niche – to engage and inform, rather than sell.
However, if you offer an incentive in exchange for your readers email address, then you have the option to convert them into a customer somewhere down the line. Which is the aim of the game after all, isn’t it?
If your company uses a WordPress CMS, then I recommend the Scroll Triggered Box plugin. But make sure your designer fixes it up to be consistent with your site’s branding.
8. Not promoting your posts
Content marketing goes hand-in-hand with social media. You won’t get very far without a solid social media strategy – and ‘influencer marketing’ is the fastest way to gain traffic and get results. Here’s a post I wrote about that.
9. Giving up too soon
Content marketing takes time! To really grow a large, responsive readership can take 12 months. But the rewards are worth it. So keep going!
And there are a bunch of other common mistakes, but these are the main ones in my book – and I wouldn’t want to ramble on for too long!
If you missed Konrad’s first post on how to choose a copywriter then do check it out! And let us know which copywriting or content marketing mistakes drive you up the wall…