Content marketing has become one of the most popular ways to connect with customers and achieve a wide variety of marketing goals for online businesses. In fact, 86 percent of B2C marketers claim to use this approach to digital marketing and commit a significant portion of their time to creating and distributing content online.
But how much do they dedicate to content marketing, exactly? According to the recent Orbit Media data, the time needed to create high-quality, shareable content is rapidly increasing; for example, to write an average blog post in 2014, bloggers spent about 2.5 hours. Now, however, it takes them about 3.5 hours. Yes, even one blog post requires a lot of time, so being an effective content marketer means making huge time and effort investments.
This is especially relevant for small businesses. With a lot of them doing content marketing these days, they can’t afford to waste any time doing work that has no benefit to them. Unfortunately, someone without prior knowledge of content marketing can easily get caught up in time-wasters that ultimately undermine the effectiveness of their efforts.
In this article, I’m going to share 4 significant time-wasters that could be eating up your time and decreasing the effectiveness of your content marketing.
Too Many Social Media Accounts
Social media presence is a must for every business now. However, with so many social media platforms right now, it can be hard to pick the ones used by your target audience; as a result, many businesses solve this problem by creating accounts on just about every social media website they know.
While solving the problem of which social media channel to use, they create an even bigger problem of spending too much time managing accounts that bring little or no value for them.
For example, having an active Instagram account may not be critical for a B2B business; however, lacking a LinkedIn page would be a huge mistake.
How to Fix This?
To make the right selection of social media for your business, keep the following in mind:
- What social media platforms are the most popular with your target audience?
- What social media platforms do your competitors use successfully?
- What social media platforms provide good opportunities for sharing your content?
By asking yourself these three simple questions, you’ll get the idea of where to start with creating a meaningful social media for your presence.
Chances are that you’ll find that creating profiles on four major social media networks—Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram is the best idea (Prowly, for example, uses this approach too).
Chasing Backlinks Just for the Numbers
So you’ve heard that backlinks are important because they have an effect on Google rankings. That means that you should get as many backlinks as possible, and your website’s ranking will be excellent, right? Well, while it may have seemed like a good way to get ranked high a while back, it’s not such a good idea anymore.
According to Google’s backlinks guide, many businesses have tried to trick the search engine by engaging in various schemes. For example, many exchanged links—“link to us and we’ll link to you”—or even bought links to increase the number of visitors on their websites. Now, the quantity of backlinks shouldn’t be your priority, as chasing as many of them as possible could actually hurt your ranking.
How to Fix This?
Your biggest concern now should be the quality.
Google knows very well how to differentiate between a good and a poor piece of content, so if you go for quantity, chances are that you’ll waste a lot of your time without getting anything in return. That’s why using professional writing for your backlink strategy is recommended; for example, you can check out such online writing tools as Top Writers Review to see who can help you get good links.
While your backlink strategy should depend on the content production capabilities of your business, always remember that even 5 relevant and quality links from reputable websites are much better than 200 links from toxic, spam-offering sites.
Responding to and Engaging Trolls
Have you had any experience in social media interactions where someone disrupted the conversation by bringing up a totally unrelated or irrelevant topic?
For example, spam bloggers often try to distribute their low-quality content or even spam by including the links to it in every single comment they make. Another example is trolls who disrupt friendly online conversations by making off-topic, inflammatory comments in an attempt to provoke an emotional response.
While responding to people who comment on your content is certainly a good idea, replying to these people is nothing but a huge waste of time. Those trolls may easily take up a lot of your time and even provoke you to respond in a way that your audience could be perceive as hostile and negative.
How to Fix This?
Identify the trolls and ignore them. Your other followers will recognize them for what they are (believe me, they’ve seen such behavior many times before), so they’ll ignore them regardless of how hard they try to get them to reply.
There are some tools to battle trolls, too. For example, if you’re running a WordPress-powered website, check out WP Delete Comments plugin, which allows deleting Pending, Approved, Spam, Trash, or All comments made on your website or a specific piece of content.
Trying to Keep Up an Unsustainable Blogging Schedule
The consistency of content production is one of the biggest challenges faced by everyone in the content marketing game. Unfortunately, many businesses overestimate their content production capabilities and create a content posting schedule they simply can’t keep up with, which causes them to change many things in the process of content marketing strategy implementation.
This, in turn, can make many things go wrong, ultimately undermining your effort.
How to Fix This?
The hallmark of an effective content marketing strategy is thorough planning that results from a good understanding of one’s content production capabilities. Before you begin writing blog posts, you should have a clear idea of how much time you can really invest in that.
Consider taking the following steps to avoid creating an unrealistic content schedule:
- Decide how many blog posts you’ll write and publish weekly. Consult with your marketing team about how many can you really produce.
- Create a content calendar containing the topics of every blog post so content writers could plan their work and reduce the chance of failing to keep up with the schedule
- Continuously evaluate the workload of your content production team and make adjustments based on their feedback.
Other businesses also keep different blogging schedules based on their content production capabilities. For example, the Orbit Media report mentioned earlier says that most bloggers create several pieces per month, which could be a good start for you as well.
Credit: Orbit Media
With time, you’ll see how many stories manage to engage your target audience effectively, so you’ll be able to improve your content marketing strategy sooner than you think.
The Bottom Line
Even a couple of the above time-wasters can dramatically reduce the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts. Hopefully, the tips I’ve given here will help you focus more time on the things that matter the most to your business and avoid time-wasters that undermine your productivity and morale.