June 02, 2015

Three Mistakes Marketers Make Before Writing One Word

Writing is difficult. Even the most talented novelists, poets, biographers, speech writers, academics and marketers struggle from time to time. If you write professionally, you have at some point undoubtedly reached the deflating realization in the middle of crafting content that the piece is not shaping up the way you had anticipated and needs either significant edits or an entirely new approach.

While it’s true that content creation can go awry during the writing process, oftentimes problems actually begin in the strategic thinking and planning stage. Here are a few common hurdles that trip marketers up before they put even one word down on a page:

1.No clear content roadmap: Much has been made about how important it is for businesses to create a written content plan—and rightly so; studies repeatedly show that companies with a documented strategy fare better than those without one. Clear purpose and direction is also crucial for every individual piece of content. Attempting to crystallize your message or choose a target audience as you go is a recipe for disaster. Rather, marketers should always have clear answers to questions like “What stage of the buying cycle is this piece aimed at?” or “What action do I want readers to take when they finish reading?” before the writing process begins.

2.Uncertainty about how to connect ideas: One of the most difficult aspects of content marketing is that it often requires the writer to shift directions multiple times in a given piece. For instance, beginning a blog by commenting on an industry news item and then pivoting to discuss how the news relates to a product or service is a common and effective tactic in content marketing. The challenge is striking a balance between not sufficiently bridging the gap between ideas and being heavy-handed in changing directions. Before content creation begins, marketers should have a clear strategy for seamlessly and logically connecting ideas.

3.Lack of integration strategy: It can be easy to lose track of a big picture marketing strategy as you sit hunched over your keyboard staring intently at the content you are working on. Too often, marketers may be several hundred words into a document before a light bulb goes off and they realize that the piece does not fit perfectly with their company’s integrated marketing strategy. For instance, as the marketer works to complete a blog, all of a sudden he or she realizes the messaging is not quite aligned with recent social posts or email marketing messages. While every piece of content demands focus, marketers must be careful to avoid tunnel vision and maintain a high-level view to avoid creating assets that are disconnected from the brand’s overall core messaging.  

Like almost any endeavor in business, content creation is typically easier and more effective when the writer has a plan. For a look at some other highly-effective content marketing strategies, read this blog post.    


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