The #1 Mistake Content Marketers Make (and How to Avoid It)

You may have heard the phrase, “content is king.” But it would be equally accurate (and more useful) to say “context is everything.”

Why? If you create great content but put it in the wrong setting, the content won’t get results.

If you make this mistake, it creates a scenario where the writer goes down the rabbit hole of trying to find better hooks, headlines, and bullets when the actual problem is the universe in which the content or copy is set.

From this perspective, you could make a compelling argument that the content strategy is “worldbuilding.”

Content Strategy as Worldbuilding 

So play along with me…

You’ve embraced your new reality as a worldbuilder.

What do you do next?

As the lead worldbuilder (because of course, your first-y first job as a world builder is to get minions, friends, and allies to help you carry out your plans, even if they’re imaginary)…

… your first job is to map out the lay of the land.

From there, your ongoing mission is to constantly keep those larger business goals in mind, while you create the copy and content that slowly brings the prospect along the journey with you.

The net effect for the prospect will be, “Oh wow, that was amazing.” It will seem almost magical to them when they get through the entire process.

But the real magic was in your knack to hold the vision while taking concrete steps to create an outcome other people can see, as well.

Shorter: You make the magic.

4 “C’s” of Content Strategy

Once you have the larger business goals mapped out, you’ll use the 4 “C’s” of content strategy to bring prospects on the journey with you.

1- Content. This section is specific to the business and its goals. What are the words, themes, and ideas in the message? What’s the tone of the message? Who is the message from? (For example, the guru, a spokesperson, a friendly account rep, the brand itself, etc.) What do you want people to do after interacting with the contents of the message?

2- Context. This section is specific to the audience. Who is the audience? What are their bigger picture goals, as it relates to your topic? What is the goal of this specific content for your business? What is the goal of this specific content for the audience? (Note: These can be 2 different goals, so it’s important to know where those goals intersect.) What did the audience see before your content? What will they see after your content, assuming they stay on the journey with you?

3- Channel. This section is specific to the environment. Where are you publishing the content? How does the channel contribute to the marketing goal? For example, some channels are great for getting quick likes, but not as good for holding long-term attention. 

4- Craft. This section is about the form of the content. What style will the content be presented in? It can be an article, video, infographic, podcast, etc. How does the form contribute to the marketing goal? For example, if you know your audience likes to read and you’ve decided to use your blog as the channel, then a long article would be a good form to use. In contrast, posting a 140-character tweet-length message on your blog all by itself would be silly.

Keeping Your Eye On the Big Picture Without Losing Track of the Details

As you can see, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds of content, context, channel, and craft… and lose sight of the overall mission. So make an effort to zoom out on a regular basis and make sure you’re still going the right direction. 

To do that, you can use tools as simple as post-it notes and customer feedback surveys or as complicated as your marketing automation tools will allow. 

But the important thing is to remember the secret to success is the relationship between the big picture and the small details. Make sure that relationship is sturdy but flexible so you can trust the process but also pivot as needed.

Posted in