What do you think about first, when it comes to creating communication strategy? Is it brand identity; is it brand values, sales goals, ROI? 

In this digital era of information, when letting audiences experience your brand seems to be a more relevant way to communicate than posting facts about your product, content creators have a particularly challenging time. Our aim should be narrative story telling about the experience, thus involving our audience at an emotional level. Many of us still find it difficult to balance on the thin line between informative, and engaging, content. Based on industry experts’ opinions and our experience, we can identify the Top 8 Mistakes, Content Managers struggle with.

Not connecting with your audience

Some PR specialists tend to prepare informative, boring content, without really knowing who they are talking to. Behind every sticky piece of information, there should be at least some basic research carried out on your audience – their needs, wants, patterns, age, interests, and issues they care about.

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Preparing boring, salesy content

Very often, the first thing we hear from the client is their expectation that the content we prepare will generate more sales. Bearing this principal in mind, many PR specialists fail at the start. Even the most beautiful, perfectly crafted information about the product, will not result in rocketing sales figures. The information doesn’t sell, but the connection with your audience does.

Bad copywriting or non-existent website

Surprisingly, this happens very often. We have heard so many times: “I use Facebook, I don’t need a website” or, “I have a website with my name and phone number on it, but I never update it”, or even, “my website has been designed by a professional and I don’t want to change anything, it is good enough for me”. If you knew that the average user spends approx. 8-12 secs on your website, would you change your mind? Are potential customers able to answer basic questions within this period of time? What are you doing, why are you doing that, why should they use your product or service, and how to contact you? Also, is your website visually attractive, appealing, using good quality, authentic images? Wrong visual content might result in miscommunication about your brand, might overpower your audience, or simply put them off your brand. It is very important to get things right, and balanced.

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Opening Social Media accounts and being inconsistent in managing them

Actually, there are not too many brands that manage social media perfectly. Opening a Social Media profile for the brand should be like the wedding vow: ” I take thee to be my beloved media tool, to have and to hold, for better, for worse, to love and to cherish, till power, or Internet bugs, do us part. One of the most common mistakes is posting the same piece of information to every platform at the same time. Once again, it comes to knowing your audience, understanding them, their patterns, and to follow them in a communication plan. Every platform was designed for different types of audience, which is active on different days and at different times.  The “One post fits all” approach might actually result in your audience withdrawing themselves from your social media. However, it doesn’t mean that you have to write 10 different pieces of content for each platform. Change your headings, tailor them according to the interests of your audience, and post when you are expecting them to use the platform. The success rate on social media must be measured in order to prepare us for future communication development. If you don’t have enough time to analyse your social media platforms, or to post anything on them, it is better to delete them and shift your focus to the platforms that work best for your business.

Lack of interesting, easy to relate to, current stories

Some time ago, we were assigned to prepare a communication campaign for a flu vaccine programme. When we got the full pack of information along with the press releases, we knew that this kind of content wouldn’t work with a Polish audience. We knew that there was a lot of resistance in the Polish community to the vaccines themselves. During the research process, we found out what the concerns and issues were. Instead of posting information about vaccine availability, we prepared an interesting interview with an expert who had spent over 40 years of her career studying flu vaccine, to address all the possible concerns. The engagement rate was a hit. The content wasn’t only informative, but also answered all the possible questions Polish people might have had. Getting to the core of your audience’s emotions, concerns, issues and needs, should be the main goal for every communication strategist.

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Copying content

It is so tempting just to copy and paste, but Google deletes multiple content, at the start. It is also an unlawful practice and not worthy in the long run. Uniqueness gives more chances to achieve a high position in Google, where you will probably meet your prospect for the first time.

Avoiding golden ratio rule

Not everyone agrees with this, but in general that’s the rule we have to put up with when creating any PR piece. The 30/60/10 rule – where 30% should be your brand message, values and the benefits of using your product/service; 60% is for supporting evidence, any studies, industry expert’s quotes, benefits of using a particular product or service, and 10% for call to action, including promo offers.

Too many words, not enough images

Some brands avoid using visual assets in their content. It is especially typical for the financial and law industries. Unfortunately, it might result in a lack of attention in your piece of information. Some industry experts advise placing 1 image/video or infographic for every 350 words, and not to exceed 1500 words in one piece.

 Margaret A. Szwed

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