I can’t tell you how many people call me asking for web copy to help “get them more business”. And let’s not forget the business owners who call complaining that they “hired a copywriter for their site and cannot believe how little this has done for their brand.”

These are also the same people who mention they are fed up with marketing because it’s “just not working for them.”

Cue the eye-rolls.

 Here’s the thing: Copywriting alone is not going to convert web traffic into sales. Copywriting will not help you stand apart from your competitors.

Copywriting for your website is not a marketing tool.

But content – real deal, well-written, thoroughly researched and engaging content

 is a marketing tool.

And the best one there is, if you ask me.

As defined by the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

 In short? Effective marketing is impossible without great content.

It didn’t take me long to grow my full-service content marketing company in Florida to become synonymous with a certain style of connecting with consumers. I’m certainly not saying mine is the best in the world, but what I am saying is that I have successfully been able to bridge the gap between what business owners think they need to put out into the public and what kind of content they actually need to be sharing in order to drive more sales.

Without giving away all my secrets, I’m sharing the five ways I see more and more businesses screwing up their content marketing plans, and how you can avoid the same ugly fate.

1.    Not understanding the difference between copywriting and content writing

Like I mentioned above, this one drives me nuts. “The great distinction between content writing and copywriting lies in the purpose of writing it. Copywriting means writing for the sake of promotional advertising or marketing. The purpose of content writing is to entertain and entice the online audiences so they stay longer on websites and engage with the brand.” And staying longer on websites equals a much higher chance of conversions. Content writing gives your brand the voice it needs to set itself apart. It’s the language that speaks directly to the consumer. It’s the way you ensure you’re being heard – not just the necessary copy designed to educate.

2.    Not Being Authentic

Forget what you think people want to hear. This is the kiss of death. There is nothing that turns a prospective buyer/client/money spender off faster than that feeling of inauthenticity. You know what turns them on, though? A connection. Just like in any regular relationship. That feeling of “this one is different, I feel like they’re speaking directly to me.” Keep it real, even if you feel you’re not appealing to the masses, and you’ll end up way more successful. How? You’ll be able to tighten your niche real quick, and become the leader of your industry with your eyes closed.

3.    Keeping a close watch on your competitors

The only person you should be in competition with is yourself. Be better than you were yesterday, last week, last quarter, whatever. Because keeping a close eye on your competitors will not only drive you nuts, it will inevitably force you to lose the voice and authenticity you worked so hard to find. At the end of the day, you should be worried about what sets you apart and gives you that edge to succeed, rather than comparing yourself to others. Focus on your customers rather than on your competition, and you’ll always be one step ahead in the marketing game and speaking directly to their needs, rather than keeping up with the Joneses.

4.    Not testing the market

When it comes to marketing, assessment of your target audience, where and how they spend, and what it’ll take to reach them, is key. Marketing is not a game of, “let’s throw a whole bunch of crap at the wall and go with what sticks.” It’s taking small, calculated measures to see how your audience responds in order to be able to gauge what they need more of, and do away with what doesn’t appeal to them. Maybe you’ll find that, contrary to popular belief, your target market is not on Facebook, thus eradicating the idea that you must run Facebook ads. Test your audience early on, and repeat this process consistently over time. Nothing stays constant in marketing.

5.    Allowing too many cooks in the kitchen

You know what they say about opinions right?  Think of the last time you were considering buying a new car. You likely got all excited and asked multiple friends and family members what they thought of your top pick, only to find out you would have been happier and more confident in your choice by keeping your mouth shut.  The peanut gallery is useless in marketing. You know why so many companies are hiring outside marketing consultants such as myself rather than keeping the job in-house, where ideas risk getting muddied? Fresh perspective, one solid voice, and for idea generation that is not influenced by what’s happening inside the company. Keep your marketing team high-level, high-functioning, and really, really small.

Need more marketing tips or interested in allowing me to reshape the way your business tells their marketing story? Connect with me, today!