Content marketing is a very powerful tool, but you can easily sink yourself if you make any of these 13 critical mistakes.
When done well, content marketing will increase your traffic and increase the number of prospects in your sales funnel. However, there are 13 regularly made content marketing mistakes that will hold you back.
Content creation can be overwhelming. After starting out with tremendous amounts of energy and passion, too many companies burn out. This causes inconsistent content creation.
Inconsistency comes in two forms – quantity and quality. It is hard to regularly produce great content and it is also complicated to maintain a regular posting schedule.
You need to find ways to make producing high quality content on a regular basis a priority for your business.
2. Writing for the wrong audience
Too many businesses start writing content without knowing their audience. The purpose of blogging and content creation is to generate leads and sales. If you speak to the wrong audience, you will not be able to achieve this goal.
Sometimes writing for the right audience involves changing the topics you cover. Other times writing for the right audience means staying on the same topic, but using less jargon and more everyday language.
3. Using only marketers to produce content
High quality content comes from experience and insight. The experience and insight you need to write compelling content doesn’t always exist within your marketing department. Don’t be afraid to branch out to other departments within your organization and external experts to assist your content marketing efforts.
4. Putting your concerns first
A lot of content marketing sounds too much like a commercial – that’s not what it is meant to do. Content marketing is supposed to educate and inform, not pitch. The trend is that as you educate and inform people start to think of you as an authority and that, as an authority, people will want to interact with you, consume your content, and, eventually, enter your prospect list.
5. Boring headlines
While content marketing isn’t supposed to pitch, it does need to be compelling and persuasive to grab readers’ attention. A great headline will grab attention, hold people’s interest, be clear and easy to understand, and should include keywords.
Certain headlines are always popular – people love “How To” and list headlines. Those aren’t the only way to grab attention. Copyblogger also says there are other foolproof headline formulas that work. For example, “Who Else Wants …?” “The Secret Of …” or “Here’s A Quick Way To Solve …”
6. Only focusing on owned media
Owned media is, as the phrase suggests, platforms your business owns. For example, a blog or company website is a type of owned media. Too many businesses will write a great piece of content and only post it on their company website. Unless you have a highly trafficked blog, that’s not enough.
Content marketing involves guest posting and the use of third party distribution services to ensure your content is properly distributed and seen.
7. Not using a call to action
As I mentioned above, content marketing needs to inform and educate, but it also needs to be tolerably persuasive. Part of such a technique involves using a call to action whenever you are creating a great piece of content.
You may want people to take a certain action after reading your material and they may take that action without actually being asked. The chances of someone subscribing, leaving a comment or sharing your content increases exponentially if you politely ask them to do so – don’t forget your call to action.
There are a lot of companies blogging and implementing content marketing strategies. With more and more companies involved, the need to create great content is more urgent than ever. Too many companies prioritize publishing three to five times per week over publishing one great piece of content every week.
You cannot afford to make this mistake. Publishing great content once per week will make you more of an authority and will likely have a greater impact than publishing a lot of weak, useless content.
9. Not setting goals
You need to set content marketing goals before you jump in. Without such goals, you will never know if you are being successful.
It’s also a big mistake to set vague goals. You need to set specific, measurable, and data-driven goals before you jump into content marketing.
10. Forgetting to create landing pages
Creating landing pages and offers to go along with those landing pages is a complicated process and, understandably, companies are hesitant to incorporate landing pages into their content marketing efforts. Creating a great blog post and including a call to action will have minimal impact without linking to an offer specific landing page. Having offer specific landing pages will let you make specific pitches to the right audience.
11. Forgetting about search engine optimization
Search engine optimizing is not easy and is a time consuming task. No matter how hard and involved, it is essential for online success.
You need to consider on page optimization – like using the proper keywords – and off page optimization – like using the proper meta tags and earning links from other sites.
Optimizing your content for search must be a part of your content marketing strategy or it will fail.
12. Forgetting about the real world
If your content doesn’t consider real world events it will lack the human element necessary for success. Your content should incorporate special events, customer success stories, promotions, new product offerings, and alliances with new partners.
13. Only hitting one social network
Companies get comfortable and develop habits – we all do. However, habits can be defeating.
If you spend all of your time focusing on one social network, you can miss potential customers within your target demographic. Focusing too much on one network also leaves you vulnerable if that network starts making changes – for example, Facebook just made changes to the algorithm that decides what appears in people’s news feed.
If your content marketing strategy involves using social networks to spread your content, discover all of the networks your potential customers are on and go there. Diversifying your distribution channels will ensure you’re not left too vulnerable to such unexpected changes.
A lot of these mistakes happen because of habits and an organizational culture that develops. They can and must be overcome to ensure the success of your content marketing efforts.
What grinds your gears?
What content marketing mistakes have you seen and have driven you crazy? Have you made a mistake and wished you could have taken it back? Did it cost you? Leave a comment below and let us know.