Content marketing has become an essential part of any online marketing strategy, playing a crucial role in search engine optimisation (SEO) and lead nurturing.
But with so much competition and so many different channels to publish content, it’s more difficult than ever before to get your voice heard and keep audiences engaged.
If you’re a small business with limited time and resources, it’s especially important to approach content marketing in the right way.
Otherwise, you risk damaging your reputation and search engine rankings, and losing potential customers.
By avoiding the following nine content marketing mistakes, you can build your credibility and help more people find you online.
Weak Headlines / Titles
On average, only about 20 percent of people will read past your title headline. Put simply, if you don’t write great headlines, you’ll reach less people. Headlines have the power to make or break your content. Look at BuzzFeed for some great examples of engaging headlines.
Solution: There are various techniques to improve your headlines. A few examples: hint at something your readers value, create a sense of urgency, arouse curiosity, or be provocative.
Check out our guide on writing compelling headlines and descriptions.
Addressing the Wrong Audience
You may have produced the best content in the world, but if it’s not right for your target audience, it’s wasted.
Is it written in a style your readers can relate to? Does it address their key concerns? If you don’t know your audience, you can’t give them what they really want.
Solution: Ask your audience what they really want. Do they prefer long form or short form content, videos, infographics, slides, or something else?
Look at your analytics to see which content has the most impact.
Mentioning Your Business Too Much
When it comes to content marketing, creating value for your audience is key. Nobody wants to read a long article about your products and services.
People want to read something that will help them personally, or at least entertain them.
Solution: Focus on delivering valuable information. If it’s not useful, at least make it entertaining.
Content marketing is about long-term relationship building and strengthening your credibility – not simply promoting your business.
Focusing on Quantity, Not Quality
Many businesses make the mistake of posting a few articles every week, simply because they can.
One excellent article is better than three average ones. A well-produced three-minute video is better than a rambling 10-minute one.
Solution: Focus on quality, rather than quantity. High-quality content is more valuable to readers and benefits your business more in the long run.
It will strengthen your reputation, and quality content is more likely to be shared and linked to.
Failing to Monitor Your Campaigns
If you don’t know what’s working, how do you know what kind of content to produce in the future?
Using analytics tools has become a crucial way to assess how effective each piece of content is in the long term.
Solution: Figure out the purpose of your content marketing. Do you want more leads? Do you want to raise brand awareness?
Once you know this, you can track the metrics that matter. For example, if generating leads is your goal, you can track where your web traffic is coming from, as well as monitoring the number of email subscribers.
Check out our blog posts on Google Analytics.
Lack of Content Diversity
While written content is a key part of content marketing, you shouldn’t be restricted in your approach.
Content can include videos, photographs, infographics, ebooks, white papers, podcasts, and more.
Solution: Deliver a wider variety of content and you’re likely to reach a wider audience.
Find out where your target audience is and produce content in a format that suits each specific platform. Also, ask your customers which content formats they prefer.
Vary up your content marketing mix to get the best results!
Distributing Content Without a Clear Purpose
Do you know what you’re trying to achieve with your content? Many businesses don’t have a clear plan, which results in content that lacks clarity and doesn’t contribute to any business goals.
Solution: Make sure every piece of content has a clear call-to-action that encourages your audience to take the next step, whether that is to find out more about a particular product, sign up to a newsletter, visit your website, or make a purchase.
Writing for Search Engines, Not Humans
Many marketers focus too much on SEO and fail to focus on the real needs of their audience.
A blog post that is simply stuffed with relevant keywords is a big turnoff for readers and may damage your search engine rankings.
Solution: Write for humans and the relevant keywords and phrases will appear naturally.
Think about what your target audience are typing into search engines and create content aimed at answering their questions. Pay less attention to really competitive short-tail keywords, and go for the high converting long-tail terms.
Your content represents your business, so any mistakes are a reflection on you and your brand.
Poor spelling and grammar can make the writer and the company appear unprofessional.
Solution: Let others proofread your work, or at least check through it a few times before you publish it.
If you come back to a piece of content the next day, you’ll often find something that can be improved upon.
Content marketing is one of the most cost-effective strategies for digital marketers today. If you avoid these common content marketing mistakes, you’ll find it easier to build a loyal audience, strengthen your credibility, and grow your business.
In summary, you need a clear plan in order to produce quality content that addresses the needs of your audience as well as your business goals.
You should create compelling headlines, write for humans not search engines, avoid mistakes, and monitor the results in order to strengthen your future content efforts.
What do you consider a cardinal sin when content marketing? Have you ever made any of these mistakes and what was the outcome?