Content marketing is an important tool in your business’ digital strategy.
With the potential to attract and convert customers, content marketing is a worthwhile investment. Yet, many businesses will make simple mistakes that can affect the success of their efforts.
In this article, we cover 7 content marketing mistakes to avoid.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a long-term inbound marketing strategy that focuses on creating and distributing relevant and meaningful content. Creating high-quality content and distributing it on relevant channels helps drive potential customers and interest in your brand.
Unlike other forms of marketing, such as paid ads, content marketing is focused on your customers and their needs. The content you create should speak directly with your readers by answering questions or addressing needs and pain points.
Content marketing should be valuable. If content doesn’t seek to address pain points and problems, it isn’t content marketing. People will actively seek to consume content created in this way. The same can’t be said about an advert, which most people will actively avoid it.
What Are the Benefits of an Effective Content Marketing Strategy?
Adopting a successful content marketing strategy can provide many benefits to a business. From attracting and engaging new customers, to increasing your bottom line, here is how content marketing can benefit you:
- Content marketing attracts and reaches new customers
- Relevant and meaningful content helps to better engage your customers
- It helps you develop relationships and trust with customers
- It resonates better with your customers
- It improves your authority
- It increases loyalty and positive word-of-mouth
- It boosts sales and ROI (Return On Investment)
Businesses have been using content marketing for decades as a way of persuading and better engaging their customers. Nowadays, persuasive content marketing will be a main area of an effective digital marketing strategy.
Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
Despite the great benefits content marketing can bring, many marketers and content creators make mistakes that are easy to avoid, often without realising. In a digital environment that has more than 600 million blogs, you can’t afford to make any mistakes if you want to drive results.
Even the smallest content marketing mistake could have a significant impact on your visibility and ability to attract and reach new customers. To help get your content marketing off to a flying start, here are 7 content marketing mistakes to avoid:
Mistake #1 – Not understanding your readers
One of the biggest mistakes businesses will make with their content marketing is not understanding their readers. Oftentimes, businesses will develop content without knowing what matters to their customers, or how it will benefit them.
When you fall into the trap of creating content that doesn’t speak to your readers, you’ll fail to attract and engage new customers. Without properly understanding the problems and goals of your customers, you cannot create helpful and meaningful content.
No matter how brilliant you think a piece of content is, any content you create will be a wasted effort. When only 43% of customers feel understood by the brands they engage with, this shows how content marketing efforts can easily miss the mark.
To avoid making the mistake of not creating helpful and meaningful content for your customers, consider developing a buyer persona for each customer type. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer.
Using data and research, a buyer persona should cover:
- Who your ideal customer is
- The habits and experiences of your customers
- Their motivations and goals
- The challenges or pain points that your customers experience
Once you’ve developed your buyer persona, you’ll be in a much better position to create content that speaks directly to your customers. Developing a buyer persona can help you to create a story in your content marketing campaigns that resonates better with your readers.
Mistake #2 – Not having a clear plan or goal
Another content marketing mistake you should avoid is having no clear plan or focus. Without a content marketing goal, how can you focus your efforts on achieving results? No matter how awesome your content may be, you’ll struggle to drive conversions without focus.
If you can’t properly answer what you want to achieve with your content marketing efforts, you are potentially falling behind. Developing content ad hoc or coming up with a bunch of content ideas freestyle is a sure way to fail.
Without a clear focus for your overall content strategy, each piece of content may also lack focus. Without proper focus, you will be providing mixed messages to your readers. The same goes for your call-to-actions as well.
Your content marketing strategy should have a goal to provide focus and a clear direction. The goal you set should be SMART. SMART goals establish certain parameters to ensure your aim has a clear focus and can be achieved.
By setting SMART goals, it can be much easier to track and analyze the performance of your content marketing efforts. You also have a clear focus of where you want to take your content strategy, and what results you want to lead towards.
SMART goals should be:
- Specific – what it is you are setting out to achieve.
- Measurable – make your goals quantifiable to better measure and track progress.
- Achievable – make your goal achievable based on your current resources/situation.
- Relevant –consider whether the goal helps achieve your wider marketing or business objectives.
- Timely – incorporate a time-bound element for when the goal should be achieved.
The results and data you gain from each campaign can help shape your future content marketing efforts, too. Using the data, you can determine what works and what doesn’t. Then, you can prioritize your efforts on creating content that is driving results.
Mistake #3 – Using the same content type
Content marketing equals blogs, right? If you feel that content marketing only consists of creating blog posts, you are making another content marketing mistake. While blogs may be a great content type to attract customers early in the buyer’s journey, it has little impact in the later stages.
If you want to lead your customers throughout the buyer’s journey, you will need to develop a wide range of content.
Content can come as text, visual, or audio. There are many different types of content marketing you should consider. Different content, such as white papers and case studies accommodate every stage of the buyer’s journey.
Mistake #4 – Not creating evergreen content
How much of the content you create is evergreen? Evergreen content is content that will remain relevant and valuable. It does not become outdated or old as time passes, and can still provide value to a reader years after publication.
Content that is focused purely on trending or viral topics, such as recent SEO changes, may be relevant for the moment. But once the topic’s trend has passed, the content will become useless at driving traffic after a few days or weeks.
The same goes for ignoring old content. If you create content on a regular (or even daily) basis, you’ll have an extensive library of existing content to use. Unfortunately, many will ignore or forget about their content, believing it to have no further use.
Make sure that the major portion of the content you create is evergreen. Whether for social media or a blog, create content around keywords that will still bring you traffic five years from now. Limit the amount of time-critical content to a minimum.
Also, look back on your old content and see whether it can be repurposed. Repurposing content is a great way to make effective use of existing content to attract more people. You may have a blog post that would work well as an infographic, or a guide that can be turned into a video.
User-generated content (USG) is another type of content you should consider. USG is brand-focused content created by someone who is not an official company representative, e.g., a customer. Sharing USG with your target audience can help increase brand awareness, trust, and loyalty.
A classic example of a business leveraging user-generated content is GoPro, which shares users’ pictures or videos on its social channels to showcase people’s lifestyles and adventures shot through the lenses of their products:
Mistake #5 – Overly promotional or sales-focused content
In an attempt to push a sale, businesses may try to make their content overly promotional, or sales focused. Making every piece of content you publish about your business, products, or services is a big content marketing mistake that will only detract customers.
Content that is focused on your business will not be meaningful or helpful to readers. Instead, you’ll be pushing readers away as they seek solutions elsewhere. The same goes for publishing too much of the same or similar content repeatedly. Your followers will quickly become disinterested.
To avoid publishing excessive, overly promotional or sale-focused content, consider the 80-20 rule. The 80-20 rule focuses on the amount of promotional content you should create. 80% of all the content you develop should be about your customers and what they gain.
The other 20% is (you guessed it) the content that is openly promotional about your product or service offering. That way, you can get the best of both worlds. You deliver valuable content to your readers, while still promoting what your business has to offer (without being over the top).
Mistake #6 – Not promoting your content
Once you’ve created and published a piece of content, what do you do? Simply uploading a blog without promoting it anywhere is another content marketing mistake. The adage ‘build it, and they will come’ doesn’t apply here.
You should spend a considerable amount of time promoting your content on the channels where your customers are. Whether that’s social media, email marketing, or search engine marketing, there are plenty of places you can get your content out there to the right people.
Posting content here and there is another fallback when it comes to promoting content. It’s estimated that maintaining a regular blog schedule is likely to drive a 13x positive ROI. The frequency you post content can affect your SEO, and most times, fresh content will be prioritized by Google.
Whatever content you create, your marketing team should be spending time promoting that content. Promoting your content increases the reach and makes sure that a customer can find your content when they need it. Roughly, you should spend around 1-3x the time it takes to create content.
Setting up a content schedule will also help you better manage your content creation and publication. A schedule should set out what content you will create, who will create it, and when it will be finished. A simple calendar helps keep the entire marketing team on the same page.
Mistake #7 – Not reviewing the performance of the content
The final content marketing mistake you should avoid is not reviewing and monitoring the success of your content. Once you’ve published a piece of content, how much time do you spend looking over the results? Many businesses will probably never even look.
Not reviewing the data on your content is a shame, as you are ignoring your efforts. How else will you know whether something worked or not if you don’t see the results? It’s like taking part in a competition and not wanting to know how well you did.
Spending time to review and analyze your content marketing data can give you a wealth of information that can inform your SEO content strategy moving forward. You’ll be able to see whether content performed badly or not, and whether it resonated with your audience.
For every piece of content you create, you should not only set a clear goal, but also review the success too. That way, you assess if you achieved your goals and reached your KPIs. There’s a wealth of data you can use to review content performance:
- Social media: the number of likes, shares, comments, etc.
- Content offers: the number of form submissions and page visitors
- Blog posts: page views, bounce rate, time on page, comments
- Lead generation: newsletter subscriptions, conversion rate, form submissions
Social media platforms will provide most of this data for you making it easy to monitor the performance of social media content. For checking content on your website, Google Analytics will provide a wealth of data for assessing the performance of your content.
For businesses, it is crucial to establish a brand and connect with their target audience, and content marketing is an essential tool for achieving these goals.
Nevertheless, while implementing content marketing, there are various common mistakes that businesses may make, which can impede their success.
As a result, avoiding these errors can help businesses develop a strong content marketing strategy that effectively connects with their target audience and drives conversions.
Focusing content on your customers, setting a clear goal, and measuring content performance are all good to help you develop a successful strategy. Following the solutions above will help you stay on the right track.