The 7 Biggest Mistakes You’re Making in Content Marketing
Content marketing may be a relatively simple strategy. That doesn’t mean it’s easy.
As with any type of marketing, to get the most out of it you need to plan strategically. You also need to continuously analyze your campaign’s effectiveness so you can improve and work towards your business goals.
If you simply dive in and start randomly publishing blog posts, you’re unlikely to see any real results from your efforts. This doesn’t mean that content marketing doesn’t work – just that you’re doing it wrong.
The following are some of the most common mistakes businesses make in content marketing. By understanding what not to do, you can ensure your content marketing strategy is a success.
1. You’re Writing for Search Engines, Not Humans
Keyword research is one of the key components of a successful marketing strategy, but keywords are just a small part of the puzzle. By all means, do your research and know what keywords you’re targeting but don’t try to shoehorn them in.
Forcing in too many or using unnaturally phrased keywords that stand out from a mile away will create a poor user experience. This can also lead to an “over optimization” penalty from Google if they deem your content to be keyword-stuffed.
Instead, writing quality content should be your number one aim. Keywords are a lower priority. Search engine algorithms are sophisticated these days – they know that someone searching for “San Francisco car repairs” has the same intent as someone searching for “car repairs in San Francisco”. There’s no need to force in multiple variations of the same search term.
If you aim to make your content thorough (both in terms of length and depth), the appropriate keywords will find their way in naturally.
2. You’re Focusing Too Much on Sales – Not on Providing Value
Consumers have become incredibly efficient at filtering out promotional content. If you’ve created a piece of content with the sole aim of making sales, it will not only be obvious, but it’s also unlikely to have the intended effect.
Content marketing is not copywriting and you shouldn’t treat it as such. Instead of thinking about what you can get out of each piece of content, focus instead on how it can help your customers.
Don’t make your content all about you. By concentrating on providing the best possible value to your customers through helpful content, you’ll gain their trust and respect, which will ultimately lead to more sales further down the line.
3. You’re Not Answering Your Customers’ Needs
Proper research is vital for your content marketing strategy, not so much to identify keywords, but rather to identify the topics that your customers are looking for.
One mistake that businesses make time and time again when producing blog posts is that they create general content that’s vaguely related to their niche or industry, not specific content aimed at solving problems.
By getting really deep into your research and understanding your customers, you’ll get to know their pain points and therefore the content you can produce to help them overcome their challenges. 80% of consumers believe brands don’t understand them as an individual, resulting in poorly targeted marketing messages.
Let’s say you run an online toy store and want to start publishing a blog to bring in more search traffic. You can write dozens of generic toy reviews and gift idea round-ups. They’ll probably bring in a few hits to your site but you won’t really be providing truly useful and insightful content to your audience.
However, if you realize from your research that lots of parents are searching for how to teach their kids to tie their shoelaces, you’ve identified a problem to solve. You can then write a blog post explaining the importance of fine motor skills development to master skills such as tying shoelaces and include a few links to some toys that can help to build these skills.
You’ve now got a piece of content that is providing real value and generating sales for you at the same time.
4. You’re Not Tracking and Measuring Results
If you’re not tracking the traffic that your content marketing brings in, and how it converts, you have no idea of how effective your content is.
Without this information you not only have no idea if your content is actually helping you, but you also don’t know how to improve poor-performing content and produce more of your top-performing content. You’ll have no idea which falls into each group.
Tracking software these days is easy to setup and activate. It provides you with a huge amount of helpful data. Even if you’re not sure what to do with all this data at first, the most important step is to start collecting it – you can always outsource the analysis and resulting action plan to an expert at a later date.
You also need to have clearly defined goals within your content strategy. After all, you’re not just putting out content because it’s fun – it has to work for you and boost your business success too. This may be by bringing more traffic to your site, increasing sales, or just growing your brand awareness.
Once you know what your goals are, you need to identify the metrics that you can track to see if you achieve your goals.
5. You’re Only Producing One Type of Content, in One Place
To many business owners, content marketing means one thing only: a blog. It’s true that blogging can be a very effective and important part of your content marketing plan, but it shouldn’t be the only part.
You need to think about what content formats work best for each of your topics. Some might work best as a blog post while others would be better as a video or infographics.
Also, consider how you’re distributing your content – you’re limiting yourself if it’s going no further than your blog. Think about guest blogging for other sites, publishing on social media, and distributing content as ebooks. Don’t forget, your email list is an important channel for your content marketing too.
6. You’re Being Inconsistent in Your Publication Schedule
If you want to get the most out of content marketing, it’s important to stick to a regular schedule of content publishing.
Consistency matters when it comes to growing a dedicated audience. If you’re just publishing blog posts randomly whenever you feel like it, your followers won’t know when to expect new content and will most likely forget about you entirely if you go too long without publishing.
Planning out content in advance in an editorial calendar means you’ll never be short of material to publish. You can also plan in appropriate seasonal content and tie in promotions you’re running or produce content around other significant dates. This needs to be planned well in advance or you’ll miss the opportunity.
7. You’re Not Including CTAs
This is an easy mistake to make if you’re following some of the previous advice about meeting your customer needs and avoiding being too “salesy”. That doesn’t mean that you can’t attempt to engage with your audience at all.
If you’ve published a great piece of content and the reader has got to the end of it, what do you want them to do?
If you’ve answered their questions and they’ve got what they needed, they’ll probably click right back off your site. However, if you include a clear CTA that sends them to another page on your site or encourages them to sign up for your email list, you’ll have captured a valuable lead.
CTAs don’t have to be part of your content – you may choose to implement them as a pop-up or bar at the top of your site. Just make sure you don’t overlook them completely.