Avoid These Content Marketing Sins
Perhaps the mistakes that we’ve listed here won’t completely kill your chances of career success or banish you from the industry… but avoid them like the plague, because content marketing is one of the most rapidly developing trends. And your competition never sleeps.
Here’s how the industry experts responded to our mini-survey:
- Vlad Shvets, Head Of Growth at Vectr
- Artur Maciorowski, Editor-in-Chief „Online Marketing Polska”, Founder at eCode
- Benjamin Brandall, Head of Content Marketing at process.st
- Sam Hurley, People Connector, Social Influencer, Entrepreneur
- Dorota Zys, Co Founder at SaasGenius.com, Inbound Marketing Specialist at InboundWay.com
- Wojtek Walczak, Strategy Consultant & Partner at Melting.pot
- Jan Barbosa, Global Brand Ambassador at beBee
- Margaret A. Szwed at PR Executive at All 4 Comms
- Robert Marczak, Education Manager at Landingi.com
- David Meerman Scott
- Maria Wąchal, Head of Content at FreshMail
- Anna Iller, Branded Content Manager at Grupa Allegro
- Pratik Dholakiya, Entrepreneur, Co-Founder of E2M
- Ashley E. Stein, Marketing Manager, Record Nations
- Claudia Słowik, Inbound Marketer in Neoteric
- Monika Ciemiecka, Content & Marketing Specialist at Appoint.ly
- Dave Manzer, PR & Digital Marketing Expert at Manzer Communications
- Amy Art, Digital Marketing Specialist who writes regularly for iDigic.net
- Pavan Belagatti, one of the youngest growth hackers from India. the owner of Growth Hacky
- Ana Grasic, an experienced Digital Marketer at ucraft.
Make sure you’re not guilty of these content marketing sins:
Producing generic content. Countlessly re-writing “good advice” articles that you gather around the popular industry media. Dwelling upon topics without giving any definite answers. Writing absentminded “10 good tips how to succeed” type of content.
The biggest pitfall of producing generic content is that it works for others. At least it seems so. You think: “If Hubspot or Business Insider write that kind of articles time-after-time and it works—then it’s surely going to work for me!” Not really.
Most of the balanced media outlets and blogs focus on the three pillars of content: sharable, link-building and evergreen content. Articles on “10 tips” or “5 successful people who” get shared easily on social media and generate new followers—but the blogs which get successful publishing them already have millions of followers—a solid base to build on. Just copying only one of the three pillars is going to create absolutely no value for your blog.
Instead, focus on creating content that is genuinely useful and awesome in all of the ways. Make people want to read that 5,000+ word beast that is full of wisdom. Create many such pieces. Build an audience and deliver value. Craft your own unique angle. And then all of your content pieces will stop being generic—they will fit into their own role of your smart content marketing machine
1. Not having a defined goal and not measuring efforts, but expecting results
Paraphrasing a classic quote, “One infographic doesn’t make content marketing.” One of the major problems I experience as part of any content marketing activities is the absence of a defined strategy of action. This strategy should begin with defining goals (followed by outlining success factors). Where there is no goal—and when it’s not measured—there is no reason to expect results. It is common practice to follow the “let’s create some infographics and see how it coverts” approach. In carrying out content marketing activities we should assume long-term activity. We can’t expect that using a single format out of the whole spectrum of content marketing solutions will all of the sudden contribute to achieving… undefined goals. And these may be plenty—from goals related to branding and reach (see hellozdrowie.pl, beerlovers.pl) to sales campaigns with landing pages—leave the data in exchange for content (generating the so-called marketing leads).
2. Content format and type vs. promotional channel
A common mistake made by novice content marketers is confusing the two key aspects of content marketing. A distinction must be made between the format and type of content and the distribution channel. In practice, when defining tactical activities we think in terms of Facebook, and not in terms of the format and type of content. In addition to an outline of your target audience’s needs, the goal achievement schedule should also include the following elements:
1) Format type (e.g., infographics, video, ebook, mobile app, article, etc.);
2) Information contained therein (e.g., “A guide on how to …?”, checklist, interview, dictionary, etc.); and
3) Content promotion channels (blog, content platform, printed material, newsletter, social media channels, such as Facebook or YouTube).
This approach does not just bring tactical content activities down to the following question: “What are we going to post on Facebook today?” This infographic describes this content marketing “issue” perfectly:
3. Copywriter vs. content marketer
Currently, content marketer is one of the most wanted digital professions. It’s important, however, to make a distinction between the role of a copywriter and content marketer. Frequently these two fields of specialization are combined into one job post, which in principle is a very difficult task. Usually, someone who has great writing and language skills is not so fluent in the operation of promotional and distribution channels and web analytics. And vice versa. The result of such actions is either a lot of poor quality content or great content languishing in a desk drawer. The key responsibilities of a copywriter first and foremost include preparing and properly formulating content as well as coming up with intriguing topics that will draw the attention of potential users. On the other hand, content marketers mainly deal with analyzing the needs of the target audience (a typical mistake here is being content-centric instead of audience-centric), promoting and distributing content as well as measuring the efficiency of actions.
To me, the biggest sin—and the single biggest reason I won’t read a post—is if the headline sounds like it’s been written purely to juice up a thin, unoriginal article.
I’ve seen 800-word articles claiming to be “the ultimate guide.” I’ve seen “super-quick and easy things you can do right now” that require paid subscriptions to 6 different apps and about a week of the development team’s time to execute.
In fact, I’ve started steering away from reading articles that use any kind of power words or emotional triggers in their headlines at all, instead opting to read more understated articles with headlines like “Navigating Mid-Success”, or headlines with hard original data. I feel like we’re reaching a breaking point with how many different copywriting techniques we can sling into one headline. The bubble needs to burst, and we need to get back to being honest, simple and informative.
Sam Hurley, People Connector, Social Influencer, Entrepreneur, @Sam___Hurley
#1: All Creation, No Distribution
Your content won’t magically get seen by thousands if you don’t bother promoting it, no matter how great it is. Spend 80% of your time on distribution, 20% on creation. The small percentage of time spent on creation doesn’t qualify poor-quality content… Make it remarkable. Each and every time!
#2: Bad Mouthing
Are you creating content not only to rank high and get traffic, but also to complain, belittle others or single them out? This looks extremely unprofessional and only gives the impression of jealousy. Those with narrow minds can sometimes have broad tongues.
#3: Focusing On Self-Promotion, Not Value
It’s an instant turn-off and very obvious when your content is all about YOU and not about your audience. Worse still, 100 “Subscribe Now!” pop-ups on every page. You’re begging for exits.
Make it original! And make it better.
#5: No Research
Are your posts a shot in the dark? All content needs to be data-driven for maximum impact! Thoroughly research topics, headlines, keywords, sentiment, popularity, social shares and estimated traffic volume for best results.
Using your content to advertise products
This is the biggest sin that many brands are committing. Content marketing is not about selling. In fact, it’s barely about marketing. It’s about giving your brand a voice and a personality. Brands that “sell, sell, sell” on social media platforms are not popular. But brands that communicate, engage, and have a tone on Facebook and Twitter are very popular.
Trying to do it all by yourself
Think you can just wake up one day and decide to become a publisher? Wrong. This is a deadly sin you need to avoid. You can’t do it all by yourself, and if you try, you’ll just end up making redundant mistakes that could have easily been avoided if you had looped in the proper partners.
Allocating a small budget to your content marketing activities (not going big)
Lastly, go big or go home. Content marketing is like social media marketing. It’s not a one-off experiment that you can just try out. For many brands, a lame attempt in these waters would be devastating. Content marketing is like having a child. You will need to feed and take care of it for years to come, so make sure you’re adequately investing time and capital.
Wojtek Walczak, Strategy Consultant & Partner at Melting.pot
The first and most fundamental sin is the uselessness of content which is planned, introduced and promoted. The consumer, that is the recipient of all your marketing messages, especially those content-related, wants it only for personal gain—to solve a particular problem, for help or inspiration. For it is why he goes online and googles stuff. If a brand gives him something he won’t use, it could have as well done nothing at all. Because their actions are pointless.
So, uselessness is followed by pointlessness. For if something is useless, it is just another piece of content the Internet is overflown with, filled to the brim, such that is literally flooding the Web like water coming out of a overfilled bucket. Frequently, it’s much harder to refrain from acting than to actually take action, and in such cases the latter is of key importance. Just go to YouTube channels of many major brands and check out their videos with hundreds of views, ones that were backed by concrete budgets worth tons of money. And now they’re just sitting there, useless and forgotten. After all, how many more recipes can we use in our kitchens?
Also, because in content marketing we often (too often in fact) instantly, from the very first second, get the irresistible impression that someone is trying to sell us something. Trying to get you to bed before dinner. It shouldn’t be like that! Throwing an offer into content activities is the first step towards making them unattractive.
What makes content appealing is both its substance and its form. People are expecting a few simple things from the Internet—entertainment, information, advice and solutions for their momentary problems. They’re not expecting dazzling advertisements, because they don’t like them. That’s why if you must advertise yourself with content, at least be attractive in terms of form or substance. And refrain yourself from posting a giant packshot of your product every 10 seconds or in every other sentence.
The last sin is to carry out content marketing activities without looking at the strategy of the brand. Launching actions that not only don’t support it, but can be straight-out harmful (my personal canon of the worst actions includes the cooperation between the beer brand Żubr and blogger Kominek—releasing content that was in absolute opposition to the communication strategy of the brand, and made only as a result of following the “let’s make a video with an influential blogger, because it’s trendy now” approach). All content-related activities must be consistent with the brand’s strategy for one very fundamental reason—they must have a long-term impact, and not be only tactical, temporary or one-off actions.
For me, the greatest content marketing sin to avoid is not promoting your content.
Come on, you spent your precious time creating this perfect content and you are just going to post it and wish it spreads by itself?
Creating perfect content directed at your target market is not enough.
Forget that old quote “If you build it, they’ll come.”
Sounds great but it’s not true… Instead, live by the quote: “If content is king, then promotion is the king maker.”
Content means having a new great book in the library and those who regularly visit will read it. Promotion means announcing in the local newspaper and radio station that there’s this great new book and why everyone should come inside the library and take a look at it.
Promotion brings awareness to your content. It creates excitement and curiosity that attracts a whole new audience that can convert into followers.
Choose the right platform, don’t overlook paying for increased exposure, use hashtags, SEO, mentions, reach influencers and mobilize your advocates, by the way, I think, advocates are one of the most underused means for marketing your content.
Advocates give credibility and reach to your message. Don’t think of your advocates as buyers, think of them as your most loyal allies, and treat them as such.
Margaret A. Szwed, PR Executive at All 4 Comms, @all4comms
We are living on the verge of the information and experience era. Almost everyone has his or her digital identity which is demonstrated by social media profiles, websites or even email addresses. The great majority of brands invest in some kind of social exposure and brand identity assets. This is a particularly challenging time for content creators. We have to shift our attention from preparing objective information about products to narrative storytelling about experience, which engages our audience emotionally. Many of us are still struggling to balance on the thin line between informative and engaging content. Here are the biggest content mistakes which all of us have made at least once.
- Poorly prepared website. Many brands tend to overload their websites with unnecessary information, they are so fascinated with their products that they seem to forget that their website should be the essence of what they do and be mostly focused on what benefits are they offering to their audience. We have to have in mind that average time people spend on a website is 8-12 sec. Within this short period of time, they need to find out the answer to the core 3 WHYs: why does your brand exist (your mission/vision), why should they use your product or service, why are you better than the others, and of course how can they contact you. Many websites lack their brand story content, their mission and values they support. People these days are looking for brands which they can identify with, not only for rational benefits of the product. The “About us” section should include the core statement of the brand, along with an explanation of its offering, a simple story about the brand, and a note on how people are going to benefit from using it. There are also many websites which mostly use visual content. It makes sense only when the brand is easily identified, well established, highly relying on visual perception, and when their visual content is skillfully prepared, the images are not disturbing, violating any copyrights and they are good quality. Otherwise, too many images might actually result in miscommunication and overpowering the content without highlighting the core benefits of the brand.
- Lack of understanding of your target audience. The biggest sin of all. If communication specialists do not know their audience, almost most of the messages will fail; they won’t deliver value neither for the audience nor for the brand itself. Behind every successful piece of content there should be a good research about the needs, wants, concerns and values of your audience. The more current your insights are, the better piece of content can be created. Usually, solution-based content gets more attention than informative one, so knowing your audience will result in better communication with them.
- Lack of personalization and stories that are easy to relate to. Imagine that you have to run a communication campaign for one of the banks targeting ethnic audience. Unfortunately, the set of press releases they supply is highly irrelevant for the group they try to attract, for example they offer very expensive pension schemes for immigrants who have just arrived to the country and they support the campaign with an ad showing native workers who spend their entire life in one company, have already chosen their pension schemes and spend their retirement on Barbados. Does it resonate with your audience? I don’t think so. The people they wanted to attract live far from their relatives, have random, odd jobs and all they think of is how to survive in this new, unknown environment, earn some pennies and perhaps come back to their countries when they retire. Every type of audience has its values, and getting to the core of them allows for tailoring the communication strategy accordingly.
- Not being active in social media. Poor social media exposition is a mistake most of the communication managers make. Although most of them manage to open social media accounts, they don’t manage them well, posting the same content at the same time to all of the platforms, providing boring repetitive information. Success lays in diversity and segmenting. Every platform attracts a different type of audience, at different times and days. Finding out what is the best time and approach for every social interaction might have significant impact on the results communication brings. Repetitive content might work on different platforms but the headers of your posts should be tailored accordingly to your audience, following their patterns, interests and concerns. Social media exposure has to be measured somehow to give us some valuable insights which can be used for future planning. Not measuring results leads to lack of understanding, and thus failing to convert. Worth adding—if you have social accounts but don’t update them regularly with valuable content, it is better not to have them at all.
- Copying others. It is not only illegal, It’s also a SEO disaster, and the best way to lose trust, credibility and your reader’s attention. Google tends to delete multiple content, so copy & paste can result in your content vanishing. It is worth to remind the golden ratio content rule—30/60/10, where 30% stands for percentage of the 1st party content like brand message, 60% for curated content like supporting evidence, education, stories about others, benefits of your brand and 10% for call to action, including promo offers.
- Visual sins. A very common mistake is not to include any visual content and overload the reader with wording. The text of an article or a blog post shouldn’t exceed 1,500 words. Some content managers still don’t value visual assets as much as they should. Still, there is a lot of content where the golden rule of placing 1 image per 350 words is not applied. Many of us are still resistant to using infographics which are invaluable assets with great viral potential.
In Landingi.com where I work, I spend hours on helping our customers get better results from landing pages. Conversion is a goal that everyone wants to achieve, but is not as easy as some people think. Having highly converting landing pages is not just about driving traffic with good AdWords or Facebook Ads. It is about delivering great value to your potential customers.
This is the same for content marketing. You must show value to your audience. There are three deadly sins you need to avoid:
1. Don’t sell. Educate!
Content marketing is all about educating your future customers. Selling should be the last thing on your mind. You need to bring value to your audience, keep them engaged, so they will be more than likely to visit your blog or read your posts.
2. Your texts are useless.
When you are googling for information, you are expecting up-to-date and accurate results, right? We want to get relevant information, inspiration or discover new things. Just like with landing pages, your audience is looking for relevant information which refers to their needs. If you don’t bring it, they will leave unsatisfied. Before you start to write a new post, think about your audience’s needs. Your headline should clearly convey your value proposition and match the copy with the link that was clicked.
3. Think about distribution.
Content marketing is not just about writing great posts. It’s about getting to the right audience. You need to know who is in your target group, where to find them and how to get them involved with your posts. If you do not know where to share URLs, there is a huge risk that your posts will disappear in Search Engine Result Pages (SERP). Content distribution refers to getting your information out to a larger audience. Where the people you are trying to attract are the most active (FB, IN groups), be active there too.
David Merman Scott, Marketing & Sales Strategist, keynote speaker, and bestselling author of 10 books including The New Rules of Marketing & PR and Newsjacking, @
Many people steeped in the tradition of product promotion naturally feel drawn to prattle on and on about their products and services. But I have news for you. Nobody cares about your products and services (except you). Yes, you read that right.
What people do care about are themselves and how you can solve their problems. People also like to be entertained and to share in something remarkable. In order to have people talk about you and your ideas, you must resist the urge to hype your products and services. Instead, create something interesting that will be talked about online. When you get people talking on the Web, people will line up to learn more and to buy what you have to offer.
Some time ago Seth Godin, the father of permission-based marketing, said: “Content Marketing is the only marketing left.” And what he meant by this is that circulating intrusive, unwelcome internet advertisements is not the way to have your message heard. He was right, just look at the numbers now—47% of online consumers use ad blockers…
In 2017 and beyond, the science of content marketing will go way over publishing blog posts. While some basics like having a good SEO strategy and a big picture plan are still must-haves in content, providing value, teaching and entertaining and making customers feel better—these are the only ways to attract loyal customers and fans to brands.
Content marketing, more than ever before, became about truly connecting with customers. And content marketers have a whole arsenal of content types, tools and places which work both for their and their customers’ benefit. Not leveraging these is a huge mistake.
Where consumers go, the content should follow. If marketers want their content to be seen, they need to be present not only in Google, but also email, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and so on. Marketers who don’t focus on repurposing their written content into other forms, especially shareable videos, visuals and micro-content won’t see the return on investment from their content marketing activities.
The second critical content marketing mistake is not collaborating with influencers. Potential customers don’t want to hear about brands from brands themselves. They trust their peers’ opinions of brands more. Whether it’s user-generated content or a celebrity recommendation, people want to talk to people. Period. Including influencers into content marketing efforts will only increase credibility and trust. And this is the foundation of what good content now stands for.
Last but not least—content is the core aspect of customer experience! Producing content and not thinking about the customer journey by tailoring content pieces to customer personas is simply wasting time and money.
The biggest content marketing sin is the fact that many years ago it became a trend backed by a catchy slogan “content is king.” Everyone wanted to hop on that trend train. Most people thought they knew how to implement this concept it in their activities and not many really understood it, but what mattered the most was to have a strategy outlined on paper. Luckily, after all these years, content marketing is still desirable, but it became a more recognized subject, there are more and more publications, and its presence at conferences is no longer just a purely theoretical debate. Are mistakes still being made? Of course, and the list is long, but in my view there are three major ones that deserve particular attention.
1. For SEO, for people… Why are we even writing it? This issue is considered by everyone dealing with content marketing, and yet, despite all those frequently quoted statements saying that content should meet the needs of the consumers, so much of poor quality content is created with no value for the user. I’m not sure if there’s any reason why this “either/or” approach is being followed so much. Perhaps there still are some people who are convinced that a text which is properly tailored for SEO purposes should contain a countless number of keywords and other elements necessary for Google. In fact, at the end of the road it is our consumer who will decide whether a particular text was useful for him, whether we helped him make a purchasing decision or whether he will make use of the content we created. What’s more, if we take a look at those essentially well-prepared materials which are addressed to a specific audience (here, depending on the type of text, it’s important to determine the target group which is being addressed), it turns out that they easily fulfill all the conditions for SEO.
2. Content marketing activities cannot be measured. This false thesis leads many marketers to making a series of errors. First of all, the result is that measurable goals are rarely set for the content we create, which is why we’re not able to evaluate the quality of our work, not to mention drawing conclusions or implementing changes, and ending with failing to skillfully state the value of our actions. This vicious circle may result in smaller expenditure on content marketing activities and lower quality of created content.
3. Respect for the user of your content. Whether in the case of written articles or videos, or in the case of any other form, when it finally reaches your user, it requires him to invest some time to get a good grasp on the content it offers. If our materials are meaningless, biased or only serve the purpose of advertising a particular product, they will not only not help the consumer make important decisions, but they may effectively discourage him from dealing with our content for a long time. If you’ve been able to master the art of attracting the users’ attention, don’t let it all go to waste and put the really valuable content first.
What are the greatest content marketing sins to avoid like the plague?
- Most businesses I’ve worked with churn out huge amounts of content but do not make the effort to differentiate their content from the same old stuff already out there. And they wait perpetually for “results.” This, in my opinion, is the single biggest sin in content marketing. If you don’t have anything different to say, please don’t say anything.
- Resist the urge to plug in your own products. The aim of content marketing isn’t to sell your products, but to sell your brand to your audience. The way to do this is to educate, inform and entertain them. You will not do that by talking about yourself or your products. Please refrain from mixing sales with customer education.
- Not having humor in your content is another grave mistake. Too many blogs out there use such stuffy language that makes the reader wonder what they are doing there. Infuse some personality into your content and let people think of you as a person or brand that is fun to be around.
All too often content marketers develop content that serves no greater business objective for their website or blog. They are simply writing for the sake of “building more content.” But as we all know, just because you build something does not mean others will come.
Content marketers should be focusing on their primary business objectives before developing any content. For example, are you trying to make a sale? Rank high for a keyword? Engage with a specific target audience? These are thoughts you should be having ahead of any content development. From there, the type of content you are creating will change.
For example, interactive images and infographics receive more clicks online. If you are trying to get a visitor to a product page, you will want to consider developing more graphic-based content with interactive elements linking to landing pages. This way, you are able to direct your content viewers to behave the way you want them to throughout the marketing purchase funnel.
Perhaps your goal is to rank high on a keyword in Google or Bing. In this case, your content will likely be more long-formed with an emphasis on the keyword you are trying to rank for. You will develop your content much differently than the first objective. You can then track to see how your specific page and keyword are ranking on search engines.
You might have an idea in mind for why you are creating your content, so what’s the point in writing out an objective for it?
Clearly defined objectives help you measure the overall success of your content—since you now know what the purpose behind the content is, you will know how exactly you will measure its success. Rather than gathering website views, clicks, comments, etc., and being unsure of how to interpret the data, your objectives will show you exactly what KPIs to keep an eye out for.
For content marketers working internal to a larger organization, stating your objectives and reporting upon them will help you gain greater importance within your company. After all, it’s certainly harder to argue why the Finance function should invest in more paid content marketing without having clearly defined objectives, KPIs, and metrics to back up your argument.
The bottom line is this: always ask the question, “what do I want to achieve?” before putting pen to paper (or more likely, finger to keyboard) in today’s content marketing world.
I think that one of the biggest mistakes of content marketers is creating content-centered content, which is about what the company wants to talk about, instead of audience-oriented content, which is about what people want to read about. This approach causes a lot of further mistakes: not planning the strategy, underestimating the role of analysis, focusing on selling (and not on educating), and many more.
One of the most important among these is expecting rapid effects of taken actions. Selling products with content marketing strategy is a long-term strategy. Its basic idea is to teach, and through sharing one’s knowledge, build the expert position and brand awareness—which will eventually lead to increasing sales. When trying to fasten this process, it is quite common to skip the teaching part and start selling right away. As a result, we can find a lot of articles with distorted proportions: instead of 90% of value and 10% of advertising, there is 60-80% of advertising and only 20-40% of value.
Another one, which is also the result of trying to make content marketing a short-term strategy, is about… having no strategy at all. “Content is king” is a catchy phrase, but it’s always good to ask why we want to get into content marketing and how do we want to use it in our whole marketing strategy. Without setting a goal, milestones on the path to achieving it, and the proper analysis of the results, content marketing is nothing more than a transient trend.
• Sin 1: Selling instead of teaching
This is the biggest sin committed by many content marketers. What they often forget to do is to create a valuable, high quality and, what’s most important, useful content which helps and educates. Instead of this, they focus on CTAs and lead generation, but in fact, the sales process is a lengthy path and the sale is at the very end of it. When your readers’ problem is solved thanks to your content, it helps you or your client look like an expert and this is the real value for the brand.
• Sin 2: Forgetting about the storytelling
Not using stories is a big mistake. Why? Because of these undeniable facts: people are curious and they love stories, stories are interesting and they help you gain trust, customers’ trust is in high demand in the sales process. Without a doubt, you shouldn’t omit it in your content marketing strategy.
• Sin 3: Ignoring content marketing analytics
Producing content, sharing it and focusing on new materials is the natural order of things. Okay, but in all this rush you shouldn’t forget to find time for reflection, because only this can lead to improvements. Measuring and analyzing the success of your content is the instrumental part of the content marketers’ work, but not everyone remembers about it. A well-organized web analytics tool (e.g. Google Analytics) lets you track the results and conversion of your online marketing and, by extension, improve the effectiveness of your content.
The greatest content marketing sin is to start your content marketing campaign without asking yourself who your top buyer personas are and where they typically go for information related to your business. Without that top-level insight, anything you do from a content generation perspective will fail to truly hit the mark. Answer that basic question and you will zero in on the right content marketing activities with the right message and get the business results you seek.
Pavan Belegatti, one of the youngest growth hackers from India. the owner of Growth Hacky, @
1. Writing content, without the use of on page SEO tactics
2. Promoting content without any proper CTA (Call To Action) and an end goal attached
3. Creating content without the knowledge of what your competitors are up to (competitor content analysis)
4. Not trying out different types of content like infographics, videos, images, GIF’s, banners etc
5. Copying the content from other articles and publishing it on your website without even tweaking & giving credits
6. Writing similar kind of content every time without doing A/B testing
7. Writing and promoting content on the platforms that don’t give you value and where your target market is not present
8. Trying to suppress your competitors in your content without any proof and getting into a dark hole
Content marketing has been all the rage of marketers everywhere. But when your content is full of keywords, it doesn’t make for good reading at all! I would suggest that you write naturally and provide value rather than packing it with content aimed at selling. I’m not saying ignore SEO practices completely, rather, use it judiciously and with a care for your audience.
Failing to target your audience
A lot of people I know treat content marketing much like an email blast—it is created to appeal to everybody. Ironically, what happens is that this type of content engages nobody. Knowing your target demographic is critical to the success of your content management strategy. Streamline your target research and narrow down potential customers. This will give you more chances at success rather than just reaching out to thousands of people who are not interested in your product/service.
Giving up too soon
Content marketing is an iterative process. If you give up because the campaign lacks positive numbers initially, you’ll never tap into the true potential of this technique. Keep improving your content consistently and the results will come. Optimize your content technically—with tools, as well as aesthetically—with unique and relevant content. Remember, it only takes an instant for content to become viral!
It is undisputable that content marketing is becoming more and more popular every year and companies allocate bigger parts of their budgets for content creation and promotion. As a result, we can see many great examples and success stories about start-ups achieving growth by relying solely on content marketing. On the other side of this coin are companies that missed the mark and are seeing negative ROI.
This happens for a number of reasons. I don’t want to list the biggest “sins” of content marketing, like plagiarism and spinning articles from other sources, because by now everyone should know how harmful that is. Instead, I would like to point to more nuanced mistakes that may ruin your content marketing efforts:
- Not having a clear strategy. Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Having clickable posts that get a lot of shares today doesn’t mean anything in the long run. You need to draw up a strategy that will outline your content calendar. That means you’ll need to create content for every step of your sales funnel: “how to” articles, case studies, guides and of course blogs written around popular topics. Think about your audience at every stage of the sales cycle. There has to be something that “speaks” to everybody. Engaging posts for newcomers, useful articles that help people make purchasing decisions, valuable guides that help your existing customers grow, etc.
- Not understanding your audience. This is closely related to the previous sin. To be successful in your content marketing endeavors, you need to know who are you talking to. What is the demographic? What does your average customer do for fun? Most importantly, find out what problems your audience has that you can solve with your content and your product. Get in your users’ mindset and try seeing the world through their eyes.
- Appearing like a faceless organization. This one refers to content across your whole website. First and foremost create an “About Us” page. Explain what your team is all about using a friendly tone. This also applies to your articles. Don’t distance yourself from the reader, write in first person. Also, add examples and stories from your team’s experience. It may seem like a small hack, but it can do wonders for your business.