A content marketer’s life is not easy. I’m sure you’ve felt that on your skin at some point. The industry can sometimes be very competitive and fast-paced, the audience is fickle and Google keeps changing the rules. But if that’s not enough, content marketers often trip themselves by making some big content marketing mistakes.
Some of these snafus may be obvious to you, some are not, but here are the 9 biggest content marketing mistakes that you need to stop making if you don’t want your content to fail. Once you stop making these, you’ll see your content marketing efforts finally pay back.
So let’s get started:
1. Jumping in Without a Clear Plan
You have an idea for a blog post and you’re pretty excited about it. You want to jump straight in. Trust me, I know that feeling. But it doesn’t mean that you should do that.
Do you know what separates successful content marketers from the less successful ones? They plan their every step carefully and therefore leave nothing to chance. That means their content has a clear path, a target audience it will affect and a goal towards which it will go.
An important part of this is having a documented content marketing strategy. Only 40% of B2C and 37% of B2B marketers had a written content marketing plan in 2016, according to Content Marketing Institute (CMI). Whether it’s because they don’t think it’s important enough, that they don’t have enough time or something else, this costs a lot of B2Cs and B2Bs when it comes to content marketing. Don’t allow your business to be among them.
Research of your topic, niche, target audience, competition and influencers all play a vital role in making sure your content does well. So the point of this story, plan your content before jumping to create it.
2. Not Researching Your Target Audience
The content you are creating is not meant for you. It is meant for your audience. But here is where so many content marketers fail. They do not recognize who their audience is. They cast a too wide net. Will this approach catch them a lot of “fish”? It probably will, but it’s not the right kind.
If you want your content marketing efforts to be successful, you need to know exactly who will receive your content. Your target audience or buyer personas need to be clearly defined up to the point that you are on first name terms with them. They can’t be strangers to you, but someone whose lives you are actively trying to improve, directly or indirectly.
The general audience will quickly lose any interest in you and the feeling should be mutual. You need to concern yourself only with those that have an actual interest in what you have to offer, your products or services, and talk only to them.
3. Not Optimizing Your Content for SEO
Writing for the people is a noble goal and one towards every content writer should strive to. But there’s someone else that your content needs to please and that’s the search engines.
After all, it’s Google that decides ultimately your content’s position. The more they are pleased with it, the higher your search engine ranking will be and the more visitors will see your content. More visitors equals more potential customers and a better ROI.
There are three things in particular that you need to keep an eye on when optimizing content for SEO:
- Choose the right keyword
- Link your content
- Optimize for mobile
Optimizing your content for search engines may seem too technical, but in reality, it’s not. The trick is making it work in harmony with content marketing. It all starts with researching your competitors and selecting the right keywords that your content will rank for and then using Yoast SEO or another plugin to optimize your posts for these keywords.
4. Not Using Visual Content Enough
Do you want to make your content more memorable? Then you need to use images in it. According to Brain Rules, we remember only 10% of information three days after hearing it. But include an image and that number goes up to 65%. Notice the vast difference.
Whether it’s video, infographics, presentations, charts or just plain old photos, visual content can enhance your written content and readers will be much more likely to engage with it, by sharing or liking it on social media. This is an opportunity that you simply can’t miss upon.
Of course, like with most things in content marketing, you have to choose visual content that fits in your content strategy. Visual content should complement written content. If you are writing for a young, active and fun-loving audience, you’ll need to use different type of visual content than if you produce content for a more serious audience, like managers, executives and business people.
5. You are Not Promoting Your Content the Right Way
Content that exists only on your website is a huge wasted oportunity. Social media is an essential part of content marketing and you need to ensure that your content is well promoted on the right social media channels. That way, you will be able to attract a much bigger audience than with a website or blog alone.
Most content marketers or bloggers know the importance of promoting their content on social media. However, they are not doing this the right way. Just because it’s there, doesn’t mean you should use every platform available to you. It is time to look at your audience again. What social media channels are they using? Are they using a more professionally-oriented LinkedIn, fast-paced Twitter or image-oriented Instagram and Pinterest? This is very important to know, if you want to send the right message to the right audience via social media channels.
Social media marketing offers a a chance to elevate your content and to reach a much wider audience. In addition, it is also free and with apps like Buffer, you can schedule your posts in just a few minutes and find your audience exactly when they are the most active on social media and the most likely to engage with your content.
6. Focusing on Quantity and Not Quality
More is better, right? Wrong. Better is better. Don’t focus on quantity and how much content you are producing. Focus instead on the quality of your content and improving it for your audience.
Yes, posting content often, such as every day, will probably get you that initial traffic. That may seem like a good deal at the beginning. However, as you focus more on how many articles you publish, their quality will suffer. Without stopping to at least do a proper research on the topic you are covering, you will only be able to present mediocre content to your readers. And they certainly don’t want mediocre.
Take your time. Do your research, tweak your headlines and edit and proofread your content as much as necessary. It may take a bit longer than just hitting the “publish” button, but your content will have a much greater effect this way. Your readers will be far more loyal if you offer them quality content.
7. Not Having a Clear Brand Voice
This is a common problem that large or divided (geographically for instance) content marketing teams have. There is no clear and unified brand voice. The result is that the audience doesn’t quite know what to expect and is confused. And a confused audience is not a good audience.
You need to make sure that every content writer, editor, graphic designer or other member of your content creation team, speaks with the same voice and sends the same message. A good way to do this is to create a style guide that everyone will have to adhere to. For example, if you are outsourcing content writers from freelancing platforms, be sure to explain to them your target audience and your style guide so they can produce content that fits well within it.
8. Not Having a Clear Goal
What is the purpose of your content? What do you seek to accomplish with it? Are you trying to increase traffic, convert leads into customers, increase awareness or brand reputation with your audience or something else? Before you produce a single piece of content, you need to have a ready answer to the question what is the goal of your content?.
Of course, the goal of your content will vary, depending on the stage of the buyer’s journey your readers are. Some content forms are better at one thing and some are better at another. Certain content is better at raising awareness, while some is better at converting leads and bringing sales. The important thing is to know what your content is for before you present it to your audience.
9. Not Measuring Your Content
In the end, you need to measure the performance of your content marketing. Did your content helped you achieve the goals you wanted? Did your audience engaged with it the way you wanted? Has your ROI from content marketing increased?
To know the answers to these crucial questions about your content and many more, you need to use the right content marketing metrics. This is where a lot of content marketers make a mistake. They focus on “vanity metrics” such as number of page visits, social media likes or email open rates, and not on metrics that are actually important for their business such as where does their traffic come from, unique visitors, engagement time or lead generation.
“Always be measuring” should be your content marketer’s motto. Get well acquainted with your Google Analytics account and start measuring the right metrics to be able to see how your content is performing and how you can make it even better for your audience.
Content marketers are just people and they make mistakes. However, instead of going in blindly, knowing what mistakes are waiting to ambush you will make it easier to avoid them and produce content that performs well.
What other content marketing mistakes do you think content marketers need to be careful off? Let me know in the comments below and please share this post if you found it useful.