11 Common Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

By Ashley Orndorff, aka Marketing Geek cluttered desk

Content marketing offers several potential benefits to your business. It can help you grow your brand presence online, connect with customers in a meaningful way, increase revenue, and more. But, there are a lot of content marketing mistakes that can hinder your efforts and seriously drag down any potential benefits it could have offered. Here are some common content marketing mistakes to avoid:

Mistake #1 – Failing to Research Beforehand

The key to any good piece of content is connecting with your target audience and offering something of value. What does this content provide to your target audience? What value does it give them? Why should they care about it?

A good piece of content provides valuable insights or takeaways, solves problems, makes your target audience feel something, and more. But, jumping into content without doing some research first can mean that your content misses the mark completely.

After all, what you think your audience cares about may not be what they actually care about. Unless you have some data to back up your assumptions, the content you create could be irrelevant. And, it doesn’t matter how well-written, researched, or designed your content is – if your audience doesn’t care about it, it’s not going to deliver for you.

So, do some research beforehand. Figure out who your target audience is, what their big problems and pain points are, what they care about most, how they like to use social media, etc. and then craft your content around that. You can also use data to generate content ideas for future use too. If your content topic matches their interests and provides value, it has a chance of performing well.

Mistake #2 – Not Setting Goals or Identifying KPIs

It’s important to set goals for your content and to identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) you’ll use to measure success. Goals help you figure out the why behind your content. This helps you keep your content focused and ensure it’s serving a purpose for both your target audience and your business.

KPIs will be the metrics that matter the most for your content and will help you evaluate success, analyze what to improve, etc. If the goal of your content is brand awareness, then KPIs might be impressions, visits, time on page, shares, etc. If the main goal of your content is lead generation, then perhaps the KPIs would be metrics like downloads, form submissions, calls, etc.

Knowing why you’re creating the content, what you hope to gain from it, and how you’ll measure the results helps keep your content valuable for your business as well as potential customers. You’ll be able to tell whether your content met the goal, how well it did or didn’t meet expectations, and also determine how to improve in order to keep growing.

Mistake #3 – Producing Poor Quality Content

Producing poor quality content is one of the biggest content marketing mistakes to avoid and it’s also one of the biggest SEO mistakes. The content landscape is far too competitive. You can’t accept anything less than high-quality, relevant, valuable content. Anything less than that won’t break through the noise or deliver results long-term.

This is why publishing content just for the sake of publishing it or focusing on quantity over quality tends to result in poor quality content. There are a lot of things that can affect the quality of content. A piece of content can be well-written and still be considered “poor quality”.

If it’s the wrong topic for your business, is irrelevant to your customer base, doesn’t provide enough value, isn’t unique, etc., it could be considered poor quality. Content that is geared towards people who aren’t familiar with you or aren’t quite ready to buy yet can come across as poor quality if it’s too promotional.

Being too promotional, and especially being too promotional too soon, comes across as abrasive, pushy, and it doesn’t leave people with a positive experience with your brand. Content that is inconsistent with your brand or doesn’t match your brand messaging can also put potential customers off.

Mistake #4 – Forgetting to Add CTAs and Followup

Your content should serve a purpose and it should also have logical next steps for your potential customers to follow. The point of content marketing is to connect with potential customers, build relationships with them, and to also generate leads.

But, if you don’t provide next steps, your content could fall flat and leave potential leads on the table. That’s where CTAs (calls-to-action) and a good followup plan come into play. CTAs provide a logical next step for potential leads to follow. Do you want them to call you? Sign up for your newsletter? Fill out a form? Let them know with a CTA! Using strong verbal commands is key when it comes to writing successful CTAs.

Knowing what path you want them to follow next doesn’t guarantee that they’ll take it, but it certainly makes it easy for the people who are interested to convert into leads. However, not everyone who becomes a lead is ready to be a customer right away. With the right followup plan, you can keep in touch with them on their terms. Then, when they’re ready to buy, it just makes sense for them to come to you.

Followup could be a simple email newsletter, an autoresponder series, manual outreach, something else, or a combination. It all depends on your target audience and how they like to be communicated with.

Mistake #5 – Ignoring SEO

Your content is going to be online, so search engine optimization (SEO) is an important consideration. A lot of what goes into writing great content falls in line with SEO best practices. But, writing well isn’t enough.

You want to make sure you are also adding structure with headings and sub-headings, creating a descriptive title and URL, adding relevant images, and more. Doing this is important, especially in blogging. Organizing content this way is something you should do before you publish your blog posts. Your content should engage human readers and also have a good chance of showing up in search results too – including good SEO practices on your content can help your content do that.

Mistake #6 – Having No Plan for Outreach and Promotion

When it comes to content marketing, simply publishing content is not enough. Sure, you might get lucky and some people may stumble across it. But, if you really want your content to gain traction and get in front of people, you need to promote it.

You also need to put a plan in place for outreach and promotion. Think about how you will promote the content you’re creating and where it will have the most impact. There are plenty of places you can share a piece of content. But, if your target audience isn’t there, it may not make sense to promote your content there.

Figure out where your target audience consumes content and how they interact with it. Which social media networks do they use and how do they use them? Are there any forums they spend a lot of time on? Do they respond well to email?

Knowing answers to questions like these can help you create a plan for content promotion that not only gets more eyes on your content, but also allows you to get in front of the people that matter the most for your business.

Mistake #7 – Promoting Only Once

Another one of the most common content marketing mistakes to avoid is promoting content one time and then letting it sit. Content marketing is a long-term strategy, so your promotion should be as well.

Promoting your content one time and then ignoring it is a good way to lose out on a lot of potential growth. It might not make sense to continue promoting it as heavily as you did upon initial release. But, it does make sense to continue to share it every now and again and continue to do some targeted outreach for it.

Mistake #8 – Skipping Out on Measurement and Testing

How do you know if your content is making a difference for your business? The only way to answer that question is to measure results and analyze the data available. Skipping out on measurement and testing is a content marketing mistake and it’s one of the biggest business marketing mistakes too.

Knowing the goal of your content and what metrics you’re using to evaluate it is one thing, actually using that data is another thing entirely. You want to be checking in on how your content is doing as you’re actively promoting it and then continually checking in on its performance after that point.

If it’s underperforming somewhere, analyzing the data you have can help you identify some potential reasons why. Then, you can use those insights to make improvements or switch up your tactics to improve its performance. You’ll also be able to see where it’s exceeding expectations and then throw some more effort into those areas to further increase your results.

Using measurement and testing in this way allows you to continually improve your content and get the most of the content itself as well as the effort, time, money, etc. you’re putting into promotion.

Mistake #9 – Giving Up Too Early

Another common mistake is giving up too early on your content. Although content marketing is a long-term strategy, there are still many businesses that expect instant results or expect to “go viral”. It’s true that some brands get lucky and go viral, but approaching content marketing with that expectation is a big mistake.

It may seem like we hear about content going viral all the time, but it’s actually a rare occurrence. Less than 1% of content goes viral, so it’s a misstep to assume or expect that your content will. You do want to be prepared in case your content is popular, so the increase in traffic doesn’t crash your website. But, you also don’t want to evaluate the success or failure of your content marketing efforts on whether it hits viral status.

Mistake #10 – Allowing Content to Become Stagnant

Another mistake for content, in general, is allowing it to become stagnant or outdated. Content marketing, SEO, and more is all about relevant, quality content that provides value. If content is allowed to become outdated, it’s less relevant and less useful, which means it’s not going to perform as well. If it becomes too outdated, it’s not a quality piece of content anymore.

This mistake can be avoided by making sure you spend time continuing to update your content after it’s published. This is a great way to keep your old content working for you. You can also keep your content from going stagnant in the first place by focusing on evergreen topics that are not limited by time. You’ll still have to revisit and update evergreen posts every now and then, but you won’t have to worry about them becoming obsolete when the news cycle changes.

Mistake #11 – Never Creating Any Supporting Content

Blogging certainly helps your business. Although blog posts can certainly be a form of content marketing, they aren’t the only type of content you can use for content marketing efforts. Content marketing campaigns can center around infographics, videos, eBooks, white papers, and more.

Regardless of content type, it’s important to create supporting content to further support your content marketing efforts. Blog posts, short videos, checklists, slide decks, and more can all be created on topics related to the main piece of content you created in order to continue to promote it and support efforts. Strategically repurposing your content is a great way to identify opportunities for supporting content and create them.

Content marketing can be a powerful strategy for your business and it can result in a lot of growth for your business as well. Keeping these common content marketing mistakes in mind and avoiding them can help you get the most benefit from your content marketing efforts.

Usually, content marketing drives people back to your website. If it’s outdated or has a poor user experience, it’s not going to leave a good impression and could even drive people away! If your website isn’t up to par, contact us for a meeting of the MINDs to talk about how we can help get it back on track!

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