10 Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid (and What to Do Instead)

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Content marketing is a strategic method of attracting and retaining customers by consistently creating, curating, and sharing relevant content. But it’s not an exact science.

In the content marketing world, there are many moving parts you have to juggle each day. From curating the right content to reaching the right audience and measuring your success, you can make a lot of mistakes.

But don’t worry: we’re here to help. We will list the 10 best content marketing mistakes.

What are the Most Common Content Marketing Mistakes?

Here are 10 of the most common content marketing mistakes we see on a daily basis:

1. No clear strategy

A plan is crucial to your content marketing success. Without one, you can’t expect to reach anyone or work toward any goals.

You need to define the size and scope of your content strategy, what channels you’ll use to distribute it (blog posts, eBooks, videos), and how frequently you’ll produce new content. For example:

“We will create 10 pieces of content in the next month across various channels, including a monthly blog post, a short eBook, and an educational webinar – all available to our target audience of B2B technology marketers.”

Once you have your strategy defined, it needs to be documented. At a minimum, this should include:

A detailed list of topics to be written about or shared

A list of all the different channels you’ll use for distribution, with a description of each piece of content and what it will do for your audience. This should also include the estimated publishing schedule.

 The measurements you’ll be using to track your success against the strategy’s goals (such as the number of leads generated, revenue generated, percentage of social media traffic, etc.)

2. No audience in mind

Marketing to the wrong audience is the quickest way to make your content marketing efforts a waste of time. This may not seem like a big deal until you consider how much work it takes to create great content and how expensive it can be to fail at content marketing.

As you develop your content strategy, put yourself in the shoes of your target audience member and ask: “Would this piece of content solve my problem?” If it wouldn’t, stop right there. It’s not worth wasting time on if it’s not going to attract or retain customers.

3. Not listening (or sharing) enough

A common scenario we see is that marketers create great content, but don’t bother sharing it with their audiences because they feel like they know what their audience wants already. But the only way to truly know if something resonates is to share it with an actual person and ask them about it.

Not only should you work on finding your target audience (see #2), but you should also actively seek out their feedback.

4. No clear call to action (CTA)

You want people to take action, right? Then give them a clear CTA as early as possible and as often as you can – especially if the content you’re creating is valuable for your target audience.  

Just make sure it’s not too salty or it’ll turn off readers. A good rule of thumb: the more value-packed your content, and the further along in the buying cycle someone is (how close they are to buy), the more promotional you can be with your CTAs.

5. Not considering SEO when promoting

10 Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

When sharing your content on social media, don’t forget to share links that will drive traffic back to your website. If you’ve done a good job creating great content, chances are very high that you’ll generate traffic from social media. Unfortunately, no one’s going to see it if they don’t know it exists in the first place.

So when sharing content on Facebook or Twitter, take advantage of the “more” section below each post and include a link back to your site so people can easily find it.

The same goes for any other blogs where your audience will see your posts – make sure there’s an easy way for them to find all of your other content too.

6. Skipping promotion (or not promoting enough)

You may think that once you publish something online, its job is done and it doesn’t need any more promotion. While you’re not necessarily wrong about that, at some point it stops being new content and will lose its power unless you keep finding new people to see it.

The golden rule here is that if you don’t promote your content aggressively, people aren’t going to find it and the only person who will read it is yourself (since you created it).

So schedule time each week to share your latest posts through social media and email marketing campaigns so they won’t get lost in the shuffle of everything else on your to-do list.

7. Making something just for search engines

Do you know how we mentioned earlier that great content solves a problem? Well, there’s no better way of solving somebody’s problems than by creating amazing blog posts that people want to read.

By creating content for search engines, you’re giving all of that power away – and it doesn’t even work! Google is very good at detecting things like keyword stuffing and other unnatural SEO tactics, so if you create great content people will find it on their own.

8. No authority

No matter how good your content is, nobody’s going to bother reading or sharing it unless they know who created it.

So make sure your company has a strong online presence with a website that looks professional and a blog full of amazing content before trying to do any sort of marketing yourself (even if it’s just for branding purposes).

Having authority in your industry is what allows you to be an influencer and get others to share your work – the only way to do that is by being an influencer yourself.

9. Spammy emails

It’s not always easy to make it as a blogger today, especially if you’re new (and even more so if you’ve never done any blogging before). But one thing we know for sure: spammy emails don’t work! So please stop sending those annoying promo and marketing messages trying to get people to check out your new posts every day.

Just like with content, email lists and subscribers don’t grow on trees. If you want to build up a large following of loyal readers who will come back time and time again, then create great content first and foremost. That way they’ll see your name and know what to expect when they see it.

And even if you do have a large following, please don’t send your subscribers pointless emails that just ask them to click “like” or watch the latest funny cat video – we hate those too! Instead, give people useful and interesting information and write about topics that actually help solve their problems and keep them engaged with what you’re writing about.

10. Too much selling (or no selling at all!)

Even worse spammy emails are posted on social media that talk almost exclusively about your company and products without saying anything of interest or value to anyone else. Not only is such content super boring, but nobody will want to follow you for updates if you post nothing but sales messages all day long.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your content is about your products, services, or website – it isn’t! Instead, focus on providing valuable information that other people care about to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. And if you really want to sell something, then write an amazing blog post instead of trying to jam it down people’s throats in social media posts.

Final thoughts

When it comes to content marketing, most mistakes can be grouped into one of the following three categories: Creating promotional and useless content; not promoting your content enough, and making things just for search engines or other websites that nobody will see.  

Take the time to read over our list of 10 content marketing mistakes again because if you want your company’s blog to be successful, then it’s absolutely critical that you avoid these mistakes…

Got questions? Ask them in the comments below and we’ll do our best to answer!

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