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5 Content Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Generating content in the required volume and of the requisite quality for it to grab attention and drive your revenues is one of the most challenging aspects in all of digital marketing. This fact alone seems to put many off content marketing. Of those businesses that do realize the importance of this channel, there is still many that go down the ‘cheap and cheerful’ route, because they believe generic content for the sake of SEO works, instead of believing in the true power and potential of content marketing.
However, even the businesses that do invest generously in this channel are guilty of making a number of mistakes that undermine their content marketing objectives. Many of these errors are often made in haste, leading us to the solution to all of these problems, which is to plan far enough in advance that you can ensure content is exactly what you want.
Here are five common content marketing mistakes and a look at how you can avoid them.
Targeting the Wrong Audience
Whenever you’re producing any type of content, the first question should always be, “Who is it for?” If you’re in a niche industry with a very specific target market, then you should be able to cater for your audience easily. Sometimes, you might need to conduct research to discover who is finding your site, and then do work on targeting the correct demographics if you’re not currently doing so.
The biggest content marketing mistake made under this banner is that people write in a tone and manner perfect for other professionals in their industry (i.e. their competitors). While some B2B companies might occasionally sell products or services to direct competitors, this is unlikely to be often enough to justify a whole slew of content aimed in this direction.
Customers or Peers
Ask yourself whom you’re writing for, your potential customers or industry insiders that might be impressed with your knowledge. This might seem an obvious point, but you’d be amazed how many websites are full of confusing and irrelevant content because those responsible for the writing fail to grasp that their audience aren’t experts!
Focusing on the Wrong Metrics
Knowing the return on investment (ROI) of any marketing campaign is important, particularly so in something as time consuming and intensive as content marketing.
When you first start your content campaign, you’re likely to be focussed on the volume of content you produce, ensuring you’re consistent and getting into the habit of publishing content as per your editorial calendar. That’s fine, because getting into the routine and committing to a content marketing plan can be tough.
Problems start to occur if you continue looking at these metrics months down the line. Three months into a content marketing campaign, for example, if you’re getting consistent levels of readers but no social shares, and your enquiries or revenues aren’t starting to pick up as a result, then you need to look at where you can improve, not simply fall back on how many pieces of content you’re creating. Do your posts need to have more of a call to action? Could your internal linking be better within your content?
Ensure your measures of success evolve as your content marketing campaign takes shape.
Branding Isn’t On Your Agenda
Many people mistake branding within content as a synonym for sales speak. In fact, this isn’t what branding is at all. By branding, we’re looking at the way you construct your content, the ways in which you reach out to and educate your readers, and make yourself an authoritative voice without ending each paragraph or subtitled section with the words, “This is why we’re so great.”
To build branding into your content marketing campaign, move beyond just giving facts and talk about things from your own perspective. What do you believe to be the trends shown by a survey you have conducted? What work have you done in recent months to make you believe one technique is better than the other? It is particularly important to consider this when producing evergreen content for your blog or other pages on your website. These are likely to be the pages most visited by browsers over an extended period, so have to be a clear reflection of what you’re about.
You Believe Content Marketing is On-Site Only
This silent mistake is killing many content campaigns without webmasters or marketing managers realising. Content marketing comprises of the following three areas:
Content produced for your own site
Social media content
Content produced for other channels, such as guest blogs
The big mistake many make is creating content only for their own website, and pay mere lip service to social media by posting links to their content. At the same time, recent Google algorithm updates have scared many off guest blogging altogether.
However, if all your content marketing is focused on site, you’re missing a massive opportunity. If you’re one of the webmasters, or businesses, who has stopped guest blogging in recent months, or aren’t fully committed to a social media campaign alongside your on site content marketing – provoking conversation and giving advice and ideas, not just posting links to your content – then it’s time to revisit your strategy.
You’re not a ‘Newsjacker’
The best way to get your content to as many people as possible is to jump on trending topics within your industry and write about them immediately. Yes, this type of content will see a spike in traffic followed by a drop off, but it doesn’t take much ‘newsjacking’ before you’ll start to build a reputation as an authoritative industry leader who is always on hand with an opinion or alternative view of the breaking news stories, which will give you incremental traffic increases over time.
Businesses or webmasters who don’t do well here are usually those who believe their editorial calendar to be a strait jacket. The very nature of an editorial calendar means that most of the content ideas featured within it will be for evergreen content. If there is a hot news story developing in your industry now, write about it and publish the evergreen content tomorrow.
To avoid jumping on the bandwagon of every news story and looking like a glorified news site, it might be wise to choose a handful of topics that you’re going to cover if they’re in the news, and then set up mailing lists or an RSS reader so that you’re made aware of these news stories as they happen.
A content marketing strategy taking the form of “I’ll write a blog quickly if I have time on Friday” is no longer enough to enjoy sustained SEO success. If you’re serious about content marketing, you need a plan. That means having some ideas of what you’re going to write about, and an editorial calendar populated with when you’re going to do it. However, you also need to have a degree of flexibility in what you do, so that you’re able to react to breaking news stories and position yourself as an authoritative industry leader. Ensuring that most of your editorial calendar is built around evergreen content will help you achieve this, while you also need to be mindful of the other mistakes, and how you can avoid them, that we have covered here.