Gone are the days when just advertising your product or engaging in sales calls, or even hiring door-to-door salespeople was enough.
This age is no longer obsessed with hardcore selling. It’s obsessed with marketing that happens subtly, marketing that solves people’s problems. Enter the hero of this age: Content marketing.
Sadly, content marketing isn’t like taking a walk in the park. There are many mistakes one can make on this journey.
Here are 13 such content marketing mistakes that you should avoid and a special recipe to fix each one of them.
1. Not engaging in research
Why? Because you’re not attracting the right kind of audience for your business.
Sure, there are many topics on the internet that can get you unparalleled traction. But what’s the use of these topics if they aren’t relevant to your audience? If they can’t lead to any conversions?
It’s no surprise that 55% of people who receive content from brands find that it’s not interesting or relevant.
A content marketer should not rely on their instincts about what the audience will love. It’s to engage yourself in research, find out what your audience wants from a brand like yours, and then create content that revolves around that.
How can you go about doing that?
- Unravel the mindset of your audience: For example, if your audience’s thought process goes something like, “I want to find different ways to manage my projects better.”
Your content should revolve around various project management tools and techniques.
- Look at the underlying demographics and psychographics: Factors like age, gender, education, occupation, personality, lifestyle can influence people’s search for content.
For example, a young marketer may look for different topics compared to a well-educated marketer who has been in the field for over ten years.
Researching about these factors will help you know your audience better.
- Check your competition: Who are your competitors targeting? Which blog posts are resonating the most with their audience? These are some of the questions that can give you insight into your audience.
2. Having no content goals
You are churning out pieces of content every single day but with little to no conversions. The ROI of your content marketing falls low.
Nearly 4 million blog posts go online every day. Your content can get lost if it’s not backed with a relevant strategy.
How to create that magical strategy?
By working backwards on your goal.
What is this SMART goal?
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Assignable
R – Realistic
T – Time-based
For example, you may have a content goal like this one right now – Having many conversions from our blog. But a SMART goal would be to increase monthly subscription revenue by $15,000 within two months.
So, how did Wilson Hung go on to achieve his goal?
He worked backwards from the goal, devised a strategy based on it, and pursued platforms like Quora and Reddit, which he thought would bring him the most results.
His process was so effective that he gained 1000 subscribers in just one month solely by answering answers on Reddit.
Once you have an overall content strategy and goals for your brand, break those down into your different content mediums. For example, We’ll gain 100 subscribers from our blog posts by utilizing specific CTAs, 500 from Facebook by running promotions, and so on.
Doing so ensures that every content you’re publishing has a fixed goal and CTA.
3. Overlooking email marketing opportunities
Every $1 spent on email marketing, generates nearly $41 in sales. This ROI outperforms mobile marketing, social media, display advertising, and search engine marketing.
Bottom line is, email marketing can do wonders if you know the right strategy and execute it.
Here is an example of how Natura Siberica takes a few lines to thank its new newsletter subscribers.
They describe how their company is different from other cosmetic brands, and at the end, a CTA of 20% discount incentivizes customers into making a purchase.
There are three main goals for email marketing campaigns: growing your subscriber base, encouraging prospects and customers to consume your content, and keeping your brand and service fresh in your reader’s minds.
If your click-throughs haven’t been that great, here are some things you can do to change that:
- Go for email testing to find out what works the best for your brand.
- Make your emails mobile responsive.
- Avoid common mistakes such as improper/uninteresting subject lines, making the email way too long, etc.
- Use different types of engaging content media like infographics, etc.
- Add multiple CTAs
- Cut off words like “free money,” “big bucks,” “earn per week” that trigger spam filters.
- Segment your lists. For example, your subscribers might not fall into the same categories. They might have different interests and needs. Segment them by behavioral data, demographic data, etc.
- Follow best email marketing practices such as tracking your sender’s reputation, personalizing the subject line, optimizing your links, etc.
The age of social media and video marketing, has sidelined the importance of email marketing. Still, it would be a mistake to do so if we consider the various examples of brands that have achieved success thanks to email marketing campaigns.
4. Creating content that isn’t useful
Let’s take two scenarios:
- Scenario 1: You publish a content piece just to fulfill the KPI that promises to publish ten posts every month.
- Scenario 2: You are a content marketing agency. You find out that your audience consists of people who want to start their blog. By backing the article with practical tips and strategies, you formulate a headline that appeals to their interest.
They love it so much that not only do they implement those tips, but they share this article with their friends too.
Their friends also start following it too, and guess what? They share it too, and on and on it goes.
Not only does your brand awareness grow, but people come back to you for more and possibly opt for your service to help with their content marketing campaigns.
Doesn’t scenario 2 bring in more and better results?
But how was this chain reaction initiated? It started when someone took time to know their audience and put out content that attracts them and is relevant to them.
On the other hand, when you create content that isn’t useful for your readers, they will search somewhere else for that information, which means you lose a chance to build a relationship with this person and eventually lose making a sale.
For example, Savvy Sleeper understood this and are only publishing/updating content that is useful and interesting for their audience: people that are looking for the best mattress.
5. Creating content with a sole motive to sell
Let’s look at two companies that have gotten unbelievable results from content marketing:
Orbit Media is a web design and development agency. Their website brings in nearly 60,000 visits per month, that too with zero ads.
Their success lies in the original content they publish. While their guides are comprehensive and well written, they also engage in a lot of original research.
For example, they send out a survey every year to 1000 bloggers and curate this data into statistics. This data gets transformed into different content media. Just that one post gets them around 4000 backlinks.
Not all of these research projects are expensive, proving that content marketing can bring you unparalleled success if done innovatively.
You have probably seen this name many times on Google when you searched for any question related to finance.
Their content strategy brings them over 33 million visitors per month.
- They make complicated topics easy to understand with analogies and real-world examples.
- They use the hub-and-spoke model for internal linking, where an article about a broad topic links to several other sub-topics or terms.
This gives the reader a chance to read the short content and read in-depth content by exploring the other internal links.
This simple approach helps them earn over $70 million per month in traffic value without engaging in paid activities.
Can you see one point common in both these examples?
They create content that helps their audience and sells on its own. How would this look like for your brand?
Let’s take an example.
Suppose you’re into the course design niche. Instead of formulating too promotional content, devise an article with various unique templates that your customers or prospects can use.
It helps you achieve three things: (i) you create content that your audience finds helpful, (ii) you increase your brand awareness and opportunities to sell your product or service (iii) you position yourself as an expert in the field.
What more can you ask?
6. Going for quantity over quality
The Verizon Support team does a commendable job by providing their customers with real-time assistance, but just one grammatical mistake overshadows their good deed.
It happens many times with us too, doesn’t it? But when you’re portraying your business, such mistakes can cost your company. You may become the cause for a laughing riot or, worse yet, lose followers because you made awful mistakes while posting some videos.
The vital thing to always keep in mind is that unlimited content is available online. If you are posting something for the sake of it, that content piece will get you no ROI.
Churning out content that has no value, has little to do with your niche, has weak references, or just rehashes what someone else has already said will result in content that serves no purpose.
Instead, spend your efforts and time in coming up with quality content that doesn’t just add another article to your web page
Leaving an impression is how you’ll be able to get engagement in terms of likes/shared/retweeted content.
7. Sticking to just one type of content
People these days are no longer satisfied with just text content. They prefer consuming content in different forms, such as infographics, memes, pictures, videos, or even podcasts.
According to a survey by Venngage, 41.5% of marketers say that infographics, when compared to other forms of content, saw the most engagement.
It is much easier to see visuals and videos than reading a block of text.
In fact, did you know that our brains can process images 60,000 times faster than plain text?
This shows that you’ll likely stay behind if you fail to adapt to these different content media.
How can you do that for your content?
Let’s say you have published an article on different ways to engage customers. Instead of leaving it at just that, turn it into a viral piece of content by making an infographic out of it.
You can also add some more information to this article to turn it into an ebook or a podcast series.
This way, you end up getting even more traction and leverage from your existing content.
Here’s how Mojo Media Labs turned the tide around for its client SeikoVision by creating an infographic.
Seiko is a Japanese maker of watches, clocks, optical products, and the like. To target their B2B business, Mojo Media Labs created an infographic revolving around blue light (a trending topic in the eye care industry) and how it can cause many problems.
In just two weeks, the blue light infographic landing page had hundreds of views and a conversion rate of almost 27%. Their email marketing numbers also increased, and they saw a 945% increase in MQLs.
Isn’t that amazing?
8. Not focusing on SEO
While many content marketers believe SEO and content marketing are at odds with each other, the truth cannot be far from that.
To be successful at content marketing, you need to be successful at SEO.
While you should never entirely focus on SEO and let it drive your content marketing wheel, SEO is necessary to help you rank on Google for specific keywords.
Here are some simple ways you can tie in SEO to your content marketing strategy:
- Make use of keywords:
Research about your industry. If you’re into the lead generation business, ask questions such as, “How are people searching for lead generation agencies?”, “What words do they use?” “What questions do they ask?”
After you find out what terms people use to search, you get an idea of keywords similar to that. You also need to look at the search volume. If the search volume is too high, the competition would be high too.
You would be better off targeting terms with lower search volume.
- Build backlinks:
If a top website with a DA of 98 publishes your article on project management, what signal does it send to Google? It shows that others are vouching for your content.
If many sites link to that same article, search engines conclude that the content is worth linking to and thus also worth coming up on a SERP.
- Have a great UX:
SEO is not just about putting across keywords and having backlinks. SEO is concerned with optimizing the metadata and utilizing proper tags to construct a strategic time map.
This helps people easily find and access your content, and your content can get stellar indexing, accurate search results, and the search engines can better crawl your site.
9. Not engaging in content promotion
Have you written the perfect article?
But what if that perfect article isn’t getting any traction?
There is a reason we call it content “marketing” and not content “creation.”
If your content isn’t reaching your audience, no matter how aesthetic your infographic is or how brilliantly crafted your ebook is, you will not get the results you want.
How to distribute your content to different channels?
- Repurpose your content: Turn that article into an infographic to share on Instagram. Or turn it into a video to share on Facebook. You can even repurpose an old ebook into a new article.
- Send an email broadcast: Your email list consists of people interested in your brand and would like to receive the latest updates from you.
That becomes a great way to promote your content as they’re already engaged and much more likely to share that content.
- Make use of online communities: People are there asking questions about your niche in online communities like Reddit and Quora.
Engage in these discussions and suggest your content as a resource to answer some questions.
- Make use of social media: Connect to people who love to be associated with your brand. Be it an aesthetic infographic on Instagram or a carousel post on LinkedIn; social media can make your content go viral.
- Reach out to influencers in your niche: If they like your content, they may share it, and you will end up reaching your target market in the form of their audience.
10. Not using social media correctly
Over 3.78 billion people use social media today. That is almost half of the world’s population.
Imagine how many more prospects you can get access to if you manage to use social media correctly. The world is at your doorstep today. All you have to do is invite them in with a strategic social media marketing plan.
These are some mistakes we often make when it comes to social media:
- Not posting consistently: Social media is fast-paced, and if you’re only posting 1 or 2 times a week, your audience isn’t seeing your message frequently to have any impact.
- Posting only promotional content: If you are only posting to sell instead of aiming to educate or provide value, you’re using social media in the wrong way.
- Not engaging with your audience: Not replying to your audience’s comments? Not responding to brand mentions? Don’t lose out on these crucial ways that can help you build relationships.
- Buying followers: This can negatively impact your brand, and more times than not, these followers wouldn’t help you increase your engagement levels.
- Not making use of tools: Making use of social media management tools can help you with scheduling, analyzing your performance, using relevant hashtags, analyzing your performance, and so on.
11. Ignoring the power of consistency
If I tell you to name one brand of coffee/chocolate/noodles that comes to the top of your mind, which brand would it be?
Most of you would take the name of a famous brand.
Because that brand has worked very hard to catch your attention, be it in the form of advertisements or by making sure their product is accessible in every grocery store.
They created awareness. How? By making themselves noticed.
That’s why consistency is so important when it comes to content marketing. It ensures that you are always in touch with your audience; that they can count on you to come up with valuable information consistently.
A study shows that brands that maintain consistency in their content show a 23% increase in revenue.
The reason it says is that uniform messaging, and branding builds familiarity with the audience. This familiarity pays off when they’re ready to buy.
So, how can you be consistent in terms of both publishing and quality?
- Repurpose content: If a blog article gained much traction in the past, convert it into an infographic or a video and share it with your audience. This way, you can put out quality content without too much effort.
- Make a series of content: Find topics that you can convert into a content series. It will keep your audience hooked to your content.
- Invite guest contributors: This gives a new voice to your blog and can decrease the content pressure on your team. Make sure that you publish the contributor guidelines that make sure the writers submit relevant and practical content.
12. Ignoring the power of user-generated content
User-generated content is any form of content like tweets, photos, videos, blogs, etc., that users of an online platform create.
This type of content shared on social media channels receives 28% higher engagement than standard company posts.
- It’s unique: As customers create the content, no other company will have that same content.
- It builds trust: We would any day trust brand messages by other customers than by companies themselves.
- It’s cost-effective: You don’t have to shell out any or too many bucks for this kind of content.
Let’s look at how Starbucks was successful with user-generated content way back in 2014.
In 2014, Starbucks encouraged its customers to design their white cups by drawing some artistic doodles. They launched this contest on Twitter under the hashtag #WhiteCupContest.
The incentive for the customers was that the winning white cup drawing would be used for the reusable cup design of Starbucks as a limited edition template.
This contest generated significant attention, and in just three weeks, the campaign received a tremendous response, with around 4000 drawn cups sent to Starbucks.
This success led to another hosting of such a campaign in 2016 under the hashtag #RedCupArt.
These social media campaigns prove that you can create a vast social media impact without spending a lot.
One more reason that these campaigns get so much publicity is that it’s super easy for everyone to participate in them, and it is directly related to the product the customer loves so much.
13. Not reviewing content marketing performance
One of the biggest mistakes a content marketer makes is spending a lot of time creating and distributing content but not reviewing the performance.
Without looking at the data, how will you figure out what is working for your brand and what isn’t?
While blog posts may be working the best for your competitor, it isn’t necessary that they will work for you too.
For example, you may find out that you’re getting more traction from infographics. You can now implement that tactic in your overall strategy.
Or you may realize that you’re not getting any conversions from your Facebook posts. You may want to then delve deep into it and find out why.
Here are some metrics you can focus on while reviewing your content marketing performance:
- Site traffic: Are the people coming to your website after reading a content piece on your social media? Or do they come up to visit your blog page?
As long as the bounce rates aren’t too much, heaps of traffic to your website is a good indicator.
- On-site time: Are the visitors coming to your website and then abandoning it in a few seconds?
On-site time measures the average time spent on your site by a visitor. If this time is less, you need to figure out why. Is it because the content isn’t impressive or because your site takes too much time to load?
- Social shares: Are people liking/commenting on/sharing your content? If yes, you’re doing a great job at maintaining a buzz around your content.
- Conversion/sales percentage: Are people acting on your CTAs or subscribing to your emails or your free trial? This metric is one of the most critical metrics for measuring your performance.
Final Thoughts on Content Marketing Mistakes
Now we know that just putting together a piece of content isn’t enough for content marketing.
If you type in the keywords you want to rank for in the Google search bar, you’ll find millions of results.
It shows that content marketing isn’t a cakewalk. You can’t afford to make mistakes that can turn around all your efforts in coming up with quality content.
Ensure to avoid these 13 mistakes and see for yourself the results content marketing can bring for your business.