Content Marketing Mistakes are easy to make. Content marketing quite literally makes the digital marketing world go ‘round. But are you making mistakes that could be avoided?
While content marketing is the most popular form of marketing, as it feeds into SEO and organic traffic, that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. What is easy, however, is making mistakes that can easily be avoided when you know what to look for and what to avoid.
So many small and midsize businesses rely on their own skills to build a website and fill it with content that is hopefully engaging. While budgets are tight when you’re just starting out or even if you’ve been around awhile, investing in content marketing at the beginning will save you headaches down the road.
With a solid foundation from a professional copywriter or digital marketing agency, you can easily build upon that yourself in your small business and keep things updated and running smoothly. When you start out with limited experience you can run into problems with content.
It’s common knowledge that content is king, so treating it as such is important to ensure that you’re putting your best foot forward. Content is a multi-faceted, living entity on your site and there is a formula that most marketers follow to create content that sells. Looking at examples of content marketing done right is a great way to gain some inspiration and reflect that back to your own content.
In addition to creating content that sells through conversions, you also want to tell a story. With your sales pages, homepage, about, and contact it’s important to always be speaking directly to your target market and address any questions or concerns they have in an organic and casual way.
Why is Content Marketing So Important?
Content is powerful, and treating it as such will pay off in the long run! Getting to that long run, however, may be more challenging when you’re making common content mistakes. Even if you’re not a writer and aren’t comfortable writing, you can create your own content marketing plan.
While you might feel that content isn’t as popular or as necessary as video or audio, the real purpose of content is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the engine of a website and it’s what drives organic traffic for free. Yes, FREE! With optimized content, search engines like Google will rank a site higher than others, increasing traffic, conversions, and sales. Without optimized content, a great website with a wonderful product or service is easily lost in the abyss of the internet.
Sure, you can still have videos and audios on your website, but when they are backed with rich and robust content, Google will be able to catalog what the topic is and share it with people searching for just that.
Additionally, great content marketing helps to attract and connect with a target market, and then encourage them to convert. Providing value through storytelling or addressing pain points is the best way to connect with a prospective audience and turn them into loyal customers. There’s so much to marketing than just selling goods and services. Marketing, especially in the digital world, is people-centric. Focusing on the heartbeats behind the screens is where the real money is made. And that is done through content marketing.
So, why is content marketing so important?
- It connects a brand with its audience
- It tells a story and provides value
- It boosts SEO and organic traffic, which leads to sales and conversions
- It positions a brand as an authority
- It establishes a brand voice, culture, and values that attract the target audience
- It provides a solution to the pain points of a target audience
You don’t have to be a professional writer to understand content marketing, you have to understand the needs and desires of your audience. Be the solution and express that through content.
Common Content Marketing Mistakes and Solutions
Content marketing, when done right, is incredibly powerful. You’ll fulfill all the points above and amplify your brand and business by providing value.
However, it’s fairly easy to get content marketing wrong, and even easier to not even know it. Even with all the advancements in technology, new apps, videos, and podcasts, content marketing is still considered the most effective.
Content marketing is a crowded market, and writing a few 2,000-word blog posts a month isn’t enough to stay ahead of the pack.
Delivering the right content to the right people at the right time is the sweet spot you want to shoot for. But how do you do that if you don’t know what people want? And when? And how much? And where?
There are so many questions that it makes writing a blog post twice a month, the most common content marketing strategy, seem like child’s play.
So what is the best way to get the most of our content marketing, and what are the most common mistakes to avoid? Let’s take a look:
- Problem: Not knowing who your audience is
While this one may seem obvious, it’s actually the most common content marketing mistake. Brands assume they know who is going to buy their products and services without doing real research with hard data. This assumption, you guessed it, makes an ass out of everyone. When you don’t know who is actually using your product or service, there’s a huge gap. Doing the market research into who your target market is, what their pain points are, and what they’re searching for online is the first step in content marketing. It’s better to have less traffic that is more relevant, than more traffic that is irrelevant.
Solution: Research and Personas
Even before you write the website content, first email, or lead magnet, do the research. Your audience may be the opposite of who you thought would be coming to buy your product or service. And therein lies the need for hard customer research and data. Research customer interests. Understand why they have an interest in you and how they are looking for you. What do they search for? What keywords are most common? Customer personas are at the core of every company’s success. Companies who are thriving have figured out how to talk to their audience, who they are, what they search for, what platforms they hang out on, and what problems they’re looking to solve. Search for competitor websites and see how they speak, what their tone is, which keywords are most common. This will give you a lot of insight as to who your audience is.
- Problem: Not providing enough value
Again, this goes back to assuming you know what your audience needs. If you aren’t providing value, people won’t spend any time on your website and your bounce rate will be high. Providing value takes a depth that content marketing machines can’t replicate. And this is where the real writing comes in. People like content that teaches them something, that helps them think in a different way or gives them an “aha” moment. And with the plethora of content available on the internet and the content landing in people’s inboxes, it’s clear that there is a need but the market is saturated. If people don’t feel like you’re going to solve a problem for them, they’re not likely to spend time on your website or return. Competition is fierce and they’ll easily forget they ever landed on your website in the first place.
Solution: Give the people what they want
There’s a fine line between giving everything away for free and creating great content. But if you can find that balancing act and provide value that makes people want to come back, follow you on social media, and invest in your products or services, then that’s winning content. Give the people what they want and they’ll become loyal customers, recommend you to their circles, and place great value in your products. This can be done through ebooks, free PDFs, articles, videos, podcasts, and more. Time is precious and so is a person’s inbox. Show up with rich, valuable content and you’ll watch numbers rise across the board. But, you have to start with knowing who your audience is and what they want. Then, create from that place.
- Problem: You’re not creating evergreen content
What is evergreen content? It’s content that is as relevant on the date of posting as it will be in 5 years. Time-critical content is about something that has just happened and is only relevant for that time. It may be outdated in even a week. So many marketers focus on a current event or something that has just happened. And while that does play a role in content marketing, the real traffic comes from evergreen content that is relevant for years to come.
Solution: Create 5 pieces of evergreen content for every 1 piece of time-sensitive content
Creating evergreen content is actually easier than writing about something that has just happened. While the relevance of a current event may carry more buzz initially, that will fall off quickly as people stop searching for it immediately after the event. Evergreen content has the potential to have a large boost at the time of publishing, and then drop and slowly grow organically over time, even surpassing the initial spike. When evergreen content is optimized with keywords and speaks directly to your audience, that’s gold. Think of topics that never go out of style. This is a great opportunity to teach people something, provide solutions to a common problem, define and identify how to do something, and the list goes on. Think about what your audience needs most, that will benefit them over time, and write about that. You can also research topics that are consistently trending, or do a crowdsourcing survey to your current audience and directly ask them what they want.
- Problem: You set it and forget it
So you’ve done your keyword research, you know who your audience is, and you’ve written content that is optimized. And then you set it up on your blog or on social media and forget about it until the end of time. While it may seem like you’ve done everything right, leaving content to collect dust is a great way to make quick work of stagnant content. So many people write multiple blog posts a month and then never touch them again. Blogs need to be updated regularly, because of shifts in how people are searching, changing needs, and new key information. Also, Google loves fresh content and places importance on new content over content that’s been sitting there. This goes for site content as well.
Solution: Update your content regularly
Update your homepage, and other pages often with small tweaks to give Google something new to crawl. Look at your Google Analytics to see which blogs and pages are getting the most traffic, then optimize them with new keywords. It’s also a great idea to repurpose and regurgitate content as often as possible. One blog post can be turned into multiple pieces of content written in different ways and for different people. Share your content to create an omnichannel presence, and update it often. To make this easy, put a reminder on your calendar to make a sweep of all your content and make small tweaks every 2-4 weeks. This doesn’t have to be an all-day event. Set aside an hour to update keywords, change a sentence here and there, and reshare on social media or in your newsletter.
The Bottom Line
Content is king and always will be. It is essential to the growth of any business. And when you know better, you can do better. These mistakes are just a few of the most common, but there are many. Focusing on these to start will help you see where you are and where you want to go. Don’t be hard on yourself for making content marketing mistakes. The largest companies all started somewhere. Focus on what you can change and let the rest go until you can do more. And for inspiration, do some research and look to your competitors. There’s always something to learn. If you want professional content marketing help or want to do a complete audit of your site to address any mistakes, reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help you revamp your content marketing.