Do you have a bulletproof content marketing campaign? Content marketing is one of the best ways to grow your small business online, but it can be a complete waste of time and resources if you fall prey to the pitfalls. In this post, we’ll show you 11 common content marketing mistakes, and how to fix them.
1. Skipping the Planning Phase
It’s exciting to get started on a new campaign. Unfortunately, you can’t just start a blog without a plan and expect to see results. If you want your content to be effective, you’ll need a well thought-out strategy to guide all your actions.
For starters, you’ll need to do some research. Learn about your target demographic(s) and what their actual needs are.
Here’s a quick way to learn about what your target audience wants (you’ll need a Facebook account):
Login to your Facebook account and click on “Ads Manager” on the left hand column. Then click on Tools » Audience Insights.
Choose “Everyone on Facebook” to start discovering your target audience from scratch. Or, if you already have fans on Facebook, you could choose “People connected to your Page”.
On the next screen, you can select the demographics that you wish to include from the “Create Audience” column on the left hand side.
Under the “Interests” field, type in the name of a fan page for a blog that you think your target audience loves to read (this will help narrow your search). Or, if you don’t know any blogs that they like to read, select from one or more of the topics listed in the dropdown menu.
Now you will be able to see what other blogs and magazines they like to read, what people they like to follow, etc., by clicking on the “Page Likes” tab.
Then, research each of these competitors, and find out what content is performing best for them. You can use BuzzSumo to find out which of their posts are the most popular.
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel… use this knowledge to your advantage, and plan out similar pieces of content.
Once you know what direction your content needs to go, set your goals for the first 6 months to a year of your campaign, and set up an editorial calendar to achieve those goals.
2. Stressing Over Quantity
There’s a lot to be said for quantity in a content campaign. After all, you do need a steady stream of content in order to gain a loyal following.
And the more pieces of content you’re able to produce, the more results you can achieve, right?
You see, thinking in terms of quantity often sends business owners down the wrong path, leading to an abundance of mediocre-quality content.
The problem with mediocre content is, it may get you the initial traffic you want, but it doesn’t really resonate with people. It doesn’t lead them to know, like and trust you. And as we know, people who don’t know, like and trust you won’t ever buy from you.
So if you want your campaign to succeed, you need to focus on the quality of your articles far more than the quantity. One good piece is worth more than dozens of questionable-quality pieces.
3. Sticking to Just One Medium
You may have heard that it’s best to just stick to one type of content, like blog posts, and do that one thing really well. But while it’s good to master one medium before you tackle another, you shouldn’t get stuck in just one forever.
There are literally dozens of mediums–video, audio, info-graphics, slide decks, and more–each with their own appeal. If your blog feed looks like the same post format repeated ad infinitum, you’re missing out on some huge potential.
Think of it this way: everyone has their own preferred method of learning. Some people learn best by reading, others by listening, while some are more visual learners. Diversifying your content allows you to reach those different types of learners.
Capitalizing on multiple different mediums also allows you to re-purpose your content and get more mileage out of each and every post.
Here are some different mediums you can use to re-purpose your blog content and appeal to different types of learners:
- Downloadable PDFs
- Slide Decks
- Online Courses
- Live Streaming Presentations
- Physical Books
The possibilities are endless.
4. Writing to a General Audience
This is a common error that even experienced brands make. And it’s an understandable mistake… When you think about narrowing your audience by targeting only one specific demographic, you might see this as limiting the potential reach of your material.
However, what narrowing your audience really does is increase your content’s relevance.
So instead of being mildly attractive to a million people who will never buy from you, you’ll be deeply loved by a thousand.
Focus on appealing specifically to your raving fans, and you’ll attract more customers.
5. Writing on a Variety of Topics
It’s tempting to try and write about everything related to your industry. However, especially when you’re just starting out, it’s better to choose a specific niche and become known as an expert in that area.
Niching down on your topic gives you a competitive advantage. This competitive advantage will give you momentum early on because it helps you to stick in the minds of your followers. A specialist is so much easier to remember than a generalist.
Plus, you can always expand to more general topics at a later date, after you’ve already gained some traction and made a name for yourself.
6. Only Producing “Onsite” Content
The foundation of your content strategy is your own website, but your following will only truly grow once you leverage the power of outside networks: other websites producing content for your target audience.
Get your work featured as guest posts on other authority sites in your industry, and start actively building relationships with other brands.
This will greatly increase your visibility, and doesn’t take much more effort—it’s a shame more small businesses don’t take this step.
7. Neglecting SEO
This is another small step that often gets written off, usually because it’s viewed as being too technically complex. But in reality, search engine optimization isn’t as hard as you might think.
With a little research, and the right competitive targeting, a few structural differences are all it takes to optimize a blog post (or any piece of content) for search engines.
A good place to start is with SEMrush. This tool will allow you to research your competitors and your prospects to determine what keywords you want your content to rank for.
Then, use a good SEO plugin, like Yoast SEO, to optimize each of your posts for those keywords.
8. Not Promoting Correctly on Social Media
One of the most wasted opportunities for content marketers is social media. This is the perfect place to syndicate your content posts when they’ve been published, but so many businesses skip this step.
Social media is free, it’s public, and it gives you a chance to attract a regular following. Not to mention it only takes a few extra minutes to push your posts out.
In time, your blog will attract new views organically. But until then, you need to give your work a big push on social media.
Make sure you are promoting your posts on a regular basis, not just on the publish day.
Don’t forget to reach out to your followers and any influencers you featured and ask them to share on social media as well. You may be surprised at how willing they are to help you promote.
9. Never Changing With the Times
The marketing world changes too fast for you to get away with standing still. Over time, you should be updating your strategy, trying new techniques, experimenting with new mediums, and taking advantage of new trends.
Stay in one place too long, and you won’t be able to catch up to the competition.
10. Not Optimizing for Conversions
In addition to attracting traffic and improving your brand reputation, your content is the perfect opportunity to persuade your users to convert. If you aren’t taking advantage of this, you could be missing out on hundreds - if not thousands of potential new customers.
11. Failing to Use Your Data
Any marketing campaign requires data to be effective. Otherwise, you’ll have no idea whether your efforts earned you more than they cost.
Step one is setting up a tracking mechanism to gather data about your campaign, such as Google Analytics.
Then, you have to dig deep and analyze that data, and form insights you can use to make your campaign better. Don’t just make assumptions—rely on the numbers to guide your path.
OptinMonster allows you to easily create A/B tests, eliminating the guess work so you can make data-driven decisions on what works best.
If you’ve been making these mistakes, even if it’s been for years, don’t worry! Content marketing is a long-term strategy, and there is still time to make up for your errors.
Knowing the mistakes you are making is the first step. Then, open yourself up to tweaking or even completely changing your strategy. Soon, you’ll see more progress than ever before.
By Mary Fernandez