20 Devastating Content Marketing Mistakes [COMICS]

Helen Nesterenko

Posted on May 28th 2013

20 Devastating Content Marketing Mistakes [COMICS]

The science of content marketing is much bigger than publishing an occasional blog. Custom content has grown into a 43.9 billion dollar industry, and even skeptics have to admit that it’s serious business. The best content marketers are wizards who are able to blend writing, multi-media content, PR, social media, and networking into a comprehensive online presence. It’s hard work, and there’s no room at the top for branded messaging riddled with content marketing mistakes. To both amuse and inspire your quest for excellence, we’ve curated some cartoons which brilliantly illustrate some of the most common pitfalls:

1. Not Prioritizing Time Management

not priorizing time management

51% of marketers struggle to create enough content. It’s the second biggest pain point among B2B content creators, behind only budget constraints. Since you probably don’t want to work more hours, it’s essential to develop laser-sharp focus and the ability to block almost anything out.

2. Abusing SEO

Keyword

Modern SEO copywriting is less about enhancing your articles for Google, and more about writing articles that people want to share. Keyword stuffing is among the most annoying content marketing mistakes. In a recent bog, Google’s Matt Cutts advised marketers to focus more on social signals, and less on deliberate link building.

3. Obsessive Self-Editing

Obsessive self-editing

There’s a time and place for editing, and some experts believe it’s best left separate from the writing process. CopyBlogger’s Sean D’Souza is a firm believer that self-editing and competency can’t co-exist without content marketing mistakes.

4. Wearing Blinders

Everything about content marketing was learned from cartoons

We’re in the midst of a content arms race, my fellow writers. The brands who win top search rankings and customers are those who actively adopt the most-innovative approaches, like web cartoons, and slideshows.

5. Failing to Target

laser_targeted

No one has time or patience for general content. If you’re trying to write an eBook to please everyone, you’ll ultimately satisfy no one. 47% of consumers believe that a lack of targeted content is one of the worst content marketing mistakes.

6. Focusing on the Wrong Things

cartoon - make logo bigger

It’s easy to focus on your number of words written per day, or blog comments per post, and lose track of the metrics that matter in the process. Ensure you’re tracking keyword ranking, site visits, leads and ROI, and not expending energy on vanity metrics.

7. Heading Toward Burnout

cartoon-writing-plan

So, here’s the really depressing thing about content marketing: you can almost always do more. Even if your content calendar is fulfilled for the week, there’s always a guest post waiting to be written, or a new platform to explore. However, it’s critical to budget time for education and avoiding burnout.

8. Failing to Invest in Personal Branding

cartoon-branding

A content creator’s chances of success hinge on their ability to build a personal brand. As Google Authorship rises, and SEO experts hint about the future of AuthorRank, failing to establish yourself as an expert in your field is a terrible content marketing mistake.

9. Diving Straight into Controversy

cartoon-controversy

Before you fire off a heated or controversial article, stop and think. Not every viral post is good publicity, and it’s wise to have a second pair of eyes scan your position before you accidentally brand your company with an unsavory position.

10. Failing to Leverage Influencers

cartoon influencer

Getting up the nerve to pitch a guest post, or start a conversation with a key digital influencer is tough. No one wants their brilliant idea for a guest blog to be shot down. However, influencers are critical to gaining the exposure you need in an era of content abundance.

11. Not Being Agile

cartoon-where's-waldo-marketing

Maybe your audience hates video content, or infographics. That’s okay, as long as you’re able to pivot in response. Track your metrics carefully, and ensure you don’t fall into the money-wasting content marketing mistake of trying failed tactics repeatedly.

12. Being Insincere

cartoon - corporate apologies

One of the greatest benefits of real-time publishing is having the ability to humanize your company, by sharing content that reveals your employees hard-at-work behind the scenes, and developing a tangible online voice. You may work for a corporation, but be sure to ditch the insincere corporate speak endemic to traditional advertising.

13. Not Evaluating Company Guidelines

cartoon: brand guidelines

Your company’s content marketing style shouldn’t be published in stone. Continually adjust your approach to reach the perfect mix of creativity and standards.

14. Not Focusing On Customers

cartoon: how brands talk

Did you know that only 50% of companies consider themselves primarily customer focused? Sad, but true. If your company’s goal is revenue above customer satisfaction, your self-centered attitude could taint your content.

15. Failing to Be Pithy

cartoon-idea-camouflage

Does that idea really warrant a blog article, or could it be better expressed in a simple infographic? Your blog content should be long enough to build authority, but a concept should never be stretched to the point of being hideously boring in order to reach a target word count.

16. Not Using English

cartoon-gallery-of-management-consulting

It’s almost never acceptable to hide simple concepts behind confusing language or buzzwords. Keep it simple, stick to the basis of your ideas, and never let yourself slip into this content marketing mistake.

17. Not Moving Quickly

cartoon - not moving quickly

Do you think anyone would want to watch your company’s cover of last summer’s hit song Call Me Maybe? Memejacking and newsjacking will be much more effective if you move fast. Irrelevance can be an embarrassing content marketing mistake.

18. Being Obsessed With Tofu

cartoon: marketing funnel

Is your company guilty of focusing too heavily on top of the sales funnel content to convert leads, like blog articles and eBooks? Ensure you’ve put some effort into amazing offers that turn leads into revenue, like product comparison sheets and case studies.

19. Being Irrelevant

cartoon: annoying with Cristmas sale ads

There’s a time and place for evergreen content, but using it to fill every spot on your editorial calendar is a content marketing mistake. Relevance is almost always more effective than irrelevance, and it’s critical to map your content marketing to current events and trends people are talking about.

20. Not Leveraging Consumers

cartoon-evolution-of-marketing

90% of modern consumers trust recommendations from family or friends more than earned or owned media, including blogs and social media. Your customers are your best content creators, and it’s essential to leverage their advocacy as a key component of your content strategy.

What do you think are some of the most devastating content marketing mistakes?

Helen Nesterenko

Helen Nesterenko

CEO, Writtent.com

I enjoy helping businesses create content their customers and prospects will love. 

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