Content marketing has been widely adopted and is being used by most businesses today. Whether you are B2B or B2C, it's likely that you have used some form of content as a means to connect your business with your target market at some point.
Your business, like many others, may even be creating good content but this alone is not enough as your content is competing both to be found and then read. It is not just about the mistakes you are making with your content marketing that hold you back, it's also the things that you aren't doing (but should be) as well. These mistakes will negatively impact your content's ability to be found, read and shared with others.
Bottom line: If no one finds or reads your content, then you are wasting your time.
Here is a list of content marketing mistakes that might be holding your content back:
1. Writing Content That Is Too Short
People need to feel they've gotten value for their time, even if they are getting it for free. Content marketing only works when it's so valuable that your audience feels like they should be paying for it. In most cases, that means a 500-word article will not cut it.
If the content is professional, provides value and is educational, people will be engaged and invest the time to consume it. Studies have even shown that articles averaging around 1500 words perform better in search results. (SOURCE)
2. Not Making Your Articles Shareable
There are several content marketing tricks to help make your blogs and content more shareable, most of which are easily implemented.
Here are a few ideas to try:
- Use "Click To Tweet" to make great quotes and stats easily shareable
- Include relevant infographics that support your content (original or curated)
- Create custom eye-catching graphics to feature the title of your blogs and that will capture referral traffic from the Pinterest audience
- Use social sharing buttons to make sharing easy
3. Spelling, Grammar or Language Mistakes
The occasional typo is excusable but it's game over if your readers realize that poor language, spelling and grammar mistakes are the norm for your content.
Even if you are an excellent writer, we all make mistakes. You should always have at least one more set of eyes review your content. This might even mean hiring an editor to do your proof reading. If you don't know an editor, a quick Google search will reveal many great websites where you can hire one for a reasonable rate.
4. Lack of White Space & Sub-Headers
People tend to quickly scan several articles a day and they get turned off by run-on sentences and paragraphs that span entire pages.
Keep your paragraphs short, limiting them to 2-3 sentences and be generous with your use of sub-headers within articles. It helps people find the part of the article that they are most interested in and helps readers breakdown the various parts of your topic.
5. Writing For You Instead Of Your Audience
There is a difference between the topics you find interesting and the topics that bring you closer to your target market. A frequent content marketing mistake I see by newbies is writing content that's more interesting to their industry than their audience.
Make sure you know the difference!
6. Your Titles Suck
A while back I looked at my worst performing articles and tried to figure out what went wrong. The problem always came back to the titles, not the content.
It really opened my eyes to the importance of a great headline. Your title will control the outcome of your content, no matter how good your content is.
5 Resources To Help Improve Your Titles:
- How To Write Magnetic Headlines
- 10 Sure-Fire Headline Formulas That Work
- A Simple Formula for Writing Kick-Ass Titles
- How to Create Headlines That Go Viral With Social Media
- How to Test Blog Post Titles With Twitter
7. You Don't Showcase Your Best Content Often Enough
When you get a piece of hit content, you need to milk it for what it has to offer and do so strategically and swiftly. This is especially important if your content is related to current news that could quickly lose its relevance.
Here are a few ways we showcase our best content:
- Use the WordPress Popular Posts plugin for WordPress to automatically display popular content on main pages
- Re-sharing legacy content via social networks
- Running ads with your best content to capture new fans and email subscribers
- Mentioning your great articles in other articles when the topic is relevant
8. You Don't Speak To One Person
Don't write as if you are addressing a group. Always write as if you are speaking to one person: your ideal client. One individual reads your article at a time so it should be written to speak to them directly.
Notice how I've been talking you this whole time? Yes, you. Behind the screen!
9. Writing In The Wrong Tone For Your Audience
Speak to your audience in a language and tone they understand. For example, if you're an engineering firm but your clients are not engineers themselves, you'll need to simplify the language you use to make sure it resonates with your ideal prospects and clients.
If your target market is engineers, you don't want to hold back on the technical details since that's likely what they are looking for.
10. Sticking To The Same Old Thing
Everyone has their own style, but that doesn't mean you can afford to become boring and predictable. The classic blog is great but try mixing it up by adding some infographics, podcasts, how-to tutorials and case studies into the mix.
11. Not Matching The Medium To The Market
Whether you choose to release text-based content, video or audio, make sure the content marketing medium you select is one that makes sense to your audience. If you know that most of your audience is based in the city and likely travels up to an hour each way to get to work, a podcast might be a great option.
If your audience is primarily engineers, long and detailed documentation isn't as likely to scare them away. Experiment to find the best content medium for your audience.
12. Missing Out On Opportunities To Show Up In Organic Search
SEO as we used to know it might be on its way out, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't consider optimizing for keywords that will increase your odds of getting found in organic search results.
If you aren't yet confident in your SEO abilities, check out this free Beginner's Guide To SEO from the crew at Moz.
13. Killing Your Content With Too Much SEO
Since I love to contradict myself in the same article, I want to mention a word of caution against overdoing the SEO part. Make sure your content is not just loaded with keywords, quality always must come first!
14. Making It All About You All The Time
Two of my most popular recent articles don't even have a single word of advice from me. They are two articles I wrote collecting the opinions of other experts, to get their perspective on a specific topic.
This resulted in having several influencers promoting my article...because I was promoting them. It might seem simple but if you haven't tried it, you're guaranteed to be missing out on a lot of great content as well as traffic opportunities.
15. Sharing In The Wrong Places
Focus all your energy on the primary areas where your audience goes to find content. You may love Instagram but if that's not where your audience is, no one will find it. Even if you audience does use Instagram, you won't get traffic from it since Instagram doesn't allow active links within posts!
This is why it is so important that you understand both your audience and the social media platform you are sharing your content on.
This applies to any social media groups you belong to as well. For example, if you were going to share your post in a LinkedIn group, make sure that group is going to find your content relevant, valuable and - most importantly - that they are your target audience.
What Content Marketing Mistakes Are You Seeing?
Whether you're struggling with your own content marketing or seeing the mistakes of others, what things do you think hold great content back the most? Let us know in the comments below.