5 common mistakes to avoid in content marketing

After weeks of brainstorming and preparation, you finally launch your content marketing campaign – and it falls flat. You and your team wonder: Did something go wrong? 

Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Even the best of us make mistakes, and what’s important is identifying what they are, and how to fix them. 

1. You didn’t have a strategy (or you didn’t act on it)

Content marketing can be seen almost as if preparing for battle. Trying to get noticed in a sea of good content is akin to entering a war zone. You need a good “battle plan” or strategy, and you also need to actually carry out this plan. 

The thing with content marketing is that there’s a lot of content being generated every minute across the entire internet – you can’t just publish stuff and expect people to give it attention. You need a plan to direct eyeballs to your content and get it the attention it deserves. 

A good starting point for a plan is figuring out what goal you want to achieve from your content marketing campaign. Something along the lines of, “monthly revenue by $5000 in 2 months”, and not “making $2 million in revenue in a year”. 

In short, something realistic. Once that’s been figured out, you can then work backwards to determine what you need to reach that goal. 

On the flip side, you can’t sit down and draw up plans all day long. A strategy is only effective if you act on it. Don’t worry about whether your content is going to be good enough or not – if you never put it out there, you won’t ever find out.

2. Content that only comes in one flavour

Heard of the saying “Content is king”? In reality, it’s closer to “Content is made of many kings” – and variety is key. 

In this day and age, just pushing out blog posts alone won’t suffice – most marketers create about one piece of content each day, but this content is highly varied. It can be image based, audio, written or videos. 

Some examples of online content are:

  1. How to guides or “DIY” (do-it-yourself)
  2. Videos (short form or long form)
  3. Infographics
  4. Podcasts
  5. Images (photographs or illustrations)
  6. Webinars

You’ll reach a wider audience with more varied content – research about would appeal most to your target audience, and then factor in your strengths when it comes to creating that content. 

For example, your target audience really likes videos and podcasts – but you’re not that great at podcasts. Focus on putting out high-quality videos instead of sub-par podcasts.

3. Focusing only on SEO

Back in the old days – which is not really too long ago, SEO was pretty much the main and most cost-effective way to reach a wider audience. 

If you focused on the search engines and had a regular content updating schedule of about two times a week, you could get quite a following. This made many content marketers zero in on SEO and get tunnel vision.

Now, the search engine ranks are a fierce, uber-competitive battle, and with the sheer amount of content being posted every day, just gaming SEO isn’t enough. A regular content schedule doesn’t do much to affect your rankings, if at all. 

The best way to get attention is to do something different to make your brand stand out. What’s different? It would, of course, depend on your brand. 

Continue using SEO to improve rankings, but remember that it’s also about users now – appealing to your audience will grow your reach more than just fighting for ranks.

4. “Meh” content

If you’ve subscribed to a bunch of blogs or follow content-driven websites, how many of their posts would consider “great”, or of value to you? Readers can tell when something is written just for SEO or clickbait. 

What’s worse than writing just for SEO? Writing a piece of content just to meet a minimum word count or something similar. If you write stuff just for the sake of having content, then you won’t win anyone over and might actually drive people away in the process. 

One single blog post of high quality is going to trump over ten blog posts of “meh”, so focus your energy on making one great post and promote it. 

Your priority should always be creating something good, and then the other stuff such as SEO and the like comes later.

5. Not targeting your target

If you do not understand who your target audience is, results will be disappointing, no matter how hard you push your content. Just imagine Red Bull creating content for librarians when their target audience is made up of sports and adrenaline junkies. 

Targeting “everyone” is like taking a shot in the dark. Having a general audience will not bring your desired engagement because people who are interested in your products may not get to see them.

You need to start off your content marketing on the right foot – by defining your audience first. Identify their demographics, the type of person they are – including attitudes, preferences and tendencies. 

The better you define, the more closely you’ll be able to focus your content on reaching the audience most likely to convert. 

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