As content marketers, we all make mistakes as we learn and grow our businesses.
Sending emails and ads to the wrong list, typos in content, incorrect information, it all happens. These types of mistakes can sometimes require an apology or some type of readjustment with your customers. Sometimes they go completely unnoticed, at least by most people.
But while mistakes happen, there are steps you can take to minimize or prevent content marketing mistakes. All you need is a little bit of forethought, a little bit of extra time and care when creating content, and a whole lot of focus.
Giving each of the areas of your content marketing just a little bit of your focus and attention can make a huge difference in the success of each effort.
Common content marketing mistakes that you can avoid
Low impact headline
There is just no excuse anymore for a low-impact, lame headline. Information is all over the Internet about how to write a good headline, how to grab attention with a headline and the importance of creating a good headline. All it takes is a quick search for some examples to use as a starting point, and you could have killer headlines that make people want to read your content.
There are plenty of suggestions—some backed by data depending on the distribution method—about what makes a good headline.
For example, you are writing an article on how to improve conversions. A not-so-interesting headline would be “How to improve conversions”. A better headline would be “How I improved my conversions from 10% to 40%”. This would intrigue interest in the readers just be reading the headline.
You should always read newspaper headlines to get inspiration.
Here are few of the common agreements about what makes a good headline:
- Less than 70 characters (for search results readability)
- Less than 12 words
- Most people read the first three and last three words, so make these count
You may check the emotional value quotient of your headline using this headline analyzer tool. A high score means a good headline.
The headline EMV score of this article is 62.50% which is considered good.
Low quality content
Just as you would move on from reading an article that is incoherent, or does not read well, or one that is filled with spelling and grammar errors, so will readers.
One of the most egregious content marketing mistakes you can make is to publish content that is low quality. Not only will you frustrate the reader, you will send the message that you just don’t care enough to pay for quality writing or to proofread your work.
You should also keep in mind that Google penalizes low quality content by dropping the ranking of the page. See what Google has to say
One more important thing is the flow of the content. You need to create a story around the topic or if you can’t, the flow of the article should be correct.
This in turn will lead to judgements about how you run the rest of your business and likely to a lack of trust between you and your intended audience. So, spend the extra time and/or money and give your readers your very best.
Points to note:
- Avoid spelling and grammar errors
- Flow of article
Suggested: Copywriting tips to make your content better
Low value content
When you publish a piece of content, whether it’s an email, a newsletter, a blog post or a Tweet, one of the best ways to ensure it has impact on your readers is to provide them with value.
Know who you’re sending to, segment your list, target your audience, and know what they want. With a little research you can figure out what your customers are asking for, what their problems are, and you can provide solutions through your content. Pay attention to what they are saying and to what they are asking and address these in your content.
Don’t inundate them with fluff because you have a content schedule. Make sure you’ve taken the time to flush out properly what it is you want to say to your readers and what it is you can offer them. Just asking for their business or an action on their part, without offering value for them, is not going to cut it.
Similarly, don’t waste good content by forgetting to add an effective and compelling call to action (CTA). You may have crafted a wonderful piece of content, one that provides great value to the reader, that connects and makes them want to do business with you. But, if you don’t take the time to make sure they know exactly what to do next, you may have made them feel good but wasted your effort and did not get a sale.
A good CTA is:
- Action oriented
- Easy to find
- Easy to understand
As with headline writing, there are plenty of examples around the Internet of how to write an effective and compelling CTA. Take some time to do a little bit of learning and give your content marketing efforts a real fighting chance to perform as you intend.
Not publishing regularly
If you’ve built any size audience, you know it takes hard work. You have probably spent day after day creating content to get people to sign up, buy your product, or otherwise engage with your business.
This is great, but it never ends. You can’t take a break from content marketing or guess what? Your audience will go elsewhere. This is pretty much a guarantee, at least for a large portion of your hard-won audience. You likely have a core group of customers who will not look elsewhere just because you are not engaging regularly, but most will begin to notice competitors who are actively engaged and helping them to solve problems.
” Consistency is the key
Your customers want to hear from you, want to know that you’re still thinking about them. This is why it’s important to create and stick to a content marketing strategy that forces you to publish regularly.
One of the best ways to ensure your content marketing has an impact is to make sure that you know your audience. Blanket emails to all of your contacts may be effective when your company is small and getting started, but fairly quickly you’ll want to be sure you are segmenting your lists.
You wouldn’t want to send product update content to potential customers, just as you wouldn’t want current customers to read a blog post focused on sales. They would likely feel it’s a waste of their time.
Segment email lists, segment blogs, segment Twitter accounts if you have a large following. Always make sure you know who you are talking with on any given platform.
When you are distributing content on multiple platforms, things can become complicated quickly. This is one of the common content marketing mistakes today. Taking some time to study each platform you are distributing on will help you to provide the best content for the audience on that is active on that platform.
Starting from scratch every time
Another common content marketing mistake, especially for beginners, is starting from scratch with each piece of content every time. In fact, this is why most people have a hard time with content marketing: they find it’s too time consuming.
The antidote is known as repurposing. There are lots of ways to repurpose content, not only with the intent of saving time, but of also reaching new audiences who may not have seen your messaging the first time around. Here are some ideas:
- A simple reshare or repost of an older piece on the same platform
- Promoting existing content on one platform through another
- Updating existing content and reposting
Repurposing allows you to reach new audiences and more people. Just be sure not to over-repurpose or your readers might see you as lazy.
Using the wrong format
There are three basic factors to consider when you are choosing how to present your content. First, the content itself. Is it full of data and statistics? Is it news? Is it an announcement? Second, what is the story you are trying to tell? And lastly, what is the delivery method of your content?
The answers to these questions will help dictate the format. You may want to present data using an infographic or show off a new product feature using a 10-second video. Whatever you choose, it’s important to know also how it will look on the chosen distribution medium. These things are always changing, and always need some forethought.
Not having a strategy and goal
To focus on success, you must have a documented content marketing strategy. The content marketing world is so large, scattered, and noisy that without a strategy you can quickly become lost and discouraged.
It doesn’t have to be an elaborate plan, and again, there are plenty of samples and guides available online that will get you started.
- Decide what your goals are and how to measure them
- Define your audience
- Know what your competitors are doing
- Choose your platforms
- Plan your content schedule
Maintaining consistency and improving effectiveness requires some upfront planning to make sure everyone is on the same page and excited to implement the plan.
Focus your way to success
Making one or two of these content marketing mistakes may not kill your business, but they definitely are not helping it grow. Now that you know some of the common pitfalls, you can take a little time and focus on tightening your strategy and setting your goals.
Most importantly, be sure you are measuring the impact of your efforts so you can make informed decisions about what direction to go in the future. The data should be specific, not as general as an increase in sales. You should know if people are reading your content, clicking on your links, or commenting and reacting to your articles. Today, this data is easily available to anyone with even the simplest tools.
Is your business making any of these common content marketing mistakes?