Top 19 Worst Content Marketing Mistakes (And How to Fix Them)January 15, 2018
If your blog isn't growing as it should, then you might be making one or more of these biggest content marketing mistakes. Learn how to fix them now.
Do you wonder why your content marketing isn't working?
Do you post regularly, share lots of content but you still don't see any growth in your traffic, engagement, and sales?
If the actions you take don't seem to work as expected, something may be off with your content strategy.
But there's no need to panic.
There are some common mistakes both beginners and experienced marketers do when marketing content. With few small tweaks to your strategy – your business will be up and running in no time.
Are you making these worst content marketing mistakes, too? Here's how to fix them.
You are developing a business – it's perfectly normal to think about the sales. This is the sole purpose of having a business, selling and getting the money.
In order to generate those long dreamt sales, you have to first put your brand out there for people to know it, interact with it, and finally becoming customers. This is why you create content, to generate leads, don't you? Yes, but…
One of the biggest marketing mistakes content marketers do is thinking they can reach the top by continuously praising their brand whenever they get the chance.
The thing is, exclusively branded content, focused just on selling won't do much for your business.
People don't want to hear you endlessly talking about yourself. If all you do is push your products in front of the audience without caring about how they feel about it and what their want, say goodbye to any possible prospects.
Evan paid advertisements marketers started aiming for a more personal connection with the customers. Most of the ads (especially video ads) you'll see nowadays are resonating with people on a deeper level, triggering their emotions, rather than just displaying the brand in a good light.
How to fix it: Take some time and think about your audience. What are their needs? What struggles do they have regarding your industry? How can you help them solve those problems? How can you educate them, teach them, inform them?
Give people information, insights, educate, and entertain them. If you focus on adding value for your customers rather than screaming your name out loud all the time, you will see improvements both in engagement and sales.
Another common mistake in marketing is knowing too little, if not at all, about the audience.
The first step in developing a content marketing strategy is knowing who you are trying to sell to, finding the target audience.
Not knowing your audience equals not having quality content to deliver. Successful businesses give solutions to existing problems.
Creating content for marketing purposes means creating custom content tailored to your audience. If the content doesn't respond to audiences' specific needs, why would they want to see it?
Without customization, there's no way your content marketing strategy will be successful.
How to fix it: Make a thorough research on your market. This shouldn't be just a task you do superficially in a couple of minutes. Put serious effort into it.
You probably heard about creating a buyer persona. If so, you should take this step seriously.
Some ways you can collect insight into the audience are:
- By conducting some surveys – surveys asking a couple of questions about users' behavior and their journey is a great way of generating specific insights
- Directly speaking with your customers over the phone – it's easier to get people's attention and conduct a mini-interview over the phone rather than through emails
- Getting feedback from customers – you can set up pop-up surveys asking users why they didn't close the sale, what weren't they pleased with, what problems they faced
If you are in the beginning and don't have a broad audience yet, you can collect information from social places your target market access often. Places like Quora, Reddit, niche forums, Facebook groups, blogs' comment sections are full of insightful data.
You post your well-developed content on social media channels and, what next?
Do you pay attention to how the audience reacts to your content?
Do you listen to what they have to say?
If you just post and go back to creating more content without taking time to acknowledge how people react to the already shared content, you act on one of the worst content marketing mistakes.
According to a study conducted by IBM, 63% of customers don't feel understood by the brands they love. And that's a normal feeling if the brands don't hang around to listen what customers have to say.
Don't be one of those brands.
How to fix it: Listen, reply, ask. See what questions users are asking, respond to them. Even ask them more questions. The feedback you get from your audience is the most valuable resource you can have. Your content marketing strategy should shape up based on what people need and enjoy. What better way to know how to develop your strategy further if not through direct cues from people you're trying to sell to?
Your content marketing may not be working because you haven't narrowed your target market enough yet.
Having a broad audience is a content marketing mistake to avoid even for big brands, not to say for a small business trying to step up.
If you try to grab everybody's attention without caring who they are, there's no wonder the results don't show.
Mixing too many different topics in one place is also a big no.
Just think about it.
Let's say you sell customized clothes for parties, running shoes, and homemade jelly. How are you gonna market all of them in the same place, in front of the same audience? I love homemade jelly, but I don't run and I don't buy customized party clothes. After a couple of tips about how to care about new running shoes popping on my Facebook feed, I'll be out and gone finding a different jelly supplier.
A bit extreme. But you get the point.
Don't mix up topics that are not related.
How to fix it: Define your purpose really well. What products or services are you able to deliver? What is your brand's core message? For example, an important question to ask can be What is the vibe your brand wants to induce? If the vibe is more playful, funny, and fires creativity, then your target market should be among younger people working in creative fields. If contrary, the vibe you want is more robust and serious, your focus should be on people that are on the contrary more serious and professional.
Remember how I said earlier that customers are not feeling understood?
This is can also happen because many content marketers forget they are not fish netting customers from the sea, they have to catch them one by one.
The mistake they make is not focusing on a single person when writing, they speak in a too general voice. This won't make individuals feel like they are heard, cared about, and taken seriously, hence – they will not be interested in your brand.
How to fix it: When writing, don't think of yourself like you are on a stage talking to an entire crowd. Instead, imagine you are talking to a specific person. Picture yourself helping out a friend understand a certain topic he's struggling with. Always have a single person in mind when marketing content, don't think general.
Content marketing is all about the people.
Yes, when creating content you also have to optimize for search engines and such, but the main focus should be on people.
Perfectly optimized content that doesn't add value for people is content that will lay rusty somewhere on the internet without ever seeing the light of the day.
The primary content marketing mistake beginners make, and even some more experimented content marketers, is forgetting that the aim is to engage and entertain people. They overlook the fact that humans have feelings, and they react based on those feelings.
It's not enough to just be active with random content people don't want.
How to fix it: Remember that humans are the ones who buy from you, not social platforms, not search engines – humans. People have sprightly reactions when their emotions are stimulated. Positive emotions like happiness, curiosity, creativity, inspiration do best in terms of engagement levels. Aspire to trigger peoples' reactions through engaging content.
A great quantity of content will do nothing for your marketing efforts if this is all that it is.
It's right that you have to feed your audience and to constantly be active both on your website and on social channels. Without continuously delivering information and engaging, how are you gonna improve your reach, boost your followers' list and grow your business?
But – there is a huge BUT. The quality tops the quantity.
Lots of business owners and content marketers fall into the trap of obsessing about how much quantity they have to deliver and have no time left to analyze the quality of the content.
Let's say that you have three social networks where you want to improve your game. 3 posts on Facebook, 10 posts on Twitter, 20 posts on Pinterest – all in one day, every day. Doesn't it feel overwhelming? Yes, it does. What do you do then? You will most likely start posting random content that “may be right” without focusing on the most important part – its quality.
Avoid this terrible content marketing mistake of obsessing over “how much” and focus on “what” instead.
How to fix it: It is better to make sure the content you share adds value to your audience and your business. Start with a low quantity of content, but which you're sure is amazing enough, and grow from there.
Most content marketers forget that the content they created some time ago is still there, and it can be repurposed after a while if it's evergreen content.
Why not take advantage of something that can save you lots of time, can be valuable and can be even more qualitative than the first time?
How to fix it: Review your older blog posts and find evergreen content that didn't lose its insightfulness. Don't run away from rewriting and adjusting. If there are outdated pieces of information, or new techniques were introduced in your niche in the meantime update those articles. Add missing points and new approaches.
Instead of letting great pieces of content laying with no purpose, clean them up and make them shine.
Wrote an article, published it, shared it on social media, and that's all?
This is a common content marketing mistake encountered more often than it should.
Many people complain about not having enough content to share around and fill their marketing calendar with, but still, they miss a great opportunity.
How to fix it: One single article can generate dozens of content pieces to share over social platforms. Snippets from the article as Twitter posts, insights from the content delivered as a nice visual, short videos generated from the article.
There's this idea rambling inside some content marketer's head that your business should focus solely on its own content.
You want people to recognize your brand so everything must be about yourself, right?
Curated content means staying up to date with what is new in your niche and with all the great content that pops up on a certain topic. This means sharing the best of the bests with your audience. Don't you think they'll see you as an authoritative figure in the industry if they have a reliable source of information from you?
They'll associate your brand with knowledge in the field and authority.
Besides, you can easily fill the gaps in your content marketing calendar.
How to fix it: Subscribe to newsletters, follow the most influential people in your niche, look for content on Reddit, and set up an account on Feedly so you have all the best content in the same place. Curated content will help you increase your followers and gain more recognition.
With so much competition online nowadays it's not hard to get lost in the crowd.
In almost any industry there are many other businesses selling similar services or products to yours. And most use similar approaches when it comes to marketing.
So what makes your business unique and differentiates you from the crowd?
How to fix it: You have to genuinely understand your business and its philosophy. Maybe you are a funny person. If so, you can add amusement to your content marketing strategy. Or maybe you enjoy drawing so you can exemplify the information you deliver through illustrations.
A great example of uniqueness is the approach Danavir Sarria turned to. He made a comic illustrating how to write native advertisements in an insightful and fun way.
Blog posts are great for driving traffic to your website, setting yourself as an authoritative figure in your niche, and providing prospects and customers with insightful information.
Content is still king. No one can debate that.
But using just written content and turning your back to other types of content and the benefits they can bring to your business equals unnumbered opportunities missed. And is one of the worst content marketing mistakes you can do – not taking advantage of the content.
If you use social networks to grow your business (if not, what are you waiting for?) you probably noticed how brands share all kinds of content on these platforms. It's not random. They use mixed content because it's what people want.
Most people don't have the patience of continuously reading text after text without nothing sparking things up. It gets boring. And people don't like to get bored.
How to fix it: Mix things up by adding other types of content for an effective content marketing strategy.
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You probably established on which channels to focus your marketing efforts on. But do you share the right content for each platform?
Don't follow the common marketing mistake of sharing the same content on all social networks.
For example, Facebook is a great place to share educational and informational content, while Instagram is great for sharing high-quality photos and quotes.
How to fix it: Learn which are the best types of content for each social media platform and develop your content marketing strategy starting from there.
This is in the top worst content marketing mistakes made both by beginners and by experienced marketers.
Before starting to create content and see results, you have to first know what results you are after.
When you ask most business owners what they want to achieve from their marketing tasks you'll mostly hear “I want more followers” or “I want better engagement on social media”. These are not called goals.
How will they know when they achieved their goal? What are the metrics they use to measure their strategy? How will they know it's time to change approaches? – They won't.
A thorough plan which will become successful is a plan which you can strategize, implement and measure.
Instead of “I want more followers”, how about “I want to gain 2k more followers until the end of March”?
How to fix it: Think SMART.
S – Specific M – Measurable A – Assignable R – Realistic T – Time-based
Needless to say, this should be the first thing you do when you decide to start an online business – developing a content marketing strategy.
Still, lots of people skip this step and jump right into creating content and sharing it all over the place without taking a moment to think about what's the plan.
A successful business means strategy.
Want to know why some business thrive graciously while others fall down without even a slight chance of competing for the crown? In most cases, the answer is – strategy.
If you have quality content, post regularly, are active on social media, but your content marketing strategy is not working, well – revise your strategy.
How to fix it: First things first, set goals (SMART goals) than start analyzing what tasks you have to complete in order to achieve those goals. If the tasks are too broad, divide them into little tasks that are easier to follow. Don't forget that any step you make should be a purpose behind.
Taking time to plan what you are about to post and when you'll post is essential if you want a successful social marketing strategy. Not only it will give you quality content in advance, it will also save you lots of time.
If you don't put together a social media calendar and use an automation tool to schedule your social media posts you'll reach a point when you're out of content to share leaving no other option than sharing random posts you find in the moment.
How to fix it: You can find lots of social media calendar templates online which you can use for starters. Take a look at what items your social calendar should include, find the best approach to suit your needs, and start planning.
Creating content for marketing is the first step of marketing. But how about after you implemented the content marketing strategy you've worked to put together?
How will you know if it works?
Developing a content marketing strategy and implementing it's not enough. If you want a thriving business that's continuously growing you won't keep on with the same strategy forever.
Strategies need work and adjustments. Things change fast on the marketing front, and what works today, tomorrow may not work anymore.
Many marketers just implement stuff that should work then take a superficial look at what is going on, without seriously analyzing the performance. One thing to avoid in marketing – taking measurement superficial.
How to fix it: The best way to measure results is through a measurement program which takes place on a monthly basis. List out your business goals then get to analyze the key performance indicators (KPIs). If you are not familiar with which KPIs are most important to track based on the nature of your business and your goals, you should follow a simple plan for measuring marketing effectiveness.
When it comes to SEO, there are two common marketing mistakes. Better said, there are two extremes that most content marketers embrace.
It's even too much SEO, or not at all.
If you don't pay any attention to SEO at all, your business will have a lot to lose as implementing SEO in your marketing strategy will boost the traffic on the website.
The majority of websites' traffic comes from search engines. If your page it's not optimized, it won't be displayed in search results high enough for searchers to stumble upon it and click.
On the other hand, there are the marketers who dedicate most of their time to SEO, over-optimizing everything, and forgetting about the importance of content.
SEO and content are some kinds of “enemies” in many people's eyes, a battle going on for some time now between the two of them. You can see lots of “SEO vs Content” over the internet.
In reality, SEO and content go hand in hand. They complete each other. One brings users to your website, and the other one catches users' interest and closes the deal.
How to fix it: Avoid falling into either of the extremes. Implement the minimum SEO tips and tricks for beginners your time allows to make your pages rank high in search engines. But don't let SEO implementation take over your content's quality.
For many business owners, diving into content marketing can be a bit scary as it's a vast field, which takes some time to master.
Making your way to the top is not easy. Marketing itself is not easy. But you don't have to let yourself discouraged if your start is not brilliant.
I'll be true to you. You probably won't shine in the beginning.
And talking about writing content, give it some time. Content writing is not easy as it implies lots of aspects you have to consider like the tone you address yourself with, using the right words in the right place, being able to come up with content in any situation, regularly finding fresh topics to write about and so on.
Creating great content takes some practice to master.
How to fix it: Just start and pave your way to the top. There's no easy route. You have to try, fail, change your approach, and try again. This is how you learn, this is how we all learn. Even if your content isn't at its best quality yet, get feedback, recognize your flaws and improve your skills where needed.
Most important – don't be afraid to try and fail. This is the only way to learn how to successfully market your business. Every great content marketer you see now has failed at some point.
These listed above are the most common marketing mistakes both beginners and experienced marketing do in the process of developing a strategy.
It's better to recognize them from the start as it could save you lots of lost time and money.
Now that you know which are the worst content marketing mistakes faced most often, it's time to revise your strategy and make some adjustments.
With a well thought content strategy, your marketing efforts will result in a flourishing business in a continuous state of growing.
If you have more tips, suggestions or you faced other marketing mistakes you want to share with us, feel free to leave a comment below.