Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there came the words of world-famous Seth Godin:
“Content marketing is all the marketing that’s left.”
2021 is outside, and it seems that most marketers agree with him today: 82% report actively using this strategy, up from 70% of last year. The primary goals are brand awareness as well as increasing engagement and sales.
Indeed, content marketing is next door to the only method to grow the audience and build trust by giving value through original content assets.
The problem is that most specialists make the same content marketing mistakes when organizing and publishing those assets, much less analyzing their performance and overall conversion. According to experts from a popular writing company Fresh Essays, one of the biggest temptations for a content marketer is to “spy” competitors, see what they do, and try the same.
Here are the seven biggest ones to avoid for the success of your next content marketing campaign.
1. Using Others’ Content Ideas and Strategies
One of the biggest temptations for a content marketer is to “spy” competitors, see what they do, and try the same.
Yes, competitor analysis is critical for analyzing the market and deciding on the strategy to align with during your campaign. But the terrible blunder would be to steal content ideas from other platforms and publish the same information on your resources.
Not only is it considered copyright infringement, hurting your ranks in search engines, but it’s also a signal to readers that you can’t provide them any value, copying and republishing the content of others.
They can even compare two texts with applications like Copyleaks and see what exactly you copied and paraphrased. In case of duplications, it hurts your brand credibility and reputation.
Generate original and valuable content assets for your target audience. And remember about the originality of images or other visuals in your content, either:
To prevent duplications, create custom images or remove background online and optimize them the best you can.
But original content is not only about making it plagiarism-free; it’s about giving your audience something genuinely new and that brings them value from the perspective of your brand: a case study, a more comprehensive list of strategies, you name it.
To stand out and get noticed, you need to craft something that Rand Fishkin calls “10x content:” 100% unique, well-designed, high-quality, trustworthy, and solving a problem comprehensively.
A palmary example of such content assets is Brian Dean’s case study on the Skyscraper Technique:
Yes, it’s time- and resource-consuming, but it’s the only way to make your content work.
2. No Strategy and Definite Goals for Each Content Asset
Over seven million blog posts go online every day, so you can’t just produce yours and expect it to bring the desired attention and action.
For a content marketing campaign to convert, think of two factors: a strategy and its tactical execution. But, first and foremost, you need to specify the goal for each campaign you are going to launch.
Let’s say your SMART goal is something like, “increase the revenue from monthly subscriptions by $15,000 within six months.” You calculate how many leads you need to reach that goal and start thinking of a strategy to engage those people and actions (tactics) you’ll take for that.
Thus, your strategy might be gaining insights from the audience and tailoring your content to meet their needs, depending on their customer journey stage. Tactical execution here might be spending a few hours per day on forums and actively participating in discussions to get those insights and specify the goal of every content asset you plan to create.
3. Hypothetical or Too General Buyer Personas
All content marketers know the critical role of a buyer persona for business success, but many continue working with the tenuous description of their target audience.
And that’s probably the most embarrassing content marketing mistake on this list.
For your marketing campaigns to convert, it’s essential to generate content engaging the right audience. And that’s impossible to do if you don’t know who these people are and what they want to get from communicating with your brand.
A good practice would be creating at least one buyer persona to represent your target customer. But do your best to think like an expert:
Don’t limit your audience research with demographics and other general factors like age, gender, education, location, income, etc. Focus on their psychology and behavior instead:
Above is a standard template for designing a buyer persona. As you see, there are character traits, motivations, and frustrations helping marketers understand what influences that person’s decisions and ambitions.
Qualitative research helps get the information about your prospects’ fears, pains, motivations, hopes, desires, and aspirations; with this data at hand, you’ll produce more engaging content, writing specifically to the person your brand wants to reach.
Crafting content for a particular person and incorporating your brand voice into it will help you connect with prospects and influence their buying decisions more likely.
4. Believing That Content Publishing = Content Marketing
“Content is king, but distribution is queen, and she wears the pants. It’s not nearly enough to create a good piece of content: You have to understand how content spreads across the web.”
These words of Buzzfeed’s VP of Agency Strategy Jonathan Perelman nail the nature of content marketing best:
It’s a huge mistake to publish content for the sake of publishing. Even if you know your prospects inside out and produce excellent content assets to engage them, you’ll unlikely make a significant impact when focusing on publishing rather than distribution.
For a content marketing campaign to succeed, try following the 80/20 rule: Spend 20% of the time creating valuable content and 80% of the time promoting it. After all, it’s content marketing, not content creation or publishing.
Do your best to convey content to the target audience through various marketing channels: email, social media, blogs, forums, and others. Collaborate with influencers, network with experts in your niche, be active in community sites – share your content wherever relevant.
5. Ignoring SEO
Those in the niche know about a kinda “covert war” between SEO- and content marketing specialists: While the former are convinced that content itself doesn’t work, the latter insist that “SEO is dead.”
At the same time, somewhere deep inside, both agree that one can’t exist without another:
With millions of content assets written every day, you can’t focus solely on SEO to increase reach. But focusing strictly on regular publishing of 10x content pieces won’t affect your rankings without proper optimization, either.
Today, SEO is not about keywords and backlinks only but stellar content formatting and optimization with user search intent in mind. It helps you increase rankings and attract a broader audience to your unique content.
For that, consider some SEO techniques when crafting content for your marketing campaigns:
- Do keyword research to understand if users look for a topic you’re going to cover in content.
- Include target keywords.
- Optimize Title, H1, and H2 tags accordingly.
- Add external links.
- Optimize your content for search intent.
- Remember about meta descriptions and alt tags for images.
- Consider voice search when writing your content.
6. Not Analyzing Content Performance
The catch is that some specialists don’t consider content a part of their business, creating it without thinking about how it connects to their revenue. As a result, a significant content marketing mistake appears:
Spending budget on content, companies don’t think about its measurement and don’t analyze the performance of their efforts. But why invest in content if you don’t even know what works?
So, do your best to build a system to measure and analyze your content performance. Thus you’ll know if content marketing trends work for you and what is worth your further investments.
How to analyze content performance?
The best way would be to review it with your marketing team every three months and consider the metrics like:
- Changes in total website traffic, leads, and sales
- Content types that drove the highest level of traffic, shares, and leads
- Marketing channels that engaged the most visitors and caused the highest ROI
7) Poor Content Quality
Let’s face it:
How many blog posts from those you see every day could you classify as high-quality and truly valuable?
Users aren’t that naive today: They can distinguish between a content asset written for nothing but quantity or SEO and comprehensive content that brings value.
Content marketing experts admit they continue facing the same mistake from their colleagues:
Publishing content with little research, relying on outdated statistics, misinterpreting facts, and offering no value or insights. Poor readability, grammar mistakes, and copying others are also here.
Another mistake is to consider content nothing but blog posts. With so many content formats available, you can reach a broader audience and increase engagement if repurposing content assets for different platforms.
Consider creating infographics, podcasts, whitepapers, case studies, checklists, webinars, videos, and other content types that add value and educate your audience. To ensure it’s original and valuable, try tools like Copyleaks plagiarism checker and create your content with web writing tips in mind.
As Rome wasn’t built in a day, your content marketing won’t be perfect and efficient once you decide to use it for user engagement and conversion.
Mistakes are inevitable, but what’s important is to consider the experience of others, learn from them, and analyze your own drawbacks to improve for even more remarkable content marketing success.