5 Classic Content Marketing Mistakes
(and How to Avoid Them)
Content marketing can be very time consuming, so as a small business with limited resources it is critical that you approach it correctly and avoid the common mistakes.
As content marketing continues to evolve and expand, so is the list of thing you can get wrong. To help clear the confusion, here are the 5 classic content marketing mistakes everybody faces at one point or another, and how to avoid them.
If you want to use content marketing to help grow your business? Then read this!
#1 Value Over Brand Publicity
When it comes to content marketing, it is easy to forget that the main purpose of content is to provide value. And not value for the business, but value for the reader.
Nobody wants to read a 3 page spread on why your car washing services are the best in the area. What people would read about however, is an article on how to clean the interior, how to take out a stain off the seat, how to keep that ‘new car smell’ for as long as possible.
For content to be successful, it needs to offer the readers value, it needs to be engaging and informative. Always remember the 80/20 rule: 80% of your content has to be informative and add value to the audience’s experience and only 20% promotional. The buzz words here are ‘engagement, ‘long-term relationship building’ and ‘trust’ not ‘selling’ or ‘promotional activities’.
The common objections to this approach are:
- “why would I want to give away my best tips?”
- “won’t people take my advice and do it themselves?”
- “but this won’t help bring in paying customers?”
Now whilst these objections seem reasonable, fundamentally the content is used to raise your profile and place you as the absolute expert at what you do. Whilst there will be some people who consume your content, then take a DIY approach, that’s fine as they wouldn’t have been a paying customer of your anyway. Plus they may spread your content to someone who will, or indeed recommend you to someone who does want to pay for a service.
#2 Quality Over Quantity
When it comes to good content, size doesn’t matter. Yes, really! It is irrelevant if your blog post is 600 words or 3000 words, if your video is 3mins long or 45mins long, as long as your content adds value to the reader’s life and experience, it is good. Alternatively, if your content is too promotional, too bland or simply recycled old content, well then you don’t stand a chance.
You sometimes see websites giving away huge e-books to draw in customers, but that’s too much. What would be more valuable is a short guide that delivers real insight and practical applications that deliver the reader some quick wins.
#3 Lack of an Objective and a Plan
When it comes to content marketing, just like with any other marketing activity, you need a proper plan and strategy. There is no point creating a blog post, an infographic or a video unless there is a purpose to them and they somehow tie to your overall business goal.
This lack of clarity and objectives will almost certainly lead you to an undefined failure and waste off time and resources. Don’t shoot in the dark, have a plan and make your content laser-focused.
#4 No Diversity
Many business owners wrongly assume that content marketing is all about blogging and writing articles. While, written content is a key ingredient to a successful marketing strategy, content comes in many other forms. It encomopasses video, podcasts, informercials, infographics, webinars etc. Look for different marketing channels where you can distribute valuable information. Think about where you target audience is.
Why is it important to diversify your strategy? Well, mainly because your audience wants you to diversify. Having only one channel to distribute your content limits your reach. People consume information differently and while some would quite gladly stick to your blog, other may prefer to listen to your content in an audio form, or watch a video or something more visual, look at an infographic. Don’t forget, you need to distribute your content to get it in front of your audience, just posting to your blog is unlikely to be a successful strategy in itself.
#5 Not Putting the Reader First
This is marketing 101 – always put the reader/customer/prospect first. Failing to do that will result in you losing your audience and potential sales faster than you can say ‘Bob’s your uncle’.
Many marketers fail at this for SEO reasons. The search engine world being as competitive as it is, it is easy to focus on keywords and phrases and cram them into a blog post to the point where it doesn’t even make sense. This is a sure-fire way to lose both readers and SEO points.
Instead, always create content with the reader in mind. What do they want to hear about opposite to what I want to say to them. Think about the audience’s experience seeing your content. Is it informative? Is it pleasing to the eye? Is it maybe too repetitive because I’ve jammed a major keyword 17 times in a post that’s 200 words long?
Think about these things and I can assure you that the more you focus on delivering value for the customer, the faster you will grow your business and influence!
So tell me, what’s your biggest content marketing problem?