Content marketing is a potentially humongous topic. We’re so jaded by traditional marketing practices, promoting your business by giving away actionable and insightful information served as a powerful deviation from what was the norm.
But after a while, everyone jumped on the bandwagon. Content marketing has become the new norm online, with companies of all kinds harnessing the relationship-building power of content.
It’s helpful to think of content marketing as an investment. And as with any kind of investment, you don’t want to waste resources in barking up the wrong tree.
So let’s get down to business – here are 8 potentially costly content marketing mistakes you should fix today.
1. Not Having a Data-Driven Strategy
Creating content without a strategy (or at least some semblance of a plan) is like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. Before you start creating content, you need to understand your audience and know precisely what they want; then you can use that information to come up with meaningful and valuable content ideas.
Market research is essential here. You need to know who your audience is, what kinds of content they prefer, where they’re present online, and where their thirst for knowledge overlaps with your expertise. Then, create a plan for your content with this information in mind.
Market research isn’t a “set it and forget it” thing – you’ll need to check in with your followers from time to time using surveys and social media polls to see if their preferences have changed. In marketing, the best decisions are always backed up with data!
2. Not Tracking Your Analytics
When you create content that’s tailored to your audience’s specific needs, you naturally draw them closer, forming a dedicated following. Making a note of how your content is performing is another important part of creating a data-driven strategy.
For example, your analytics may enable you to make concrete observations like “blog posts about X always outperform videos about Y”. This way, you’re listening to your audience’s tastes and needs and are able to take action towards what they want most.
Note how people are finding your content, what keywords they’re using to find your content in search, demographic information about your readers, and how each piece of content is performing in relation to the rest.
3. No Set Tone of Voice
Once you know your audience well, establish rules around the kind of language to use within your content to keep everything sounding consistent and on-brand. To craft a good tone of voice, you need to consider your audience’s tastes, be mindful of how your competitors use language and include a bit of good old fashioned self-awareness.
Consider how you want to be perceived by those reading. Do you want to be colloquial yet trustworthy? An excited meme-aholic? Reserved and professional? Reliable and responsible, but with glimmers of humour?
Setting rules around the tone of voice is essential, especially if multiple team members or outsourcees create content for you. Even if you create all content yourself, it can be helpful to have a few set ground rules!
4. Not Delivering on Promises Made in Your Headline
All of us who use the internet have been drawn in by clickbait in the past – articles that promise some kind of life-changing tip or a juicy nugget of gossip in their headline; but when you click through, the article provides nothing but the same old dross that’s trotted out ad infinitum elsewhere.
You spend valuable time and energy-consuming content, so if you’re left with nothing new to show for it, you naturally feel a little duped. When you promise your audience the Earth in your headline but fall short within your content, your audience will feel duped too.
5. Not Promoting Your Content
If a tree falls in the woods and nobody’s there to hear it, does it make a sound? In my scientific view, the answer is “yes”. But if you publish a new piece of content and nobody’s made aware of it – does it get engagement? The answer is “probably not”.
So carefully consider where your audience is present online and how you can continue to make them aware of your content; from as soon as it goes live to weeks, months, and years down the line. Social media and email marketing avenues are a great place to start getting the word out about content new and old.
If you’ve been creating content for a while, chances are you have a mixture of topical content with a short shelf life, and more “evergreen” content which will be useful way off into the future. Work out systems to keep promoting your older evergreen content for as long as that information is useful.
6. Not Keeping Older Content Up to Date
Though evergreen content may not go stale quite as quickly as other pieces, it’s still important to keep it up to date. From time to time, check all of the links are still working, ensure that any advice or “best practices” mentioned are still applicable and that the keywords and language used are still relevant to your audience.
People can be incredibly judgemental online, so one out of date nugget of advice or a couple of broken links can send them packing. You might even want to revisit more time-bound content and create new evergreen content around any timeless advice or lessons discussed therein.
7. Not Optimising for Search
We’ve discussed promoting your content to your existing audiences but how findable is your content outside of your sphere? If you’re not focusing on search optimisation, you’re probably missing out.
SEO is a huge subject, but here are a few tidbits to get you started with “on-page” search optimisation:
- Establish your target keywords for each piece and create an attractive, keyword-rich title and meta description.
- Aim for a keyword density of 1-2% within any written content. Use SEOBook’s Keyword Density Checker to check the densities within your text.
- Having a fast site is an important SEO consideration, so run your site through Google’s PageSpeed Insights for performance-related pointers. Discuss any potential improvements with your web developer.
- Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly test to see how your site performs on mobile. Discuss the results with your web developer.
- Register your site for Google Search Console to help you stay aware of how Google has indexed your site and to keep tabs on any SEO issues.
8. No Direction on What to Do Next
Consider what you want people to do once they’ve come to the end of your content. This may differ considering on what has been discussed or what format your content is presented in, but always leave the reader/viewer/listener with a clear direction to do something next. Never leave them at a loose end!
This doesn’t have to be a corny sales call to action but aim to keep them within your bubble wherever possible. If you’ve discussed a certain product of yours, end with a link to check out further information about it. If the content in question is an opinion or discussion piece, encourage people to leave a comment or continue the discussion with you through social media. You could even prompt your audience to share the content on social media with friends or colleagues.Don’t get caught out! Make sure you’re not making any of these #contentmarketing missteps... Click To Tweet
And in line with my own advice – please leave a comment! What content marketing mistakes do you hate to see out in the wild? Have you been guilty of any of the above missteps? Let us know below!