No matter which industry you turn to, content marketing is all the rage. Content marketing is favoured for its multifaceted benefits. It enables marketers to achieve more than one objective simultaneously; from boosting SEO and brand authority, to generating and converting leads. You’re likely already aware that the foundation of effective content marketing is to curate and create high-quality, relevant and engaging content. But it doesn’t end there. Despite your best efforts to prepare great content, the following most common content marketing mistakes can quickly stymie your efforts.
#1 Not Optimizing Content
If your attempts at content marketing result in preparing a lot of interesting content for your website while failing to take advantage of search engine optimization tactics, you’re missing out on one of the greatest benefits of content marketing––boosting your site’s organic SEO. All content should be SEO-optimized. That includes mobile optimization, which ensures your content looks attractive and reads enjoyably, regardless of screen size.
#2 Using Too Many Keywords
Of course, DIY marketers with only an introductory understanding of SEO can quickly get carried away and stuff their webpages and blog content with a smorgasbord of keywords. It may seem like a good idea, but it will certainly backfire! Google hates it and your site could be penalized. So instead of optimizing your content with as many keywords as possible, focus on just one at first. Work up to occasionally infusing your content with up to three carefully-chosen long-tail keywords that are most relevant to your audience, and to the focused content pieces you are writing.
#3 Straying From the Core Focus
Effective content marketing has to be focused and always on-topic. That means making sure that instead of meandering into numerous anecdotes and sidebars, each piece you publish (on your blog or elsewhere) has to be written with a singular topic in mind. Every sentence you write needs to be connected to that topic. The best content is written with the same conversational tone and terminology that’s used by your target audience. Don’t use terms and jargon that are foreign to them.
#4 Irrelevant or Boring Headlines
Even the greatest content is worth little if no one actually reads it. A headline can make or break your content marketing efforts, either drawing your audience in or prompting them to look right past it. Spice up your headline with numbered lists, questions, and pain points that are relevant to your audience. And whatever you do to be creative, make sure your headlines are super relevant to the content they precede.
#5 Missing or Poorly Placed CTAs
What good is your content when your audience doesn’t know what action to take next? Call-to-action hyperlinked text or buttons are vital in successful content marketing, particularly if you are looking to use your free content as a lead generation tool. Poorly placed CTAs, of course, are almost as bad as missing buttons, keeping your audience from accomplishing the actions you wish them to take. CTAs can be used to drive your audience to another piece of related content, to subscribe to your newsletter (if they haven’t already), share your content with their friends, or visit your website to learn more about a product and purchase it. Every piece of content you prepare is incomplete without a well-placed call-to-action.
#5 Failure to Utilize Social
In the realm of content marketing, social media is incredibly valuable. It helps you distribute your long-form content to larger audiences, and allows you to post shorter snippets that further engage potential customers to visit your website for the whole story. Not taking advantage of the content distributing features of social media is a significant missed opportunity.
#7 Failure to Utilize Email
Similarly, you should always use email to promote your new content to existing contacts in your database. Thanks to its ease of use and low cost, email remains among the most successful digital marketing tools available. It’s an easy way to make sure that your newly published content gets in front of the right people at the right time. And email marketing tools such as MailChimp make it even easier.
#8 Promotion over Value
The beauty of content marketing is that it counteracts increasing audience cynicism toward more traditional promotional methods. But if your content is just an extended ad for your brand, you will fail to take advantage of that benefit. Instead, make sure that each piece of content you publish adds actual value for your readers by piquing interest, answering pain points, and building credibility. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes: what would compel them to give up a few minutes of their time to consume your content. The answer is almost always “to solve a problem, answer a question, or achieve a goal.”
#9 Poor Timing and Consistency
To be successful in your content marketing efforts, consistency is key. Instead of publishing one A+ blog post every month, try to go with at least one a week. The same rings true for social media, where publishing more than once per day per network will increase your engagement. Time your content right, and the likelihood that your audience sees it will increase drastically. If this kind of content frequency sounds time consuming, that’s because it is. This is one of the top reasons why business owners decide to hire a marketing team to takeover their content marketing efforts for them.
#10 Not Having a Plan
Finally, delving into content marketing without a plan is akin to going on a wilderness trek without a map, tent, or compass. Assuming you’re not Bear Grylls, you’ll probably agree that you’re more likely to enjoy a successful outcome, and come out alive, if you’re prepared for the task at hand. Without a well-developed content plan, you risk losing sight of your marketing objectives, aimlessly publishing content that’s inconsistent and irrelevant to your target audience, and missing out on opportunities to monetizing your efforts. Even if you’re already a few years into your content marketing efforts without a plan, take the time now to prepare one, or get some help from a professional marketing team that specializes in content marketing. Doing so will ensure every piece of content you prepare is actionable and supports your overall marketing objectives. Refer to our free Simple 5 Step Guide to Developing a Content Marketing Strategy that will help you get your own solid content plan underway.
Content marketing has the potential for immense success, but it takes time and requires thoughtful and deliberate planning––as well as an understanding of what works and what doesn’t––to be effective. If you’re wondering where you’re at with your current content marketing efforts, or would like help in making your content marketing more effective, contact our team at McAllister Marketing today. We’re a full service marketing company that specializes in content marketing and strategic services that help businesses grow by attracting, converting and retaining more customers. Want to learn more about how to make your content marketing efforts a success? Learn more.