Are you creating content but failing to get the results you hoped for? Although it takes time to achieve results from content marketing, you may also be making some basic mistakes that could be holding you back.
During my time working as a digital copywriter, I’ve noticed the same content marketing mistakes crop up repeatedly. Correcting them may involve extra work at first but in the long run it will be worth it because you will start seeing results.
Here are ten of the most common content marketing mistakes I’ve come across:
1. Not Creating and Documenting a Content Strategy
Strategy is one of the most commonly neglected parts of content marketing and yet it is also arguably the most important.
A 2017 study by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) found that only 40% of the marketers they surveyed in the UK had a documented content strategy, while 30% had no strategy at all.
The CMI has previously found that marketers who document their strategy are more likely to achieve their goals. So, before you create any content, you need to document a clear strategy that includes details like the what, why and how of what you’ll be creating.
2. Failing to Define Clear Goals
It’s not enough to have a vague notion about what you hope to achieve. Your content strategy should include clearly defined goals. Do you need more leads, or sales, or are you trying to increase customer loyalty?
Your goals will help you decide what type of content you need to create. If you are after customer loyalty for instance, then sending out an email newsletter is a great way of reminding customers what you can offer them.
Having clear goals will also help you measure how successful your content is. Without measuring your success, you are bound to be confused about whether your content is working or not.
3. Letting Marketing Campaigns Dictate the Content You Produce
You may find your business is in a never ending cycle of creating content for marketing campaigns. The work may even feel incredibly worthwhile but the danger of this approach is that it can lead to lots of unfocussed content.
You are likely to overlook some of the content your customers would find valuable, such as information on how to solve problems that relate to your product or service. Or, you may fail to write content on topics people are searching for because you never take the time to do the research.
Content for marketing campaigns may also be too sales orientated, which is likely to be a turnoff for customers who are wary of advertising. The content is also likely to have a shelf life. A proportion of the content on your site should be evergreen, meaning it should cover topics that will remain relevant over time.
4. Working in Silo
Working in silo can make creating content harder than it needs to be. You need to engage with other parts of the business because they are likely to have valuable information you can use. For instance, your customer service team will have information about what questions your customers routinely ask and you could create content to provide answers for them. What better way to create content customers actually find useful?
Your PR, social media and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) teams can all help you drive traffic to your content. After all, you can’t rely on your audience simply stumbling across your content – you need to promote it.
Engaging with your stakeholders early on is an essential part of making your content marketing process operate seamlessly. By getting their feedback early on, you can make sure you don’t miss any crucial points and this will help you have a smooth sign-off.
Collaborating with other teams doesn’t have to involve sitting in endless meetings, or having a constant stream of emails to deal with. There are countless collaborative working tools like Trello and Basecamp which make it easier to work with other people, even if they are based remotely.
5. Treating Images as an Afterthought
Great imagery will make your content more attractive to people who land on your website. It is also vital for standing out on social media.
The look and feel of the images you use will help define your brand’s identity and whether or not your customers develop an affinity towards you. It is therefore worth investing time and money in creating a bank of good quality imagery for your business. It will also save you spending time on searching for appropriate images every time you publish new content.
If you can’t afford to have lots of professional pictures taken for your site, there are lots of websites like Pexel and Unsplash that have images that are free for commercial use.
6. Not Learning from the Past
You can save yourself a lot of time and effort by periodically evaluating how your content is performing.
You may spot patterns like particular types of content which perform well. Or, you may find that promoting your content in certain channels is more successful than others. Evaluating your content’s performance will help you focus on actions that produce results and can help you avoid repeating mistakes.
7. Writing New Content from Scratch Every Time
Although adding new content to your website will help your visibility in search engines, you don’t have to write new content from scratch every time.
As part of your content process, it is worth revisiting old pieces of content that were successful and either updating them if they need it, or repurposing them. You can repurpose content into a new format that makes it more appealing, or shareable, like an infographic. Repurposing is also a useful tactic when you are short of ideas or time.
8. Assuming More Is Better
The idea that content is only valuable if you have lots of it, is often the reason people believe they simply don’t have the time to produce it. If you are constantly churning out content, are you sure it is valuable? Is it offering useful information, or at least entertaining people?
Creating too much content may also overwhelm your customers with information they don’t need. The marketing technology brand Contently recently put together an infographic that shows just how much content we consume every minute nowadays. In just one minute:
- Facebook users like posts 4,166,667 times
- Instagram users like posts 2,430,555 times
- 300 hours of video are uploaded
- 347,333 tweets are sent
So, if you want your content to get people’s attention, focus on quality rather than quantity.
9. Not Creating a Content Schedule
You may have the best intentions of consistently publishing content on your site but find you never get round to it. Creating a schedule of topics to write about will help make writing part of your routine.
Research the types of topics which are likely to be valuable to your readers and aim to cover a good breadth of subject matter, including any seasonal content you need to create. You can use sites like Reddit, Answer The Public and Ahrefs to help you come up with content ideas.
10. Not Creating Templates
Creating page templates to present similar content in the same layout will make it easier for customers to use your website. For instance, it could help them compare different services.
As you think through the layout of your template, you should consider how it will help customers find the information they need, or complete an action such as booking an appointment.
Using consistent layouts will also make your website look more professional and make it easier for you to write new content because you’ll already have done part of the thinking beforehand.
The Takeaway Message
Many content marketing mistakes can be avoided by spending time planning, so you don’t end up with unfocussed content that may prove to be a waste of time. If you recognise that you’re making any of the mistakes in this blog post, and would like some help, why not contact us on 0808 278 5103, or leave a comment in the section below?