Content marketing is an incredibly powerful tool. In fact, it's rightfully considered by most marketers to be the foundation of every successful inbound marketing campaign. However, not everybody understands what content marketing is and what it consists of. Content marketing is a long-term strategy that requires diligence and effort. Those who do not realize this often make a number of mistakes that may not seem to affect their marketing efforts over the short term, but could hurt them over the long-term. If you are making any of the following five content marketing mistakes, you'll want to correct them as soon as possible.
1. You don't understand the "content" part of content marketing
One of the biggest mistakes that marketers make is assuming that content is the same as promotional material. Constantly barraging your audience with information about products and services, discounts and sales, and new products and services is not what content marketing is about. You're not connecting with your audience when you do promotional marketing. There's nothing wrong with promotional marketing, as long as you understand that it is not the same as content marketing.
Content marketing is about figuring out what the needs of your audience are and meeting them. Content is used in order to provide helpful information and advice as a way to address their personal needs or problems. Promotional content does neither of these things.
A lot of high quality content will remain relevant for a long time too (as long as it's not based on current events). This means that when visitors stumble onto your blog, they'll have a whole archive of helpful content that they can dive into. This puts you in a good position in terms of capturing them as a lead. If all you have is promotional content, then visitors are going to find nothing but outdated sales pitches. They're going to assume that all you care about is sales and that you have nothing of value to offer, which shows exactly why good content marketing is a long term strategy.
2. You're not using keywords in the right way
Keywords can be quite tricky to figure out. In fact, some bloggers will just ignore keywords altogether, finding the concept too difficult and overwhelming to even attempt to understand. This is a huge mistake, as keywords are what will help bring in organic traffic. The keywords are what helps search engines like Google to identify your content and rank it on their search engine. When someone searches for that keyword, your content is more likely to pop up.
Of course, using keywords in the wrong way can be a death sentence to your content as well. Use keywords that aren't relevant and you'll bring in visitors that just don't care about your brand, which is pointless. Not to mention that these visitors will leave immediately once they realize your content is not what they are looking for, which hurts your bounce rate. Search engines will take note of this. Overusing keywords in a way known as keyword stuffing in an attempt to boost your ranking will also attract the attention of search engines, and not in a good way. It can cause your site's search engine ranking to be demoted. In some cases, you may be removed from search indexes entirely for a period of time. Both of these things are going to hurt your marketing efforts greatly.
3. You're not creating personable content
Remember, the people reading your content are humans. You're trying to engage them, not bore them. This means that you need to write with some kind of personality that readers can connect with. You don't want your brand coming off as some kind of stiff, artificial intelligence that's just spitting out content on an assembly line. In other words, don't sound like you're writing encyclopedia articles. Don't be afraid of using a humor, and address your audience by writing in the second person.
One thing to remember when writing personable content is to make sure the style fits your brand. There's nothing wrong with cracking a few jokes throughout your content if you're targeting young adults and you're selling T-shirts with funny logos on them, but if you're running a blog for a funeral service, you might want to hold back on the humor. But even then, your content should be personable; for example, if your audience is made up out of people that are probably grieving, then use a voice that is gentle and understanding.
4. You're talking but you're not listening
When writing your content, you need to keep your audience in mind. A lot of marketers will produce content they think their audience needs or wants, not what they truly want or need. You've got to do research in order to understand your audience, and this means listening to what your audience is saying.
You can find out what your audience is saying by engaging with them on social media, inciting conversations on the comment section of your blog by asking questions, and reading other blogs that are relevant to your brand and your audience, just to name a few possibilities. A good way to think about your content is to think of it as the product itself. In order to create a product that people want, you need to find out what it is they want.
5. You're attempting to do to your content marketing on your own
Writing up a blog post or two may not seem difficult, but that's not nearly what it takes to run an effective content marketing campaign. Consider all of the following tasks that it takes to effectively implement a successful content marketing strategy:
- You need to come up with ideas to write about
- You need to write the content
- You need to optimize your content for SEO using researched keywords
- You need to write content regularly, at least two to three times a week
- You need to promote your content
- You need to monitor your content's engagement
- You need to measure your content marketing using analytics
If you can do all of that in addition to handling your usual responsibilities, then more power to you. But if you're human like most marketers, then you're going to need to put together a content marketing team to handle all of these tasks, even if the team is made up of only three or four people.
Content marketing can be extremely effective at building brand authority, boosting brand awareness, building brand trust and loyalty, and generating leads. But if you're making any of these common content marketing mistakes, you're going to greatly damage the long-term results of your marketing efforts.