You’ve made your list, but now it’s time to check it twice. No, not THAT list. With 2020 only a few short weeks away, now’s the perfect time to double-check your 2020 content marketing list. Whatever your strategy, we’ve put together this list of common content marketing mistakes to help you ensure your content marketing strategy stays off of the naughty list.
What rang true in 2020 is still content marketing best practices in 2022! We’ve updated this post with a few more content marketing pitfalls you need to avoid in 2022 and 2023.
Top 9 Content Marketing Mistakes You Should Avoid
#1: Not Investing in Content Marketing
A simple, but costly mistake, if you’re 2020 marketing strategy and accompanying budget doesn’t include any content marketing, time to rethink your plan. Content marketing is far more than just a simple blog and the occasional piece of gated content. It’s any piece of consumable media (blogs, videos, podcasts) your company publishes.
Content, regardless of its form, is how your brand can engage with your consumer base. Each piece of content you deliver is another opportunity for your brand to share its story and how it can better improve the lives of your customers.
#2: Not Sticking To A Strategy
If you’re going to invest in content marketing, be sure those content marketing pieces are built around a centralized strategy. A good plan not only dictates what type of content you publish and how often you publish it, but it also identifies how your content will benefit your audience.
If you’re creating content around a central topic, but have no idea why it’s time to revisit your content marketing strategy and ensure it’s aligned with the needs of your customer base.
#3: No Content Marketing Goals
As a note, this should be part of your strategy, but brands often overlook it. It can be a bit tricky, but you need to create goals around your content marketing program. How else are you going to be able to measure the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts?
At a minimum, your goals should:
Be Attainable: No, it’s not reasonable to expect a 10,000x ROI from content marketing
Be Quantifiable: Get some metrics and KPIs in the mix
Be Aligned: Your content marketing goals should ladder up to your general marketing and revenue goals; otherwise, why invest?
#4: Not Sticking To A Regular Schedule Over The Long Term
Raise your hand if you have a colleague or boss that soured on content marketing once the first (and only) blog post you publish didn’t produce a paying customer. Does this sound familiar, “I guess content marketing doesn’t work for us!”
Too many brands make the common mistake of giving up on their content marketing after publishing a few sporadic content pieces. Don’t be those marketers.
Proven content marketing success comes:
- When you stick to your strategy (as long as it’s a good strategy) over the long term.
- When you publish your content pieces on a regular schedule.
That schedule could even be monthly; the point is to be consistent.
#5: Not Creating Great Content Your Audience Finds Valuable
There is a gluttony of “good” content in the market. The world doesn’t need any more. If you want your content marketing efforts to be successful, you need to move away from good content.
Instead, strive to produce great content that your audience finds valuable. Teach them something, provide them with insight, answer questions, leave the content world more enriched with every piece of content your produce.
#6: Focusing Too Much On Selling.
Speaking of producing great content, leave the hard sales schtick out of most of your content pieces. Your customers are smarter than you give them credit for, and they can pick up when a post goes from “Hey, this is super useful.” to “Oh, here’s where they start selling to me.”
The second that happens, they’ve tuned out of your content and are moving on to the next part of their day.
The one exception, it’s okay to produce sales-oriented content if it’s geared towards individuals that are actively going through your sales funnel.
Which brings us to mistake #7…
#7: Only Creating Top-Funnel Content
Most content marketing is written to promote brand awareness. Get a keyword. Write a piece of content for that keyword. Have Google rank your site for that keyword. Get discovered. Get a customer. Repeat.
Yes, content is a vital part of driving awareness and filling that top-level of the funnel. But it’s not the ONLY part of the funnel that content marketing can affect.
From consideration to decision-making to retention and loyalty building (and even reselling), your brand should be producing content that aligns with each stage of your customer’s journey.
Again, the key is to provide value. Different topics are more helpful to a customer, depending on where they are within their journey with your brand.
#8: Creating Content That Doesn’t Account For Your Audience’s Preferences
Content marketing is more than just blog posts. We know blogging is (dare we say) easier, it’s a writer and a bit of graphic support. Maybe a researcher and a copy editor if you’ve got the resources. But, brands need to understand, not every audience WANTS to read a blog post.
Some prefer more design, others video, still others audio. Audiences have preferences, and if your content marketing plan doesn’t account for the known preferences of your target audience, you’re content marketing efforts will never reach their full potential.
#9: Not Having a Content Amplification Strategy
By far, one of the biggest mistakes we see made by marketers regards their amplification strategy (or lack thereof). Brands collectively spend a small fortune on producing content but many don’t reserve any resources to help share and distribute that content so it can be seen by an audience.
The thought: that SEO and “free traffic” will bring the eyeballs. When the traffic fails to materialize, they throw up their hands and say, “Content marketing doesn’t work!”
You need to have channels in place to amplify your content.
The most common include:
Paid Social Advertising: Publish your content to a social profile and pay to promote it.
Paid Native Advertising: Use a content advertising platform like Outbrain to increase awareness of your content.
Email: Send new content to your subscriber base.
Organic Social: Publish your content organically to your social profile
Fan Advocacy: Leverage the social-sharing power of your biggest fans to amplify your content by sharing your best pieces of content onto their personal social feeds (Curious about fan advocacy, see it in action here.)
The strongest amplification strategy uses a mix of all of the above to ensure every piece of content is getting the attention and awareness it needs to be successful.
#10: Not Diversifying Your Content
If you’re only producing one type of content (e.g., blog posts), you’re missing out on the opportunity to reach a wider audience. Try diversifying your content mix to include things like:
- blog posts
Remember, the individuals that make up your audiences all have their preferred content. By creating a mix of different content types, you can better ensure that your message reaches your audience on the platform that best works for them.
11. Not Measuring Your Results
If you’re not measuring your results, you won’t know what’s working and what isn’t. Without this data, it’s impossible to make informed decisions about your content marketing strategy. Be sure your content marketing efforts have a measurement strategy and framework in place. At a minimum, your measurement framework should include benchmark and historical measurements for the following KPIs:
- Engagement Time
- New Traffic/Returning Traffic
- Traffic Source
- Conversions Generated/Assisted
- Social Signals – sharing/commenting/etc.
12. Not Updating Your Content
Finally, one of the most common content marketing mistakes is not keeping your content up-to-date. If you’re still promoting a blog post from two years ago, but it’s likely that the information is no longer accurate. Regularly updated content shows your audience that you’re committed to providing them with the latest and greatest information.
Case in point, this blog post right here! We wrote the original post back in 2019 and are now updating it for 2022. Not only does this help to freshen up the post, it also re-introduces the post to search engines where it can rank and potentially outperform the original post.
The End Is Near – Are You Ready?
January 1 is only a few weeks away. If you want to hit the content marketing ground running, then now’s the time to shore up any weaknesses in your plan. This includes having a plan in place to amplify all the great content you’ll create in 2020.
Don’t have an amplification strategy yet? We can help.