The 5 Most Common Content Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
You work hard and put a lot of effort into your content — but is your content working equally hard for you? If you’re guilty of making these common content marketing mistakes, the answer is likely “no.” Here’s what you need to know about righting these content marketing wrongs.
Content Marketing Mistake No. 1: Creating Content Without a Strategy
Without a comprehensive, consistent content strategy, your ship is sailing without a navigational device. You’re likely developing content based on short-term, disparate goals — or worse, no goals. Without clear goals in place, you have little chance of success.
Try this: Document a content strategy.
A documented content strategy can govern your content across multiple channels. It should include:
- Goals and objectives
- A description of your target audience
- Details about your distribution plan
- Measurement tactics
Your goals should ladder up to your organizational goals and help your business incrementally grow. Include details about your audience’s behaviors, content consumption habits and communication preferences. Make sure your distribution plan allows you to meet your audience where they are and makes your content easily discoverable. You can track many metrics; choose those that will tell you definitively whether you’ve met your goals.
Content Marketing Mistake No. 2: Not Putting Your Audience First
Who is your content intended for: your audience or your organization? Is your content customer-centric or organization-centric? If your internal stakeholders’ preferences are put ahead of your customers, your audience is unlikely to find value in your content, and your readership, visitors or viewership will suffer.
Try this: Let audience research guide your content.
Take a deep dive into your audience. Create user personas to understand their concerns, preferences and goals. Take a fresh look at your content program from the eyes of your customers or audience, and adjust accordingly. Ask yourself questions like:
- Is the diversity of my audience represented in my content, and is my content inclusive?
- Am I publishing my content on channels and in formats that are accessible and familiar to my audience?
- Does my content serve my interests or my audience’s? Am I providing my audience value or conveying a message that benefits my organization?
Content Marketing Mistake No. 3: Not Using Data
Without a plan to measure the your content program’s effectiveness, you’re leaving dollars on the table. Without data, you can’t make improvements or ensure you’re delivering results. And what doesn’t get measured often ends up on the cutting-room floor.
Try this: Use data to create and improve your content.
Focus on delivering measurable results that align with the goals and objectives set out in your content strategy. If your goal is to grow your database, track lead generation and the content that is driving new visitors to your platforms. If you want to increase registrations or appointments, use unique phone numbers or URLs to determine which campaigns convert at the highest rate. Replicate your successes, and modify the efforts that don’t produce.
You can even use data to determine what your content should be about. Mine your site’s search information for common queries to understand what your audience is curious about. Look for trends in the most-clicked, most-liked, most-shared and most-read/watched/streamed content to uncover topics that resonate with your audience.
Content Marketing Mistake No. 4: Creating Content in Silos
It’s not uncommon for many teams in an organization to create content without visibility into one another’s work. This often leads to duplicate efforts, inefficiency and mixed messages from the customer’s point of view.
Try this: Establish an interdepartmental content process.
Start by conducting a comprehensive audit of all the content you are producing—what’s working, what’s not and what’s missing. Determine a process for producing content that gives each content producer a voice and visibility. This may take the form of a regular meeting, shared calendar or content planning document. Look for opportunities to repurpose or reuse content across teams to save time and reduce duplication. Project management tools can offer collaboration and line of sight.
Content Marketing Mistake No. 5: Publishing Content Inconsistently
Your email newsletter was great—that one time you sent it. Your blog looked active and engaging—the first year you launched it. If you’re delivering content inconsistently, you risk losing readers, viewers, visitors and customers.
Try this: Focus on quality over quantity.
Create a regular cadence that can be maintained over the long term based on your current resources. That may mean shuttering entire channels you don’t have the time or team to maintain properly. Prioritize your efforts where your audience is most active and engaged. Creating a content calendar can help you stay on track.