Are you ready to stop taking one step back for every two steps forward when it comes to your content marketing strategy?
That’s essentially what you’re doing when you fall into these common pitfalls and make simple marketing mistakes. You’re sabotaging yourself.
There are plenty of challenges already – we don’t need to further hinder our own progress.
The pandemic turned the marketing world on its head and sent marketers scrambling, but it also opened new opportunities in the world of content marketing.
Google search traffic took a massive leap from a pre-pandemic average of 3.6 billion searches per day to more than 6 billion daily after March 2020. And that trend isn’t showing any signs of slowing down yet.
Are you successfully tapping into that surge of organic traffic?
Or are you stuck in outdated marketing methods that are taking a toll on your goals?
12 Easy Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
Pre-pandemic, content marketing was already seeing a revolution as more and more creators began to realize the benefits and ROI.
But the pandemic shone a spotlight on just how valuable an asset organic search traffic really is.
Compared to organic social media, search engine optimization drives more than 100% more traffic.
To help you successfully tap into that resource and maximize your content marketing strategy, here are some easy mistakes to avoid.
1. Not Publishing Blog Content on a Regular Basis
Having a website is good.
Having an active website is better.
But having an active blog on your website is critical.
Companies that maintain a blog produce an average of 68% more leads per month than companies who don’t blog.
Adding a consistent blog into your content marketing strategy will provide benefits such as:
- Increased organic web traffic.
- Content that can be easily shared on social media.
- Exposure on search engine results pages (SERPs).
If your blog isn’t a high priority, it needs to become one.
I’ve been blogging once a week on my site for months now, and it brings 90% of our new customer revenue for the month on average. Definitely a worthwhile investment!
Factor blog posts into your content scheduling calendar to make sure you stay on top of consistently publishing new content.
2. Ignoring Email and SMS Marketing Opportunities
Email has been around for what seems like forever – but it’s not going anywhere. Worldwide, 319.6 billion emails are sent and received daily.
A successful email marketing campaign can help you build a massive subscriber base, which means keeping your brand and service fresh in readers’ minds.
The average ROI for email is $42 for every $1 invested, although top performers report achieving an ROI greater than $70 per $1 investment.
You can improve your email open rates by:
- Optimizing your emails for mobile.
- Adding multiple CTAs throughout your content.
- Using custom social media links.
- Writing strong subject lines.
In addition to email marketing, you should absolutely be taking advantage of SMS marketing, as well.
Consider this: The average open rate for emails is 20%, which is peanuts compared to the average 98% open rate for text message marketing campaigns.
3. Failing on Social Media
Social media channels provide a variety of free ways content marketers can reach a wide audience, but too often we misuse the innovative tools at our disposal.
By not understanding the audience, not paying attention to our competitors, and not engaging with social users, we’re missing easy opportunities.
Scheduling posts on the most effective social sites will do wonders for your reach efforts, as will looking at how your audience interacts with your content to ensure you’re posting what they like.
If you don’t have a social media presence, you need one.
If you do have one and you don’t post consistently, now is the time to start.
4. Forgetting to Proofread
Sounds too simple, right?
But for those of us with an eye for grammar and spelling, mixing up words like there, their, and they’re is more than annoying – it’s an insult to the modern education system.
Another all-too-common mistake is the misuse of apostrophes, it’s versus its, and failing to make subjects and verbs agree in a sentence.
Use a spellchecker. Try the Grammarly browser extension. Have another set of eyes (or two) look over your content and check for grammar mistakes. Invest in a copyeditor before you publish.
There really is nothing more unprofessional in online content than misspelled words or random apostrophes.
5. Not Utilizing SEO Best Practices
The combination of ever-evolving practices, changing algorithms, and new AI technology present their own challenges in the world of search engine optimization, but that’s no excuse to be unfocused.
By ignoring relevant content development, failing to target long-tail keywords (or worse – using the outdated practice of keyword stuffing), and allowing content to become stale, you’re missing out on top rankings that could have been easy to snag.
6. Pushing Quantity Over Quality
Bloggers have been trending toward more thoughtful, credible, well-written posts for a while now.
In 2014, the average amount of time spent writing a blog post was 2 hours and 24 minutes. In 2020, the average time was 3 hours and 55 minutes.
Producing a large amount of content that is cranked out quickly isn’t going to be high-quality, and that’s what SEO is all about – useful, relevant content that is well-written, organized, and easy to read.
7. Publishing Irrelevant Content
Even if you’re taking the time and effort to produce well-written articles backed by credible sources and optimized for SEO, your content marketing strategy is going to fail if you don’t know your audience.
It can be a bruise to your ego, but it’s your readers, not you, who determine whether your content is good. You must cater to their preferences if you’re going to have any hope of viewers even clicking on your content, let alone reading and engaging with it.
For example, if you’re a guest blogger on a website about CRM software and the customer service industry, do you think that audience is going to be interested in an article about a new smoothie recipe?
When content developers take the time to understand their audience, they can then create quality content that doesn’t just fill a page but leaves a lasting impression.
8. Failing to Diversify Your Marketing Tactics
Have you ever heard the saying, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket”?
Well, don’t put all of your marketing resources into one tactic, either.
Marketers have so many different channels and strategies to juggle these days. Think of how many different tactics go into social media alone – imagery, text, web articles, captions, videos, user-generated content, interactive stories, infographics, etc.
Now factor in blogs and SEO, email marketing, SMS marketing, webinars, virtual and in-person trade shows, and the list goes on and on.
While you shouldn’t spread your resources too thin trying to manage every single marketing tactic on every available channel, you do need to diversify your approach and target at least a handful of different avenues.
9. Not Having Content Goals
Every content marketer should be looking to develop an awareness of their brand, drive traffic to their site, and create custom content for a specific audience.
But those KPIs are rarely achieved with blind shots in the dark. 65% of the most successful content marketers have been using a documented content marketing strategy. 56% have been relying on technology to analyze and understand their audience’s behavior and preferences.
Setting content goals starts with creating an audience persona, developing a keyword list based on their search terms, understanding the content they need, and writing in a style that appeals to your readers.
After that, you need a plan to find out how often to post and through which channels. Putting out blog posts will be a bit different from putting out tweets, but how often that happens depends on your audience and what their needs may be.
After all, content strategy is the foundation upon which all else is built.
10. Failing to Optimize for Mobile
How many times a day do you think you look at your phone?
If you’re like most Americans… the answer is a lot.
Just how addicted are we? Here are some recent statistics that may surprise you (or not):
- On average, Americans check their phones 262 times every day – once per 5.5 minutes!
- 52% say they have never gone beyond 24 hours without their cell phone.
- 54% of people say they panic when their phone battery is below 50%.
Based on these statistics alone, choosing to not optimize websites and online content for mobile users is a fatal mistake.
Mobile devices have completely changed the ways we connect, converse, and interact with our favorite brands.
Because of this, mobile users have short attention spans. They want quick snippets of content that get to the point and are organized with lists and headings so it can be easily skimmed.
11. Ignoring Customer Outreach
It’s bad enough when customers call to yell at your reps or send angry emails about their dissatisfaction.
But in the era of social media and customer expectations for immediate responses from brands, it’s become almost second nature for unhappy customers to vent their grievances openly on digital channels for everyone to see.
The 2020 National Consumer Rage Study found that customer complaints via digital platforms compared to phone or in-person complaints have tripled over the last 3 years. And since 48% of American consumers gauge a company’s worth based on their social media presence, that can pose a serious problem.
Ignoring those angry customers isn’t a good look for a company. Potential customers look for brand engagement, and if they see a lot of angry comments met with crickets from the brand, that’s a red flag that they shouldn’t spend their money on that business.
Likewise, remember that your reply is public, and it will be under a microscope, so choose your words carefully.
Your best bet is to answer with sincere concern that a customer’s needs haven’t been met, followed by an attempt to redirect the upset consumer off of the public platform and into a private channel such as email, DM, or a phone call where you can deal with the issue.
12. Not Tracking Analytical Data
If you’re going to create an efficient, high-performing content marketing strategy, a key component to success is circling back to look at the data.
Study your past campaigns to see which ones worked and which ones flopped.
What trends do you notice? What is the breakdown of your audience demographic?
Which platforms gave you the highest ROI? What type of content did your users engage with the most?
Use your data to measure the most important campaign KPIs to gauge their level of success, and then apply those lessons to your ever-evolving future content strategy.
Avoid the Avoidable Marketing Mistakes
We’re all human.
Humans make mistakes. That’s not something to be ashamed of.
Failure can be a harsh but powerful teacher.
But knowing what not to do helps us make sure we stay on the right track so we can reduce our pitfalls and experience fewer setbacks.
- Content Experiences Are the New Content Marketing
- The 6 Elements of the Content Marketing Process
- Content Marketing: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide
Search Engine Journal composite featured image: piggu/Shutterstock; Sammby/Shutterstock