5 Common Content Marketing Mistakes and How to Fix Them
By Jonathan Ebenstein, Managing Director, Marcum Strategic Marketing
Content marketing is one of the most effective marketing strategies for securing qualified leads. But it ain’t easy. Simply writing a monthly blog and posting it to your website won’t meaningfully increase your company’s search rankings nor will it position you as an industry expert.
Why? Because there’s already a lot of content out there.
And by a lot, I’m talking like a crazy, insane amount. In fact, as you read this, millions of blogs have already been written and posted today alone. And if you think your business is special, unique and thus somehow exempt, try doing a simple Google search for an article topic idea. My guess is you’ll find dozens, if not hundreds, of results.
What this all means is that it is hard – and getting harder – to rank for your business’s specific keywords and reach your target audience.
And if all this doesn’t make it a daunting enough task, we are finding companies committing the same content marketing mistakes again and again – preventing them from achieving the results they want.
Before we get into the mistakes, let’s first quickly touch on the benefits of content marketing.
Benefits of Content Marketing
- Increases your websites search engine rankings.
- Drives relevant traffic to your website.
- Generates qualified leads.
- Builds your domain authority.
- Improves brand presence and reputation.
- Helps connect with customers and grow audience engagement.
- Drives sales.
- Answers your target audience’s questions.
- Builds trust.
- Meets customers growing expectations for high-quality, consistent content from their favorite brands and business partners.
Mistake #1 – Failing to know the type of content your target audience wants
Your customers and prospective customers come to you because they are seeking expert advice. They have specific questions, challenges, and needs – the solutions to which you provide. If you want them to find you, perceive you as the industry expert/leader and buy from you, be sure to focus your article topics around their biggest needs.
Here’s a few of tools and strategies to help you develop the type of content your target audience wants:
- Facebook’s Ads Manager Tool can provide you with key information and data along with the content that appeals to your audience.
- Sparktoro is a great software tool that crawls tens of millions of social and web profiles. It will identify where your audience is “hanging out” online, what they are reading, watching, following and sharing. With this information you can identify the topics most important to your audience and develop a content calendar that will be well tuned to your audience’s interests.
- Make sure your content is search engine optimized for the keywords you want to rank for.
- Include articles in a monthly or quarterly e-newsletter and promote gated content and special offers through CTAs within the e-newsletter template.
- Post and share your content on all relevant social media platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
- Link to the new article from other posts and pages on your website.
- Utilize paid advertising through Facebook retargeting features, promoted ads on Twitter or sponsored content on LinkedIn.
- Add social sharing buttons on the same page as all your content. This will allow people to easily like and share you content with all of their connections.
- Flip posts to Flipboard. Flipboard is a social media platform that collects and aggregates news from across the web for its readers. Content can be flipped onto Flipboard and then accessed by your followers directly from the Flipboard site.
- Promote internally within your company by sending employees a link to your article and asking them to like and share it on the various social media platforms.
Put together a list of the questions most frequently asked by your customers. Each one of them will make for a great blog article and is guaranteed to be a relevant topic of interest.
If you have given any well-attended webinars or seminars, the content from each slide or series of slides will make for great article content. If there’s enough, you can turn the articles into a series and eventually into an e-book.Sign Up to Receive Our Latest Blogs, Newsletters and Event Notices
Mistake #2 – Not incorporating various forms of content
Articles with heavy blocks of text and zero images to break them up make for intimidating reads that often result in readers abandoning the article before finishing it. Some people just immediately opt for the back button at the mere sight of an all-text page.
The majority of people scan articles, looking for visual markers like charts, bulleted lists, infographics, videos and screenshots.
According to a recent study, 41.5% of marketers reported that their infographics saw more engagement than their other forms of content.
Why? Because images are much easier for readers to digest than large chunks of text, and they make the article look more interesting and inviting to read.
Try converting an old article or your next blog idea into an infographic. Below is a great example that illustrates (literally) what I’m talking about:
Mistake #3 – Lack of evergreen content
To reinforce the importance of using images to break up heavy blocks of text, let’s use a Google screenshot to explain what evergreen content is.
Your goal when writing evergreen content should be to create a piece of thought leadership that will hold its relevancy and drive traffic to your website for 3-5 years.
That doesn’t mean you should stop writing on essential current news and events. Providing updates and insights on latest trends, products, technologies and regulations that affect your customers and their businesses are important. The issue with timely news articles is that they only drive traffic to your website for a few days or weeks. Evergreen articles can drive traffic for years.
The chart below does a great job illustrating what evergreen website traffic looks like in comparison to time-critical content.
So, if your goal is to drive relevant traffic to your website and capture quality leads, evergreen content is the way to go.Secure a Free SEO Report to Find Out the Most Important Keywords for Your Business
Mistake #4 – Having zero (or not enough) calls to action (CTAs)
Calls-to-action (CTAs) are promotional links used to grab the attention of potential leads in an effort to convert them into customers. They are a critical component of the success of every content marketing lead generation process.
Recently, we were speaking with a company in the professional services space that had been writing and posting more than four articles a month for the last six months. Their content development process followed all best practices, and traffic to their website had increased meaningfully. However, they were frustrated as to why they weren’t securing very many leads.
The answer turned out to be pretty simple: There were no CTAs pushing site visitors to a desired endpoint (e.g., a special offer or downloadable piece of content) where they could be converted.
HubSpot does a great job capturing leads from all of its blog posts:
And here’s a shameless example using our own Guide to Generating Inbound Leads.
CTAs can be used all over your website to help convert site visitors into qualified leads.
Mistake #5 – Failing to promote your content
To me, the hardest part about content marketing is the writing. It’s a labor of love to be sure, but I find the emphasis falls more on the side of “labor,” and I know I am not alone. So now that you’ve put the time, effort and resources into creating a great piece of content, you want to make sure that you’re promoting it to your target audience.
Now, you might be thinking, “Isn’t posting it to my blog page enough?” Not by a long shot.
Zero promotion = Zero site traffic = Zero Conversions = Angry boss.
When it comes time for content promotion, consider the following:
Wrapping it Up
We’ve had tremendous success over the years driving inbound traffic and securing leads through content marketing. There’s no question it works, and companies across all industries are incorporating content into their marketing strategies. In fact, 53% of corporate marketers have made article creation the focus of their inbound marketing efforts.
But remember, successful content marketing requires more than just randomly writing and posting articles. Be sure to avoid these five most common mistakes:
- Failing to know the type of content your target audience wants.
- Not incorporating multiple forms of content.
- A lack of evergreen topics.
- Not having CTAs.
- Failing to promote your content.
If you’re looking for help developing and/or implementing a strategic content marketing campaign that connects with your audience, boosts website traffic and secures more qualified leads, email Jonathan Ebenstein.