5 Common Content Marketing Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

1. Not Documenting Your Content Marketing Strategy 

The importance of documenting your content strategy cannot be emphasized enough. A 1979 Harvard MBA study asked students, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” The result: Only 3% had written their goals and plans; 13% had ideas of goals, but did not have them in writing; and 84% had no goals in their heads or on paper. Ten years later, the same group was interviewed again. The 13% of the class who had goals, but had not written them down, was earning double the amount of the 84% who had no goals. The 3%, however, who had written goals were earning ten times as much as the other 97% of the class combined. The same principles apply to a content marketing strategy. If you write down your content marketing goals and plans to achieve them, you are more likely to do so – in fact, 5x more likely.

2. Forgetting To Build A Business Case Upfront  

According to NewsCred’s own content marketing expert, Michael Brenner“Content marketing ROI starts with a strong business case.” Think about what you are trying to achieve. Are you trying to create affinity for your brand’s products? Are you trying to generate quality leads? Are you trying to engage new buyers with your brand? All of these things are key elements that must be decided upfront as the foundation of your content marketing efforts. Without this, your program will struggle to prove its value and ROI.

3. Ignoring Your Customers’ Questions 

The basic principle of content marketing is to simply answer your customers’ questions. If you’re not doing that, you’re not doing content marketing properly. Sometimes we see brands struggle with understanding what their customers want from them. For example, a health insurance company may think providing healthy recipes would be something their audience would find of interest. It’s possible, but it’s unlikely that a large number of people are looking for their next summer salad recipe from their insurance company. The type of questions they’d be asking their insurance company would be more along the lines of, “How do I choose between an HMO or PPO plan?” or “I’m getting married in a few months, how will my insurance change?”

Shopkeep, a point of sale system for small businesses, finds its blog content topics by going straight to the source. Paul Nugent, Shopkeep’s Director of Content, explains:

“We interview merchants constantly. We ask them their pain points, area of concern, what they would want in their inbox every week. We’ve learned there are subjects that are more compelling, even within the same industry. For example, layout design is more important for a full service restaurant than a quick service.”

With this strategy, there’s no doubt that what they’re publishing will be tremendously valuable to their customers.

4. Forgetting To Utilize What You Already Have 

According to Sirius Decisions, 60-70% of B2B content goes unused. Think of all that wasted time and energy. Instead of starting from scratch, take a look at what’s already been created and what you can reuse or repurpose. Salesforce has this system nailed down with a planned approach to transform a piece of content into multiple media forms. Salesforce content marketing manager Amanda Nelson explained her team’s system saying:

“We had one eBook called ’30 Ways to Create Your Social Media Plan.’ We wrote 30 blog posts detailing each piece. We create tons and tons of content from this central focus. By producing two eBooks a month, our content engine is constantly running.” 

Creating content can be expensive and time-consuming, so it’s in your best interest to recycle that investment in as many ways as you can

5. Talking Non-Stop About Yourself 

People can sniff out a sales pitch a mile away. Good content marketers know they can’t dupe their audiences, and don’t try to do so. Consumers today want content that educates or entertains them. Shameless promotional plugs turn them off. If you provide compelling content, they’ll be more likely to engage with your content — and share with their networks, too.


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