Content marketing mistakes can sabotage the results of your content strategy. Whether you sell products online, advertise your brick and mortar store on the Internet, or make money from advertisers who pay to be on your website, you can improve your ROI on content marketing by avoiding these 12 mistakes.
Content marketing can be an effective strategy for getting visitors to your web pages and promoting your products and services. Content can consist of articles, checklist, white papers, videos, and images, and any combination thereof.
But to get results, to achieve your hoped-for ROI, you need to avoid these content marketing mistakes.
1. Not Actively Marketing Your Content
Just because you produce it doesn’t mean people will see it. Most websites don’t enjoy the perks that come with being a major publication. Good content marketers know that promoting a piece of content will probably take more time than its creation.
Think of each piece of content as a piece of inventory for sale. Use social media, e-mail it to your customers, and network with other bloggers to get started.
2. Creating Content Too Fast
How long does it take you to write a blog article? Leading content management service,, asked some of the best B2B content marketers the same question. The majority said it takes 4-5 hours with 11% reporting up to 10 hours. To be fair, approval and compliance procedures hikes up the time needed for some of these larger companies but if you’re throwing a post together in less than an hour, it’s probably not going to compete with some of the big players in the content marketing space.
3. Trying to Do It Alone
The same study found that 39% of content creators think coming up with ideas is difficult. If some of the best in the business struggle with finding great ideas, it’s safe to say that you need help. Ask the creative people you know or ask your customers. What would they like to learn or hear about?
RELATED: How to Generate Content Ideas
4. Not Using Images
Images are a critical part of content. In fact, images and video are a form of content. A good image catches a reader’s attention, implies what a piece of content is about and gets them to engage with the text on the page. Emails, Tweets, and other social media posts are seen and clicked on more when they contain images or video. Furthermore, images on a web page can wind up in rich results or on image results in search engines and help your content get found.
5. Creating Content for Yourself
You’ve heard it before—know your customers. That’s hard to do when you’re immersed in your business each day. It’s easy to assume that your potential customers have the background knowledge that you have or that they’ve read all of the latest industry data. For these reasons, you have to create content that your audience wants. When it doubt, make the content more basic. Ask your audience what they want to read. You’ll be surprised.
6. Talking Too Much About Yourself
Can we be honest? People don’t care that you hired a new employee, opened a new location, or had a record year. And unless you’re an A-list celebrity people don’t want to read a blog post about your last vacation. (Save that for your personal blog.)
People want to be educated, entertained, challenged, or moved. If a former president now works for you, that’s probably a good reason to write about a new hire. Otherwise, steer clear.
7. Constantly Pitching Your Product
Watch an infomercial, one of the home shopping networks, or attend a trade show and you find a lot of pitching. It’s all about the product. Don’t use that strategy online. Although the Internet is full of ads, your customers aren’t happy about it. They want interesting content without a sales pitch. Writing an article about a problem and a step by step way to fix it using your product is still an advertisement but masked in an educational article.
8. Not Engaging Your Customers
If you create a great piece of content, your customers and other readers are likely to comment on social media or directly on your website. When that happens, you have to respond back. Respond to each comment individually and use their name. If they disagree, thank them for their comment but don’t get into a large debate. By engaging with your readers, you’re advertising for your company or product without your customer realizing it.
9. Missing a Call to Action
Sometimes it’s appropriate to go for the hard sell. If you wrote a whitepaper or a product information piece, asking for the customer’s business is not just appropriate, it’s essential. Remember the old sales mantra—if you don’t ask for the sale, don’t expect to get it.
RELATED: How to Write a Call to Action
10. Forgetting to Use E-mail
Everybody tells you to focus on social media. There’s no doubt that social media is an essential part of your content marketing strategy but don’t forget about that faithful e-mail list. E-mail, on average, has a higher conversion rate than social media and your customers are more likely to put up with something slightly more sales-oriented than social media.
11. Not Asking for an Email Address
When you direct people from social media posts or advertisements to a white paper, checklist or other pieces of content you’ve created, ask people to subscribe to your mailing list to get the free content. If you have their email address, you can contact them periodically in email to remind them of your company and what you offer. Marketing to an email list is a lot less expensive and likely to get better results than buying retargeted ads on search or social media. Furthermore, if you don’t capture that email address, you’ll waste any advertising dollars you spend to attract the people to your content to begin with.
12. Failing to Repurpose Your Content
If a piece of content takes about five hours to create, it can’t be a “one and done” endeavor. Great content marketers know that one piece of content has many uses. A video could become a blog post. A webinar becomes a whitepaper and the whitepaper becomes a series of blog posts. The rule of thumb is to make every piece of content have five uses. Suddenly, that five hours doesn’t seem so large, does it?
Content marketing is essential for gaining traction online. Think about how you consume content online. You don’t log in to view ads or articles that are one giant hard-sell of a product. You probably want to laugh, learn something, or experience some kind of emotion. Make your content fit that vision. Then, promote it so people have the opportunity to read it.