Content marketing is a concept that a lot of us find a little daunting. How do we strike the right balance between wanting to promote our business and providing the potential buyer with material they actually find valuable? Is my writing too formal or is it too down to earth? Am I doing enough to promote my site?
There are so many questions going through our minds it's no wonder many businesses seem to lack a coherent content marketing strategy. So how do we get past our apprehensions to create a killer content marketing campaign? If you can avoid these ten common mistakes you'll be well on your way.
1. Listen To Your Visitors
Focusing on ourselves instead of our customers is something we should avoid at all costs. It's human nature to assume that what we find interesting will also be of value to our customers, but it's not necessarily the case. It pays to do your homework.
Research, and research some more. Pay attention to feedback you receive, and checkout what your competitors are doing. What kinds of comments are being left on their sites?
If you can avoid the mistakes of others why wouldn’t you? The worst thing you can do is simply start writing an opinion piece without doing any research at all no matter how well you write.
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2. Only Selling
Avoid concentrating on selling your product or service. A good website or blog will provide valuable content that the reader or potential customer can really use, and any sales that come out of it will be because of the valuable relationships you have built with your visitors. Never focus on the hard sell.
Think of some of the most frustrating websites you've ever visited. You know the ones that begin with the promise of a great insight if you just continue to read?
After five minutes of dutifully following along you're deeply disappointed to find out that there is no great insight unless you purchase the eBook they're selling at the end of the page. This is one of the worst sales tactics a business can adopt. If you promise your visitor an insight, make sure you deliver!
3. Reusing The Same Content
Regurgitating the same old content is another common mistake that businesses make in their content marketing strategies. If your sites been around long enough you're bound to revisit some of the same topics you've touched upon before, but that doesn't mean you should simply rewrite the same old thing. Put a new spin on things.
In our fast paced world there are always new developments in just about any field you can think of. When you revisit a topic hit on some of these new developments. If you're always providing the latest updates on topics you'll soon develop a reputation as a trusted authority, and not as just another face in the crowd.
4. Poor Quality
Creating poor quality content is another pitfall you'll want to avoid. Your site may be filled with valuable information, but that won't do you any good if your content is undermined by numerous spelling mistakes and poor grammar. You might easily lose the reader’s attention if your writing is too disjointed to follow. It's hard for them to take you seriously as an authority if you can't write with authority.
5. No Focus
Developing content with no clear focus is a sure-fire way to lead you website into online oblivion. If you're promoting yourself as an expert in outdoor living but continuously publish articles on topics as diverse as chess and knitting needles, you'll soon find yourself with few a very limited following.
If I'm an outdoor living enthusiast, there's a good chance I have no interest in the great sweater your aunt knitted you last Christmas. Keep focused. Give your visitors the type of information they're looking for, and you'll have a much greater chance of success.
6. Too Formal
When your writing is too formal you can also lose the interest of your visitors. Very few topics require us to report the facts and nothing but the facts – with the possible exception of scientific journals. Your writing needs to appeal to the casual reader. Bringing a little humour to a website is not a bad thing.
Obviously if you want to be viewed as an authority in your niche you can't make your writing too informal, but there's nothing wrong with bringing a little personality to your writing. It's all about striking the right balance. Swearing or making offensive comments are never appropriate; use common sense.
7. Keyword Stuffing
Focusing too much on keywords will make your writing seem a little forced, and can also land you in trouble with Google. The search engine giant has updated its search algorithms in the past few years to actually penalize websites that stuff their articles with keywords at the expense of great content. This might have helped you climb the search engine rankings five years ago, but not anymore.
This doesn't mean you should ignore certain keywords all together. You can't write valuable content if you don't mention keywords that are relevant to your topic, but you have to write balanced articles that flow naturally. As a general rule, if you try to write as you would speak, you'll be on the right path.
8. Not Using Social Media
Failure to promote your site through social media will make it difficult for you to develop a consistent audience. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter are essential tools in any content marketing strategy. With so many of us using these social media tools on a daily basis it only makes sense for a business to make it as easy as possible for their visitors to share their articles to these social media sites.
Social media is not the only way to get your message out there, but it is certainly an important tool that you can use to make your content available to a wider audience.
9. Not Staying Up To Date
When your content becomes too stale your audience will begin to lose interest in your message. Quite often we'll begin a new online adventure with a great deal of enthusiasm, but lose interest with our efforts over time. Pretty soon our daily posts become weekly posts, then monthly posts, and before you know it we're hardly posting anything at all.
Well you can be sure that if you've lost interest, it won't be long before your page views drop off as well. If you want turn visitors into repeat visitors and potential customers, you have to give them a reason to keep coming back. Keep providing them with fresh and interesting content, and there's a good chance they will be back.
10. Guest Blogging
Guest blogging on the wrong sites can actually be damaging to your content marketing strategy. There was a time not so long ago when any opportunity to guest blog on another website was readily encouraged, but times have changed.
As we've touched on before Google has changed its search algorithms, and there's every possibility that your guest post on another website can have a negative effect on your own website. If that site has been penalized in the rankings for keyword stuffing or poor quality content, you won't want it linking back to your own site.
Guest blogging can still be very advantageous to your content marketing strategy, but you need to choose your opportunities carefully. If you have the opportunity to guest post on one of the leading authority sites in your niche, by all means do it. Such a strategy can only help your own site.
Creating a successful content marketing strategy doesn't need to strike fear into your heart. If you provide great content, great writing, strong visual images, and consistent posts you'll soon differentiate yourself from the pack. Be consistent, and always provide value to your visitors. Don't worry about the hard sell, this will only discourage your visitors from coming back.
Provide them with content that addresses their needs and concerns, and you will have a lot more success. Keep the material fresh and relevant and not only will you earn their respect, you'll also earn their business.