10 Content Marketing Mistakes Nearly Every Amateur Makes

10 Content Marketing Mistakes Nearly Every Amateur Makes - 3

Before I knew anything about content marketing, I wondered what all the fuss was about. I couldn’t understand why anyone would spend such a long time writing out content and why it needed to be formatted in a certain way.

What I understand now though, is that content marketing should be front and centre of your inbound marketing strategy.

Not only will it provide tons of awesome traffic to your website or blog, it also shows you are an expert in that niche.

Done right, your content will be shared thousands of times and will be referenced by other authors in your space.

So, why do so many get this wrong?

Not automating

The vast majority of old-school marketers don’t like the word “automation” (I’m sure it keeps them up at night). It seems as though you’re not actually being social, if you automate social media tasks. I obviously disagree with this point of view.

Personally, I think there should be some things you automate and other things you shouldn’t.

Sharing your content doesn’t need to be done manually for the simple fact that the people reading your content wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, whether your posts were shared by automation or if you were pressing a button each time you shared it.

There are many moving parts, when it comes to digital marketing and social media:

With so many different aspects of digital marketing to include in your campaigns, you wouldn’t be efficient if you were creating, posting and sharing manually. This is why you need automation tools.

When they first brought in autopilot in aircraft around the world, there must have a fair few people who weren’t convinced with a computer flying a plane. However, they are pretty much installed and used in every aircraft produced today and for good reason.

Using technology to boost your content marketing efforts is a must. If you don’t, I’m afraid you’ll get left behind.

Some of the tools we use are:

There are thousands of other tools that do an equally good job.

Not optimising for search engines

Back in the early 2000’s, content creators used to stuff their articles with lots of keywords to rank for certain search terms (called keyword stuffing). What you ended up with was really badly written content that wasn’t legible to humans but written for search engines.

Thankfully, these days we no longer need to write like this. We are free to write in a more natural style without alienating our readers.

Google decided to make some changes to their algorithm and penalised any articles that weren’t written in a natural way.

With that said, you still need to optimise your posts for the search engines. Proper use of H1 Tags/Body tags and including the keyword in your title are still necessary.

The use of the description meta tag isn’t really needed anymore. We now let Google and other search engines choose which snippet of text to use for the description.

If you use WordPress plugins like All in One and Yoast, you are still able to write a description for your pages and posts if you like, but it’s not necessary.

At Xenmedia, we recommend an article length be no shorter than 1000 words. This ensures that you have covered your topic fully.

Make sure you interlink other articles you have written within your posts. Using them as resource makes those articles stronger in the and allows the search engines to crawl this older content again.

Of course there are more advanced strategies, but this is the bare minimum you need to do.

blog post formatting

 

Not showcasing your content

Simply writing content and not sharing it is a surefire way to go nowhere fast. Unfortunately, that’s what the vast majority of companies do.

Content marketing means just that. “Content” and “Marketing”. You shouldn’t really have one without the other.

Did you know that there’s more content being produced now than at any other time in the history of the world? That’s a lot of noise to fight through and we’re all clambering to be heard. You’ve got to do the same!

How?

  • Have a strategic plan to share your content on social media
  • Email that content to existing clients and ask them to share it
  • Turn written content into slides, videos and infographics
  • Use your content to guest-post on non-competing websites
  • republish and share older posts that may have been forgotten

Optimise your headlines

The headline for your article is one of the most important elements of a successful content marketing strategy.

Not only should be attention grabbing, it needs to grab the interest of potential readers quickly. We found list headlines work really well, like:

  • 7 ways to get your {content read}
  • 10 things about {article writing} you never knew
  • 15 steps to {greater writing}

You obviously swap out certain words with your own.

This technique is as old as the hills, but they still work really, really well. The likes of Entrepreneur magazine and Buzzfeed still use them. In fact, this very article you’re reading is deploying the exact same tactic.

Not using images and video

use images in your blog posts

Writing a quality piece of content is one thing. Not accompanying it with high quality images or video is a crime.

Don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to add images and video to every piece of content you write, just the majority of them.

Unless your work is of a serious nature or highly technical, adding great images will not only get your content noticed, your readers are more likely to share it on social media.

Poor quality

A badly written piece with really bad grammar and spelling mistakes won’t win you any rewards I’m afraid.

Poor quality can come in many different forms:

  • A small 300 word article that doesn’t cover the very basic points of the topic
  • Bad formatting, no header tags, no bold italic, no underlines
  • Article doesn’t flow and is written more for search engines
  • The content written doesn’t match the title
  • There’s no real introduction or conclusion to the article
  • The data used is old and out of date
  • The images used are generic stock photos not related to the content

step by step writing process

You don’t know what you want the content to achieve

Before you start writing your content you need to know what you’re trying to convey to your reader. What are you actually teaching and what will they learn?

Would your content better achieve your goal, if you produced a video or even infographic instead of a whole page of written content?

Can you get away with slang words or does your content need to stay straight forward and official?Depending on your niche, you’ll need to decide which path you’d like to follow. Get this wrong and you’ll end up turning away an engaged reader who was ready to share your content.

Not building your own online content distribution network

A content distribution network seems like a pretty sophisticated term, doesn’t it? But what I actually mean is producing a means of communicating your works using technology and various tools at your disposal.

So, what do I mean and how can you build your own network?

The first thing you can do in building your network is:

  1. Build an email list
  2. Join all the relevant social networks
  3. Have an inbound marketing strategy

Let me explain each one in more detail…

Build an email list

One of the most powerful tools at your disposal, when it comes to distributing content, is an email autoresponder.

An autoresponder allows you to collect email addresses of potential clients or even existing ones and provides a means of communication via email.

It’s your choice whether you email this list once a day, week, month or year. The most important thing is, the people on this list have pretty much held their hands up requesting more information from you in the future.

There isn’t a more powerful and relatively cheap inbound marketing tool at your disposal.

Join all the relevant social networks

I should underline the word “relevant” since not all social media sites will be the best avenue for you to share your content. There are many social networks like:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Linkedin
  • Youtube
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Google+
  • Reddit
  • & Flickr

It’s up to you to choose which platform to sign up for and then use to post your content to.

The best way to do this is to actually have a poke around a lot of these networks and see if the type of content being posted is relevant to your niche. You could also ask your clients which social network they prefer to use.

You can use survey tools to get information from new and existing clients like:

Survey Monkey
Smart Survey
Google Forms

You can pretty much guarantee that your clients would be on Twitter and Facebook since these are the largest social networks on the planet, but you need to confirm that this is the case before using your valuable time posting to these networks.

Have an inbound marketing strategy

An inbound marketing strategy means:

  • content marketing
  • infographics
  • video marketing
  • PDF files
  • whitepapers
  • email marketing
  • paid traffic (Adwords, Bing ads etc)
  • Banner ads
  • Retargeting
  • push notification

These types of inbound marketing strategies will help you build a sufficient distribution network for your content. When combined with social sharing it’s a pretty formidable and efficient way of getting your message across. It just needs to be organised properly and consistent.

Not thinking like a publisher

Most companies don’t take their content marketing seriously at all. A lot of them don’t see any point in producing content that very few people will see. This is a huge mistake and their competition will likely overtake and consume most of the market share.

If you have a website that doesn’t produce and share content on a regular basis, Google and other search engines won’t crawl it as often. This means the search engines won’t take your content that seriously when you finally get round to producing some content.

The more content you produce and the more times you website is updated actually helps your overall SEO strategy.

Google likes when websites are regularly updated and it also likes well written, highly referenced content (it’s whole business model is built on great content and showing ads alongside your content).

Provide this on a regular and consistent basis and you’re halfway to thinking like a real publisher.

So how does a publisher think?

  • They need to keep producing content consistently
  • They use customer feedback to shape their content
  • They aggressively market their content once it’s published

You’re selling instead of teaching

People are bombarded with ads to buy stuff from the time they wake up till their head hits their pillow at night. The last thing they want is another piece of content that is trying to sell to them.

When you produce content, the whole idea is to get the reader engaged by actually teaching them something they didn’t know.

By all means, have a sign-up form either in the middle or at the end of your content. Just make sure you’re not trying to sell to them in your content. Trust me, they’ll run a mile and click away from your website.

The main goal is to have the reader so impressed with your work that they’re willing to share it on social media.

Not showing that you’re an expert

People like to know that the author of the piece they are reading or viewing is an expert on that topic and that you know what you’re talking about.

If your data is old or your information is wrong, you’ll lose all of your credibility within minutes of them reading your content.

Even if you’re not a total expert, just make sure that your information is well-researched and the data used is correct.

One good way to do this is to link out to authority sites on the topic throughout your content. This gives the appearance of credibility without you having to write ALL the content they consume.

Conclusion

When done correctly, content marketing can be a really powerful tool towards your inbound marketing goals.

By creating content people enjoy reading and actually learn from, it will increase both your credibility and the amount your content is shared.

Don’t forget, you need to have a great title, make sure the formatting is spot-on and ensure that your grammar is correct.

About the author

Des Dreckett is the Marketing Director of XenMediamarketing.co.uk: a writer, blogger and a paid media specialist. Writing content to help you grow and build your business.

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