Successful content marketing strategies can be the catalyst that pushes a business up into the stratosphere.
Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to get your brand out before the eyes of your intended audience, and when it’s done right, you can become a powerhouse in your industry.
But when it’s done wrong, you’re looking at a lot of wasted time and money.
It’s not overly dramatic to say that content marketing is an artform. As such, when you intimately know the steps and tools needed for success, there’s a lot you can do. But there are also a number of costly mistakes that you can make which will decimate your chances of achieving content marketing greatness.
We’ve highlighted four of the most common and damaging content marketing mistakes, letting you know not only what they are, but how you can go about fixing them.
1. Not Optimizing for SEO (Or Doing it Wrong)
SEO is the present and future of digital marketing. It is probably the most important piece of the modern marketing puzzle and the backbone of the most solid content marketing strategies.
But what is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s a series of content tweaks both on and off your website that make your content stand out as an authority to popular search engines like Google and Bing (but mostly Google).
If you’re not creating content with SEO in mind, you’re dooming yourself to failure from the start. The modern buyer’s journey is wrapped up in online searching. When you have a pain point that needs alleviation, you take to the internet to find the product or service that’s right for you.
If your website is buried on the 12th page of Google, no one is ever going to find you. To be fair, if you’re on the second page of Google, barely anyone is going to find you either.
You have to achieve first-page penetration if you want to succeed in the search engine world.
So, how do you do that?
You have to first perform keyword research, compiling a list of high quality and relevant keywords that your audience is searching for. Then, you have to optimize the content on your website to match those keywords so that Google will recognize you as an authority on that subject.
Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that.
A strong SEO strategy involves:
- On page optimization
- Image optimization
- Metadata optimization
- Internal linking
- Backlinking (more on this later)
- Producing quality content
- And much more!
Even if you learn everything there is to learn about SEO, if you’re not constantly paying attention to changes over at Google, you might find that your information falls out of date quickly. Google is constantly changing its search algorithm, so ignoring industry trends as it pertains to SEO can be another huge mistake that could cost you big in the long run.
If you’re not an SEO expert and you’re trying to do your own optimization, chances are you’re doing something wrong. Either hire an SEO specialist for your organization or contract out to a professional SEO agency with a good portfolio in order to achieve success.
2. Failure to Understand Your Audience
When you’re creating optimized content, it’s important never to forget your target audience.
After all, they are the people that you’re producing this content for. You could do all the optimization in the world, but if your content is geared toward the wrong crowd, you’re not going to see many successful conversions.
You’re going to have to do a deep demographic study, creating buyer personas for every section of your target market.
For example, what languages do your customers speak? If you are a native Spanish speaker but your audience features a large chunk of English speakers, you have to make sure you know your way around the English language if you’re going to develop good content.
If you’re marketing to senior citizens, you might not want to put a lot of effort into marketing on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok.
You need to look for a number of factors such as:
- Average income
- Level of experience
- Marital Status
- Search Intent
That last one is particularly important. You have to understand the search intent of your audience if you’re going to craft content that is specifically designed for them.
That comes from understanding their pain points. You have to understand why they’re going to be using your product and how they would search for something to fix that problem. Once you know that, you can gear your content to the people specifically searching in that way.
3. Not Using the Right Tools
There are so many useful tools out there which can help you become a better content marketer. Ignoring them and going at it alone is a major mistake. Thankfully, it’s a mistake that’s easy to fix.
But you have to know what tools you’re going to need.
Some of them are even free!
First off, you’re going to need a quality grammar and plagiarism checker. In these instances, we like to recommend Grammarly. It’s the world’s most well known grammar tool for a reason. For starters, it has a free version and a paid premium plan. It corrects your grammar and spelling, but also works on things like tone, overused words, vocabulary, sentence structure, and more.
It also checks for plagiarism. Accidental plagiarism can be a costly legal mistake. You have to make sure that the content that you’re writing is 100% original. Grammarly has a built-in plagiarism checker that compares your website to billions of other pages across the entire internet.
Google Docs is a great tool that is effective for content marketing. It’s a free cloud-based service, meaning you can access your content from anywhere on any device and even collaborate with others in real-time.
The one issue Google Docs has is that some formatting issues tend to sprout up when you’re copying and pasting from it into WordPress, the world’s most popular CMS. However, using a tool like Wordable allows you to import items into WordPress directly from Google Docs with no issues whatsoever.
Finally, you need an optimization tool to help you with both your keyword research and the overall optimization level of your content. MarketMuse is the best out there for this right now. It analyzes all of your competitors and assigns their pages scores. It will also assign a content score to your pages, giving you a list of related key terms to use in order to rank for the searches you’re going after.
4. Failure to Build Links
When we were talking about SEO, we briefly mentioned link building. Specifically, we touched on internal links and backlinks.
This is such an important element of content marketing that it needed its own section. It’s also one of the most common mistakes rookie content marketers make.
You have to build a web of links, both internally and externally.
Internal links are easy. You have to make sure that all of your various pages and blog articles connect to one another. This makes it easier for consumers to find related content without leaving your site, and it also makes it easier for Google’s bots to gather information on your content.
Then there’s backlinking.
A backlink is a link on an outside website that connects back to your page. The page should be relevant to your business and also of a high quality. Google sees these backlinks as almost a letter of recommendation from an established site, letting them know that you are an authority in your field.
Backlink generation is time-consuming and difficult. It is recommended that, unless you’re an expert in the field and have a lot of time on your hands, you utilize the services of an outside link building agency with a history of success to get the job done.
Content marketing can make or break for your business, as long as you manage to avoid these four major mistakes. By making sure you’re optimizing for SEO, understanding your audience, using the proper tools, and building high-quality links, you can be sure that your content marketing will generate new business for your organization for years to come.