The 7 Deadly (ish) Sins of Content Marketing and How to Fix Them
Content marketing can be extremely effective - except when it’s not.
Such a deep, bold, and profound statement - we know.
But it’s true.
88% of B2B marketers say they use content marketing and only 30% report that it’s effective - according to the Content Marketing Institute.
That means 70% of businesses are regularly investing in content marketing with little to no payoff - yikes.
But fear not - there is a reasoning behind why your content marketing efforts may not be effective.
We’ve identified some of the deadliest (ish) mistakes, along with tips on how to avoid them.
Sin #1: You're keyword stuffing
It happens. You get so caught up in generating SEO-optimized content that you start designing your content around keywords instead of focusing on providing high-quality information to your audience.
We call that keyword stuffing. Don’t do it. It doesn’t work.
Don’t get it twisted - SEO is extremely important. It’s the #1 driver of traffic to content sites.
If you’re trying to get higher rankings, Google’s algorithms prioritize high-quality content over content that's stuffed with keywords.
In a nutshell, keyword stuffing degrades your audience’ trust, and degrades your conversions over time.
How to fix: Instead of focusing on solely on keyword optimization, go back to the basics. Write long-form, comprehensive content that covers every angle of the subject you’re discussing.
It doesn't mean you have to pack your website with tons of content, fancy graphics, and visuals.
It means you need to deliver information that's truly relevant and helpful to your specific audience. Quality over quantity.
Sin #2: Guessing about your audience, not getting to know them
Assumptions, assumptions, assumptions.
That’s what you’re making.
It’s not enough to assume you know what your audience is interested in or that if it’s interesting to you, it’s interesting to others - it’s probably not.
You need to understand wants, needs, concerns, and buying triggers of the people you’re trying to reach.
Researching the trends around your target market is the only way you can target your customers effectively by using the same language as them to describe their problems. Use the tools, they’re free!
(RELATED READING: Understanding Google Keyword Planner)
Sin #3: You’re selling yourself, not teaching
Educate first, sell second.
Remember that. Embrace it. Leverage it.
Your main goal should be to teach your readers how to solve their problem.
If readers are trying to fix a drywall, they shouldn’t walk away with the definition of what a drywall is - they should walk away knowing exactly what to do after reading your content.
You need to look like the expert in your field, not the sales person.
If you’re now trolling through your website’s content and see that you’ve only mentioned yourself, how awesome your company is, how long you’ve been in business, or the certification you received 5 years ago…
It’s time for a clean up.
How to fix: If you’re going to mention yourself or your business, a general rule of thumb is not to do so until the call to action at the end of your content.
You need to put yourself in the shoes of your customer.
A big mistake made by small businesses is the tendency to focus on themselves, products, and services. For content to properly resonate with customers, it needs to speak directly to them and their needs.
Don’t treat your web visitors like human beings who like to read or readers of printed text, treat your web visitors as humans who are hunting for information or products.
Avoid needless repetition, shorten your 700-word paragraph on your certifications, and avoid passive tense - then you’ll be good to go.
Sin #4: You give up
Consistency is key.
I’m sure you’ve heard that one before.
Most business’ main conduit for communicating with their customers is through their content.
Content doesn’t fail from its quality, it fails from its inconsistency or a sudden stop.
If the last time you updated your content was the day you created your website, then this shout-out goes to you.
Don’t give up.
How to fix it: A consistent effort to learn more about your customers’ needs and wants will be beneficial for you in the long run, fact.
You do that by learning from the above sins, using Google trends, updating your website's content to contain only relevant, unique content, or using the right keyword planning tools is a start to the road of consistency.
However, consistency in your brand goes far beyond an updated tagline or logo.
Everything a customer sees before, during, and after a purchase is important. Keep in mind, you only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention.
Those seconds are crucial, and you need to make a lasting impression.
Your brand, from emails to Facebook posts, should be cohesive in some way. It should be consistent throughout your entire site.
Brand management is an ongoing process. It’s not a do-it-once-and-leave-it gig.
(RELATED READING: 5 Tips for Mega-Influential Online Brand Management)
Sin #5: Your calls-to-action are dead
Content marketing isn’t magic.
You don’t just write the content and expect it to do it’s own marketing.
You can’t expect consumers to read your content and instantly become engaged, loyal customers. You have to encourage them (gently) to take the next step in the purchase process.
That requires a clear call-to-action.
I mean, isn’t the whole idea about marketing the “desire to have people do something (purchase) based on the information they just received”?
If you don’t have a single call-to-action on your website, you’re doing it all wrong.
If you’re repeating the same calls-to-action, you’re doing it all wrong.
Why? Because not everyone is in one stage of the buying cycle.
You have to be stage-specific.
How to fix it: Read and share this post to receive FREE marketing services for ONE YEAR!
But, that was somewhat motivating, right?
We got your attention somewhat, right?
In marketing your calls-to-action, the more information you provide for your potential customers, the better it will be for all parties involved.
You need command verbs, words that provoke emotion or motivation, and also a reason why your audience should take the action.
Think “what’s in it for me?” with every call-to-action you write.
(RELATED READING: 7 Tips for a Killer Call-to-Action)
Sin #6: You aren’t marketing your content
Content marketing as we emphasized before, is not a “set-it-and-forget-it” kind of gig.
It comes down to 3 things:
- Creating great content
- Making sure it gets found in search engines
- Promoting it to your followers and customers
If you never market the content you write, it won’t bring any new customers or followers.
If you’re one of the many small businesses with no email marketing campaigns, no Adwords campaigns, or even social media campaigns, this ones for you.
You need to give your content the promotional support it needs - all it takes is a few simple steps.
How to fix it: Get your audience excited about your content so they share it and network on your behalf.
You can do that by sharing your content on social media sites, setting up email marketing campaigns where you can send out monthly newsletters of what’s new to your customers, or even create a Google Adwords display campaign if you are promoting a new product or service.
All in all, this will help build your subscriber base - and help you stay on top of your readers’ minds.
(RELATED READING: How to Promote Your Content Across Owned, Earned, and Paid Media)
Sin #7: you’re not measuring your data
Let’s be honest, tracking analytics efficiently is a struggle for many brands - especially for small businesses. Between the 20+ metrics, it can be difficult to know what to concentrate on.
However, without tracking, you won’t be equipped to make informed decisions about how to market your content if you have no idea what’s resonating with your audience and what’s not.
You’ll never know where your leads came from, your cost per new customer, or any understanding of your marketing efforts.
That’s another problem you can fix, Houston.
How to fix: A well-organized web analytics tool lets you track the effectiveness of your online marketing with great accuracy, we recommend Google Analytics.
(RELATED READING: Google Analytics Beginners Guide)
You can view your websites reports at a fine level of detail. You’ll be able to see which search terms lead to a web visit or which Facebook page of yours generated the most clicks on your banner ad.
Sin #8 (if there were such a thing): You hired the wrong marketing agency
At High Level Marketing, we understand content marketing.
Literally - it’s in our name.
Your content marketing strategy can be instrumental in boosting your brand awareness, building trust, authority, and generating leads - and we can help make that happen.
If you’re a business who wants to stop committing the above sins and hand your content marketing strategy over, give High Level Marketing a call.
With a team of marketing experts, we have proven and affordable services that can help you grow - contact us today get started.