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Top ten common content marketing mistakes and how to avoid them

by Ellen Forster

Last year I wrote a blog about what makes good content. Since then, I have received hundreds of content enquiries a day from PR and marketing professionals keen to contribute to our Opinion and Advice columns. In the last eighteen months, I have become particularly well-versed in ‘how to start a business’ or ‘top tips for digital marketers’ - as content remains the undisputed king of digital marketing, generic SEO-focused content no longer cuts it for the typical reader.

Based on my experience as associate editor at Bdaily, I’ve put together a list of top ten common pitfalls people fall into when producing content for marketing purposes.

1. Failing to prepare

The best content is the result of thorough market research. Developing a structured content calendar should be the first step when making the move into content marketing. Get started by assessing the industry in which you operate, and taking a look at events happening in your sector as well as hot topics that might arise in future months. Make a note of your findings and begin to develop content ideas based on these, this will allow you to stay ahead of the curve while establishing your authoritative voice within the industry.

2. Too vague

One of the most common mistakes, which I witness every single day, is writing content that is too vague. When producing content, either for an internal blog or for external submission, always have a target reader in mind. Who do you target in other areas of marketing? Find out what those people enjoy reading - ask regular clients what kinds of blogs they enjoy, and which news outlets they frequent. This will give you a much more conviction in your writing and will allow you to create content that will truly interest your target audience.

3. Too specific

Saying that, I regularly read content that is so overly-complex that it goes straight over my head. This is particularly important if you operate in a technical industry, be it industrial or technological. Again, by consulting your regular clients and reading your competitor’s blogs, you will develop a greater understand of your target audience enjoys reading. Keep this stuff for the whitepapers and trade press, and focusing on the more topical content for your company blog or Bdaily Column.

4. Too long

This may seem like a simple one, but I see this mistake being made on a daily basis. Due to the increasing influx of content online, attention spans are shorter than ever. As a result, it’s more important than ever to make the most out of those digital ‘column inches’. Stick to 500-1000 words for a blog post, this should be long enough for you to make your point, while keeping the attention of your reader until your call to action at the end.

5. Too many keywords

We can deny it all we want, but the truth is that content marketing is the child of search engine optimisation (SEO). Assembling carefully calculated keywords within your articles has proven to impact upon your standing with Google. However, this is a subtle art - there’s no need to shoehorn your keywords into every sentence/paragraph. This will result in content reading stunted and unnatural - stick with the first and last lines, and once or twice within the text to make the most of your keywords, without ruining your readers’ experience.

6. Not backing up stats

You must reference all statistics you employ in your blog post. Not only does this boost the authority of your content, but it can also have a lasting impression on SEO. Mixing links to your own website with those to others in the same sector will create a more organic piece of content marketing, thus keeping Google happy and boosting the legitimacy of your content.

7. Poorly written

This one might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised. Poorly written content can do your business more harm than good. Be sure to proofread all content your produce for your business, be it website copy, blog posts or press releases - a typical reader is more than aware of the difference between well-written, intelligent content and rushed, SEO drivel.

8. Expecting instant results

So you’ve written your first blog post; you share it on social media, get a little big of interaction.. then it dies down. What do you do now? Share it again? Of course, you should always share your content multiple times on several different platform - Linkedin can yield different results to Twitter, for example. However, building a strong back catalogue of content takes time and, like many other forms of digital marketing, it won’t produce instant results.

9. Lack of consistency

This brings us nicely to the issue of a lack of consistency. Writing one or two blog posts will not suffice - use your content calendar to set strict deadlines for yourself, share older content regularly and keep your eyes peeled for future sharing opportunities to maximise on your efforts.

10. Ignoring other kinds of content

Don’t make the mistake of focusing all your efforts on written content - there are several other content outlets that it is necessary to explore when promoting your business. Podcasts and videos are increasingly popular forms of digital marketing and you’d be a fool not to explore them. Research your industry peers and competitors, spot a gap in the market and go for it; the beauty of digital marketing is exactly this - it’s adaptable, responsive and available to businesses of every size.

Get in touch to find out more about Bdaily’s content marketing options - contact us via email or on 0845 388 2022