We all had to start somewhere.
For content marketers, the bread and butter of the industry can be learned, but to apply it takes skill, experience, and a healthy dose of trial and error.
Unfortunately, with the trial comes the error. In a recent survey, 65% of marketers couldn’t tell you what made content effective.
If you’re one of them, it’s time to change that. Here are 10 content marketing mistakes you can start avoiding right away.
Stuffing Your Content with Keywords
It used to be simple to rank a website on Google for certain keywords, the words that help define your content in Google searches. You’d just stuff your site’s content with them.
If you’re an Electrician in DC, you’d simply repeat ‘Washington DC Electrician’ as often as you can in your content. It didn’t matter if it sounded bad. Google would rank you anyway.
Google now actively discourages this practice and your site’s Google ranking will suffer if you do it. If you’re looking for mistakes to avoid, avoid this one at all costs.
Techniques like keyword stuffing forced Google to begin analyzing website content further. For content marketers, that meant a shift in focus from quality over quantity.
Digital content marketing relies on content. It’s what sells the product, whatever the product is, whether it’s a site, a person’s services, a business. If it’s poor, you’re not doing your job effectively.
Offer content that’s useful to your visitors. Make sure it’s written well, it isn’t too long, and avoid fluffy pieces that don’t mislead your audience.
Still not sure? Here are 27 reasons why your content could suck.
Slow Loading Pages
You’ve got 3 seconds for your site to load before a visitor will click off, according to Google.
Your content might be fantastic, but if over half of your visitors are going elsewhere, you’re wasting your efforts. Slow loading pages will ground any content marketing strategy.
If you’re running a site using WordPress, for instance, too many active plugins can slow your page loading. You should also look into whether your web host is the cause.
Here are some tips on choosing the best web host for SEO if that’s the case.
No Variety in Types of Content
You need variety in your content if you want to impress as a content marketer.
Text-heavy content can be off-putting. Adding an image or video to the top of your articles could make it easier for visitors to get an idea of the purpose of your content.
Pictures will often show up as splash images when shared on social media, making it easier to share your content with the potential for it to go viral.
You should look to vary what your content tries to offer, too.
Newsletters, blog updates, help guides, or ebooks could be alternatives to traditional web pages. Without content variety, your site could struggle against any competitors.
Forgetting Your Audience
You aren’t producing content with a purpose if you don’t know what your audience is actually looking for.
The best way to avoid forgetting your audience is to do research before you create it. Start by looking at your competitors. What do they offer on their website to attract customers?
Identifying the problems you’re trying to solve, or the solutions you’re trying to offer. From there, you can build around that to provide content that your visitors are going to find useful.
One word of warning, however. Use all of these sources to build your own ideas, rather than simply duplicating what your competitors have done.
Out Of Date Content
We’ve mentioned the importance of having good quality content, that’s varied and not using outdated SEO techniques. Out of date content is another thing you can add to your list of mistakes to avoid.
You should look to create evergreen content, which means content that doesn’t go out of date. The topics themselves always stay relevant for users.
Help guides, how-to instructions, FAQs and case studies are all good examples of this type of content.
You should also look to regularly update your site. Google’s ranking algorithm will rank your site better if it’s regularly updated.
Forgetting to Convert Your Audience
Are you trying to sell a service or product, or do you just want to share and discuss ideas?
Call to actions (or CTAs) are perfect for converting your audience into something useful, like paying customers! A blog post can be used to hook the user in, with a final comment asking them to do something.
You could ask them to sign up for an email newsletter, leave a comment, share the post on social media, or check out some other articles. You’ll see an example at the very end of this article.
Your job as a marketer is to convert your visitors and ‘funnel’ them into something you’re trying to sell. Including CTAs is one way to help to do that.
Poor Keyword Research
Keyword research is an essential part of a marketing strategy, as it helps Google match your content to visitors. Your website needs to be targeting the right keywords to attract the right visitors to your website.
You need to use a suitable keyword research tool, like the one we offer here, to identify them.
We could fill an entire article on how to conduct keyword research, but it doesn’t have to be tricky. Start by identifying words that relate to your website such as your location or niche.
From there, use a keyword research tool to find keywords around your topic that could be relevant. With the right SEO techniques, these could then be used to improve your site ranking.
Here are 12 keyword research tips you can use to grow traffic on any website.
No Plans for Growth
How can you measure your success if you don’t know where you want to end up?
You always need your site content to achieve something. Do you want to increase your site’s audience 10 times this year? Write content and use a suitable marketing strategy to do that.
Content marketing is not a five-minute job. Your strategy needs to have achievable aims over the short and medium term to help you justify your decisions and give you benchmarks for your performance.
This is helpful, too, if you’re working for a client and need to justify your strategy.
If you need help developing a content marketing strategy, read more now about how to build one with this content marketing startup guide.
Content marketers can really struggle to know how much they should be trying to ‘sell’ in their content. Finding the right promotional balance is extremely important so you can avoid losing potential customers.
Design your content around your end-game in clever ways. Do you have a product or service you’re looking to market? Write help guides and case studies showing how it helped fulfill its purpose.
These sort of articles are promotional without their intent being entirely about making money from your visitors.
Another related mistake is to not actually promote your content at all. Call to actions help with this, so don’t feel afraid to ask your visitors to share your content on social media.
Don’t Make Content Marketing Difficult
Content marketing isn’t one set skill. It involves being adaptive to changes in the industry and to the needs and requirements of your audience.
Don’t be stuck in the past. Write good content, avoid keyword stuffing, and have a proper content marketing strategy for your site.
Like our tips? Don’t stop there. Do a quick 15 minute SEO audit on your site to make sure you’re not missing anything critical.