Over the past few years, content marketing has emerged as the answer to a lot of our online marketing challenges. And because it works, we all do it—but not all of us do it as successfully as we’d like.
Granted, there’s no fool proof marketing plan that guarantees success. The only guarantee we have is that we’ll make mistakes and hopefully, learn from them. Unfortunately, a lot of times we don’t even realize we’re doing something wrong…and that’s where the trouble starts.
Below are 10 easy-to-fix content marketing mistakes you may not even know you’re making.
1. Not Reusing Content Effectively
The beauty of content marketing is in its reusability. Just because you’ve written a blog post doesn’t mean its life expectancy is limited to that post alone.
Expand on the topic and write a short ebook, report or white paper on it. Turn it into a presentation, a podcast, or even a video. Better yet, invite an authority on the subject and interview them. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Editor’s note: You can also do the reverse and take other content, like ebooks and presentations and turn them into blog posts. For example, every year, we turn the presentations at NMX into several blog posts, like this one we published based on Dino Dogan’s session at NMX 2013.
2. Using Jargon
Using industry jargon is a big fat “no” in content marketing and most of us know it. But we still end up using it in our content. We forget that our audience might not have the same understanding of the subject that we do.
Sure, we live, breathe and sleep our respective niches – but our readers don’t.
So go through your existing content and weed out any jargon used in your copy and replace them with layman terms.
3. Ignoring Your Current Audience in Favor of Attracting a New One
This phenomenon used to be a classic customer service mistake but it’s found in content marketing too now. A lot of times, content marketers are so focused on gaining new readers/followers/subscribers that they ignore the ones they already have.
Find a balance between the two but always give more importance to your existing audience. After all, retaining an audience is a lot easier than attracting a new one.
4. No Email Subscription Option
Is your content marketing strategy too focused on social media? Do you measure the success of your content in terms of social shares?
If yes, then it’s time to step back and think about email subscription. Social shares are fleeting. Once someone shares your content, they’re gone. There’s no way to contact them again or even find out who they were in some cases.
Email subscription on the other hand gives you the foot in the door you need to make a lasting impression.
HubSpot does this brilliantly. They have visually appealing call-to-actions for email sign ups after every post they publish.
5. No Incentive or Bribe to Encourage Sign Ups
Here’s the thing. Folks who sign up for newsletters don’t do it because of your stellar content. Well some do, but they’re very rare. Most of them sign up because they want to receive something in return. Something they can only get if they sign up for your newsletter.
Jon Morrow used his free report “52 Headline Hacks: A Cheat Sheet For Writing Posts That Go Viral” to get 13000 email subscribers for his new blog before he wrote the first post.
Your audience is more likely to do what you want if you give them an incentive. So make them an offer they can’t refuse.
For even more tips, check out this post on getting more email subscribers.
6. No Automation in Place
Even if marketers have their email subscription and incentive in place to capture leads, your subscribers will forget about you if you don’t follow up.
Even if they think the free report/ebook/ecourse etc. they received was brilliant, they won’t seek you out unless you do so first.
Email auto-responders are the best way to do that. They keep your audience engaged even when you don’t have the time to talk to them. It also saves you hours and hours of time you’d otherwise have spent coming up with content ideas.
Spend time creating an auto-responder series relevant to your subscribers and then watch as they become more and more engaged with your content.
7. No Guest Blogging
Content marketing isn’t worth the time, money and energy you invest in it if you don’t have authority. One of the fastest and most effective ways to build authority is by guest posting on reputable blogs.
Find popular and well respected blogs in your niche and reach out to them for guest blogging opportunities. Plenty of popular blogs accept guest posts and even have guidelines listed for them on their website.
Want more advice on guest blogging? Check out the following posts:
- Guest Blogging Tips That Work: A Step-by-Step Guide to Guest Posts
- 7 Phrases That Make Me Ignore Your Guest Post Query
- Can Guest Posts Make You a Better Blogger?
- Guest Blogging in 2013: The End of Unsolicited Guest Posts?
- Working with Guest Bloggers: The Secret to Your Success
8. No Branding
Your online marketing efforts can’t be successful until you get your branding right. And having a great logo, professional web design, and stellar content is all well and good but that’s not the whole equation.
Your branding needs to be on every piece of online property you have your name on. That includes everything from the background and cover photos of your social media profiles to your email signature.
Here’s a tip not many people think of. If you’re investing in stock photos, get the right license and brand them as well. This way, when someone tweets, shares or pins your photo, folks will know at a glance who the content belongs to.
9. No Clear Call to Actions
The whole aim of producing, publishing and marketing content is to get people to take a specific action. Yet so often, we forget to include a call to action. We assume that since it’s a blog post, readers will comment. Or just because it says “free report”, folks will automatically sign up to download it.
If you want your readers to take action, you have to prompt them to do it. Figure out what action you want a particular piece of content to encourage and then spell it out.
10. Ignoring Smaller Tools and Tactics
Content marketing isn’t just about the big things like blog posts, newsletters, freebies and guest posts. It’s also about the small things you do to prolong the life of your content.
Don’t shy away from using different tools within your content that encourages sharing. Occasionally give away a freebie for the price of a tweet or a Facebook share. Include a “Click to Tweet” link in your blog posts, ebooks and other content to make it easy for people to share it.
Take a quote from your content and put it on an image to make it more share worthy. The Write Life does a great job of doing so in their posts. They then use those photos in their Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+ updates.
What’s other easy-to-fix content marketing mistakes have you seen people make?
Image credit: Bigstock (altered)