Content marketing is as popular as ever.
Regardless whether you’re thinking about a small local business or a multi-national corporation, you’d be hard-pressed to find a successful company that doesn’t use content as part of its marketing strategy.
And there’s a good reason for that.
Without content, it would be almost impossible to grab the attention of today’s online audiences. Why? Because they are constantly bombarded with new offers and information.
Consider how high the bar for quality content has been set. You’ll soon realize that having a content marketing strategy and actually achieving your goals are two completely different things.
To make your content stand out, you need to follow proven practices. Make sure that everything you put out is better than that what your competitors are publishing and promoting.
So, how exactly do you start a blog or revamp your existing one to make it happen?
Well, to get you started, here are a few of the more critical content marketing mistakes to avoid at all costs.
Too Little Attention on Headlines
Most people would agree about how important it is to select a catchy headline when producing content for marketing purposes.
While a lot of marketers understand the value of selecting an attention-getting headline for a landing page or a sales letter, just as many of their peers overlook blog post and article headlines.
Sure, a single article, blog, or even a web page may not seem to be as critically important to your success as sales-focused pages. Without a solid headline, even an excellent piece of content will never get a chance to reach its goals.
Ideally, you should select a headline that resonates with your audience and creates curiosity to get clicks to your website. This is especially important, because target prospects have a wide range of content items competing for his or her attention online.
But that’s not the only reason why headlines play such an important role.
According to Forbes, 59% of all links that are shared on social networks haven’t actually been clicked on by the people who share them. The majority of online users are sharing content based on the headline alone.
Even if your content isn’t up to par, a strong headline alone can help it spread on social media.
If you produce headlines that stand out from the rest and provide quality content that satisfies the curiosity that you’ve set up, your content marketing strategy will be poised to take off.
But how can you know if your headlines are any good?
Well, learning to write attention-grabbing headlines is a skill that requires consistent practice. A good starting point is to use tools such as the headline analyzer that help you make improvements.
Inconsistent Posting and Sharing of the Content
Consistency is the key to any marketing strategy, and content marketing is no exception.
If you want your readers to respond to the content that you’re putting out, you need to establish clear expectations from the beginning and follow through on them consistently.
But what does that mean, exactly?
If you start out releasing articles or other types of content every few days, your readership will come to expect ongoing consistency.
If you start bombarding your readers with daily content out of the blue, without at least providing a reason for the increase in frequency, your engagement numbers will drop. At the same time, if you stop posting regular content, it will be challenging to regain that readership once you resume.
If you analyze some of the top blog sites in your industry, you’ll quickly see one commonality between them: the frequency in which they produce new content.
Being inconsistent is one of the worst things you can do. Over time, your audience will adopt habits related to consuming your content, which is an ideal scenario for your business. Your target customers will start to expect new content and eagerly await for new posts, especially if it’s relevant, keeps solving problems, and moves them further down the buyer journey.
But how do you decide how often to post content?
Well, there isn’t a clear answer to that question. It will depend on your capacity to produce quality content, as well as your audience’s preferences for absorbing it.
The exact frequency is less important than remaining consistent with the flow that you have established initially, especially if you have subscribers who have become frequent readers of the content you publish.
The best way to avoid losing track of your content is to plan ahead – make a content calendar with scheduled posts for at least a couple months in advance. Set clear deadlines for developing ideas, creating the content, editing, and publishing.
Publishing Content With Low Value
Focusing too much on what the content can help businesses achieve is one of the more common mistakes businesses make when developing their content marketing strategy. Instead, they’d be better served by trying to figure out how to provide as much value as possible to the reader.
Sure, the end goal of any marketing campaign is to attract new leads and drive up sales. Content marketing is unique in that it can’t be approached with a sell-first mentality.
To understand why the value is so significant, we have to look at the way people consume content online.
When you’re developing content in your field, you’re not only competing with other businesses. You also must contend with media outlets, bloggers, and industry experts, all of who have their own goals. In spite of those goals, these sources work hard to provide as much value as possible to capture the readers’ attention.
No matter what topic you focus on in your content, it won’t get published in a vacuum – similar information is available, maybe even published at the same time as yours.
So how can you add more value to your content and make it stand out?
Well, there are a few steps to the process.
First off, you need to have a deep understanding of the most pressing issues your readers are facing. Focus on problems that are keeping them from moving closer towards reaching their goals. If you can tackle these obstacles, it will become much easier to get their attention.
Then, analyze the information on the subject that’s already out there. Try to inject new value into the conversation, something that gives the reader a reason to read your content above the rest of what’s out there on the internet.
Only then can you create what Rand Fishkin from Moz calls 10x Content – content that’s up to ten times better than anything else out there.
This method isn’t easy, but it’s the only way to ensure that you’re the number one source for information on your subject. It can also give you the best shot to nurture leads and convert them to customers.
Producing Only Written Content
When thinking of content, people usually think of blogs or articles. They are still an integral part of a content marketing strategy. Regardless, today’s audiences require a more diversified content strategy if you want to achieve the best results.
And even your written content shouldn’t be just a block of text, either – include plenty of visual and media elements such as images, graphics, and embedded videos. This will help make your content more engaging and informative.
In fact, according to a report by the Adobe Digital Index, Facebook posts that use one or more images result in 650% higher engagement as compared to posts with no images. Even a small change can have a massive effect on how successfully your content strategy will perform.
You can even add user-generated content such as video reviews of your product, testimonials, or feedback. These types of content can greatly increase the credibility of your posts and help you establish a two-way conversation with your audience.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.