In the world of marketing, finding an edge can feel impossible against the tidal wave of competition that we’re faced with each and every day. A fact which can lead many of us to make mistakes. Especially when it comes to areas such as content marketing.
Content marketing is an immense and shifting field, what works today may fall flat tomorrow. Wanting an edge can lead to mistakes which, in retrospect, are easy to avoid.
The fact is that in the modern world content marketing is integral to an all-around digital marketing campaign. After all, some people are adamant that ‘Content is King’. In which case, Some content marketing mistakes that should be avoided to prevent yourself from becoming the Content Jester are:
1. Bad SEO
Content is a fine balance between creating something useful and engaging for the user, and something which makes the SEO robots happy. Too often agencies can focus too much one way or the other. Yes, your content should be excellent. But not at the expense of your SEO.
That is not to say that you should be stuffing keywords all the way through your client's blogs. But, it does mean sticking to best practice and using Headings, Meta Descriptions, Alt Text and Internal Links to maximise your blog's SEO potential.
2. Sticking to One Form of Content
Blog after blog, 600 words a week, year after year. It gets boring for the marketer, so you can also guarantee that it gets stale as month old bread for the consumer.
Sticking to the tried and tested blog post may feel safe and secure, but it’s not going to drive conversions or be the ROI you dreamt of. Playing it safe is all fine and dandy, until you want to see some real results from your content. Everyone is doing the same thing so you need to be brave enough to try something new.
Create fun infographics, use gifs, have fun chatting away on a podcast and even create a video if you have the resources. Stop thinking about content as just writing post after post, you may find yourself in the exciting new territory!
3. Trying to Create Viral Content
The thing about viral content is that sometimes there is no rhyme no reason for why it is viral. Of course, the dream for any marketer is to create content which will go viral. It means a lot to you and to your client. But, that doesn’t mean that everything you do should be a stab at viral.
A content campaign which is too interested in becoming viral is destined to fail, for a number of reasons. It can make your content feel too ‘try-hard’; a vibe which repulses readers. At the end of the day, it detracts value from your content marketing efforts.
Always aim to create useful and informative content for your users first, anything else that comes of it should be a nice bonus at the end. Still, use the tips or techniques behind the viral content, just endeavor not to make them the vital component of your content creation efforts.
Quality often leads to becoming viral, so start there first.
4. No Visuals
This doesn’t mean creating a huge infographic every month, but it does mean making sure that your articles come with images relevant to the topic. In the modern world, people consume much more visually than ever before. Lots of text with no graphics to break it up can be the death of your content.
Add relevant photos to highlight the points you are making or even let the images do the talking for you. This is particularly effective with gifs, as they make your content much more interactive.
Images can also help with your SEO efforts, as Google loves images that also tell it what the image is. Use alt description on images to include your keyword in an unseen part of your blog. This form of blog optimisation could also give you a chance at becoming findable in Google. The more findable your blogs, the more value they have as a resource and a boost to your rankings.
5. Giving Serious Advice
No really, don’t do it. ‘How to’ blogs on building a brick barbecue are fine, as are advice blogs on your specific niche to a certain extent. But, avoiding serious advice which can have a negative effect on the person reading it is vital to protect yourself.
For example, if you were to write a piece on a ‘guaranteed’ way to triple stock values and someone tried it. On one hand, it might work. For some, it inevitably wouldn’t pan out and they may look for someone to blame. And who better than the person that wrote the advice in the first place?
It’s rare, but there are cases where such advice has resulted in the writing party being sued. For content or marketing agencies, small or large, there is always professional indemnity insurance - this is designed specifically to protect you if you are sued for having given bad advice or your client is otherwise unhappy with your service. If you can’t avoid it, due to a client's niche, at least cover yourself for it.
6. Not Sharing
Creating content and then leaving it to stagnate on your blog is perhaps the worst thing you could do as a content marketer. If you do this there is one important question you need to ask yourself: why did you bother in the first place?
Whether you are sharing on social media - Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn being your biggest asset in this sense - or simply socially bookmarking, you need to try and get your content viewed by as many people as possible. Creating it and doing nothing with it is a great waste of resources, but nothing else.
Outside of this obviously avoid talking about politics, religion or recent tragic events to bolster your content marketing efforts. You are the author of your client's brand stories, so don’t muffle it with such controversy.
Ultimately, it’s your job to ensure that content is created to the highest possible standard and then used in the best way possible. Some mistakes may be made, but at least it won’t be the ones listed in this article. Create with a purpose and you will have high-value pieces that can lead to more traffic and, hopefully, better conversions.
Zack Halliwell is a tech enthusiast by day, freelance writer by night. Kind of like Batman. He is a passionate writer and marketing expert for the most part.