Do you have a little corner of the internet that offers valuable information about your niche or industry? Whether it’s an e-commerce site, blog, or forum — generating content is a great way to develop relationships, establish yourself as an expert, increase traffic and sales, and stay in front of your target audience. However, when going into content marketing, it’s easy to make a few mistakes. And when you’re a small business, the stakes are even higher.
Don’t let your potential online slip away from you due to a lack of knowledge. Below are the common mistakes that could be preventing you from getting the most out of your marketing dollar.
Not Having a Solid Content Marketing Strategy
A content marketing strategy is a plan for how you will create and distribute content. Without one, it will be challenging to determine what type of content you produce, who your audience is, and how often you should share the information with them.
When creating a content marketing strategy, your objective should be to align your business goals with the needs of your target market by providing valuable information that will help them solve problems or answer questions. It’s not necessarily to sell products directly; instead, it’s about establishing trust with potential customers, so they are more likely to purchase something from your company down the road.
Not Identifying Your Target Audience
This is a critical part of content marketing that many small businesses don’t get right. You need to know who you are talking to, what they want to hear, and what they need to know about your niche topic.
Once you’ve identified your target audience—including specifics about their age range, gender identity/expression preference(s), socioeconomic status level(s), etc.—you can better tailor your message to their needs or interests.
For example, if you run a travel blog and want to attract travelers planning their next trip, that’s who your target audience should be. They may not all be millennials, and they may not all be affluent, but they will all have one thing in common: they love traveling.
The more specific you can get with your target audience, the better equipped you will be to deliver relevant content that benefits them personally.
Not Investing in High-Quality Content
Content is a significant part of your business’s online presence—whether used to build a blog, create social media posts, or shared on LinkedIn and other platforms.
If you’re new to the game, it can be tempting just to throw some words onto a page and call it good. But that won’t get you very far. Your target readers anticipate something meaningful.
The first step toward creating quality content is having a good understanding of what constitutes “quality.” That means more than just getting your facts right; it means ensuring your posts are helpful and engaging for your readers. Don’t try to imitate other people’s style — instead, focus on making sure that your voice comes through loud and clear.
Sure, you want to prioritize quality over quantity, and you might think that producing one post per week or month is enough. But if you want to drive commendable traction with your new blog, please commit to putting out at least two pieces of content per week.
Ignoring the 80/20 Rule of Content Marketing
Content marketing is mainly about creating valuable content that informs and educates your audience. But you also want to convert those readers into customers by promoting your products or services. Finding the perfect balance is where most companies fall short: They spend so much time trying to sell that they forget the importance of educating potential customers first (or at least in addition). It’s wrong, and that’s where the 80/20 rule of content marketing comes in.
The 80/20 rule of content marketing suggests that 80% of your content should be educational, and only 20% should promote your products and services.
It’s a great way to approach content marketing because it helps you build trust with your prospects. They will learn about who you are and what you do, making it easier for them to trust your brand and buy from you. That’s why the best-performing landing pages have a lot more content than just a form to fill out.
People visiting your website don’t want to see an advertisement or sales pitch immediately; they want to learn more about what makes your brand special. And the more information you give them, the more likely they will buy from you.
When it comes to content marketing, it’s easy to focus on the creative side of things and forget about the technical aspects. However, good SEO is essential for any website, especially if you want to attract traffic through search engines.
But you can’t optimize your content for SEO if you don’t understand how it works. Plus, Google’s algorithm is constantly changing, and if you don’t stay on top of it, it can negatively affect your rankings.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of creating content that is easily found by search engines like Google and Bing. In other words, it’s the art of making your site more accessible to people looking for the information you provide. This sounds simple enough, but in practice, many things can go wrong when writing content for SEO purposes. These mistakes can lead to pages that rank poorly or not at all in search results, which means fewer eyeballs on your business’ website and less awareness of what you have to offer online customers.
The most common issue? Creating thin or duplicate over-optimized pages with low-quality information that doesn’t provide any value outside of ranking well in Google searches—a blackhat SEO practice known as “keyword stuffing.” While this may provide short-term gains in ranking, people quickly become frustrated with seeing these types of sites appear when searching for relevant information on specific topics. They’ll move on to another website instead! Also, Google and other search engines penalize this technique by dipping your ranks.
Below are some ways to get your content discovered by more people:
- Target keywords with high search volumes
- Create rich media content (videos, images) with keyword-rich titles and descriptions
- Create linkable assets (eBooks, infographics)
- Optimize your website for mobile devices
- Build links between your content channels
Creating Random Content on any Subject
Your target audience is likely composed of people with a need or problem they’re looking to solve. So, make sure your content offers value, not just information that’s interesting or different from what everyone else is saying.
If you can’t think of anything valuable about your product/service, then don’t say it! Relevant content means sticking with topics related to your products/services (i.e., if you own a coffee shop, don’t write about dog grooming) and providing information that solves problems for potential customers. If no one has ever asked, “Where can I get great coffee nearby?” it’s probably not worth writing about.
Not Measuring the Results of Your Efforts
While it’s essential to have a marketing strategy for content, it’s also vital that you track the results of your efforts. If you can’t measure what’s working and what isn’t, it will be tricky to know if you need to change course or continue with what has been working so far.
So, how do you measure content marketing performance?
It depends on your goals for the campaign. If you want to increase website traffic and leads, then you need to measure those things. If your goal is to raise brand awareness, then brand lift should be part of the equation.
The good news is that there are many tools available to help you measure performance. Some are free, and some require a small investment. Google Analytics is one of the most popular analytics tools on the market. It includes real-time tracking of traffic, engagement, and conversions. You can also use it to track sales conversions based on whether or not they came from social media or other online sources like blogs or newsletters.
A few simple metrics will help you gauge the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts:
- Traffic: The number of website visitors is essential for measuring content marketing success. You want to see steady growth in site traffic over time, which means new people are finding value in your brand and engaging with your content.
- Engagement: Engagement metrics tell you how many people interact with your content — sharing it on social media or commenting on it in forums, etc. The goal is to get users involved in the conversation around your brand to feel like part of the community.
We know that it can be hard to change your routine or reevaluate what you’re doing regarding content marketing. But we hope that by reading through these points again, you’ll identify where your business could make improvements and better serve customers looking for more information about your niche, products, and services.