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8 Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

According to a 2015 Content Marketing Institute survey, 83% of B2B marketers have some sort of a content strategy in place, but only 38% consider theirs successful. And let’s face it – mistakes happen.
Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
Every piece of content you create isn’t going to be a hit, but you can increase your chances for success by avoiding these common content marketing mistakes.

1) Don’t Neglect Setting Goals

70% of B2B marketers are producing more content than they did one year ago, but don’t just produce content for content’s sake. Matt Heinz from Heinz Marketing suggests, “Before you start any marketing activity (no matter how strategic or tactical), you have to know why you’re doing it.”
70% of B2B marketers are producing more content than they did one year ago
First, what is the purpose of the piece of content you are creating? Are you trying to generate leads? Raise brand awareness? Increase engagement? Drive sales? Connect with thought leaders? Secondly, what does success look like?

2) Don’t Overlook Your Audience

One of the biggest challenges is creating content that people will actually want to consume. On average, B2B marketers have 4 different audiences that they target. Which buyer persona is this content intended for? What are their pains? How will this content help them? What are you teaching them?
Make sure your content is both relevant and appropriate (i.e. amount of jargon, tone, word choice).

3) Don’t Forget the Funnel

You want to make sure that you are reaching the right persona with the right content at the right time. What stage of the buying cycle is your audience in? Are they just browsing? Are they doing research for a future purchase? Are they ready to purchase now? Not forgetting your funnel also means making sure that this content gets into the hands of your sales people. Marketing content isn’t just for the top of funnel, it’s also a critical sales enablement asset.

4) Don’t Push Your Product

There’s a time and place for promoting your product; depending on the stage of the buying cycle that the prospect is in, it may be appropriate. But for the most part, your readers are looking for value, and that is why they will continue to engage with your content.
Only 20% of your content should be self-promotional
Consider the Pareto Principle (also known as the 80/20 Rule): 80% of your content should add value (i.e. by offering tips, help, advice, and unique perspectives) and only 20% should be self-promotional (i.e. about your product or services).

5) Don’t Forget to Include a Call To Action (CTA)

What is the reader supposed to take away from your content? What is their next step? A CTA doesn’t always have to be product-specific, unless the piece of content is intended for the bottom of the funnel. It could be to read a related piece of content, to sign up for your newsletter, or to register for an upcoming webinar on the same topic. Decide what you want your reader to do next and then make it as easy as possible to take action.

6) Don’t Ignore Other Content Formats

Your strength may be writing, thus forming the core of your content strategy. But don’t forget the power of other formats, such as video, infographics, and slideshares. Is there a particular type of content that your readers prefer?
Also, don’t be afraid to re-use good content. B2B strategist Ardath Albee suggests using the Rule of 5, where every piece of content that you develop has 5 uses or applications. Approach a single topic from multiple angles and develop different formats of content.

7) Don’t Be Boring

Why would readers choose your content over your competitors’? Make sure that your content is memorable and offers fresh, thought-provoking perspectives. Engage readers with interactive formats, such as animated infographics, surveys, or mobile apps.

8) Don’t Forget to Measure Results

What metrics are you using to measure success? What is the potential ROI? Only 21% of marketers regularly measure the results of their content, but if you don’t measure, how do you know what’s working and what’s not?
Common KPIs to consider include website traffic, sales lead quality, sales lead quantity, conversion rates, SEO ranking, time spent on website, shares, and subscriber growth.

Lastly, don’t worry if you do have some content flops. Failures are simply learning experiences, giving you insight into what to avoid in the future.

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