This is a guest contribution by Stephanie Norman, a professional writer and content marketing specialist from Sydney. She writes business, creative, and academic content as a freelancer. You can follow her at Facebook and Google+.
A properly-planned content marketing strategy can definitely boost the online reputation of your website or business. If you publish high-quality posts that answer questions and give solutions to your readers’ problems, you can rest assured that your efforts will result in success.
Great content is an extremely effective promotional tool, but it won’t work on its own. Once you write and publish a good post, you have to rely on different strategies that will boost its visibility through search engines and social media websites.
A poorly-executed content marketing campaign, on the other hand, will have a counter effect. Instead of attracting more visitors to your site and generating purchases, it can ruin your online reputation. Even if you don’t experience the worst case scenario (that would be attracting haters and criticism), you will surely remain unnoticed. That’s equally bad after you invested all that effort and resources into content development.
The question is: How can you improve the efficiency of your content marketing campaign?
Learn from the mistakes of other content developers and fix your own misses. These are the top 10 mistakes that every content writer and marketer should avoid:
1. Failure to establish connections
The main purpose of content marketing is promoting your website, brand or products in front of a target audience. You are clearly focused on developing a meaningful connection with your potential and existing clients, but you shouldn’t limit your efforts to that purpose. The connections with your competitors are just as important.
In fact, you can’t even use the term competition for influential bloggers and content writers in your niche.
There is no such thing as competition in this profession; everyone can help you grow.
Content marketers can easily get their pieces published on popular blogs and websites. All you need to do is establish a connection, provide high-quality content, and return the favor. When you get your content promoted by influentials, a great number of readers will be tempted to click the link. Thus, you’ll have them exactly where you want them – at your website.
2. Saying the same things all over again
So you decided to write on a topic that’s currently trending on the web. Maybe your goal is to write an evergreen post that will continue working for you for a long time. That’s great, but can you add a new perspective or will you offer the same facts that are available all over the Internet?
If you rephrase and reorganize the information that’s already featured on other blogs and websites, you won’t achieve the results you aim for. You will waste your time on a piece of content that won’t hold the reader’s attention.
There is one thing you need to remember: you want to be a leader; not a follower.
Dig deeper into the issues, add your own twist, offer real-life examples, or add a creative infographic that captures the essence of your text. You have to be different than everyone else!
3. Headline fail
A lousy headline can ruin your best post, but a catchy one can even attract readers towards a mediocre one. This is the combination you should aim for: An awesome post with a clever headline.
Don’t avoid using keywords in this part, but make sure to make them sound natural within the context. Many content writers decide to skip the keywords in the headline because big words make them sound smarter. They don’t!
When people use particular words and phrases to search through Google, the headline is the most important factor that will get your post into the first page of results. This part should definitely contain a keyword, but it should also be interesting, unique, and descriptive.
4. Unrecognizable voice
Read one of your paragraphs. Do you think that a loyal reader would recognize your style without seeing where the post comes from?
Many content marketers publish content for the sake of quantity. They want to get more links and a busier website. Thus, they fail to develop a recognizable persona that would make that website/blog influential in the particular niche.
The first step towards developing your unique voice is finding your niche. Who is your target reader? How can you attract him towards your website and hold his attention to the end of the post? If you think that a small dose of jargon will help you develop your style, you can go for it.
However, make sure to keep your writing simple. You don’t want to write a piece an average reader wouldn’t understand. Don’t make them grab a dictionary; they will just leave your site and hit Google to find more relevant results.
5. Duplicate or paraphrased content
You are probably aware of the dangers of duplicate content. First and foremost, such content will hurt your rankings on search engine results at warp speed.
A single post that’s not 100% unique can ruin all efforts you invested into writing and marketing. Even double-posted blog content can cause trouble, so you need to be very careful with each post you publish
Check the uniqueness of your articles with a plagiarism detection engine before making them available for the public.
Plagiarism is simply bad because it comes with consequences. However, paraphrased content is also a wrong strategy.
Maybe paraphrased posts won’t be punished by Google, but you can’t expect it to make a good impression to a reader who’s already conducted a good research on the given topic. If you’re investing time and money into content marketing, the articles have to be unique in every sense of the word.
6. Neglecting the schedule
There are three main factors that determine the effectiveness of content marketing:
You already know you’re supposed to deliver good content, but you also need to serve it in regular timeframes. People are habitual creatures; they like getting the things they want according to the plan they have in mind.
If you said you were going to stick to a daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly publishing schedule, you better keep the promise.
If you are in lack of time to meet the deadlines of the schedule, it is better to delegate some of the tasks to people who can research, write, or/and edit the post for you.
For example, services like Australian Writings provide assistance by talented writers and editors. You can simply give the instructions and wait for your custom-tailored content to be ready on time.
Don’t expect to notice results during the first few months. It takes a lot of time to create a great base of blog posts, articles, infographics, YouTube videos, and other materials, but it may take even more time to attract loyal followers.
Stay committed to your schedule. If you do all other parts of the strategy properly, there will be no reason for failure.
7. Publishing ‘salesy’ content
Of course you’re trying to generate more sales; that’s what the purpose of content marketing is. However, you shouldn’t go overboard with the calls to actions. The main goal to have in mind is to provide useful content.
How will your product/service improve the lifestyle of your target customers and solve their problems? Focus on that aspect.
Offer valuable advice in a piece that will be worth reading. If you publish useful, entertaining, or informative content, it will effortlessly guide the readers to the purchase.
8. Bad backlinking techniques
Backlinks are just as important as keywords. However, some content writers and marketers go overboard with the backlinking strategy.
They think that a great number of links will get their pages higher on search engine rankings. That’s not too far from the truth because good links will only boost the trustworthiness of your site.
However, if your pages get links from unreliable, spammy sites that are heavy on the ads, your backlinking strategy will backfire on you.
Make sure to get your links from authoritative websites. Don’t forget to check the existing links too; you can use SEMRush to generate a report and get rid of all broken and ineffective backlinks. Don’t expect this to be an easy process. It takes a lot of time and focus, but it’s a necessary part of your content marketing strategy.
9. Ignoring SEO
Are you too smart for search engine optimization? You think you will attract the right audience solely with your wit and talent? You’re wrong! SEO is possibly the most important part of the content marketing strategy. Ignoring it is a huge mistake.
Let’s remind ourselves of the main goal of content marketing: you need to attract as many readers as possible and turn the website visits into purchases. The part about turning visitors into customers is dependent upon the quality of your website content.
The part of attracting clicks is all about SEO. You can’t forget the fact that the search engines bring valuable traffic to your site, so you have to make your content as detectable as possible.
Optimizing content for the search engines doesn’t mean that you’re neglecting the preferences of your readers.
10. Bad grammar
This is really, really bad! You think your audience cares only about the tips and information you’re about to expose? Nope; many readers are waiting to catch a mistake so they can start criticizing.
Misspellings, bad sentence structure and lack of proper punctuation will get you in trouble. First of all, not many people will read such articles.
The ones who have the patience to go through the entire text will certainly focus on the mistakes when they decide to comment.
Don’t waste your readers’ time! It’s absolutely necessary to go through the content several times before publishing it. If you don’t think you can polish it out, then it would be wise to hire a professional editor.
Your Content Marketing Plan Will Yield Good Results. You Just Need to Fix It!
Did you recognize some of the above-listed mistakes in your own content marketing practices? Don’t feel too bad about it; everyone makes mistakes. Do you know what distinguishes successful marketers from the crowd? They recognize their flaws and fix them before it’s too late. That’s exactly what you need to do, so it’s time to get to work!