Content Marketing

Top 10 Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Don’t Let These Content Marketing Mistakes Impact Your Success!

Content marketing isn’t easy. It takes time, resources and dedication to pull it off successfully. But for those who invest in making their content marketing a priority, the payoff can be very rewarding. It isn’t rocket science… but there are a few key elements that will ultimately determine how successful your content marketing efforts are. We’ve compiled our top 10 list of content marketing mistakes to avoid (along with recommendations on where to focus your efforts) so that you can hit the ground running.



Content Marketing Mistake #1: Content Marketing Without A Strategy

Content Marketing Mistake: Content Marketing Without A Strategy

Don’t do content marketing with a blindfold on! Without a strategy, your content marketing efforts don’t stand a chance in the long run. To some, the very word “strategy” evokes chills at the thought of creating a multiple page document that once approved doesn’t see the light of day ever again. But, your content marketing strategy doesn’t need to be cumbersome nor complex. It does need to answer at least one critical question… and that is “why?”. Why are you undertaking the effort of content marketing in the first place. Answering this question will set the tone for the rest of your strategy… which essentially should cover the who (target audience /who will be responsible), the what (type of content you will produce), the where (distribution/home of your content), the when (consistency of your content) and how (form and format). It doesn’t have to be complex… but it needs to be done! Check out our 12-step checklist for crafting a simple content strategy.  



Content Marketing Mistake #2: Selling Instead Of Storytelling

Content Marketing Mistake: Selling Instead of StorytellingAre you approaching content marketing like traditional advertising? If so, you are doing it wrong. Content marketing is about providing timely, relevant and valuable content to your target audience. The goal of content marketing is not to sell your products or services. It is to attract the right type of audience to you… an audience that you can nurture and build a relationship with… an audience that you can eventually convert into a customer if you play your cards right. So stop trying to sell, sell, sell at every opportunity and instead focus on telling a story that your target audience wants to hear. Check out these examples of digital brand storytelling.




Content Marketing Mistake #3: Focusing On Quantity Over Quality
Content Marketing Mistake: Focusing on Quantity Over Quality

The key to successful Content is in the quality of it. If your content doesn’t solve a problem, serve a need, evoke an emotion or otherwise provide value to your target audience… then you are simply spinning your wheels. It isn’t about churning out as much content as you can either. your audience won’t tolerate poor quality content and will find what they need elsewhere. It’s a crowded content marketing space… and to be recognized as a leader, you have to deliver the high quality that demanding audiences are seeking.  



Content Marketing Mistake #4: Targeting Your Content To Everyone Content Marketing Mistake: Targeting Your Content To Everyone

Content that is too general won’t attract the right audience. Pushing out content with the mindset that it will go viral if it applies to a mass audience is a recipe for disaster. Know who your target audience is (ideally prospective/current customers, partners, vendors, etc.) and create relevant content that is specific to their needs, wants and desires. Not only will you will have a higher chance of reaching your intended audiences, but also a much greater chance of converting them into subscribers, customers and eventually brand advocates.  


Content Marketing Mistake #5: Creating Content For The Sake Of Creating Content
Content Marketing Mistake: Creating Content for the Sake of Creating Content

While the intent of Content Marketing is not direct sales, that is not to say that your content marketing shouldn’t have a purpose. Knowing why you are engaged in content marketing is critical in determining whether you are achieving your goals and objectives. Always start with the why! Clearly articulate your content marketing mission statement at the start and direct your content strategy to flow from there. Evaluating your content marketing success based on your “why” will be a much easier task.      



Content Marketing Mistake #6: Relying On One Type Of Content Content Marketing Mistake: Relying On One Type of Content

You blog. That’s it. Unless you have a hugely loyal audience that doesn’t mind simply reading your blogs, then this strategy just isn’t going to work. You need to diversify your content marketing offerings and keep things fresh and exciting for your audience. Test out different platforms as well as content delivery techniques to see what resonates best with your audience. A healthy mix of written content, visual content and video content will ensure you satisfy the various needs of your audience. Some people are drawn to lists and how-to’s, others to videos and images. We all consume content differently… and hence why you need to diversify your content marketing mix.  


Content Marketing Mistake #7: Forcing A One-Size Fits All Approach To Social Media Content Marketing Mistake: Forcing A One-Size Fits All Approach to Social Media

If you create one piece of content marketing… and then force it to fit across multiple social platforms without customizing it to those particular platform criteria and audience, then you are doing a huge disservice to your credibility and reputation. Repurposing is a key component of smart content marketing. Simply redistributing content without customizing it first is not. Take the time to craft your content to different platforms. What works on LinkedIn will not work on Snapchat and what works on Twitter will not work on Facebook. They are different platforms with much different audiences. Knowing how to share your content on each specific platform will ensure your audience isn’t confused, your content isn’t ignored and that you remain relevant.  



Content Marketing Mistake #8: Tying All Content To Trending And Time Sensitive News And Events Content Marketing Mistake: Tying All Content to Trending And Time Sensitive News and Events

Being timely and relevant by tapping into current events, news and happenings is a great way to showcase your expertise and responsiveness to change. Creating content around trending topics is also a great way to attract a new audience and generate awareness for your business. But… it should not be the only content that you produce. Instead, the majority of your content should be evergreen… meaning that it is relevant for an extended period of time… it’s classic, timeless and in-style. For example, I have a blog post written over 4 years ago that still gets a ton of traffic because it is still relevant and relatable. The great thing about evergreen content is that it can provide endless opportunities for repurposing in different forms and formats. When you do tie your content to trending or current events, think about how to potentially tweak the content in the future so that it becomes an evergreen piece of content (e.g. Case Studies are great for this!).  



Content Marketing Mistake #9: Creating One-And-Done Content Content Marketing Mistake: Creating One-And-Done Content

You did it… you created an amazing infographic, or how-to video, or long-form blog post… it’s out there for your audience to enjoy. And then you move on to something new? Wrong! As mentioned previously, repurposing is one of the smartest content marketing strategies you can employ. Take a look at your analytics to see what content is outperforming the rest. Then, look into different ways to repurpose that content in different ways. You can deconstruct a long-form blog post or build-out a list into a white paper. Lists, stats and facts work great as a way to showcase bite-sized content in the form of quotes, images and tweets. Be creative in how you repurpose and be sure that you are still delivering high quality, valuable content to your target audience.



Content Marketing Mistake #10: Executing Content Marketing On An Ad-Hoc Basis Content Marketing Mistake: Executing Content Marketing on an Ad-Hoc Basis

An ad-hoc approach to content marketing is a surefire way to never gain momentum. Humans are by nature creatures of habit. So many people thrive on consistency in an ever-change world of chaos. When your content marketing efforts are executed on a regular drumbeat, your audience will come to expect your content. You will build a loyal audience who will come back for more time and time again (given that you are delivering on value, quality and relevance each time). Consistency breeds credibility and will enhance your position as a thought leader in the industry.  



Summary Start with your “why” and build out your content marketing strategy with the foundation of providing value, relevance and quality to a targeted audience, consistently and while keeping things fresh and exciting. Avoiding these common content marketing mistakes will help to ensure your efforts are successful.  

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Darcy Schuller is the Chief Digital Marketing and Brand Strategist at Suvonni, an innovative boutique digital marketing agency in Chicago. As a leader in the digital marketing space, Darcy is passionate about helping clients build stronger brands through elevated customer engagement, social media marketing, content marketing and dynamic web experiences. Darcy is a respected marketing thought leader, speaker and consultant.