By John Rampton
Content marketing has helped propel both my personal brand and my businesses forward in terms of recognition, respect, and revenue. I've put a lot of time and effort into learning how to do content marketing the right way, so it's important to me to help others understand the do's and don'ts of how to deploy it.
Having typos and grammar issues: Nothing personally irks me more than seeing typos and grammar mistakes in published content. It sends the message that you didn't care enough to run the content through a grammar checker or have someone else proofread or edit it. The audience may equate this lack of quality control to the brand and product or service that it represents. It's so easy to avoid. Have others check your work.
Although there are numerous content marketing guides that can shape what you do and how you say it, the blunders still happen quite regularly. Content marketing mistakes to avoid include:
Writing anonymous content: Include your name, short bio, and link to your "About" page or website so readers can learn more about you and your company. This is also useful in terms of building trustworthiness. People want to know who is behind the content. This is a good way to introduce yourself and start building trust with them.
Leaving it off of social media: The point of content marketing is to get it in front of as many people as possible. Promote it through your social media platforms, where your audience is. I find that Buffer has been an excellent way to multitask and get my content up across multiple platforms. Just take the time to also understand which platforms your audience prefers.
Not including personalization or stories: I don't want to read generic content. I want to hear from the author and have them share stories or experiences. My content always includes personal references as to what I've been doing or tools that I have found useful in my business. I also relate stories about how I got to where I am or recent experiences that underscore the expertise I claim to have. Use a first-person narrative in your blog posts and articles so the reader knows you have personally experienced the things you are talking about. It also helps them get to know you and boost that personal brand you are trying to build.
Including few visuals: I'm a visual person, so when I read I want to see pictures and videos or I get bored quickly. Content marketing has become so much more about what you can show someone rather than what you have to say. Of course, words still have their place and are effective when presented in an easy-to-read format. I like to use images and include video blogs where I speak to my audience or share excerpts from my speaking events.
Relying too much on someone else: While it's great to benchmark another marketing tool or idea, don't copy someone else's voice. It can be scary to put your real personality out there and share your voice at first, but your audience is looking for individuals that they can identify and engage with. It's also a great way to stand out in the crowd.
Leaving out the numbers: While you may not be a numbers person, it's important to leverage analytics tools that can help you understand the impact (or lack thereof) that your content is having on your audience. By ignoring statistics about your traffic, bounce rates, traffic sources and time spent reading, you are missing out on opportunities to attract more leads and close more deals. Plus, you can't really know what type of content to create in the future because you don't know what really resonates and what has drawn crickets. My favorite content marketing analytics tools include Google Analytics, Cyfe, and Buffer because they cover a wide range of data points.
Adding a ho-hum headline: Many think a headline or article title isn't that important and that the focus is on the larger content. However, it's your headline that either gets your audience's attention or causes them to pass right over you. I like to create edgy titles that say something dramatic or that include some type of statistic that stops the reader in their tracks, gets them to wonder what I mean, and then influences them to continue reading. Think of it as the first impression you're making. And we know how important those can be: they're everything.
Sharing only once: You are essentially killing your own efforts to get attention if you only share the content once. When I recently garnered 60,000 page views in a 24-hour period on one article, I shared it at least two to three times on social media and across my email list. Many people might be influenced by your content if you share it more than once. They just might not be on social media when it first passed through their news feed.
Padding the post: I see a lot of fluff content that means nothing to the audience. They will get bored and go elsewhere to get what they need. Make sure everything you are putting out there can do something or provide a service for your audience.
Take these content marketing mistakes to heart and do everything you can to avoid them so you don't slow down your marketing train and lose passengers along the way.
John Rampton is the founder of Palo Alto, California-based Due, a free payments company specializing in helping businesses bill their clients easily online.
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