Content is the lifeblood of online marketing.
It is one of the most simplest, inexpensive and overtly covert measures of connecting with your target audience. However, if done wrong, content marketing can fail you.
The fault doesn’t lie in the strategy itself, but in how it is incorrectly put to use.
Here are the top mistakes that content creators make.
1. Keyword stuffing
“Keyword stuffing is simply the process of repeating the same keyword or key phrases over and over in a page. It’s counter productive. It’s is a signpost of a very low-quality spam site…” Contrary to the popular belief, content stuffed with keywords almost always fails to appease Google. The ideal percentage for keywords in text content is around 1-3 percent.
A simple way to stay away from keyword stuffing and boost SEO is to ensure you are creating superior quality content. Moreover, keywords should be used only when it absolutely makes sense with high readability and clarity. Quality content will naturally include desired keywords and keyword phrases without overcompensating.
2. Making assumptions
Content creators often lack basic knowledge and understanding of their target audience and end up making assumptions. This leads to irrelevant and low performing content that fails to connect with readers and viewers.
To avoid this employ social listening on key social media platforms and solicit feedback via online survey. Take it a step further by researching effective audience-centric buying triggers. Simply put, listen and talk to the people you’re creating content for, understand their problems and concerns … and you’ll land in where you want to be, top of mind.
3. Value deficiency
Not all content is created equal. While some content is click worthy and viral, there is just as much content that fails to make any impression. Why? Because the content doesn’t offer something new or valuable.
If you are saying what is already being said a thousand times, and fail to share a new perspective you won’t gain interest or credibility. Your content should solve a problem, share something useful or at least entertain.
Use analytics tools to understand the browsing patterns of your audience. Then create content that actually resonates with their interest and offers value.
4. Using content for direct advertising
Direct advertising is “a solicitation or advertisement driven directly from a brand [and …] It is nearly always about a brand’s offering to a customer.”
In contrast, “Content marketing is deliberately placing assets (content) of value out there before the sale in a non-solicitous, or significantly less solicitous, fashion. Content marketing is more about suppressing the compulsion to interrupt with brand messages.”
If you’re creating content as direct advertising, you’re missing the point. In concrete terms you’re losing your audience’s interest which is clearly observed by low-performing sponsored content.
To avoid this, stop talking about your business and focus on your ideal clients.
For instance, if you sell high-end laptops, it makes more sense to create content entitled “5 Features The Best Laptops Have In Common” and subtly share features aligned with your offering, without direct brand mentions, instead of “5 Reasons You Must Buy The XYZ Laptop.”
You can even use a call to action statement, but going beyond that will make readers feel that they are being exploited. Content marketing isn’t a one-off sale; it’s a long-term relationship.
5. Overlooking your call to action (CTA)
While hard sells are frowned upon in the world of content marketing, not selling at all is a lost opportunity. Therefore, it is important to add a call to action (CTA) at the end of your article (or at a midpoint) to prompt readers to take a desired action.
A good example of a strong CTA is from The Content Marketing Institute:
“Looking for additional tips to make your content creation and curation efforts more targeted and effective? Don’t miss your chance to engage with Curata, and our other fantastic sponsors, at Content Marketing World 2013.”
Once you have captured someone’s attention, you surely want a CTA statement including a URL to a landing page to trigger conversions. A bit of prompting is not a bad idea!
6. Verbose jargon overload
It is easy to use elaborate jargon and lace it with too many words. But this is never a good idea. Attention spans are short, “we now have a shorter attention span than goldfish [at their whopping nine seconds to be exact].”
Verbose jargon will discourage reader from engaging with your content. People want relatable content with a conversational tone, simple words, and nice graphics. While the subject matter may be complex you’ll need to share it in a simple and engaging manner.
7. Brand vanity
It’s easy for marketers to paint pictures while wearing rose-colored glasses. While you want to present your brand in the best light, being too vain and impressive can repel readers.
For some readers, the “too good to be true” perception is like a blaring alarm which makes them apprehensive. Moreover, people who later convert to customers, might be hugely disappointed if your product doesn’t live up to your high claims.
It’s okay to portray your product or service in a natural and honest light. Let the customer know what to expect when they land on your product page from a content marketing piece. In the long run, this builds trust. Imperfections are far more relatable to a layman, who himself is far from perfect.
Correcting these common mistakes will help you generate content to attract the right kind of prospects and earn higher ROI from your content marketing efforts.
This article has been edited.
Neha Verma is digital marketing, strategy and general management professional with 10+ years of experience in consulting companies ranging from Fortune 500 companies to startups. As a part of the core management team of PCTI Group, Neha manages Panacea Web Technologies – a fast growing digital marketing agency. Neha is an engineering graduate from Delhi Technical University and holds an MBA from Thunderbird. Over the last several years, Neha has worked across industry domains, geographies and companies. Connect with @Panaceawebtech on Twitter.