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Content marketing mistakes

How to avoid these common content marketing mistakes

I hate a ‘negative’ blog post or to make anyone feel bad about what they are doing…but I also see so many avoidable content marketing mistakes and want to shine a spotlight on them.

In this blog post, I’m going to highlight 5 of the most common content marketing AND how to easily ‘fix’ or stop doing them.

1. Trying to be all things to all people

When I worked in book publishing, so many authors would tell me that their book would “appeal to everyone”. You’d think as a publisher that would be great to hear…a huge market and a big potential readership, right? Wrong!

The moment you try to appeal to a broad audience or a number of audiences in one go, your content will immediately ‘fall between stools’. In content marketing, this is not just about what you write or say, but also where you ‘show up’. As a busy business owner, you can’t be on all platforms, doing them all really well…and still have time to do the day job.

When it comes to social media, you need to figure out where you NEED to be, plus what you ENJOY doing. Usually, this means choosing just two platforms. You may have an account on a couple of others and cross post or post occasionally – but don’t use this as a guide to your social media success.

Importantly, know where you are putting your energy and be your authentic self in the content you create. Address ONLY your ideal clients – focussing on what they will be interested in and what messages you need to get across to them to nurture them, convert them and sell to them.

2. Not learning from the past

How often do you audit your content? Do you know what’s working? What worked well last month? Last quarter? Last year?

It’s so easy to get stuck in a groove with your content…to just put out the same types and styles of posts, or write the same old thing and not really assess whether it is making a difference to your sales. Because that’s often the biggest mistake people make…they forget that marketing is meant to lead to sales!

Make sure you have clear content goals and a clear content strategy (learn about the essentials here), and then measure your success against this. Doing a regular audit…even just once a year…is a great way to ensure your content is actually working hard for your business.

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Don’t get sucked in to worrying about what others are doing with their content marketing

3. Copying others

It is so easy to be influenced by an influencer (see what I did there!?!) or be directed by a big brand – but copying others (and I don’t just been direct plagarism) but “just doing what others do because it seems to work” is a huge mistake. You have no idea about their budgets, skill sets, or even what their goals are.

You are unique. Your business is different to any other…because you run it. You need to be authentic because it genuinely shows through.

Instead, when you copy others and try to be something you’re not, the quality of your content plummets.

I admit it can take a while to figure out your style and what engages or connects best with your audience from your own skill set and time allowance…but when you find the voice and techniques that work for you, everything is so much easier and more natural.

Figure out what content works for you and your business…and only you and your business. Keep an eye on what draws enquiries and warm leads. Evaluate different tactics and find your own way.

4. Being trend-led

Obsessed with Instagram Reels?

Trying TikTok without much success?

Doing videos for YouTube sporadically?

Started a blog…then stopped it?

Set up an email list and sent one email?

Any of these sound familiar? So many business owners decide to base their content marketing around the latest trend or from one bit of advice they read. However, when you do this you are not really thinking about what best for business. It is important you really evaluate what time you have and the investment you are willing to make. So many people do certain element of content marketing because they ‘feel they should’, plus the initial buzz (and seeming success) doesn’t last long.

Whilst I highly recommend that you continue to research and follow what are the latest trends and advice for content marketing, it is about evaluation overall. There is certainly no harm in setting up an account on a new social media platform, for example, just in case one day the majority of your users migrate there (and it also stops anyone else taking your business name as a handle). However, be really mindful of your content and business goals. Will the new trend actually help you reach them? Is what you are choosing to do sustainable? Can you be consistent and build an engaged audience? If the answer to these is ‘yes’ – then go for it. Invest time and effort in to adopting the new trend in to your content marketing strategy and plans. But otherwise, I’d suggest evaluating what platforms, tactics, etc. you are using already and focus on growing them.

…the same advice goes for listening to every social media and content guru that tells you that you HAVE to do X or Y…and you’ll instantly earn 6 figures?!?! Be critical and make a decision for yourself.

5. Treating content for each platform separately

I am a massive advocate for ‘interconnected content marketing’ – it is my new catchphrase for 2022! Let me explain…

Imagine each of your platforms is a pillar – a separate column. For example, you have separate columns for social media platform 1 and platform 2, then another column for a blog, then another for a mailing list (or 2), plus another column (often barely used!) for your website.

You then fill each of these columns with content and post ideas and merrily schedule them in for your week or month’s worth of content. What happens in many businesses is that these columns seem to become like thick brick walls…and nothing shall ‘slip’ between them. A big content marketing mistake is thinking that each platform needs individual content…totally separate from each other. This is hard work and triple…if not quadruple…the effort!

It’s hard to sum up in a single paragraph but I recommend to all client that ALL of their regular content hangs around a single theme…from that single theme comes your cornerstone content (i.e. blog posts and pre-recorded videos). This is the content that needs time, effort and investment from you and your expertise. From this cornerstone content, comes much of your social media content – advertising it, breaking it down, etc. Why? Because social media posts have such a short shelf life the effort you put in to them individually needs to reflect this. (NB note that individual posts have a short life but the profile as a whole and the nurturing of your audience is where the time and effort goes in…more on this another day! …or get in touch to discuss!).

The point I am trying to make is that all content should be interconnected – it should be mutually beneficial too. For example, your blog posts become the basis of your email content. Your social media advertises your services, using content from the relevant webpages. A video may become a blog post and vice versa. Your social media posts point to relevant blog posts. Your emails advertise your social media content. Your social media posts advertises your mailing list. And so on…and so on…

Every piece of content then starts to support all platforms at various times and there is a lovely cohesion between it all.

…and as another benefit, your mental load when it comes to creating content becomes a lot easier.

Read more about interconnected marketing in my next blog…coming soon

Stop making any content marketing mistakes

All of these mistakes can be avoided with a fully researched, clearly written up content strategy and complementary content plan.

I can do this for you or I can help you to do it yourself via The Content Club. Get in touch for more information.

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