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7 Simple Mistakes to Avoid in Content Marketing Creating informative, helpful content for marketing purposes is easier said than done. There are a few common mistakes that most beginners make that you can avoid.

By Rich Kahn Edited by Dan Bova

This story originally appeared on PR Newswire's Small Business PR Toolkit


Creating informative, helpful content for marketing purposes is easier said than done. There are a few common mistakes that most beginners make that you can avoid. Here are seven of them.

1. You don't set a goal or plan a strategy

Content marketing shouldn't be thought of as a separate entity, but as part of your marketing strategy as a whole. You need content to supplement your website or social media posts and to give customers a reason to look to you for help. If you keep content marketing separate, your customers will not experience the "big picture" that is your brand and company.

In order to increase your chances of success, you must set a goal and create a specific content strategy that details how you're going to focus your efforts in order to reach that end goal.

To set a goal, you need to decide what metrics you want to focus on. Trying to achieve too many things at once makes it hard to analyze what's really working and what isn't. Do you want to build brand awareness through more social shares? Are you looking to push leads further down the sales funnel through increased ebook downloads or free trials? Or are you simply looking to receive more website impressions? Figuring out what you want to achieve first will help you then strategize how to reach those goals.

2. You don't understand your audience

Do you know what your customers need? Do you know how to get their attention? Understanding your audience is one of the most important aspects of content marketing. Before creating content, you need to figure out who your audience is and what type of information they'll be most likely to respond to.

When consumers decide to read your content, they aren't looking for a sales pitch; they're reading to gather more information. There's a time and place to push a sale. Your customers need to know that they can trust you first, so your content should not be self-serving. Customers are going to trust the brand that has the answers they're looking for, because those are the brands that have the best interests of the customers, not themselves, in mind.

If your content is beneficial to your audience first, in time, it'll start to benefit you by bringing in new leads and making you a trusted influencer in your industry.

3. You neglect your titles and headlines

Quality content will give your website credibility, and in turn, build trust with your audience.

While you can get creative with your titles and headlines, don't damage your credibility by creating clickbait titles. When a reader selects your article to browse, whatever is promised in the title should immediately be delivered in the introduction of the piece. Readers lose trust in a company that draws them in with a funny or interesting title, only to find that it isn't in sync with the content of the article.

In some instances, such as humorous or satirical sites, clickbait titles are almost expected. But in content for a B2B or B2C company, this method is never appropriate, and frankly, it can seem desperate. To craft quality headlines, try using a free headline analyzer like CoSchedule to see how it ranks in quality.

4. You don't proofread before publishing

Grammatical mistakes make you look unprofessional. You should always proofread your content before publishing online. There are several free tools to help you double-check your content, such as the Hemingway Editor and Grammarly. Poor writing and grammar can be enough to make a consumer leave and seek another business.

5. You forget about keyword research and SEO

Before you start writing, figure out your audience, then research which keywords to associate with your company. These will be the terms that help your site's organic rank on a relevant search.

Then, make sure you're creating content that includes those keywords. Creating useful, quality content that naturally incorporates your keywords in the title, alternative image text, headings and body text are what will gradually improve your organic search ranking.

6. You don't respond to your customers

If you don't respond to your customers' attempts to contact you, they're going to think you don't care. The primary purpose of content marketing is to catch the attention of potential customers and offer helpful information in order to gain their trust and make them want to reach out to you. Neglecting to respond to your customers when they do reach out to you defeats the entire purpose of content marketing.

7. You don't distribute and promote your content

It's not enough to just create good content. You also have to make sure it gets read by the people who will benefit from it. If you're just starting out and still need to build brand awareness, there are many paid methods of distribution, such as social media advertising or pay per click advertising.

Once you get your content distributed, you also need to analyze its performance. Where did your content see the most engagement? Did one piece of content lead to more conversions than another? Analyzing your content performance will let you know what your readers are most interested in hearing about, which will help you decide on future content creation.

Keeping on top of your progress will allow you to see what is and isn't working and help you further improve your content marketing.

Rich Kahn

CEO and Co-founder, eZenga

Rich Kahn has been a leader in the online advertising industry since 1993. He started, a digital marketing firm specializing in pay per click and pay per call advertising, in 2003, with his wife, Beth. His commentary has been featured in a variety of publications including Inc., ADOTAS, Search Engine Watch,and Crain’s New York, and he’s been named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

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