Content Marketing

7 Mistakes Businesses Make With Content Marketing + What You Can Learn From Them


There has been a significant boom in content marketing and search engines are becoming more sophisticated in filtering out the good from the bad. In fact, this relatively new trend is constantly evolving and what could be relevant one year could be completely redundant the next. Only now businesses have started to realise that good content marketing is about quality information; not just successful promotion.

In order to rank highly, engage visitors, boost traffic and, most importantly, survive Google’s future algorithm updates, you must avoid these common mistakes at all costs.

Content Marketing Mistakes

The content isn’t good enough

This is without a doubt the number one mistake that most businesses make. Having good quality content is vital; without it you’ll find it difficult to rank your website highly in the search engines and will struggle to hold the attention of the small amount of visitors you get. Good quality content isn’t just “good writing”; it’s a combination of research, reporting, resources, presentation and editorial. Unless all of these elements seamlessly fuse together your content will never make the grade.

There’s not enough demand

In order to succeed there must be some demand for your content; this is where research comes in. Businesses often fail to adequately research their niche and, therefore, fail to find that all important gap in the market. The Internet may be competitive, but it’s also full of junk, so don’t discredit a certain avenue just because you don’t think you’ll be able to beat the competition. A little bit of research could yield some very surprising results.

Don’t place too much emphasis on old keyword research methods – “The keyword should have X amount of searches per month and X amount of Google results.” In truth, it doesn’t matter how many searches it receives or how much competition it has. Use your common sense; if you find a keyword that you believe will perform, and the top 10 Google results are low quality websites such as forums and directory listings, just go for it.

The content doesn’t get shared

In today’s digital world everything is connected. Many businesses fail the grasp how powerful social media can be when promoting content; therefore, when you’re developing content you should ensure it is as shareable as possible.

When The Pink Group developed the Social Media Cheat Sheet they used social networking as their primary form of promotion. The content went viral and ended up receiving in excess of 3,000 Facebook shares and 4,000 Twitter shares. Their website received a phenomenal rise in traffic; something which could have never been achieved in such a short space of time had their content not gone viral.

There’s no variation

Content marketing doesn’t just revolve around writing and publishing blog posts; it’s a combination of creation, curation and social interaction. No single element would be complete without the other. When you publish a blog post it should be promoted via social media; when somebody writes a comment you should directly and publically respond. Only then will you build your readership.

In addition, curation should not be ignored. Many businesses consider curation to be plagiarism, but that’s simply not the case. Providing you credit your sources and express your own thoughts and opinions it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do. In fact, all your content efforts should revolve around quality; therefore, if curated content will offer more worth than an original piece, use it. As a general rule of thumb Internet marketers recommend using a ratio of 33-33-33 – 33% creation, 33% curation, and 33% interaction.

The content is too broad

When you’re promoting a product or service the content you develop must not only relate to that niche, but really delve deep into the topic. Too many businesses develop content that’s broad, uninspiring and promotional. The Internet is riddled with low quality information and visitors won’t want to read the same thing twice. Simply put, the broader your content, the less engaging it is likely to be.

Don’t take the mathematical approach that search engine marketers recommended in the past – “write X 500 word articles”, etc. This no longer works. Write what is necessary; short or long. If your content needs to be 2,000 words, keep it that way, while if 200 will suffice, don’t bulk it up with fluff.

The content isn’t broad enough

Contrary to the above statement, delve too deep into your niche and you won’t have an audience. This is a problem that many ecommerce businesses struggle with. Trying to provide noteworthy content to the masses may seem impossible when you’re selling; therefore, you may have to find topics that aren’t directly associated with your niche. For example,Strictly Tables and Chairs – a company that rents out tables and chairs for corporate events – managed to bypass this issue by creating a page dedicated to wedding theme ideas. While it’s not specifically focused on the products they provide, it’s indirectly related to their niche.

There’s no publication strategy

Just like any other form of marketing, you need to design a strategy in advance. It’s not as easy as coming up with a list of potential titles and scheduling blog posts on your own website. There are various other aspects to consider, such as: what are the most suitable websites for guest posting? Does the content have viral potential? Does the targeted website allow backlinks or author credits? In addition, strategy development will help you stay on track and remain motivated, which is half the battle.

Avoiding the mistakes outlined in this article will put you on the right track; however, it won’t guarantee success. It takes roughly six months to rank a website on Google, and even longer to establish a brand. There are no shortcuts; therefore, you must act like a true entrepreneur and tackle challenges head on. It may take time, but when you develop a content marketing strategy that starts yielding results, your business will skyrocket.

Image Credit: Zen Design Firm


Tom Shurville is Managing Director of Hertfordshire’s leading SEO agency Distinctly. He is passionate about link building and conversion rate optimisation and frequently blogs about both topics on his own blog.