12 Common Content Marketing Mistakes…And How To Fix Them

While social media trends come and go, one thing is here to stay — content marketing.

To quote marketer Pam Moore “Content is serious business.”

This can be challenging.

There are many obstacles along the way to creating impactful content. But if you can anticipate the content challenges that lie ahead, it’s easier to swerve the mistakes that others make and become a more successful content marketer.

Here then are some of the most common content marketing mistakes I see happen online, with tips on how to fix them.

Mistake #1 Creating Content Without A Clear Plan

Not having a strategy in place is the #1 reason why most people fail at content marketing.

According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 Content Management & Strategy Survey, 92 percent of marketers say they value content as a business asset, but only 46 percent have a strategy in place for managing.

Creating content just for the sake of it is a recipe for directionless marketing. Without a plan, you risk churning out posts on random topics at random times with no clear purpose in mind.

Pro-Fix: Don’t start the new year without a documented content strategy in place. Read How To Create Your 2019 Content Marketing Plan to learn how to create yours.

Mistake #2 Creating Irrelevant Content For Your Audience

For content marketing to work, it must be high-quality and relevant to your target audience. All successful businesses are based on their ability to meet the needs of their audience and content marketing is no different.

As you think about creating content, focus your strategy around your audience’s needs and interests. What kind of information are they looking for? What problems can you solve for them?

The key here is to really know your audience and their pain-points. Start speaking their language when it comes to the problem you’re solving for them. Write content that specifically answers their particular needs and the types of solutions they’re looking for.

Pro-Fix: Creating audience personas is a crucial part of designing your content strategy and truly understanding whom you’re trying to reach. Download my audience persona template here.

Mistake #3 Poor Keyword Research

If you want to rank higher in Google you have to make sure that you’re using the right keywords.

One of the biggest mistakes I come across is trying to rank for generic keywords with a high search volume. Instead, try long tail keywords.

Long tail keywords are keywords or key phrases that are more specific — and usually longer — than more commonly searched for keywords. Yes, they get less search traffic, but will usually have a higher conversion value, as they are more specific.

Pro-Fix: Use a tool like Keywords Everywhere, a Chrome extension which returns a host of long-tail phrases based on what people are searching for using specific keywords. The Google Keyword Planner within Adwords is another useful tool to find ideas for content based on keyword search.

Mistake #4 Running Out Of Content Ideas

I honestly don’t believe there is any good excuse to run out of content ideas. There are so many places to find inspiration if you know where to look. For example, you can use Google Trends and what’s trending on Twitter to keep an eye on trending topics that you can write about. Here are some more places to find inspiration when you are stuck for content ideas.

Pro-Fix: Whether it’s an excel spreadsheet, Google Docs, or another note-taking system, create a place to add links to interesting articles, studies or ideas for content to share and you’ll never run out of ideas again.

Mistake #5 Inconsistency In Creating Content

I get it. Creating content on a consistent basis is hard. I see so many blogs started with great intentions, only to peter out after a few months; the well of content ran dry.

The solution to this challenge is to create a content calendar at the start of each quarter. A content calendar helps you maintain a consistent content production schedule, enabling you to plan for seasonal content and annual campaigns. It also helps you deliver a more balanced mix of content formats, such as articles, videos, and social posts.

Pro-Fix: Create a calendar to map out content ideas aligned with 2019 holidays and seasonal trends and events. Use holidays as hooks for content and promotions. Often, this content is evergreen so that you can use it year after year.

Mistake #6 Not Adding Compelling Images To Content

People connect more emotionally with images than text, and in an increasingly crowded digital landscape, when our minds are attracted more readily to content that draws our eye, images can break through the online content clutter.

Be sure to optimize your images for Google search by writing an image caption and adding relevant keywords to the file names that describe the content of the image.

Pro-Fix: You don’t have to be a graphic designer to create great images. In this article I share my favourite tools to create professional looking graphics for my own content marketing.

Mistake #7 Writing Boring Headlines

Your headline is the first impression you make on a prospective reader. No matter how awesome your content is, few people are going to click through to read it if they’re not immediately captivated by your headline.

According to CoSchedule , how to, list, and question headlines tend to get the most engagement.

  1. How To {Do Something} That Will {Help You Experience Desired Result}
  2. {#} Ways To {Do Something} To {Produce Desired Result}
  3. What Is The Best {Topic} That Will {Do Something Desirable}?

Pro-Fix: Read 15 Ways To Crack Captivating Headlines for tips on creating better headlines.

Mistake #8 Not Using Multiple Content Forms

People like to consume information in multiple ways, so mix up your content strategy by creating more ways to consume it. If you feel overwhelmed at the prospect of producing more content, then repurposing what you already have is the way to go.

Repurposing content simply means taking one asset and reusing it somewhere else. Get into the habit of creating each new piece of content with repurposing in mind. By focusing on producing one piece of really great content, rather than several lower quality pieces, you will improve the quality of your marketing.

Pro-Fix: Check out this list of 13 ways to repurpose your current content assets.

Mistake #9 Not Matching Content To The Right Social Channel

If you want your content to do well on social media, you’ve got to be strategic about what you publish and where you publish it. You need to create content that aligns with your audience’s expectations on each social channel.

Pro-Fix: Identify how, when, and where your specific audience likes to engage with content. For example, an audience on Instagram will expect high-quality graphics and videos, whereas more in-depth thought pieces and expert commentary on industry practices work better on LinkedIn.

Mistake #10 Having Unrealistic Expectations

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve worked with clients who expect instant results from content marketing. Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to see results. It requires consistency and dedication over the long-haul.

Pro-Fix: As much as every company wants to create viral content that shoots them to fame on their first blog posts, content marketing rarely works like that. That’s not to say that we can’t still draw on the lessons learned from successful viral campaigns to improve the shareability and engagement of our own content. In this article, I share 7 keys that will help you make your content more share-worthy and less likely to slip under the radar.

Mistake #11 Not Promoting Your Content

Content has no value unless it’s shared. It’s not enough to have great marketing content, you need a plan in place to promote that content.

You need to plan for how you will connect your content with the right audience at the right time. Instead of treating content amplification as something you only do after the content is created and published, you should incorporate promotion strategies into the content planning and creation process right from the get-go.

Pro-Fix: Don’t forget the basics. Add sharing buttons to your website or blog. This seems so obvious that it’s almost not worth mentioning. Yet, time and again, I see sites with no sharing buttons or buttons so tiny they are almost hidden from view. Visitors are not going to hunt around your website looking for sharing buttons. And even if you do include sharing buttons, don’t assume your audience will share your content. Adding a Call-to-Action to all your content is a practical way to encourage your audience to like, share, and engage with your content.

Mistake #12 Not Tracking And Measuring Progress

To determine how effective your content marketing is, you will need to put a system in place to track and measure your progress. You can’t refine your content marketing unless you understand how you’re doing.

If you ignore the analytics, there’s no way to know what works. Things to track include which content (blogs, videos, live streams, images, etc.) that you create perform the best in terms of shares, comments, likes, etc. What length of content works best (long-form or shorter posts?)

Pro-Fix: Use your website’s Google Analytics to track which content performs best. Track Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics to measure social shares and engagement rates.

To Sum Up

Content marketing is one of the most effective marketing strategies available today. Applying the key lessons in this post will help you make your content marketing more relevant, valuable and shareable.


Want to prevent yourself from making these content marketing mistakes or fixing the ones you’re already making? Sign up to my weekly newsletter and have fresh content marketing tips, trends, and insights delivered directly to your inbox at the start of each week.

Marie Ennis-O'Connor

Written by

Social Media Consultant. Keynote Speaker. Digital Storyteller. https://hcsmmonitor.com

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