It’s 2020 and content is still king. But not just any content will do. Quality has and always will be more important than quantity. Unfortunately, most brands don’t get this. And this leads to a cascading list of other mistakes that limit effectiveness and lead to diminishing returns.
If you want to maximize your results and do more with the content you produce for your business, it starts with limiting mistakes and doing the little things right. And in this article, we’re going to show you how to do both.
Avoid These 5 Big Mistakes
Mistakes are a normal part of doing business. And the more you make mistakes, the more you grow. But there’s also something to be said for avoiding costly mistakes that hold you back unnecessarily. In light of this, here are a few of the biggest mistakes I see entrepreneurs, marketers, and business owners making with their content marketing in 2020 (and probably beyond).
- No Clear Voice
It’s amazing how many startups, small businesses, and even established organizations never take the time to develop a clear brand voice – and it shows! Without a cohesive brand voice, there’s no consistency in content and/or editorial standards. This produces an inconsistent message that fails to resonate with the reader.
Studies have repeatedly shown that consumers are more likely to do business with brands that they trust. And one of the ways you establish this trust is through the cultivation and use of a clear and consistent voice. Take the time to develop your voice and you’ll get better results.
- No Clear Reader
The second big mistake is a failure to understand who your target audience is. (This often goes hand in hand with a lack of clear voice.) You might create hypothetical buyer personas, but you don’t take the time to figure out who your actual readers are. As a result, your content completely misses the mark.
Thankfully, we live in an online world where data is abundant. This makes it easy to determine who your readers are and what they want. Take some time to familiarize yourself with this information so that you can begin crafting content that speaks to a very specific person.
- Blog Posts Only
When you think about content, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For most people, it’s blog posts. But here’s the deal: There’s way more to content marketing than blogging.
If you want to be successful with content marketing, you need to invest in a variety of content spread across a diverse landscape of publishing platforms and mediums. This means email, social media, guest blogging, and even print. It’s video, podcasts, written, content, apps, etc. As you expand your notion of what it means to create content, your ROI will grow. It’s as much about building visibility for real humans as it is about building links.
- Too Much Text
You want your content to pack a punch. But don’t confuse adding value with being loquacious. Too much text – particularly when packed closely together – is overwhelming and ineffective.
The best content is extensive, yet punchy. One- and two-sentence paragraphs will always outperform five-, six-, or seven-sentence chunks of text.
Keep things focused and use lots of visual breaks – including subheadings, graphics, and numbered lists – to keep readers interested and engaged.
- Improper SEO
SEO is something that the average content strategy does very poorly with. Most businesses make one of the following mistakes:
- They ignore SEO altogether and have no strategy for keywords, subject matter, or content structure.
- They obsess over SEO and the copy becomes rigid and choppy because of overly optimized keywords. The search engines might like the content, but readers have a hard time digesting it.
The key is to avoid both extremes. You want to land somewhere in the middle. Content is created for the reader first and search engines second. If you follow this mantra, you’ll do better than 90 percent of the competition, many of whom are improperly outsourcing their work to non-native speaking countries, where culture, idioms and spelling–all table-stakes to a successful content strategy–do not align.
Recalibrate Your Content Marketing Strategy
The great thing about content strategy is that it’s malleable. No matter what anyone else says, you aren’t married to a specific approach. You can change things up, improvise, and iterate. And it’s in these pivots that you’ll ultimately discover what works for your brand at this very moment in time. Hopefully this article has been enlightening…now it’s time to go out and execute!