Huge amount of content is published every day. It seems producing content is easy. But creating valuable, high quality content and delivering it to the target audience is tricky. It is quite easy to make mistakes during this process, which could ruin the result of the whole work. I created a list of typical mistakes and added some tips how to avoid them.
#1 Missing “buyer persona” research
If you start creating content, then you do it with a purpose. You write something to a specific target audience, but do you know them? Who are they?
Lot of content marketers just write for the sake of writing, because content creation is beneficial for their company. Well it is true, but content has to be valuable for the target audience. If you don’t know them, then how could you offer value?
Create buyer personas, which are illustrations of your ideal customers, who represents one of your audience segments. A buyer persona describes the background of your personas, contains information about demographic trends and mentions the goals and challenges of your ideal customers.
Hubspot has already created a great template, which helps you organize every necessary piece of information.
How do you get the necessary information?
Where does your audience hang out? Do research offline and online. Connect with them through social networks, join niche social sites and relevant communities, visit forums and Q&A sites.
But the best thing you can do is to meet them in person and have a friendly conversation. As Steve Blank said: “get out of the building”! Listen a lot and don’t talk too much. You have two ears and one mouth.
#2 Not having a goal for your content
Now you have a specific and valid target audience. You create content which helps them come over their challenges, but what is the ultimate goal of your piece of content? Do you want people to subscribe to your newsletter? Do you want them to request a demo or start a webinar?
Sometimes it is forgotten, but you have to set up goals for your content. Without goals where are you heading? What do you want to achieve?
#3 Proofreading text
I think this mistake is the most difficult one to avoid. You could be the brightest mind in your field, who has something valuable to say, but a few grammatical errors or spelling mistakes could ruin everything.
- Use simpler language: it is easier to read, understand and you won’t get lost in your thoughts.
- Ask a friend or colleague to read it: more eyes see more. They don’t just check grammar or spelling. They could give feedback on your writing, structure and understandability.
Proofreading is even harder when you couldn’t find anybody who has time to read your content. In case if everybody is too busy…
- Check your content at least three times: when you finished it, don’t hit that flashing red publish button. Go for a walk, take a nap or go to sleep and read it through later. Give time to your brain to recover after each reading.
- Read aloud: sounds weird, but it works. It will help you hear how your writing sounds. By using this technique you can easily identify the weak points of your text.
#4 Creating too much low quality content
Creating content regularly and frequently results in higher search engine ranking. Creating high quality content is good for readers, other blogs could use it as a reference and it is beneficial for your (personal) brand too.
The challenge is to create high quality content regularly and frequently. It is a common mistake that marketers choose quantity instead of quality. Due to the recent search engine algorithm update (Panda), Google values quality higher than quantity.
If you have to decide between quality and quantity, I recommend to create valuable, high quality content less frequently. Remember you create content firstly for humans and secondly for search engines. Focus on users and produce content in which your readers have interest in.
#5 Not giving proper attention to headlines.
There is too much noise on the internet. Huge amount of content is created every day and it is even harder to stand out from the crowd. Headlines have an essential role to capture the readers’ attention. Headline is the first thing your audience see from your content, it has to be perfect. It is worth the time to spend on it.
Here are some awesome guides covering this topic:
- 52 Headline Hacks [Ebook]
- Blog Topic Generator
- 74 Compelling Fill-in-the-Blank Blog Post Titles [Infographic]
- 30+ Ultimate headline Formulas for Tweets, Posts, Articles, and Emails
- The Formula for a Perfect Headline [Infographic]
#6 Lack of promotion
Probably you have already heard: content is “king”, but promotion is the “queen”. Promotion is as important as creation.
You have to show your content to other people in order to get attention and traffic to your website.
Your content could be the best in its category, but it is worth almost nothing if you don’t show it to others. When I started blogging I thought if I create awesome posts, then visitors come automatically and magic will happen. And do you know what happened? Exactly nothing.
Find places where your target audience could be. Search for forums, small groups and fan pages on the biggest social media sites. Don’t forget the smaller, niche social media networks and Q&A sites.
Here is a few lists which can help you get started:
- Social Media Sites For Small Business Marketing
- Top Niche Social Networking Sites
- 10 Niche Social Networks You’ve Never Heard Of
- 10 Awesome Q&A Sites to Answer Your Burning Questions
But it is not just about submitting your stuff everywhere and spamming the whole community.
You have to build relationship with your community. I recommend you to add your comments (feedbacks), share other’s stuff and share your own as well. You have to be part of the community.
#7 Content creation is not a sales pitch
You create content to solve your potential customers’ problem. The goal of content marketing is to build trust among them by giving something valuable first.
I don’t say that never self promote yourself or your product in any posts. There is no golden rule, but I suggest that no more than 10 percent of your post should be self-promotional or about your product. Buffer wrote a great article on Self-promotion on Social Media.
Content creation is an opportunity to meet, engage and communicate with your target audience. Do not turn content marketing into a product based copywriting.
#8 Failing to make guest blogging
Delivering your content by using your current channels is enough for a while. Guest blogging is a must have activity if you want to grow your blog faster, build meaningful relationships with industry experts and become a thought leader in your field. Guest blogging is not about link building, it is about building relationship and connecting with new audiences.
#9 Skipping keyword research
Why is it necessary? You have to figure out what kind of words, phrases your audience uses, what kind of keywords they ask and search for. The next step is to build these keywords into your article.
Note: do not stuff your post with a lot of keyword for the sake of search engines. Search engines will detect keyword stuffing and they don’t like it. You write for humans first, play nice.
- Google Keyword Planner: you add your keywords and it helps you generate additional ones.
- Google’s Autocomplete: it helps you create long tail keywords, which could be more relevant for your audience. It also helps to find the exact phrases and words people search for. Just type a keyword into the search label on Google and it will complete automatically while you are typing it.
- Answerthepublic.com: Pick a specific keyword, which will be the focus keyword of your post. Search for it by using this question research tool and it will show you the questions – containing your specific keyword – people ask.
#10 Not measuring the results
If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it. It is absolutely true in content marketing.
The main goal is to create high quality content, traffic doesn’t mean a lot in itself. You have to dig deeper to reveal the real performance of your efforts. Here are few metrics and information to which are worth to pay attention:
- Traffic: just to see the general performance of your website.
- Source of traffic: it shows which promotional channel was the most effective.
- Interest of the audience: it shows what kind of topics your audience interested in. Do you target the right people?
- Click through rate (CTR): headline quality and content topic.
- Bounce rate and avg. time on page: indicates that your reader found or not what they looked for on your site.
- Engagement rate: presents the quality and usefulness of your content.
- Conversion rate: proves the effectiveness of your CTAs.
- Referral links: indicates quality and usefulness, because your content is used as a reference.
The hardest thing is that the results will come in the long term. It took years for the most successful bloggers and blogs to become famous and big. Everybody makes mistakes during the content creation and promotion process, but by avoiding these typical blunders mentioned above you can increase your chances to stay on the right path and reach your goals.