Content marketing has caught the fancy of global marketers; and not without reason. According to a 2014 Demand Gen Report 75% of B2B buyers rely more on content to research and make B2B purchasing decisions than they did a year ago. If that’s not incentive enough, there are some sources claiming that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing. No wonder then that marketing organizations across industries are scrambling to put content out there. But is it really helping them with their brand, influence, or revenue? Not if they are committing these 7 deadly sins!

1. Aimless wandering – If you don’t know what you are talking about and WHY, rest assured your audience won’t either – purpose is important. Do you know the objective of your content marketing? And how are you going to go about achieving it? Have you decided on your message, tonality & personality?

Investing time in creating a content marketing strategy is going to save you a lot of heartache later. This is going to be your roadmap and your north start.

2. Shooting in the dark – Content has power when it is contextual; if it resonates with people and their circumstances. If you don’t know your audience, you cannot tailor content suited to their needs. With context comes a more personalized and relevant approach to marketing that people love. And that’s making contextual marketing the next big thing. New data analysis technologies have made it simpler for marketers to pin down the preferences and habits of their customers. Why not use that insight to provide them some benefits such as relevant information nuggets.

Let’s say, as a customer, I want to focus on a healthier lifestyle and perhaps I’ve shared this intent on some social channels or searched the internet for health and wellness. How can marketers use this information? A gym for instance can send me an email about 10 easy exercises to keep fit, with a call to action to join them for a fitness regimen at a 10% discount. A food chain can send me information about healthier eating options and offers on their latest inventory that meets my needs. Since this fits my current needs, I am more likely to engage and purchase.

3. Not keeping it consistent – There is too much noise out there, don’t add to it. Know what you want to talk about and stick to that message. Sure it may sound repetitive to you, but there are people out there, getting it for the first time. Random messages will only confuse your audience and cause them to lose interest.

Great campaigns are built around consistency – take the example of Coca Cola and their happiness campaign, or that of IBM’s smarter planet. They work because everything is woven around a core idea.

4. Lackluster content – The basic premise for content marketing is – interest, information, and engagement. If you are churning out volumes, but failing to engage your audience, your content marketing strategy is a fail.

Our brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text, use the power of visuals to make otherwise ‘boring’ content interesting. No one has time to read tomes, get to the point – be crisp, clear and precise. And engage people with stories.

5. Hogging the limelight – People will read your content if you help them solve a problem. They don’t have time to read about your achievements and expertise. Stop selling! It’s easy to write about the great things you’ve done, but believe me it’s only driving your readers away.

Create content that builds your customers’ trust in your expertise and they will reach out to you themselves.

6. What promotions? Don’t wash your hands of content after it’s published. As a content marketer getting reach and visibility of content is equally important. You might have created a great story, but it’s still a fail if no one has read it!

Build a promotion plan in your content strategy – rationalize, optimize and maximize its benefits. Identify the right channels and forums. Use, reuse and curate the core idea to create long lasting campaigns – this will help you build consistency.

7. Chasing viral content – Let’s face it. Not all content goes viral, and not all viral content helps your business. The importance of content lies in its ability to influence your direct customers – and they may not be that social to begin with! If you service a niche customer segment – say the mining industry – you have a handful of people to reach out to.

Don’t fret unnecessarily over views, likes and shares. Define metrics that reflect the reality of your business and target audience, and chase those goals.

If you want to drive your business success with content marketing, don’t pursue it as a checkbox. Believe in the power of information. And tell fascinating stories. Stop with the keywords already!

Found this article helpful? What are the other content marketing mistakes people make? Share your views in the comments below.