Content marketing has become a critical strategy for online businesses. They use it to achieve many important goals, such as presenting themselves to potential customers, becoming an authoritative source of information, and building positive relationships with Internet audiences.
In fact, content marketing generates 3X times more leads than outbound marketing and costs 62% less. 86% of marketers use this strategy, according to the 2017 Content Marketing Institute’s report on the state of B2C content marketing.
If you’ve been using content marketing for some time but failing to produce positive results, perhaps you’re making mistakes that hold you back.
Here are 8 common content marketing mistakes that can keep your conversion rate low.
1. Including Obvious and Immediate Sales Pitches
Of course, we all want to market our amazing products and services. However, you won’t reach your marketing goals by ignoring what the visitor is seeking and shoving a conversion call to action in front of them prematurely.
Google has been working on reducing “salesy” content that has a little value for users for quite a while. In fact, they have recently made available their own content creation guidelines.
According to these guidelines, the search giant recommends writing high-quality content that has substantial value for customers. Most of us are so fed up with “in-your-face” advertising that we don’t appreciate obvious sales pitches (the same applies to Google, too).
2. Focusing Too Much on Text
Text is the most popular type of content. Because of this fact, some businesses overly focus on keeping their own content text-only.
You would be making a mistake by producing content without visuals. Many of your readers are visual learners. More visual people tend to appreciate visual illustration of the points described in the text.
Hubspot’s compilation of statistics on visual content marketing supports the importance of creating visuals in your content. Here are some of the most relevant stats from that publication:
- People following directions that include both text and illustrations do 323% better than people following directions with text only
- Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without images
- 32% of marketers say visuals / images are the most important format for their business
3. Overlooking Personas
A reader persona, often referred to as a content persona, is a representation of your target reader based on research data. It contains information about their characteristics, needs, and preferences. In other words, it fuels your content marketing strategy by helping you create content based on these needs.
If your business doesn’t have detailed reader personas to inform your content creation effort, then you aren’t putting your readers first. In this case, the content you produce won’t be interesting or relevant to your audience, which is bad news for your reputation.
People who review your business at company review websites, for example, won’t give you positive reviews. Even worse, those who read it will choose to buy from your competitors.
4. Offering no Clear Benefit
Content marketing’s main purpose is to persuade potential customers to purchase your product or service. You’ll find it far easier to reach this goal if your prospects have a clear understanding of how that product or service can benefit them. That’s where the content comes in.
You have to describe a clear benefit. Focus on convincing the readers that you understand their problems and can address them. In fact, every content piece needs to convey a clear benefit to the target audience.
For example, let’s say you are writing an article about time management targeted at college students. You’ll want to focus on helping prioritize and use time efficiently, which should allow them free time to have fun or provide assignment help to their friends.
5. No Call to Action
Even the best content in the world won’t help you to generate sales without a clear and compelling call-to-action (CTA). For example, you can include CTAs at the end of articles or blog posts related to your products or services.
The calls, of course, can vary. Anything from “buy now” or “download here” can help you engage prospects more deeply in the sales and marketing funnel (see this list with CTA examples for inspiration).
To maximize the chance that the reader will click on your CTA, address their needs and thoroughly explain how your product or service can meet them. Then make your move.
6. Not Creating a Content Calendar
There are four main reasons why you need a content calendar:
- Organizes your content marketing strategy: By outlining your future actions (publishing etc.)
- Saves your time: By planning ahead and automating tasks, you will eliminate the need to create content on the fly.
- Maximizes the time for content production: With sufficient planning, you can avoid rushing out content under tight deadlines.
- Helps you be more strategic: A complete content calendar allows to visualize the strategy and plan content, instead of just posting random content.
7. Not Producing Evergreen Content
Evergreen content is critical for getting to the first page of Google search results. It’s also useful for generating traffic for years to come.
Why? Because evergreen content stays relevant for a long time.
Essentially, it’s content that tackles one issue that the readers face and is not based around news or trends (“how to dribble a basketball,” “a guide to losing weight” etc.).
Content like this can generate leads over time. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking evergreen content that will have a longer shelf life to benefit your business.
8. Opting Out of Sharing Content on Social Media
Social media is one of the most popular and easiest ways to obtain information. Failing to take advantage of this amazing source of information means that you’re limiting your marketing outreach.
So, share your content on your official social media pages. Then, promote it to increase the chances it will be shared by others.