What’s your No. 1 content marketing DON’T?

1. Don’t Use Stock Photos

Web users are increasingly agile at identifying when photographs are posed or purchased, and will deem your content equally so. Instead, use real photographs to support your unique content. Don’t worry about having the perfect shot: Your users will engage with you if they feel that what they are getting is authentic. Stock photography is a quick way to guarantee your readers will ignore your work. – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

2. Don’t Skip Proofreading

The number of articles I read with obvious spelling and grammar mistakes is staggering. Take the time to review your content multiple times before publishing, and utilize tools like spell check and Grammarly. The last thing you want is to lose a potential customer over a small typo. – Kyle Goguen, Pawstruck

3. Don’t Write About Things That Don’t Interest You

If you pick a topic, you should write about something you know or are interested in. When you pick what’s popular to the masses, but you could care less about the topic, it shines through in your writing. If you can’t be somewhat passionate about the topic you’re covering, then how can you expect your readers to enjoy the material you are writing or share it with their friends? – Jason Applebaum, Eager Media

4. Don’t Make It All About You

No one likes a party guest who only talks about himself all night. Content marketing is the same way: Don’t make it all about yourself or your company! Remember, the key word is “content.” If you’re creating strong content that engages and educates your consumers, the “marketing” part — aka. building trust and a reputation for your company — will take care of itself without you having to make a hard pitch. – Brittany Hodak, ZinePak

5. Don’t Forget About Metrics

Content marketing is still marketing — which means you need both a documented strategy and continual metrics to measure progress. In addition to things like shares and conversions, you also want to measure the effect on other campaigns. For example, are people who engaged with your content more likely to convert from ads and emails in the long term? – Sam Saxton, Paragon Stairs

6. Don’t Recycle Advice You See Everywhere

I want to focus content on doing something original and different. I see so many articles with the same advice. Go for something edgy and completely the opposite to what’s out there. You’ll stand out for actually delivering some new advice that your audience has been searching for. – John Rampton, Due

7. Don’t Rely on Templates

It’s very tempting in the beginning of any content writer’s journey to want to buy several different types of content writing templates. They can be long-form sales letters or so-called guaranteed emails. These types of tools are ultimately a crutch. Early writers need to experiment with their writing style and work on crafting their voice. By all means, analyze templates, but never depend on them. – Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

8. Don’t Start a Fight

It’s usually a good idea to go against the mainstream to stand out. Content that is thought-provoking performs well, but if you overdo it you may face a fierce backlash. For example, Pepsi Max ran a series of World Cup ads on their Facebook page featuring Portugal’s soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo as a voodoo doll. A Portuguese anti-Pepsi Facebook group managed to build over 100,000 fans. – Matthew Capala, Search Decoder

9. Don’t Limit Yourself to Blog Posts

Blogging is where many companies start with content marketing, but they never go beyond 500-word posts. Content is so much more than blog posts: video, podcasts, infographics, apps, animations, ebooks, case studies, data-driven analyses and more. With a vast space of possibilities, the No. 1 mistake is to never explore the marketing potential of content beyond the blog. – Justin Blanchard, ServerMania Inc.

10. Don’t Post Without Planning

A content calendar is important when it comes to distributing quality content. A content calendar will allow you to plan ahead and avoid having to rush last minute to get something out. If you want to produce manuals or webinars, it is important to give yourself time in advance to promote. Content calendars provide a clear roadmap, as well as a system of checks and balances. – Jared Brown, Hubstaff Talent

11. Don’t Publish Just to Publish

You should only publish content you are proud of. People who read your content are giving you their most valuable asset: their time. Treat this with the respect it deserves, and provide them with high-quality content. Over time, you’ll develop trust with your readers who will look to you as a source of knowledge rather than someone who just adheres to a publishing schedule. – Mark Daoust, Quiet Light Brokerage, Inc.

12. Don’t Publish Vague Answers

Don’t publish an article with a keyword-stuffed title such as “How Many (blanks)” or “Can I (blank)” if you don’t have a concrete answer. A hard number, or a definitive “yes” or “no” should be included prominently in the article, so people can get the information they’re looking for. Publishing when you don’t know the actual answer will result in a high bounce rate and will frustrate your readers. – Roger Lee, Captain401

13. Don’t Create ‘Me Too’ Content

Bad content is worthless; really bad content could damage your brand or cost you money. Take time to research writers’ strengths, and find people that you can rely on to deliver quality. And above all avoid being boring! – Richard Kershaw, WhoIsHostingThis.com

14. Don’t Over-Optimize Content for SEO

Onsite content and content outreach efforts may play a big part of an SEO initiative, but over-optimized content can flounder and deliver poor results. Build content for humans, not search engines. It should be content you want to share, to have seen and that represents brand goals. Write valuable content for people and you will get SEO benefits, organically and indirectly. – Dan Golden, BFO (Be Found Online)

15. Don’t Forget a Call to Action

The biggest mistake people make when creating content is not telling the user what to do next. CTAs like “leave a comment,” “hit the thumbs up button,” “leave a review” or anything in between will make all the difference as you scale. There is an order of magnitude over the long term when you start getting these engagements. – Carter Thomas, Bluecloud Solutions

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