As the adoption rate of content marketing continues to grow at an exponential rate, companies everywhere are creating content to fuel their marketing efforts. But while content marketing is an integral component of an effective online marketing program, pitfalls still exist.

Don’t Make These 7 Content Marketing Mistakes

Many companies are jumping onboard the content marketing express, but there are several potential mistakes that need to be avoided. Here are several to consider:

Mistake #1: Jumping in without a strategy

Many companies make the mistake of skipping past the strategic and starting with the tactical. It’s easy to become so focused on all the tactics and channels and lose sight of how it all works together and what you’re ultimately trying to accomplish. Buildings need blueprints, meals need recipes and content marketing needs to be aligned with a strategy—first.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Defining content marketing’s role in your overall strategy
  • Defining specific goals for the program
  • Defining what metrics will be used to measure success

Mistake #2: Not focusing on your audience

The old rules of marketing put an emphasis on your company, your products, your services and your message. And even though many companies have realized that the rules have changed and have adopted a customer-centric approach with marketing and content, it’s easy for the old ways to creep back in. To be successful in content marketing, you must understand your target audience’s wants, needs and interests. Because if you want your content to be valuable and relevant (and accomplish its purpose) you have to view content creation through their lens.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Developing buyer personas or customer profiles
  • Identifying problems or questions your prospects might have
  • Writing content for people, not search engines

Mistake #3: Selling, not sharing

Many companies make the mistake of putting out content that is nothing more than thinly veiled sales propaganda. There is a time and a place for selling, but if you’re promoting a webinar or eBook as educational, make sure that’s all that it is. Remember, content marketing is all about adding value by sharing relevant information that informs, educates and guides your prospects and customers—instead of simply pitching your products and services.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Answering your audience’s questions and problems through content
  • Making sure you create enough top and middle of the funnel content
  • Avoiding the token “30-second elevator speech” in educational content

Mistake #4: Concentrating on quantity and not quality

One of the biggest content marketing challenges marketers face is creating enough content. But don’t sacrifice quality for the sake of quantity. There is no shortcut for creating quality content, so don’t throw together content with fluffy copy and sloppy graphics. Instead, put in the necessary time to create magnetic and compelling content. In the end, pushing out a lot of content that lacks quality will not produce the desired results and will only hurt your content marketing efforts in the long run.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Doing your homework—make your content informative and compelling
  • Proofreading and spellchecking all content before it goes out
  • Choosing or creating quality images and graphics

Mistake #5: Becoming paralyzed by your editorial calendar

Planning is essential, but some companies are so concerned with creating finely detailed editorial calendars that valuable time and resources are wasted planning the content and not creating the content. In addition to the time loss, it also leaves little room for adjustments along the way.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Creating a quarterly plan for topics and formats to use as a guide
  • Being agile—allow room in your calendar for adjustments and additions
  • Developing your own calendar—with as much or as little detail as you need

Mistake #6: Inconsistent/infrequent blogging

Many companies like the idea of a blog and the potential website traffic a blog can bring, but have not committed the time and resources necessary to blogging. So how often should you blog? Jay Baer, a noted content marketing authority puts it this way:

“More is more. Five posts per week is better than four, which is better than three. And if you can’t blog at least weekly, you need to seriously consider if you’re able to devote requisite energy to this endeavor.”

When visitors see big gaps in your blog frequency or it’s been a while since your last post, it sends the wrong signal to your audience and will certainly not help you achieve your content marketing goals.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Committing to blogging at least once per week, every week—NO excuses
  • Recruiting help—don’t put it on the shoulders of one or two people
  • Keeping a running list of topics and ideas to keep you inspired

Mistake #7: Expecting immediate results

If you’re expecting to “start” content marketing and immediately get results, you’re likely to be disappointed. Some companies fail to realize that content marketing is not a quick fix to boost sales in the short term, instead it’s a long-term strategy that takes a while to build. So if your company is going to take up content marketing as part of your overall marketing strategy, you have to be patient and willing to commit for the long haul.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Committing to patience and a long-term mentality
  • Being diligent to push forward even if results don’t immediately pour in
  • Continuing to focus on your audience and your strategic objectives

Content marketing is not without its challenges and difficulties. These are several of the more common mistakes that marketers can make when it comes to content marketing. What are some others that we’ve missed? Feel free to add to the conversation in the comments below.