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5 Biggest Content Marketing Mistakes That Are Killing Your Business (And How to Fix Them)

Content marketing is one of the most important elements of your marketing process. It’s about creating, promoting and distributing content consistently, with the goal of encouraging your target audience to take action.

Despite its importance, many small business owners are making terrible blunders that are hindering their marketing efforts and stifling their businesses.

Is your business making these 5 content marketing mistakes? Learn what they are and how to fix them.

Your Only Content Format is Blog Posts

content marketing mistakes

The Problem

If you only produce content in the form of blog posts, you’re running the risk of alienating a large chunk of people who would otherwise become raving fans of your brand.

People consume content best in different ways. According to research, 65% of all people are visual learners, 30% aural and 5% kinaesthetic. A study by ROI Research also shows that 44% of online users are more likely to engage with brands that provide visual imagery and dynamic content (like video).

If you only produce content in a single format, such as blog posts, it’s like saying to your audience “you either think my way, or take the highway”.

How can you claim to be marketing your content to its fullest, if you’re only producing one type of content for one type of person? What about the rest of your audience? They might read your latest blog post, but are they fully engaged?

Don’t make the terrible assumption that your entire target audience prefers to read text rather than watch a video about what you’re trying to share and teach. By only writing blog posts, you’re catering exclusively to those who learn best through reading.

This isn’t to say that you should omit text completely – that’d be crazy. However, you should consider complementing it with video and other visual cues.

How to Fix This: Use Video as a Starting Point

Start by creating a video that complements your blog post. ‘Talking head’ videos are one of the most popular video formats on the web today, as they provide a human touch.

Having video on your web pages increases the amount of time each visitor spends on your site. This helps your website rank higher in search-engine results, which in turn leads to more people finding your business.

YouTube is an excellent platform for small businesses to grow their brand and increase exposure. If you’re unsure whether YouTube is right for your business, this blog post will give you 8 reasons to help you consider whether to use it as part of your marketing strategy.

2. Participating on Every Social Media Platform

The Problem

It is content-marketing suicide to try to build a loyal following on every social media platform. Especially if you have no clue why you’re there in the first place.

Whether your business should use these platforms depends entirely on how they contribute to achieving the goals of your overall digital marketing strategy.

As a small business owner, you are limited by your available time and money. So, using your most vital resources in a haphazard manner will leave you with nothing to show for it, bar perpetual hair loss and an empty wallet.

The amount of advice on the web trying to convince you to jump on the latest social-media-hype train is growing in proportion to the number of babies born daily worldwide. People continually write about the benefits of social media and why your business MUST be participating on all of them in order to succeed online.

But is it really true?

Participating on these sites purely because they’re “Big” might not deliver great ROI or meet your KPIs. There are so many social networks with their own nuances and complexities, that trying to market your content on all of them, all the time, is the perfect recipe for content-marketing disaster.

If you offer online football courses, there is no point focusing your marketing efforts initially on Pinterest, as your primary target audience is nowhere to be seen there.

Marketing your content on websites like 11× is a much more effective way to target football fans, as they will be more interested in the type of content you produce.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t use Pinterest as part of your marketing strategy in the future. However, it shouldn’t be your initial focus – especially if you have limited resources and have yet to build a strong following in the places your ideal customers gather on a daily basis.

How to Fix This

1) Start with a main platform first

Choose the social media platform where you feel your content would perform best. Research is your best friend. Master that platform and build relationships with people where there is mutual gain.

This is the first step in developing a powerful outreach strategy, as these people will help you market your content and business in the future.

You must research the platform you intend to use, to ensure it’ll be worthwhile investing your time and money in it.

For example:

According to a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project on The Demographics of Social Media Users – “Young adults are more likely than older adults to use social media. Women, African-Americans and Latinos show high interest in sites like Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. “

When deciding which social media platform will be best for your business and content you must identify:


  • How many people use the platform and how active are they? (Facebook has the most users and they are the most active)
  • The average age of the users (Does it fit with your target market?) (LinkedIn has the highest average age of all social media platforms)
  • Where do most of the users reside? (Does this data fit with the data you collected to create your buyer personas?)
  • Do they spend money? (Pinterest users spend more money on average than any other social media user)

2) Continually measure your efforts to determine the ROI of your social media strategy

You need to know whether your efforts are providing great returns. Start by setting social media goals that you’ll revisit each month to see whether continued investment will have a positive impact on your business.

An example of some goals could be:

  • Gain 150 new leads a month through social media
  • Drive 10,000 visitors a month to content through Facebook
  • Increase sales through social media by 10%
  • Reduce advertising spend on Pinterest by 10%

Make sure you create a report displaying the most important metrics for determining social media ROI.

Using the same example above, your monthly social media report should include:

  • Number of leads generated: Number of people who signed up to your email list due to your social media marketing messages
  • Traffic and conversions: Number of people who clicked through to your site after seeing your advert, status update or tweet, and percentage of those who signed up to your email list
  • Revenue generated: Amount of money brought in through social media exclusively
  • Cost per social acquisition: How much does it cost to acquire each lead through marketing on a particular social media platform?

Set up tracking to measure progress

Use tracking software such as Moz Analytics to measure the influence you have on your channels, to understand the types of content your audience like best, and the sort of marketing messages they’re more likely to respond to.

3. Forgetting the Call To Action

Can you imagine trying to sell a product or service without telling customers where to buy?

Every business needs a call to action in order to sell a product or service, right? If a customer walks into a restaurant, sits down ready to eat, but there’s nobody to serve them, the menu has no prices on it and there’s no information anywhere on how to pay, the customer will just leave.

The same applies to our content too.

Many small business owners underestimate the “marketing” aspect in content marketing. Most people simply create content and start promoting it wildly on other platforms. Now that’s a strategy that has its place, but what about your home turf too?

Key Fact: Every piece of content you produce is a marketable asset. According to Small Business Trends, 70% of small businesses have no call to action on the home page?

This is potentially the biggest content marketing blunder of this century.

70% of visitors who you fail build a relationship with will never visit your website again.

Why not give them something else to do once they’ve finished what they originally came to read? If nothing else, this will help reduce your website’s bounce rate (the percentage of people who leave your website without visiting another page), which is a factor that contributes towards your website’s overall search engine optimisation (SEO).

How to Fix This

Even if you can create the most riveting content on the planet, what do you want your reader to do next? That’s the question your readers are subconsciously asking once they’ve finished reading or consuming your content.

A call to action gives your audience something to do – a strong call to action makes them do it.

Ask yourself – what is the one thing I want my readers to do after consuming this information?

1) I want them to provide their thoughts and feelings about the article

If your goal is to build a thriving community, simply asking your audience to comment at the end of your article will encourage them to do just that.

2) I want them to share this article with other people

If your goal is to increase your outreach through social sharing, you could give your readers the opportunity to download your article as a PDF in exchange for a Facebook like or a tweet.

3) I want them to sign up to my email list

If your goal is to build your email list, include a pop-up conveying the amazing benefits your reader will get if they sign up to your list. Installing an unobtrusive pop-up can boost subscribers to your email list by 300% or more.

You can even take it to the next level – create a unique sign-up form for each blog post you write to boost sign-ups.
Take a look at how Marketplicity tripled their conversion rates after installing Optin Monster

4) I want them to read more of my other stuff

If your goal is to reduce bounce rate, improve SEO and increase page views, then you can install a related-posts plugin that’ll display other posts your visitor is likely to want to read.

Including calls to action becomes even more important when you’re marketing your content on other platforms.

If you’re regularly creating YouTube videos, building an audience on Facebook and Twitter, or simply pinning images to Pinterest, why not take the opportunity to build your email list at the same time?

Remember, you don’t own these platforms. And that is why you must take advantage of their size. Use tools such as Twitter’s Lead Generation cards to collect email addresses and funnel them into your email list.

4. Not Doing Keyword Research at All

The Problem

Keyword research is the most important aspect of SEO. If you’re not doing keyword research before and after you produce content, you’ll have no idea what your target audience’s biggest problems are, and how you can best solve these problems.

It’s like opening up a designer store without the faintest idea of how many people are likely to pass by during a 24-hour period.

If you just create content without doing keyword research first, you’ll be targeting phrases nobody is searching for. Your blog will simply become another online diary of your latest expeditions in Madagascar that nobody cares about, rather than a living, breathing extension of your business.

Keyword research is an important piece of SEO that helps your content get found by the right people. It is data-driven market research into what words people use to search for solutions to their problems.

Content marketing goes hand in hand with SEO. You can create as much content as you like, but you will get better results if you target the phrases that your ideal customers are most likely to use.

This is essential to understanding your target market – how can you target your customers effectively if you’re not using the language your ideal customers are using to describe their problems?

If you thrash out 50 blog posts, you might get lucky and write 3 posts that contain words that generate a large amount of traffic from search engines. However, you could quadruple your success rate simply by taking the time to research the phrases your customers are using to search for content just like yours.

As a small business owner, you need to focus on working smart, not hard.

Whilst blogging more often is proven to increase traffic, wouldn’t it be more effect to write content that you know will get found by your target audience?

How to Fix This

To boost your search traffic and increase online enquiries, you need to target phrases that real people are actually using.

Which article do you think will gain more search traffic:

How to remove money as a stress-factor in your life?
How to deal with money stress?

They contain the same content, but use different keywords.

Don’t make assumptions about your audience, you are not them.

  • Create an editorial planner containing the themes your audience cares about the most. This will help you think of subjects and topics to write about.
  • Take a look at our Beginner’s Guide to Keyword Research

5. Failing to Measure Your Content Efforts

Before you even decide to produce content as part of your marketing strategy, you need to ensure it will generate more leads and sales, and will help your business grow.

Most small businesses fail to grasp the four aspects of content marketing that are necessary for success online:

  • Valuable content creation
  • Content promotion
  • Measuring and tracking
  • Optimisation

You can create as much content as possible, but if you’re unsure which parts generate the highest ROI, you’re wasting time and money that could be better used creating content that will contribute towards reaching your online marketing goals.

You need to be aware of how many leads you’re generating per month from each traffic source. If a traffic source is producing few leads, and it requires an extensive amount of time to acquire each lead, you need to consider dropping the traffic source entirely as it’s a waste of resources.

People brag about how much traffic a particular source is generating for them, but they rarely mention how many leads it generated.

How to Fix This: Track Everything

Analytics and data are the lifeblood of effective marketing online. How can you claim to be marketing your content effectively if you’re unsure what is happening on your website? And worse still, if you don’t understand who is doing it?

1) Learn the basics of Google Analytics, so you can figure out exactly what is happening as people arrive on your site.

2) Sign up for Kissmetrics’ 14-day free trial to get started with understanding your customers’ behaviour.


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  1. Thank you for this article. Very helpful indeed especially for the beginners like me. Thank you. Keep it up.

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