As content marketing continues to grow in popularity, businesses are scrambling to create high-quality content that aims to help boost brand loyalty, awareness, and attract new prospects. However, this relatively young yet integral marketing tool has several common pitfalls that, if you’re not careful, you might fall victim to.

As we wrap up our Revisiting Content Marketing series, we’ll walk through five of the most common mistakes content marketers make and share tips on how to avoid them. Let’s begin!

Pitfall #1: Execution without planning

As buildings need blueprints, so does content marketing. Perhaps one of the biggest and most common pitfalls among marketers is that they create content without a solid, planned strategy. In fact, the Content Marketing Institute reported that while 76% of businesses-to-customers (B2C) said that they use content marketing, only 37% said that their strategies are documented. A documented content marketing strategy is one of the key distinguishing characteristics of an effective marketing program.

Solution: Create your blueprint. First, define the role of content marketing in your overall marketing strategy. Second, identify if you have the resources—whether in-house or outsourced—to execute the plan. Third, determine specific goals for the strategy in order to align your content to the direction you want to go. Finally, establish what metrics, tools, and other forms of measurement you will use to track the performance of your content.

Pitfall #2: Focusing on quantity, not quality

Consistency does not only pertain to the regular publication of content but also maintaining the same level of quality. Tim Asimos, Vice President and Director of Digital Innovation at Circle Studio, said that marketers should put in the necessary time to create magnetic and compelling content. Don’t let your quality suffer in favor of having more posts on your platforms. In the grand scheme of things, quality trumps quantity.

Solution: Check and recheck. Facts are vital to content credibility. Remember to double check the facts from other sources before publishing. Proofreading and spellchecking all content before it goes out is also important. The slightest error can be viewed as a big blunder for the company. If you plan on creating photo-based content, always choose original and high-quality graphics. Delivering relevant and useful knowledge can benefit your readers.

Pitfall #3: Not having a content calendar

In the previous installment of this series, we talked about the benefits of having a content calendar. Not having a content calendar can make it harder for you to keep track of what you’re creating, where you’re publishing, and upcoming deadlines. A content calendar is intended to give you a bird’s eye view of your marketing strategy in the weeks to come. It will also give you enough time to prepare smart, unique, and creative content before publishing day.

Solution: Build your roadmap. The great thing about a content calendar is that it could be done on anything from whiteboards to spreadsheets. Think about it as a place where your team can dump ideas. This tool will be your guide in creating timely content rather than right off the bat. When creating a content calendar, remember to be flexible enough to make changes and adjustments along the way.

Pitfall #4: Not tailoring your content to your audience

Every content you produce should be relevant to your target audience. It all starts with knowing who your readers are. Your team could be churning out great content week after week but if your audience is not engaged, then you’re most likely not connecting with them. Either they don’t find it worthwhile or they can’t relate to it.

Solution: Do your homework. Create the right content with your target market in mind. Put in some time to find out what your customers like, what they want to see, and what their interests are. Customize your content for them. This can help you hit the bullseye instead of another hit-and-miss.

Pitfall #5: Sell less, share more

There is nothing that customers dislike more on social media than companies pushing products and services in their faces. Although your goal is to increase brand awareness and boost sales in the process, you must be mindful to avoid touting your product at every available opportunity. The core of content marketing is sharing engaging, interesting, and beneficial content to your customers.

Solution: Pass it on. Sharing is caring and people love brands that show that they care. By sharing useful information that can help improve the lives of your customers, your audience can start seeing your brand as more relational than promotional. It humanizes your brand and that’s a good thing!

Just like everything in the world of business, content marketing is not without its own fair shares of obstacles and difficulties. However with a solid strategy, you and your team can overcome and avoid these common pitfalls. After all, content marketing is not about pitching your products and services but having meaningful engagement with your customers. What are some pitfalls that you’ve experienced? We’d love to hear from you!

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Revisit the importance of content on our Content Marketing Series!

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