written by
Dayana Mayfield

Are You Committing These 13 Content Marketing Mistakes?

11 min read

These content marketing mistakes are painfully common. And that’s because content marketing is complicated by nature.

You have multiple audience segments, distribution channels, social platforms, content creators, content editors, and software tools at play.

There’s a lot to juggle. Sometimes important things fall to the floor. 😞

Don’t be too disheartened though. In this post, we’re not only revealing the top mistakes but how to fix them too.

1. Not planning in advance

When you don’t plan your content in advance, you run the risk of releasing bad content infrequently. Having been on over a dozen content teams, I’ve seen this first hand.

The fallout looks something like this:

  • Team members rushing to complete content
  • Lacking the design resources to finish content
  • Failing to release content in a timely manner
  • Poor quality content
  • Inconsistent publishing schedule

How to address this content marketing mistake:

The secret to content marketing planning success is to work at least 3 to 6 months in advance. The benefit of doing so is that you have more time to strategize, can pull together the perfect content creators for each piece, and you can ensure that each piece is well researched.

“Every three months, we plan our upcoming content campaigns, and we use an integrated campaign framework to make sure that we're creating the right content for the right audience and that's going to get used, both on the digital side and the account-based marketing side, to generate demand and pipeline.” - Mark Kilens, Vice President of Content and Community at Drift

2. Letting a bad process slow down your team

Is your content marketing process as smooth as it should be?

Have you spent the required time to optimize your process?

Too often, we see content marketing teams using inefficient methods for releasing content. For example, using Google Docs for blogging is common.

But with Google Docs as a key part of your process, you open yourself up to dozens of other issues, including time-consuming manual entry, lack of on-site SEO optimization, and difficulty with content updating.

How to address this content marketing mistake:

The solution is as simple as it is challenging. You need to invest the time required to optimize your process.

Don’t get so busy creating content that you forget to strategize how you work together as a team.

“We really try to make sure that we've created repeatable processes, almost like engines, if you will, to create content.” - Mark Kilens, Vice President of Content and Community at Drift

3. Not using dedicated content marketing software

When you don’t use software that’s built for content marketing, your work get’s spread all over the place.

The downsides look like this:

  • Team confusion on where content is in the content process
  • Lots of manual and duplicate work
  • Uncertainty around the content calendar and schedule
  • Challenging to locate assets and pieces of content

How to address this content marketing mistake:

With StoryChief, you can create content and publish it to your blog, Medium, your newsletter, and all your social media channels from one place.

Content marketing mistake example: not using dedicated content marketing software

And you can plan and review your full content calendar in one central location too.

Content marketing mistake example: not using dedicated content marketing software 2

4. Not documenting your strategy

67% of B2C marketers and 59% of B2B marketers are operating without a documented content strategy.

This a big misstep because it sets you up for just about every other content marketing mistake on this list. You’ll be likely to pivot too often and confuse your team.

Also, if everyone on your team doesn’t have a documented strategy, there can be misunderstanding around the purpose of various content pieces.

Even worse, disagreement among the team will wreak havoc in content ideation meetings where strategy should be clear.

How to address this content marketing mistake:

If you’re not sure how to build a documented content marketing strategy, check out Bluematter’s Strategy Hub.

Content marketing mistake example: not documenting your strategy

The platform walks you through not only creating an inbound marketing strategy but also documenting it and sharing it with your team.

5. Only creating one format of content

There are different learning styles, commonly recognizes as visual/verbal, visual/nonverbal, auditory, and tactile. According to an educational survey, the statistical breakdown looks something like this...

Male learning styles statistics:

  • 21.7% visual/verbal (text)
  • 48.7% visual/nonverbal (images)
  • 35.1% auditory
  • 17.3% tactile

Female learning styles statistics:

  • 38.2% visual/verbal
  • 38.2% visual/nonverbal
  • 28.4% auditory
  • 17.3% tactile

The point is, if you only create content geared towards one learning style, then you’ll fail to educate and entertain your entire target audience.

How to address this content marketing mistake:

In his LinkedIn post, content strategist Liam Carnahan shares some New Year’s resolutions for content marketers in 2021, one of which is to “create three or four new types of content to see what your audience likes.”

Creating such a test is a smart first step towards creating content in different formats.

Otherwise, your team could get stuck in overwhelm, trying to create too many content formats each week. Or they could get mired in analysis paralysis, unable to make a decision.

So, if you’ve only been creating blog posts, try making 3 new content formats for a month and see which performs the best. Then, for the remainder of the year, add the winner to your repertoire.

6. Not repurposing your content

When you don’t repurpose your content, you let good ideas go to waste.

It’s sort of like buying mint for a salad, and then throwing it away instead of making a mojito. Who would want to do that? 🤷‍♀️

Here’s the downside of failing to repurpose content:

  • Not satisfying multiple learning styles (discussed above)
  • Lacking efficient content promotion
  • Making it hard for prospects to find your most helpful content

How to address this content marketing mistake:

Trying to repurpose content into every format under the sun is overwhelming, and unless you have a large team of content marketers, it’s also impossible.

Instead, work content repurposing into your process. Take every piece of content through a diagram. If it’s an important piece of content, turn it into other long formats such as videos, webinars, or blog posts. If it’s not such an important piece, consider simply turning it into social media content and emails.

7. Not updating your content

When you don’t update your content, it can fall off in Google search rankings.

The other bad news associated with this common mistake is that your content will get less reach.

Rather than always creating new content, you can update something old and re-launch it to your audience.

How to address this content marketing mistake:

Look through your old content for things that are ranking in positions 11 to 40 in Google search rankings.

These can be great pieces of blog content to update and re-release.

You can use StoryChief to easily update content to all of the distribution channels it was originally published to in one click.

Content marketing mistake example: not updating your content

Another way to update content is to check into your email nurture sequences to look for low open rates and click-throughs and modify the email content.

8. Pivoting too frequently

This content marketing mistake can be a nightmare. 🤦

Sure, “pivot” was the word of the year in 2020.

But that’s no excuse to change your mind all of the time. When you do, you create the following issues:

  • Lack of consistency with the publishing schedule
  • Confusion amongst the team
  • Sunk costs into content that gets abandoned

How to address this content marketing mistake:

Recognize that content marketing can take time to get results and be sure that you’re changing direction for true business reasons, not doubt or impatience.

“For B2B marketers, content marketing can take time to show real results. But, it’s a strong, long-term approach to improving your brand’s visibility online.  It also helps you nurture a stronger relationship with your customers.” - Neil Patel

If you’re a content marketer who’s a manager or senior leader is constantly having you stop pieces of content and pick up something else, schedule a meeting with them to share your concerns.

This issue could be due to bad management and bad processes, so give it the resolution time it deserves.

9. Leaving inhouse subject matter experts out of content creation

Companies that don’t get subject matter expertise for their content experience these negative repercussions:

  • Content that lacks authority, accuracy, and thought leadership
  • Content without a human touch (stale, boring, and overly corporate content)
  • Alienating their audience by making them feel underserved and misunderstood
  • Leaving the door wide open for competitors to produce content of much higher quality

Yikes! Don’t let this happen to your company.

How to address this content marketing mistake:

GoSquared’s review of Notion wasn’t written by a content marketer, but rather by the CEO, because he was best poised to share how utilizing that product transformed their team’s productivity.

Content marketing mistake example: leaving inhouse experts out of the content creating process

The article was one of the company’s top-performing pieces of content on social media last year.

And why is that?

Because it’s written by a subject matter expert.

In 2021, it’s so important to bring your in-house employees and your customers to the front and center of your content marketing.

You can do this in two key ways:

  1. Make it easy for subject matter experts to create content by supporting them with ideation and editing
  2. Interview colleagues and customers and utilize the interview in multiple pieces of content

10. Only creating one piece of content per important topic

In 2021, topical authority still matters a lot. If you’re not focused on building out topical authority, you might be only creating one piece of content per important topic or keyphrase, because you’re afraid that Google won’t rank either piece.

Let’s say that “inventory management software” is an important keyphrase

“Topical authority is a perceived authority over a niche or broad idea set, as opposed to authority over a singular idea or term.” - Dave Davies, contributor for Search Engine Journal

How to address this content marketing mistake:

Don’t be afraid to approach one topic from multiple angles.

You can create content for the same topic using different keyphrase variations and even different content hubs. For example, you might have something on your blog, in your resource library, and in your help desk that are all targeting a similar key phrase.

Check out this case study:

“As digital marketers, we know that Google is ranking pages based on topical authority instead of old tactics like keyword stuffing. So we decided to focus intensively on the same topics as we optimized pages and did link building to increase our topical authority. For example, we focused on ‘employee handbook’ and ‘employee handbook template’ at the same time. As a result, we got SEO results faster, ranking on page #1 for these keywords in a matter of weeks, and we were able to increase organic traffic by 190% and signups by 120% in just three months.” - Jake Stainer, Co-Founder of Outreach Humans

11. Failing to secure backlinks to important SEO content

Sure, you don’t have to do backlink outreach for every single blog post you publish, but failing to get backlinks for content that targets important keyphrases is a big miss.

For every business, there are search queries that can enormously impact revenue. These are the ones that are searched by people in the active buying and purchase-researching phase.

When you don’t get backlinks for these pieces, you lower your chances of ranking for these essential terms.

How to address this content marketing mistake:

There are different ways to drive backlinks:

  • Backlink email outreach - request backlinks to posts with great infographics or statistics.
  • Podcast guesting - mention your freebie landing pages at the end of podcast interviews.
  • Guest posting - write guest posts for websites with a DR of 45+.

For most content marketing teams, guest posting is the most efficient format. To save time on this strategy, look for existing lists of guest posting sites and write similar pieces of content (not duplicate) for these sites.

12. Prioritizing quantity over quality

One of the most popular SEO experts in the world, Brian Dean from Backlinko, has only 50 blog posts on his website.

While you might not aim for that small of a number, one thing is for certain: quality should come over quantity.

Why?

Because your audience isn’t serviced by poor quality content.

Trying to hit a certain number of blog posts per week could be detrimental to your content marketing success if you don’t have the team capacity to maintain quality.

How to address this content marketing mistake:

Be realistic with how much your team can take on.

Do a content audit of your past 3 months of content. Is it up to the caliber your brand wants to create?

If not, lower your metric for the amount of content you plan to release in a given month.

13. Treating senior content leaders as content creators instead of content producers

When content directors and content managers get involved too heavily in content creation, not enough content actually gets released.

They’ll be so focused on getting things done, that they won’t have enough time to pull customers, colleagues, and other subject matter experts into content creation.

How to address this content marketing mistake:

Encourage your content managers to think more like content producers. They’re not just in charge of assigning content, but of balancing their content budget and making sure that content actually gets in front of the audience.

Just like a film producer, they manage it from ideation all the way to reaching the audience.

“A Content Producer is a lot like a Film Producer.” - Erika Rasso, Craft Your Content

Moving to this model might take some additional training and a focus on measuring impact.

With the right metrics, processes, and software in place, your content marketing team can win over your target audience like never before.

StoryChief is a content marketing software that lets you post to your blog, email list, and social media from one place.

app.storychief.io/register
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