6 Critical Content Marketing Mistakes You Can’t Afford To Make
Updated on November 2nd, 2019
Content marketing mistakes to avoid…
Great content takes centre stage like a lead singer.
The rest? Well it’s more like the backup singers – going hardly noticed in the background.
Do you want to be the lead singer or not?
If you do, then you will need to craft your content carefully and creatively. And you will need to avoid some of the worst, and yet common mistakes that content marketers make – keeping them in the background.
(Handy hint: You can avoid many of these mistakes by hiring a professional content creator.)
Let’s look at some common content marketing mistakes you can avoid.
Mistake #1. Poor Grammar
Of course, content has to be engaging and memorable. This is the “what” of your content.
The “how” of the content includes correct grammar, and make no mistake about it, there are people reading your content who cringe when there are grammatical errors.
There is no excuse for poor grammar. There are tools you can use to check, beyond the simple grammar and spell check of Word. Get a good tool, like Grammarly or Pro Writing Aid, and your grammar issue is over.
Despite the availability of these tools, every day content is published with glaring mistakes. There is no reason for that to happen today.
Mistake #2. Forgetting About Readability
Beyond grammar… sentence structure, spelling and punctuation is extremely important too.
Content that is written for a scientific or technical audience will neither appeal nor be understood by an every day audience. And it is not meant to be.
In the “normal” world of content marketing, however, we are writing for a population that has a wide variety of educational backgrounds and, yes, reading levels. And somehow, you must craft content that will appeal to this wide-ranging group.
As you think about that, think also about these facts:
- People online want their information, their entertainment, and their inspiration quickly.
- When content is in text form, they want it easily readable – no one wants to struggle over the meaning of a word or through long and complex sentences. In fact, if that happens, they will likely bounce.
A good “rule” for readability is about the 7th grade reading level, both in vocabulary and in sentence structure.
If you are not sure hat that reading level looks like, then use a tool to tell you. There are a bunch out there, including Read-able.com. You can copy and paste your piece and immediately get a reading level, actually by age.
If you remember, you were 12-13 in the 7th grade, so that is the level for which you are aiming. If your age range is too high, then go back and remove the more difficult vocabulary words, simplify the sentences, and perhaps remove some of the most sophisticated punctuation like semicolons. Repeat your posting until you have the level you want.
Mistake #3. Lecturing
This point will be short and sweet because you do not need a lecture on it.
So much content is dry and “intellectual.” It seems as if content marketers may have forgotten that they are supposed to be talking with “friends” here, not students.
The point of content marketing is to be personable and develop relationships. People don’t like to be subjected to old university-style lectures – they had enough of that in school.
Take the attitude that you are casually talking with your best friend, and your content will reflect the casual, personable tone it should have. If you have difficulty developing this writing style, you can read the blog posts of others who have mastered it.
Alternatively, you can find a company that provides creative content writing for businesses.
Mistake #4. Not Using Visuals
Without visuals, your content is boring. And this is not just an opinion. There is ample research that supports that this is one of the more common content marketing mistakes.
Here is just one statistic: Coloured visuals will increase a person’s reading of content by 80%.
People want to be engaged and entertained. They want their information quickly, and visual content helps you satisfy this desire.
Anytime you can use visuals to get your point across, you should try and do so.
Nathan Chan, the founder of Foundr Magazine, an online journal for entrepreneurs, knew this when he grew his Twitter following from 0 to 300K in just 10 months. How did he do it? He posted on Twitter several times a day, with cool visuals and inspirational quotes.
Mistake #5. Not Making Your Content Scannable
I’ll repeat it again. People want digestible, small chunks of content that they can scan and read quickly. Anything you produce in text format should:
- Be broken up into headings and sub-headings that explain exactly what is going to be covered
- Have bullet points that provide lists or steps
- Be broken up by visuals of multiple types
A viewer may not want to read your entire blog post, so common content marketing mistakes are not breaking up the page with formatting.
He or she may want to scan down and settle in on only one section that is particularly relevant to them.
When you physically put content together so that viewers can do this, they will come back. And, if the small part they found was relevant, the chances that your content will be shared increase.
Mistake #6. Making it About You
Millennials now form the largest online purchasing demographic. If your goal is ultimately to secure customers, then it will be important to study how this group makes its purchasing decisions.
Consumers today are smart and they want to be in charge of their decisions. What they don’t want are hard sells or product and services shoved in their face.
Ok enough about content marketing mistakes. Here’s what to do instead.
Good content marketing should acheive the following:
- Foster relationships with visitors, viewers, and followers
- Focus on problems that the target audience experience that you can solve
- Describe value and benefit, not products
- Demonstrate social responsibility
- Highlight personal stories of company staff and of customers
- Educate an audience, sometimes make it laugh, and sometimes inspire it.
If you want examples of content that does these things, check out the blogs and social media pages of Dollar Shave Club, Toms Shoes, ModCloth, the Geico Gecko, and Charmin Bath Tissue. Or if you are a B2B business, check out GE or Basecamp.
About Elaina Meiser
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