Content Marketing Mistakes – we’ve all been there. Putting hours and hours into a blog post or sales page knowing it will be a hit with your audience. After all, they’d be crazy not to love it, right?
You can already picture the avalanche of comments, likes, and shares that are sure to follow. You’re beaming with excitement as you hit send and await the praise and love that’s sure to follow.
Yet…it never comes.
Only silence, crickets, and the echo of your words falling flat with your readers.
Let’s face it. There’s nothing worse than pouring your soul into a piece of marketing and finding it met with complete indifference.
It’s not you, though. Anyone who says they’ve never sent out a bad piece of content is either oblivious or is not writing enough.
Luckily, it’s not the content that’s bad as much as it is the delivery method. Here are five common errors that often derail otherwise good content and copy.
Content Marketing Mistake #1 – Not Connecting With Your Audience
You may very well have the best product, service, or support in the industry. Yet, immediately tooting your own horn is not the best way to lead into your sales, blog, or web copy.
SOLUTION: Find a common ground that allows you to connect with your audience first.
- A shared experience or problem you know they can relate to.
- An insightful comment or suggestion that pertains to their situation.
- Anything that makes a prospect nod their head and say, “Yes! I know. That happens to me too!”
Figure out what’s important to your clients and build a bridge between you and them.
Then – and only then – should you consider offering advice or solutions to their problems. Fostering trust, respect, and approval ahead of time leads to acceptance and – best of all – attention.
After all, you wouldn’t ask someone to marry you on the first date. Give your audience the same courtesy.
Content Marketing Mistake #2 – Being “Wordy” or Using Complicated Language
A “professional” is someone who specializes in a particular area of expertise or line of work. (Think doctors, lawyers, investors and the like.) And while any profession requiring years of training and knowledge is worthy to pursue, sharing this wisdom with others often proves difficult.
It’s only natural. Each line of work has its own set of terminology, phrases, and shorthand. Amongst your peers, everyone understands what you are talking about.
But, trying to explain these concepts to outsiders often brings puzzled looks and awkward silence.
SOLUTION: You have to convey your messages as clearly as possible in order for others to follow.
Studies show that the average adult reading ability is at or below an 8th-grade level. That means using “big” words or jargon actually hurts your message more than it helps.
In case you were wondering, this article clocks in at a 6th-grade level.
Try to keep your messages simple using everyday words and common language. Make your sentences brief and speak in generic terms rather than specific details (whenever possible). Especially when describing complicated information or processes.
You can still use colorful language. But keep your sentences shorter and substitute in common words whenever possible.
Often, it’s easier to have someone else (from outside of the profession) write the content for you. For if they’re able to summarize the idea in their own words, your audience will likely follow suit.
Content Marketing Mistake #3 – Promoting Features Instead of Benefits
No doubt – this can be a tough one. Our gut reaction is to talk about product features – but these qualities are often irrelevant to our prospects.
“Self-reporting, built-in diagnostics”
“Hydrates cells and increases collagen reserves”
Sure. Many of these features ARE amazing and provide real value for the buyer. But, all your audience really cares about is one thing:
“How will it make my life easier or better?”
SOLUTION: Always keep the question above in mind when creating your messaging.
What is it about your product or service that matters to your audience? Is the car a lightning-fast joyride? Then drop the “turbo talk” and describe the actual driving experience.
Can the device fix itself? Then flip the switch and talk about worry-free operation and years of reliable service.
Does the product make the users’ skin more youthful and vibrant looking? Then who cares what’s inside the jar.
Your goal is to help your audience understand what makes your offering better than all the rest. And you do this by selling the benefits of the product or service – not by rambling on about the features.
Keep this idea in mind and watch how your offerings almost sell themselves
Content Marketing Mistake #4 – Spelling and Grammar Errors
Even gurus offering the best content get blown-off if too many mistakes are present. Commonly misspelled words, lack of punctuation, and those mysterious extra spaces that crop up are a few of the usual suspects.
And while no one expects your work to be perfect, allowing these grammatical gremlins to creep in can be a huge buzzkill. After all, not taking the time to fix your mistakes tells the audience you don’t care about theirs.
SOLUTION: Use the many online tools available to help overcome this problem.
Even the built in spell checkers in Microsoft Word and Google Docs can catch some (but not all) of your mistakes.
In the end, one of the best – but most often underutilized proofreading tools are your own ears.
Let me explain.
When we read, our brains have a way of filling in the “gaps”. If you drop or misspell a word the computers in our head “autocorrect” what we see.
For emaxlpe, it deson’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod aepapr, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer are in the rghit pcale. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit pobelrm.
It doesn’t take a genius to see we have some serious problems here. Yet, reading the paragraph alone doesn’t cause a stir.
But, I encourage you to listen to the words instead and see what you find.
One easy (and free) way to do this is to copy and paste your text into Google Translate.
Instead of translating your words into another language, leave the settings on English. Close your eyes, have the sweet siren of Google read your words back to you (and catch all that you’ve missed).
Content Marketing Mistake #5 – Not Providing Enough Value
Some people think that producing content is all about selling to your audience. And in some ways, it is. But there’s more to it than simply touting your wares.
You shouldn’t create a piece of content based on what you believe you’ll get in return. It’s not a good way to approach your marketing efforts and will only end up costing you in the end.
Sure, new email subscribers, web exposure, and sales are all great outcomes. But they should never come at the expense of wasting your prospects time.
SOLUTION: Focus on the customer and their problems – not your own.
Take the time to consider how the reader benefits from viewing your work. If you don’t know the answer, it may be time to rethink the project.
At the heart of everything your brand provides should be a common theme – helping others and providing value.
Because when you do, you earn the prospect’s trust, loyalty, and admiration. Make it your goal to answer their questions and provide useful information along the way.
For when you do this correctly- and the time comes to buy – you’ll likely be the first person they think of.
And that’s a great spot to be in.
Have you noticed a common theme amongst these five ideas?
Your content should always focus on the needs and goals of your clients. Take time to research and uncover what their biggest concerns are. Then create top-notch copy and content that helps them overcome these obstacles.
Your marketing pieces should also be concise and well-written. After all, the best information is worthless if no one understands what you’re saying.
Implement these concepts and you’re sure to create marketing materials that resonate with your audience and avoid the biggest content marketing mistakes along the way. In turn, you’ll grow your brand and create a sales funnel that produces on its own.