I think it’s pretty fair to say that I’ve harped a lot about the importance of quality content in the past. When it comes to leads, links, and general audience engagement, digital marketers and SEO experts simply can’t afford to sidestep it. While I do detest the overuse of ‘content is king’ there’s no arguing with it. Simply try ranking on SERPs or engaging your audience (no matter what you do) without good content, I dare you. You will soon realize that you won’t get too far.
Every content marketer (and digital marketer in general) has made a slew of content-related mistakes over the years. What separates the greats from everyone else is the fact that they learn from those mistakes. As we welcome the new year, it’s time to take a look at common content development mistakes and how we can avoid them going forward.
Not Engaging in Content at All
Captain Obvious, right?
Well, really important stuff is worth repeating. Even though this is something that most people consider a given (creating new content and putting it out there) you just wouldn’t believe how many businesses aren’t doing it consistently. My personal pet peeve are blogs. Pretty much every company that has a web site has a blog. Care to guess how many of those blogs are maintained? Around 20 % and that’s being generous.
What you need to realize is that your product pages and offers are all great, but they won’t help you rank and they won’t help you create engagement. Blog posts will. Blog posts are a great way to go after long-tail keywords and appear in the SERPs for phrases people are actually searching. So for crying out loud, start blogging! Create a blogging strategy and commit to it. If you can’t blog five times per week, make it three- two blog posts every week are the minimum you should do in order to be taken seriously by Google and your potential customers.
Not Focusing on Email Marketing
Tell me you are building your email list, please. Because if you’re not, you are doing it all wrong. Here’s why: for every single dollar you spend on email marketing, you earn $41. Now, if that’s a number you can afford to take lightly, good for you – not many businesses can.
Increased sales are not the only reason why you should do email marketing. Here are the others:
– Email allows you to build more stable relationships
– Email communications are easy to track and evaluate
– It’s easy to collect feedback with email
– It positions you as an expert in your field
I get it that email marketing isn’t easy. Maybe you’ve tried it but didn’t get the response you expected. To learn how to do it the right way, check out these articles on email open rates and clickthrough rates I’ve written recently – you should be able to get some great pointers there.
Bottom line, not doing email marketing is seriously hurting your business.Not using the strategy that seriously outperforms social marketing, display marketing, and pretty much everything is crazy – you don’t want people to think that you’re crazy now, do you?
Going for Quantity Instead of Quality
Now, I know I’ve said that you should publish content often previously and that still stands. However, I never said that you should publish just about anything. Regardless of the industry you’re in, there will be hundreds of questions that your customers need answers to. Taking the easy way out and publishing crappy content that’s not geared toward the needs of your users is a bad idea. You might fool Google into thinking that your site is worth the bother because it’s updated constantly, but you won’t fool your readers.
Instead, make sure you understand your audience and their needs and focus on creating content that answers their questions. Don’t rehash stuff that is already online – use it as a guideline but always aspire to create something that’s at least one notch better than what is already out there.
Misunderstanding Good SEO Practices
I can’t tell you how many content creators are still stuck on keywords – keywords this, keywords that, blah blah. Start following SEO trends people! Keywords are rapidly becoming unimportant and keyword stuffing has been a huge no-no for the last three years, at least! Instead, try to understand how Google algorithm is evolving to understand content and user intent. Once you start creating content that’s rich in supporting terms and recognizes that latent semantic indexing is here to stay, you will start seeing some real improvements.
Instead of focusing on yesteryear stuff, research how quality linking, good social signals, collaboration with other others can help boost your rankings. SEO is changing dramatically in 2017 – keep up or go under!
No Actionable Content Goals
It’s tempting to just sit down and start creating and publishing content willy-nilly. In fact, that’s what most businesses are doing. Content is a tough category to measure so a lot of people are just winging it. For some, this approach will pay off. However, for a vast majority, it won’t.
Your content should be doing one of the following three things:
– Create meaningful engagement
– Drive traffic to your page
– Establish you as a major player in your field
In order for you to accomplish any one of these goals, you first need to know who you’re writing for. Having a clear audience persona is a must. The second thing on your lists should be keyword research. Once you know who your audience is and what they are looking for you can start creating actionable content that will drive leads to your site.
There are a bunch of things you should be doing for content in 2017 – so many that I’ll so devote a special article to them. In the meantime, it really helps to know what things you need to avoid. Even if you are making some of these mistakes, learn from them and don’t repeat them – grow and make your content the best it can be in 2017!