What's your content marketing strategy for 2020? Will there be white papers and long-form videos, case studies, and podcasts? Before you get busy, take stock of possible mistakes you may have committed in 2019 and learn to avoid them by 2020.
Content marketing mistakes may range from something as significant as posting a distasteful ad to something minor such as failing to repurpose content. Either way, you should avoid or stop committing the following common content marketing mistakes:
1. Failing to take local SEO seriously
There are more than 1.7 billion websites, as of this writing. SEO is the tool that will help yours stand out. SEO will guide you on what content to create, when and where to publish them, and how they can boost your conversions.
Local SEO helps businesses to promote their offerings to local customers at the right time. According to a study conducted by Propelrr, the most searched “near me” in the Philippines is “restaurants near me.'' If I were a restaurant owner in the area, I would be doing some local SEO practices by now for my place to top the search results. As the saying goes, "out of sight, out of mind." Local SEO will make you visible to the right audience at the perfect time.
2. Not truly understanding your audience
Imagine being bombarded with content that you don't care for. Annoying, isn't it? Inaccurate knowledge of the target audience is one of the common mistakes of digital marketers. Remember that you will be competing against countless brands for people’s attention. Irrelevant content will not only rob you of the spotlight, but it could also cost you your audience.
3. Not establishing a focus
Every market segment requires a unique digital marketing strategy. What works with tech-savvy millennials may not work with their boomer parents. You may need a different way of delivering the same message to health buffs and gardening aficionados. But should you create content for each demographic? Not necessarily. That would be spreading yourself too thin.
Determine what niches to focus on. This will help you maximize your efforts and resources, and build a reputation of expertise. Focus on certain age groups, interests, or locations.
4. Not prioritizing quality
Quality content remains the most important search engine success factor. Not even all the SEO techniques combined will bring traffic and boost your conversions if your content is not high quality.
There is no hard and fast rule on what quality content is, but Google provides basic principles to guide you. After creating appealing and informative content, remember these SEO musts:
- Do keyword research
- Incorporate long-tail keywords in your content
- Optimize images and videos
- Create a compelling meta description
- Include other forms of media (.gifs, short-form videos, memes, etc.)
5. Not observing a consistent marketing strategy
If you have been posting witty tweets, using a formal and serious tone might surprise your audience—but not in a good way. They followed you for your humorous posts that they could relate to. Stay consistent.
Consistency in content marketing covers your content structure, media, design, and color palette. It distinguishes your brand and makes a mark in the minds of your audience.
6. Not creating evergreen content
Evergreen content remains relevant and “fresh” for a long time. It can generate traffic for three to five years. In 2020, you should create more evergreen content. It is cost-efficient and effective in improving your search engine rankings and could continuously drive traffic to your website.
Below are some evergreen content ideas you can consider:
- Step-by-step Process
- Ultimate Guides
- Fundamentals for Success
- Product Reviews
While evergreen content is created to stay relevant for a long time, you need to update them regularly. There might be new case studies, statistics, and other data that are worth integrating in your content.
7. Not encouraging user-generated content
A study by Revoo (PDF) suggests that 73% of customers trust content created by their peers more than those created by brands. This is understandable because the opinion of a fellow customer, especially in cases of product reviews, is less biased compared to that of the brand/company itself.
In 2020, pay more attention to user-generated content. This could improve the reputation of your brand, products, and services, and even save you money. Maximize social media. Inspire your audience to create content for you. You can offer gifts, discounts, and promos as rewards.
8. Not repurposing content
Content creation requires money and effort. Quality content doesn't need to be created from scratch every time. You could create useful and appealing articles that can be reused down the road. Create content that can be repurposed. For instance, an ultimate guide blog post can be repackaged into an infographic. You can also present case studies in podcasts or animations.
9. Not creating mobile-friendly content
According to mobile internet statistics, there are roughly 4 billion people access the Internet with their mobile phones globally? If your content is not mobile-friendly, you are missing out on a lot of opportunities.
Mobile-friendliness is an important search engine ranking factor. On July 1, 2019, Google enabled mobile-first indexing by default for all new websites. The search engine giant prioritizes the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. If you want to accelerate your SEO game in 2020, make your website, webpages, and content mobile-friendly.
10. Not maximizing multimedia content
Visual content receives 94%more views and is 40 times more likely to be shared on social networks. Add high-quality images to your blog posts. You can also add short-form videos, GIFs, and other visually attractive elements. Your options are not limited to written articles. Explore these other types of content for your 2020 calendar:
- White papers
- Case studies
11. Not doing proper keyword research
Keyword research is the process of discovering what terms your audience use on search engines and optimizing content around those terms. It helps you determine the content topics relevant to your audience, the right on-page SEO tactics for your website, and the suitable campaigns for your business. Keyword research is essentially your digital marketing compass.
12. Not including calls-to-action (CTAs)
The ultimate goal of content marketing is to boost conversions in terms of selling products, newsletter subscriptions, or readership. Driving traffic to your website is not the final destination; it is merely a means to arrive at the destination, i.e., to convert a prospect into a buyer.
For your content marketing strategy for 2020, include compelling calls-to-action (CTAs) in every content you publish. Examples of CTAs used by big brands include:
- AppleTV+: "Watch Now"
- Netflix: "Try 30 Days Free"
- Spotify: "Get Spotify Free"
- Trello: "Sign Up — It's Free!"
- Join.Me: "Start Meeting"
13. Not having a mailing list
One common mistake content marketers commit is not having a mailing list or not maximizing an existing list. A mailing list can help ensure that you have a consistent audience. It also represents a database of potential customers for new and additional business.
Keep your subscribers updated. Send personalized information from your website regularly. They signed up for your newsletters and email updates because they want to hear from you.
14. Not leveraging social media
As of July 2019, there were 3.5 billion social media users globally. Almost every business, whether a home-based clothing store or a multinational brand, has a social media presence. Leverage social media content marketing like a pro with these tips:
- Post content on the platforms relevant to your audience
- Optimize content for each social network
- Stay consistent with your content calendar
- Engage your followers and influencers
- Regularly analyze your content marketing metrics
15. Not proofreading articles
Every detail on your website can affect your credibility. Your audience can easily be put off with the simplest grammatical or typographical errors. If you could not do a basic job such as proofreading the articles on your website, how would site visitors trust your products and services?
Create a content approval process. Your team should have the opportunity to review and approve content using a template that allows you to track the approval process. Check out online grammar checkers like Grammarly, and even content management platforms such as HubSpot, Squarespace, and Wordpress that can help your team prepare, approve and publish content on time.
16. Not paying attention to every sales process
One of the common content marketing mistakes marketers commit is not creating enough content throughout the sales process. There is a different kind of content for your audience in the prospecting stage and for those in the after-sales stage. In 2020, you should create content for each of these stages:
17. Not exerting more effort promoting content
The 80/20 rule suggests that you should be spending 20% of your time and resources, creating content, and 80% promoting them. Remember that you are competing against a lot of brands. If everyone else is making high-quality content, effective promotions will raise your game.
18. Not building better buyer personas
A buyer persona, the hypothetical representation of your ideal customer, is essential in reaching out to your audience, boost sales and build brand loyalty. It must be based on market research and data about your existing customers. Using purely hypothetical buyer personas will create a disconnect between you and your audience.
In 2020, build better buyer personas to improve your content marketing. Conduct customer surveys preferably through personal interviews or phone-ins. Speaking with customers about their goals, concerns and hesitations can bring better results when done personally.
19. Not checking content marketing performance
Improve your content marketing by knowing what works and what doesn’t. Review your performance at least every quarter using data from your SEO analytics. Identify where your site traffic comes from; how long visitors stay on a page; what webpages and content are most visited and shared; and what campaigns have the highest conversion rates.
Content marketing is an ongoing journey. There will always be room for improvement.
20. Not looking outside the box
In content marketing, there is no hard and fast rule. Search engines can give you guidelines. Digital marketing gurus can throw in case studies on what worked, but what works for one brand may not work for another. By merely mirroring what others are doing will not contribute much to your long-term success. You need to make your mark. Step out of the box!
In 2020, stop making the same content marketing mistakes. It is time to start taking local SEO seriously, better understand your audience, create niche markets, and prioritize quality content. Stop wasting time and resources making content that you cannot repurpose down the road. Create more evergreen content that is properly optimized. Consider working with a digital marketing company that could help you make the right content and publish it at the right time.