5 Content Mistakes That Can Sandbag Your Strategy
Content marketing is somewhat forgiving when it comes to mistakes. If you’re regularly writing 1,000-word articles, several times a week, getting one fact wrong or misquoting someone slightly probably isn’t going to kill your strategy forever. These are temporary setbacks that might affect your reputation negatively, but ultimately, you can recover with a quick edit and a smooth transition back to best practices.
Unfortunately, there are bigger mistakes that can hold your strategy back, and they tend to be made chronically, rather than acutely. These mistakes won’t kill your strategy by making it totally ineffective, nor will they prevent you from seeing any results—but that’s what makes them especially dangerous. They restrict your growth potential over the course of months, sometimes years, and often go completely unnoticed.
Check your content strategy now to see if you’re making any of these debilitating mistakes, and correct them immediately:
1. Gunning for quantity over quality.
We’ve all fallen into this trap before because it’s rooted in a logical conclusion. Every new post you write adds more value to your site, more pages to Google’s index, more visibility for your brand, and more potential traffic for your business. How could more posts be a bad thing?
The problem here is that the above conclusion rests on a crucial assumption: that all your posts are of a similarly high quality. If, instead of taking three hours to write an original, thoroughly researched piece, you take three hours to write four separate, decent pieces, you might end up getting zero new links and shares instead of several. Instead of four times the benefits, you’ve actually stripped most of your benefits away. Quantity can be a good thing, but only if your quality is high and consistent—don’t forget that.
2. Writing for everyone.
You want to maximize the visibility of your brand and content, so naturally you want to write and publish for the widest audience possible. There’s only one problem with that: the widest possible audience is literally everyone on the planet, and if you do that, nobody will want to read your piece.
Instead, it’s in your best interest to write to the most focused niche of your target audience possible. This may seem counterintuitive, since you’ll be limiting the number of people you can potentially appeal to, but again, quality matters more than quantity—it’s far better to have 100 very interested readers than 10,000 apathetic ones. Get to know your demographics well, and customize your content to cater to their needs.
3. Only producing one medium.
Over time, you’re going to find a specialty—that might be written articles, or it might be infographics, or it could even be videos. Your naturally tendency will be to produce only this medium, even if you don’t originally intend to. It’s faster, easier, more enjoyable, and you tend to get better results—so it makes sense that you would produce it as frequently as possible.
However, doing this can make your brand seem stagnant, predictable, and uninteresting. There are dozens of potential mediums available to the modern content marketer, and you’re doing yourself a disservice if you’re only taking advantage of one of them. Each medium has its own advantages and disadvantages, so the more you incorporate into your content campaign, the more enriched and beneficial your strategy will become.
4. Waiting for readers instead of finding them.
You’ve written some amazing material, packed with original research, strong opinions, and lots of detail to make it useful for your audience. The readers should come swarming to your piece any day now—except only a handful of people online actively seek out new content from new sources. The rest of us visit a handful of sources regularly, and discover new content only when those sources provide it to us.
Accordingly, if you’re simply waiting around for more readers to show up, you’re wasting time. It’s far more productive to actively seek out new readers by posting more frequently on social media, finding new social outlets to post your work, sourcing and taking advantage of newer, bigger external publishers, and discovering entirely new outlets where people might find your content.
5. Failing to syndicate your posts.
Unless you’re writing about something that’s only relevant for the present, all of your posts have lasting value. If you aren’t taking advantage of this lasting value by syndicating your work, you’re reducing the staying power of each of your posts down to a minimum present value.
Instead of allowing your posts to naturally decay, keep a running list of all the content you’ve ever published. Cycle them into an ongoing rotation, bumping or posting older articles on social media with fresh tags and headlines—or even editing the pieces into new posts entirely. Rediscover and harness the power of all your posts, and your growth rate can climb exponentially.
These mistakes are especially frustrating since they can manifest without your notice. You may start off with the intention to produce content in multiple formats and mediums, with an editorial calendar to keep you on schedule, but as the months progress, you could naturally fall into a repetitive rut. Accordingly, it’s a good idea to take a step back and audit your content strategy for weaknesses like these—I personally recommend it on a quarterly basis, but that should vary based on your industry and goals. Only through modification will you be able to improve your results.
Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.
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