The content you put out has a direct effect on your brand and while coming up with a content marketing strategy, you want to make sure you are producing high-quality content that’s going to help you uphold a positive brand reputation.
Everyone makes mistakes, we’re only human. But when creating content, it’s important to know what mistakes to avoid, so you can continue to properly execute your content marketing strategy to ensure you are producing engaging content that your readers will love.
In this article we will discuss common mistakes brands make when creating content and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Failing to Write Content Your Audience Wants
Your audience is who you are producing your content for and without them, what’s the use? Every piece of content you produce should have your customers in mind. Find out what is important to them and write about it. Are there important steps that need to know about how to use your products or services? Is there anything that they should avoid or common problems that they fix themselves?
You need to know what they want to learn, know and read about. The best way to find out what your readers want to see is to go straight to the source. Make use of social media to connect with your customers and ask what type of content they would like to see.
You can also ask your customer service team to compile a list of common questions from customers to center your content around. If your site doesn’t already have a FAQs page, it should. Not only does a FAQ’s page help your search engine rankings, but it also provides your customers with an easy to access place to find a solution to all their important questions.
Writing content for your audience allows you to become a thought leader in your industry by educating your customers, which over time can develop and build trust. Building those relationships with your audience, in turn, can lead to an increase in traffic and sales.
Mistake #2: Not Diversifying Your Content
When we refer to content, some people simply think it’s only subject to blog posts. To keep your audience engaged and support your SEO efforts, you need to diversify your content. There are tons of avenues you can go to diversifying your content. Here are some examples:
- How to guides
- Case studies
- Interviews or Q&A’s
If you’re producing the same type of content time and time again, you’re going to lose out on attracting different types of visitors. Everyone has their preference of what type of content they prefer. Some people prefer watching videos, while some prefer handy infographics. By diversifying your content, you’ll be able to maximize your content marketing efforts by attracting more diverse traffic to your site and building your relevancy as a leader in your industry.
Mistake #3: Not Properly Formatting Your Content
Part of making content easy to understand is making sure to format your content properly. Not only is this important for the readers, but it’s a crucial part of properly optimizing your content.
Readers have a short attention span, so you must break up your content so that it’s easy to scan.
There is nothing more intimidating than a long paraph, so keep paragraphs short. Having too much text is a quick way to turn your readers away, so avoid this at all costs. Readers are more likely to engage with content that’s broken up into small sections. Paragraphs should include no more than 70 characters.
Use section headers so that users know what each section will be about. This allows readers to easily find a section to refer to if need be.
Use bullet points when necessary and make use of white space on the page to improve readability.
Font and text size matters, so make sure you’re not using anything that will distract readers too much. Section headings should stand out, so increase text size and bold the text to catch the reader’s eye.
Make use of images and screenshots, too. Not only does this help break up the text, but it also gives readers an example to refer to better understand the content.
Here we can see how SEMrush formatted their blog content by breaking the text up into small paragraphs, used subheadings with a large and bold font, used bullet points and used example images to support the text.
Readers appreciate simplicity, so stick to it.
Mistake #4: Not Proofreading Before You Publish
Not proofreading your content before publishing seems like a rookie mistake, but it sometimes happens to the best of us. Having simple spelling or grammatical errors can quickly make readers devalue your work, making it seem like you rushed through it and did not take the time to check it. This ultimately has a direct reflection on your brand.
The good news is that simple mistakes like this are easily avoidable. Sometimes built-in spell-check won’t catch all your mistakes, so consider downloading apps like Grammarly to fully check your piece for any errors before posting. Also, be sure to reread your article several times before posting it. Something that made sense when you wrote it initially, might not make sense when you read it again in an hour or so. Or it might even fit better somewhere else in the document.
Sometimes a second set of eyes will catch something you may have looked right past, so always make sure to have another person look it over.
Pro tip: always read your content aloud. This helps you understand how your content will flow from the reader’s point of view.
Proofreading and editing can be the most tedious and least-favorite parts of creating, but it is one of the most important steps in getting good-quality content out for your users.
Mistake #5: Making the Piece too Complex
Simplicity is key when writing, especially when writing for your business. People who are reading your content want to be able to find the information they are looking for quickly and easily.
Make it clear from the very beginning what the article will be about and follow through with it. Stick to an active voice as much as possible and avoid long, complicated sentences. Writing in a conversational way, rather than technical, will help your readers understand and connect with your content better.
Ideally, your content should be easy to grasp no matter your level of expertise within the given industry. When you understand your audience, you’ll be able to better understand how to write in a voice that they will appreciate.
Mistake #6: Not Incorporating Evergreen Content into Your Content Strategy
Evergreen content is content that is always relevant, like evergreen trees who keep their leaves all year round. Having evergreen content on your site is a key component in an effective content marketing strategy. Evergreen content increases your site’s visibility on search engines and will continue to drive traffic to your site years after it’s published.
The purpose of evergreen content is to provide readers with a source of information that will never lose value.
If your content has an expiration date, then it’s not considered evergreen. This can include time-sensitive pieces like news articles, seasonal content, or current trends within a certain industry.
Pieces of evergreen content can include how-to instructions, tips, guides, lists, checklists, tutorials and more.
When creating evergreen content, try your best to stay away from topics, words, and phrases that may seem time-related.
For example, Dream Host published a blog titled “19 Great Blogging Tips for 2019.” While this post may be relevant right now, chances are it won’t remain relevant next year, or the year after that, simply because it is a time-sensitive piece.
On the other hand, ShareAble for Hires created a blog post, “Hiring Process Checklist for Small Business Employers.”
By the title, you can see that there is no sign of time-sensitive jargon. This is a post that employers can continue to refer to for years to come.
That’s not to say that all pieces of content need to be evergreen, but incorporating this type of content into your content marketing strategy is a way for you to gain consistent traffic to your website while building your brand’s reputation online.
Content marketing is key to driving traffic to your site, gaining more potential leads and building credibility within your industry.
Unfortunately, mistakes can be made that can stop you from getting there. The good news is that most of these problems are easily solved with good writing and relevant content.
By following the helpful tips in this guide, you should be able to execute your content marketing strategy while continuing to grow your business and develop a strong brand voice.
About the author:
Corey Doane is a contributing editor for 365 business tips. She has a B.S in Public Relations from San Jose State University and has experience in PR, marketing and communications.