1. Making Everything into an Ad
Stuffing too many keywords and AdWords into your content can lower your search ranking in Google, and it makes your customers leave your site. No one wants to be bombarded by constant reminders to “buy now”. The online world is saturated with ads, marketing, and competing companies. Modern shoppers are smart enough to recognize useless fluff and advertising. Instead, use your content to offer helpful and useful information that will solve your customers’ problems and fulfill their needs. This will establish you as a useful authority and improve their trust in your brand.
2. Letting Your Customers Write Your Content
Unfortunately, there are many bitter, nasty people who will gleefully turn your well-meaning and informative content into a racist, sexist rant or joke given the opportunity. Sharing and participation should be encouraged, but you must keep control of your content. Review and respond to your posts. Apologize for mistakes, and offer a solution to negative comments. Take trolls offline as soon as possible. Don’t stoop to their level and feed their bitter, nasty comments with your own righteous anger. Remember, trolls are lonely creatures. Nothing makes them happier than to drag you down into their dark, smelly lair with them.
3. Not Researching for SEO
While the days of keyword stuffing and mass-producing empty content are over, keywords are still important for good search engine results. Research the keywords for both popularity and for competition. Many single and short tail keywords are already in use by major companies and won’t allow smaller companies to rank well. Long tail keywords are becoming more popular for small businesses and niche markets. If you rely on local business, be sure to mention your city and location.
4. Not Organizing Your Content
Nobody wants to look through every book in the library to find the one that they need. Likewise, your customers don’t want a long list of disorganized blogs that they can’t search and can’t browse by category. Make it easy and convenient for your customers to find information, or they will go elsewhere. Also, link to other related content on your site with internal links. Link to authoritative external sources like educational, news and government sites. Google SEO improves with these linking practices. However, if you link to a dishonest or misleading site, it might hurt your rankings and damage your brand image.
5. Abandoning Your Posts
While social media popularity and frequent blog posts do not automatically equal a good ROI, abandoning your online marketing and not updating your site makes your company look either negligent or out of business. Quality, useful content that addresses your customer’s needs should be added weekly to your blog, website, and social media posts. Most importantly, keep the pictures, contact information, location maps, business hours, products and services and other company information up to date and informative.
6. Not Having a Plan
While it’s tempting to copy what someone else is doing and call it good enough, the online market is a competitive place. You need a marketing strategy that targets your customers, works with your resources and builds your brand identity. Establish who your customers are and what problems your company is going to solve for them. Identify where your customers are, and how best to get their attention. Finally, show your customers that you are the expert that can solve their problem right away.
7. Not Monitoring the Results
The best practices for content marketing are constantly changing. SERPs, customer involvement, and ROI should be monitored. Adjustments to the content and even to the company product and branding should be made as needed. Never turn a blind eye and assume that everything is fine. Numerous tools are available to help you track results. I recommend starting with the support at Google Analytics.