1. You Give Up Too Soon
Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a long game.
You can’t post 3 articles on your blog then whine about how nobody is reading your stuff… or commenting or sharing.
The most successful content marketers have been going at it for years – putting out high-quality content that’s relevant and valuable to a targeted audience frequently and consistently for several years – before they became that “overnight success.”
Once your momentum picks up, so will your ROI (return on investment.)
Invest time and energy to produce quality content that’s valuable and relevant to a specific audience – show up frequently and consistently.
If you don’t show up for your peeps, how can you expect them to show up for you?
Identify one or two formats and channels that cater to your ideal audience, highlight your strengths and work well for your subject of expertise… then get really good at it.
Don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to do everything just because everyone else is doing it.
Then be relentless – make it a non-negotiable part of your marketing plan to produce and promote your content.
2. If You Build It They Won’t Come
Having a website with a blog doesn’t mean your ideal audience knows about it.
2.7 million blog posts are published everyday. 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. You get the idea.
The most successful content marketers spend 20% of their time in content production, and 80% in content promotion.
If you don’t put in the consistent effort to get your content in front of the right people, it’s not going to do anything for you.
None of us are entitled to an audience. Work to earn their trust and respect.
You probably don’t have a load of time to spend on promoting your content everywhere… nor do you have a team dedicated to that effort.
That’s why it’s critical that you not only know where your audience hangs out but also be able to write headlines and descriptions that speak to them and make them want to read/listen/watch your stuff (i.e. to click through.)
Identify a few places you can focus your promotional effort and resources, then test and track your results so you can make adjustments to your tactics.
3. You’re Stuck In Your Bubble
Just posting on your blog and trying to get people there can be an uphill battle – especially if you’re working on getting traffic, don’t have a big list or the SEO juice of an established site.
Remember, if nobody consumes your content, your content isn’t doing anything for you.
Venture out into the big wide world… publish your content in places where your ideal audience already goes.
Guest posting is a great way to get in front of a new audience. Make sure to identify blogs that share a similar audience so when you link back to your site or promote your lead magnet, you’re building a high-quality audience in the process.
You may need to start small, and work your way up to bigger sites. Go, start somewhere. Don’t doubt yourself, but don’t take “yeses” for granted.
Appropriating or re-publishing your content on platforms such as Medium or LinkedIn Pulse is another good way to make your content go further.
There are some nuances to making sure that content on these platforms doesn’t cannibalize the SEO juice of the original content on your website – e.g. applying a canonical tag, using the “import” function on Medium, changing the title and writing a different intro etc.
There are some tradeoffs and you need to assess where you’re at with your content marketing and what you want it to do for your business. E.g. if you want to get as many eyeballs on your content as possible, it may be worth it to republish the content on popular platforms even if those posts rank higher than the original post on your own site.
4. You Serve Up a Wall of Text
… and make other user experience or navel-gazing mistakes.
The point of content marketing is to get people to consume your content so you can achieve whatever goals or next steps you want the readers to take.
If you serve up a wall of text riddled with jargons or run-on sentences and zero consideration for readability – you’re losing your readers at hello.
While your content needs to express who you are – your values, convictions, points-of-view, and expertise etc. – it needs to take user experience into consideration.
Formatting your content properly will encourage readers to stay on the page while writing in short sentences and avoiding long paragraphs can increase readability and the likelihood that your content will be consumed.
While I’m adamantly against “listicles” that have no depth, it doesn’t mean you can’t use numbering to help give clarity and hierarchy to your content.
Dividing up your article into sections, and delineating them using subheads, can vastly improve readability while also help you clarify your own thoughts during the process.
Better communication makes you more convincing. It’s a muscle you can train… and it gets easier.
Poor organization and spelling or grammatical errors are distractions. No matter how good your thoughts are, if they’re not communicated with care, it’ll undermine your authority and credibility – doing more harm than good.