10 Common Content Marketing Mistakes Beginners Make

September 9, 2013By
Milk Was A Bad Choice

Milk was a bad choice. Don’t make these common content marketing mistakes.

Mistakes are part of life.

We often think too much about making a mistake instead of starting.

You have to start somewhere no matter what you’re doing including content marketing. But there is no reason you can’t learn from the mistakes others have made before you.

If you’re new to content marketing there are some common mistakes many people have made and still make today. They just make you look silly.

Here they are.

1. Trying To Do Everything At Once

Look around the Internet. Check out a few business blogs.

What do you notice?

I’m crazy about these things, but if you’re like me you’ll notice tons of blogs that haven’t been updated in months or even years.

This is a result of people trying to write a blog from nothing the day before they want to publish it. Or they simply don’t have any kind of schedule to keep them going.

The number one tip I give to bloggers is to separate all that goes into blogging. Create a schedule and fill it with ideas. Coming up with ideas is a big part of blogging. It’s hard to come up with an idea on the spot and then do the writing.

Instead, separate the two tasks. Then when it comes time to write you already have the idea ready.

2. Not Using Proven Formulas

There are forms of content that work really well. There is no reason you can’t mimic those formulas to create your own success.

Everything in life is imitation and innovation. You can’t really have one without the other. Both are required. There is nothing truly unique or original in the world. We’re always evolving from what we have today to create something just a little bit better tomorrow.

List posts are popular in the blogging world. So are stories. You don’t have to do them all, but try a few and see what ones work with your audience. Then use that formula to create the type of content people like.

You can always experiment with new things too, but there’s no reason to create something different that no one will like.

3. Too Much Editing

Done is better than perfect.

In reality, blogging or creating content is about balance. You want there to be a reasonable amount of perfection in your grammar and spelling, but if you chase those things forever you’ll never get anything published.

In the blogging world, done is better than perfect.

Some of my favorite blogs often have grammar errors. The grammar police will show up in the comments (often with their own errors in the comment), but those are people to ignore. They’re the ones too afraid to actually publish anything other than their snarky comment.

Find a balance between a done and perfect to create something that is great even if there is one or two mistakes. The people that matter see past the mistake and get the big picture.

And they purchase from you.

4. Ignoring Design

Some people worry too much about design. They try to get their blog in perfect shape before actually writing anything.

There is no reason for that. You can publish posts and gain followers with the standard WordPress theme.

But as you grow you’ll want to incorporate design into your content. You connect with people much better if you have great design that gets people to have feelings.

You want people to react to your content. Design does that. It’s how you get people to trust you and purchase from you.

5. Trying To Impress Everyone

You’re not going to make everyone love you. We like to think we can, but in reality there will be people that love you, others that don’t care either way and some that probably hate you.

It’s just the way it is.

You have to let go of what you think others think about you. Not everyone matters.

Focus on the people that share the same feelings and world views as you. Those are your potential customers. Who cares if someone that will never buy something from you doesn’t like what you wrote?

Focus on the people that matter – the ones that will give you money for something.

You can please them and leave the others to find their own way.

6. Wrong Audience

This one is common if you read other posts like this, but I have to mention it. I tried to find unique points for the others to give you something new, but for this one I have to stay in the same spot as a few others.

I’ve seen a few businesses that have written about something that the wrong audience cares about. Now those businesses have traffic to their site, but it’s from people that aren’t their target customer.

The readers get something interesting in the content, but then they leave without any intent of purchasing something at any point in the future.

You have to focus on your ideal reader at all times when you’re writing content.

7. Never Read Other Blogs

One of the things I did early in my blogging career was to read a ton of other blogs. I still do it today.

Part of the reason I do this is because I like getting information. The other reason is that I like seeing what I like and what others like.

It provides inspiration for my own blogging.

Running out of inspiration is a big deal for some people. If you’re not getting inspired you’re going to struggle to write. You have to be out there reading other blogs.

8. Not Connecting With Other Bloggers

Another part of reading other blogs is connecting with other bloggers. I’ve met so many great people over the years in the online world and it often started with me reading their blog, leaving a comment, connecting with them on social media and sharing email messages.

Not only do you make great friends, but these folks will read your posts and will send their other connections to your blog.

You have to do this if you want to grow your audience.

9. Not Using Every Source Of Knowledge

We’ll talk more about your knowledge in the next point, but before we get to that we have to discuss all the sources of knowledge you have right in your business.

You’re a small business owner so you know most everything there is to know about your business.

But sometimes you’re not always dealing directly with your customer. Talk to the people in your business that work with your customers every day. They will be the sources of information for your content marketing.

The key is finding the common questions your customers have and providing answers for those questions online for all of your potential customers to find and read.

10. Thinking You Have Nothing Worth Sharing

This is something business owners ask me all the time. They see their competition having content marketing success and they want to get started, but they don’t think they have anything to share with their customers.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In my experience, every business has a wealth of knowledge to share.

The reason we don’t think it’s worth sharing is that the valuable knowledge we have seems like common sense to us because we work in our own world all day.

To a pilot, knowing how to use the flaps before take off is just another step in the process, but to people interested in how flying works that is interesting information.

Don’t write for yourself and for colleagues. Write for your target customer or ideal reader. They find your knowledge interesting.

Hopefully these 10 mistakes will get you thinking about your content marketing strategy. There is really no reason to hesitate. You might make some of these mistakes, but even these aren’t that bad.

Get started and you’ll start seeing the rewards (traffic and sales).

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Image: Tambako