Regardless of the quality, energy put into, or depth of your content, all of it is meaningless, yes absolutely meaningless, if it never gets seen by other human beings. This is the harsh reality of a content rich web full of content hungry consumers (you, me, and anyone who has ever opened a web browser). Fortunately though, quality web content can be given the attention it deserves by regularly following some hard and fast rules related to content marketing.
In hopes of avoiding the obvious, let’s start with a list of 10 guaranteed ways on how to not find success:
1. Avoid SEO best practices
What could easily be considered the biggest source of ineffective content marketing, ignoring SEO best practices is a surefire way to miss out on any level of content marketing success. Search engines are designed to find relevant web pages and SEO is one of the best ways to put the advantage in your sites favor.
2. Ignore your audience
Instead of creating the content that you think is best, why not go directly to the source and find out exactly what your site visitors want? Look at blog comments, have a survey, or ask directly when possible.
3. Undervalue headlines
Not only will a great headline help with SEO, but it can also be the deciding factor when someone chooses to look at or pass by your content.
4. Get overly technical and specific
This one is directed specifically at those of us who are in love with our niche or product and choose to recklessly dive into it without any care or consideration of the consequences. Specificity is important, as opposed to being overly broad or generic with your content, but too much detail can be detrimental. If the content is something that only a true insider or the creator would care about, consider taking a wider stance.
5. Stay inconsistent
Consistency is often preached, but rarely practiced. Smart content marketing isn’t just about the content itself, but releasing it on a regular basis.
6. Have 0 sense of direction
Before launching an email newsletter, a blog, or an eBook series, sit down with everyone who will be involved and have a long discussion about direction. Call it a map, a game plan, or whatever you want, but choosing to not have one isn’t recommended
7. Under or overvalue social media
Sure social media is important, but rarely is it going to make or break your content. Quality material should be able to stand on its own and using social media to aggressively shove it at other people isn’t going to work. Most social media campaigns work well when they naturally help others share and interact. On the flip side, choosing to ignore social media all together is also foolish.
8. Give up too quickly
I’m a big fan of giving up and recommend if often (read The Dip by Seth Godin), but content marketing requires patience. Blog 2 times a week for 7 weeks and you might not notice much of a change in your site’s traffic. Blog 2 times a week for 7 months and it’s almost a given that you’ll see improvement (that or you’re likely doing a number of things wrong).
9. Have poor grammar
I’d like to say it’s OK if you have poor grammar skills (I’m one of those people), but in reality it’s not. Mistakes, even small typos, will sink your content marketing ship before it can leave the dock.
10. Pretend to know everything
If you know everything than you have nothing to learn. Never stop learning and growing. Read, experiment, and learn from others as often as possible.