10 Content Marketing Mistakes You Probably Make In 2023
It took me several years to become a self-made marketing specialist.
I made many content marketing mistakes in my career. I had no mentor to guide me and show me how things should work. This is why I learned a lot from failures and things that did not eventually work out.
However, before you take your first steps toward building your online presence, let me share the online content marketing mistakes every beginner makes. I did them all too. I struggled with not knowing who I write content for and how to reach my audience, why my content does not perform well and how to improve the organic rankings.
You don’t have to repeat my marketing mistakes and follow my journey. I am here to help you avoid these common marketing mistakes and create content people will find and read.
In this article, I share the ten biggest content marketing mistakes and show what you can achieve in terms of results and earnings if you stop making them.
Why ten? People love round and even numbers. 🙂
10 biggest content marketing mistakes to avoid
- Relying on a spike of hope
- Throwing spaghetti at the wall and waiting for something to stick
- Neglecting readers’ intent
- Writing poor headlines
- Moving forward without making a step back
- Being like everyone else
- Letting your users leave
- Quantity over quality
- Focusing on one format
- Looking for quick wins
1. Relying on a spike of hope
Once a brand new article goes live, you experience the excitement.
You see how your stats grow and assume this will last forever. However, after a few days, you notice this.
Your stats go down and never return to the same level anymore. Sounds like something you’ve been through? If yes, you’ve experienced a “spike of hope.” It’s a common beginner mistake in content marketing.
A “spike of hope” is a term used by Tim Soulo, Ahrefs CMO, to describe an instant growth in your blog traffic right after publishing a new blog post, which lasts for a few days only.
Why does your traffic fade away over time?
Let’s review what you do right after publishing a new post. Perhaps, you tweet about it, share it on Facebook, or LinkedIn, and inform your email subscribers about it.
Attention to a new post gives it a traffic boost for a few days. This is a spike of hope! However, it does not last long. Once you stop promoting your article on social media and via email, your traffic is gone.
You ask your existing audience to come to your blog, but you barely reach any new audience with this approach.
If you want to attract new readers to your site continuously, you have to make sure your content can be found online via search engines, like Google.
Producing content that no one reads is one of the biggest content marketing mistakes you can make!
If you want to reach new users with your content, there is no better place to do it than Google!
Success is about becoming the most visible these days. Who cares how good your content is if no one can discover and read it?
How to fix it
Publish articles on topics people are interested in! Here is how:
- Learn more about on-page SEO (search engine optimization) and apply it to make your content searchable.
- Conduct simple keyword research to discover phrases people use to search for things online. The majority types “content marketing mistakes,” not “errors” or “failures.” This is why my article is optimized for this keyword.
- Analyze the top ten search engine results for your target topic and make your content longer, and better than someone else’s.
Here is what you can achieve if you stop making this marketing mistake.
One of my articles published on the brand new website started ranking for the target keyword “medium alternatives” and quickly reached Google’s second page.
You can dominate the top results if you start producing content strategically and optimizing it for SEO.
2. Throwing spaghetti at the wall and waiting for something to stick
I love this idiom.
It’s funny, yet it so well describes one of the most typical content marketing mistakes — not promoting content!
You frequently publish and share new content, hoping something would stick and help increase views and brand awareness.
Without a doubt, seeding lots of content online has some benefits. You might become one of the fastest writers who endlessly feed your audience with fresh content. Consistent publication helps to grow your awareness and makes sure your audience remembers you. But at what cost?
Can you publish five to ten high-quality pieces per day?
Can you make sure your pieces are viewed as helpful sources, not spam?
I’ve only seen one writer who is fast enough to publish several pieces daily, and his audience loves him.
It’s Tim Denning.
He’s been writing for more than six years, to my knowledge, and is a full-time content creator.
If content creation is your side gig and you have multiple duties besides writing, you won’t be able to keep up with the speed of the top content creators. Believe me. I tried doing it and failed.
I used to write before my work hours and after, at night and on the weekend. I published a lot of content that only generated a “spike of hope.” I could not grow my stats. Instead, I saw a decrease in stats as soon as I stopped publishing daily. It makes sense, you might say. You are right, but only to some extent.
If you have to anxiously publish content daily to keep your stats, it’s not good for your health or business. You are not growing. You are surviving. It’s one of the marketing mistakes you should avoid.
How to fix it
Start promoting your existing content to grow its exposure.
You put energy and time into creating valuable content, and it’s worth spreading the word to let more people discover it.
I published 200+ posts on Medium, relying on its internal content distribution system. It was a huge mistake. Many of my articles got zero traction, because the competition is tough, and lots of content is produced daily!
Here is what I did to promote my content:
- Shared the link to my post in the relevant Quora spaces (some of my Quora posts got over 20k views).
- Included my post links in the Quora answers.
- Republished my content on Vocal (you can even make money republishing your old stories. More about it here.)
- Created social posts and shared a link in the related social media groups.
- Sent newsletters to my subscribers.
These are a few proven strategies to help you promote your content. Don’t wait for someone to discover your masterpieces on their own. Help them do it.
3. Neglecting your readers’ intent
When you plan to buy something online, you go through a decision-making process.
You review the product or service, make a comparison, check the pricing, take some time off to decide, and then come back to make a purchase.
Pretty much everything from clothes and electronic devices to cars and real estate falls under the same decision-making process.
There are five stages of the decision-making process, according to John Dewey, an American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer:
Stage 1: You have a need
Stage 2: Information search
Stage 3: Evaluation of alternatives
Stage 4: Purchasing decision
Stage 5: The post-purchase evaluation
Not understanding your market is an extensive content marketing mistake.
If you want to serve people at a particular decision-making stage, you should know their challenges and objections.
How to fix it
First, write down how your product or service can help people solve their problems.
For instance, I offer a free guide to help content creators make money writing online. What problems does it help to address?
- Awareness. You learn about proven methods of how to make money writing online (with my examples).
- Speed. The guide saves you time by showing you what works.
- Uncertainty. You see my results and gain confidence that the mentioned strategies work.
Now, think about questions people might have when they face their problems. Depending on the questions, you’ll target people from different stages of the decision-making process.
You might want to target those looking for more information or pick a smaller “warm audience,” which is one stage away from buying.
4. Writing poor headlines
8 out of 10 people read headlines, but only 2 out of 10 will move on to read the rest, according to Copyblogger.
These are the sad statistics that show how people consume digital content these days.
People no longer have time and energy to go through everything they see online. It is simply too much.
We open and read content if and only if the title is catchy enough.
Have you seen the headlines popular magazines, like Cosmopolitan, create? They are catchy, juicy, and often clickbait.
It does not matter how good your content is as long as no one reads it.
Writing poor headlines is a big marketing mistake to avoid.
When I started blogging online, I did not care much about my headlines. Instead, I focused on the actual content. Do you know what happened next? Nothing. My articles barely had any views. Instead, less interesting content (based on my judgment) skyrocketed in views.
The sooner you realize it, the sooner you’ll stop making a common marketing mistake and start creating compelling headlines.
How to fix
If you haven’t practiced writing headlines, it will be challenging from the very beginning. However, you can implement a few strategies to learn the art and science of headline writing.
- Create an excel spreadsheet for the headlines that spark interest in you whenever you read anything. To write good headlines, you have to read the good headlines first.
- Practice writing at least three headlines a day. You have to develop a headline writing habit to create catchy headlines quickly.
I’ve been using these strategies for a while to improve headline writing. You don’t need to purchase expensive courses and coaching sessions. Start small. These two practices will help you write better headlines if you implement them into your daily routine.
5. Moving forward without taking a step back
It is worth assessing your old content and identifying low-hanging fruits.
Think about it this way.
It takes around 8 hours to create and publish a high-quality blog post. You expect it to perform well, but success is never granted. Most likely, you’ll have to wait for some time to assess its performance.
On the other side, you have your old content, which was published some time ago. Google has already indexed it, and it pops up somewhere on search. You can already check if it attracts your target audience and if your users subscribe or buy anything from you through those pages.
You can learn a lot about your existing content performance by checking stats in Google Analytics or any other tracking tool you use.
Why is it helpful?
It’s often easier to edit, and optimize your already existing content than to create something from scratch.
Not utilizing your old content is a huge content marketing mistake! You don’t create it for a one-time win. Instead, you want your content marketing efforts to add up over time.
How to fix it
Keep track of all your published content in excel. You might want to add the title, the URL, date of publication, category, and any CTA (call-to-action) if it is there. This way, it will be easier for you to go through the existing content and edit it.
I often use Ahrefs, Semrush, and Google Analytics marketing tools to define 10-20 best-performing pages. Why? Because I use this content to achieve the following:
- Better optimize it for SEO and push it to the top of the search engine result page.
- Add CTAs (call-to-actions) to invite your users to subscribe to your newsletter or buy your product or service.
- Link your old content to the new and relevant pages.
I did a content audit for one of my clients — a UX agency. Together, we identified the blog posts with the highest potential for lead generation. Next, I assessed their competitors and optimized their content for SEO. The outcome — one of their transactional blog posts generated most of the incoming leads. What an amazing result!
Not assessing the performance of existing content is one of the biggest marketing mistakes any business can make!
Avoid this common content marketing mistake if you aim to grow your online presence. Do the content audit from time to time and identify the low-hanging fruits in your portfolio.
6. Being like everyone else
Have you ever wondered why people look through some website pages and leave?
On the one hand, a page might be missing essential information users are looking for. On the other hand, it might be just boring.
“Boring content” is one of the most common content marketing mistakes I stumble upon these days. What do I mean by “boring?”
- A page repeats the very same information stated somewhere else.
- No fresh insights.
- No author’s style is recognized.
- Content is not created with a user in mind.
- After skimming through a page, you don’t feel why you should care as a reader and human.
If you notice any of these content marketing mistakes while reading someone else’s blog, the author did a poor job.
The Internet is full of garbage content. Why create more?
If you have a story to share with your audience, please do. Educate them, inspire them, and let them recognize your writing style, and you behind your content. Everyone’s life is different, and we all have something unique to share with the world.
The biggest marketing mistake anyone can make, which is what many businesses do, is creating the same content repeatedly to dominate Google’s top search results. What happens next?
We see useless and repetitive content everywhere. Because it is overoptimized and backed up by dozens of links, it dominates the top search results.
How to fix it
If your aim is to create ethical and helpful content for people, don’t repeat these marketing mistakes. Instead, find your niche and unique angle.
You don’t have to invent the wheel. Add some personal stories to your blog post. The writing style will also help you stand out in the saturated markets.
I create content on topics that have already been covered. However, I share my unique point of view and add examples from my experience. I have many success and failure stories that can inspire, give confidence and educate my readers.
Moreover, I share the impact of my work. Despite it being positive or negative, my readers know the end of the story. Not many businesses and bloggers openly talk about money, their stats, and their struggles. However, it is an essential part of the journey that makes you human.
You don’t have to come up with breakthrough ideas to stand out among others. Build your attractive character, show your personality, prove your expertise and always be honest with your audience.
7. Letting your users leave
If you don’t ask your audience to do something, they won’t figure this out themselves.
Your readers won’t join your email list. Neither will they check and buy your newest products or services. People land on your web pages to solve their particular problems, and they don’t care about you just yet.
Your content should be good enough to convince them to follow your updates. Here is how you can do it:
- Use in-text CTAs (call-to-action)
- Use in-text banners with CTAs
If you want to grow your email list and continue nurturing relationships with your readers, it is a must to collect their contact information. Otherwise, you will repeat the same common content marketing mistake many beginners make — you let your users leave.
By the way, using multiple CTAs with different messages is another marketing mistake, but don’t worry. You won’t do it because you will learn how to use CTAs in the right way.
How to fix it
I highly recommend using one message all over your web page. Otherwise, your users might be confused about what you want them to do next.
For example, if you want to effectively grow your email list, you can ask your users to subscribe to your newsletters and get a helpful checklist, tutorial, or ebook for free in return. It’s called a freebie.
Craft a few compelling copy lines to invite people to download your freebie and use it as an in-text CTA (put it inside your article) or as a banner (experiment with placing banners at the bottom of your web pages.)
This way, you don’t let your readers leave without saying “hello.” You address their challenges by feeding them with helpful content and growing your email list for future usage.
Here is my universal in-text CTA that helps me grow my email list with zero promotion:
“Download my free guide with 5 ways to make money writing. Work for yourself from home even with zero former experience.”
My email list grew from 0 to over 140 subscribers once I launched my freebie in late August 2021. I don’t do any promotions. I have no time for it, unfortunately.
However, my freebie and CTAs with a compelling copy help me grow my email list independently from me.
You can easily replicate the same strategy. If you don’t have a freebie yet, don’t worry! Invite your readers to join your email list and hear more often from you. Experiment with CTAs and keep the most effective ones.
8. Quantity over quality
The Internet makes it easy to experience FOMO (the fear of missing out) these days.
Someone publishes many posts every single day while living a carefree life on Instagram. “How do they do it?” — you wonder. You have a full-time job and can only write a thousand words per day!
You feel you need to speed up. You want to write more and publish more to keep up with your rivals.
A race without knowing the rules is an unfair race!
If someone is a full-time content creator, they can publish numerous posts every day. However, it’s challenging if you have a full-time job. You are not playing in the same league, and very often, you should not!
Quantity does not equal quality!
If someone creates a shit load of content, it does not necessarily mean this person will outperform you in the long run.
Quality is a huge filter nowadays!
To ensure high content quality, you should take into account different aspects. First, your content should not have grammar and spelling errors. You can manually proofread your article or use online writing tools like Grammarly.
Your content should also be plagiarism-free. You can use a paid or free plagiarism checker to assess your content uniqueness.
Poorly written and useless content won’t help you succeed no matter how hard you try. Instead, one well-written, insightful, SEO-optimized content piece can help you rank at the top and passively attract users to your web pages.
On average, a user sees roughly 362 ads per day. Only 12 ads will trigger engagement, according to the research study. This research clearly shows that businesses should stop making this online marketing mistake. Instead, focus on increasing engagement and the quality of their content rather than scaling their efforts.
How to fix
I publish two to three new content pieces on this website per month. However, my website continuously attracts 4,000+ users every month
I publish roughly 10 articles on Medium and I am among the top Medium writers, consistently making three figures in revenue.
Don’t repeat beginner marketing mistakes. Make quality your priority.
How to do it effectively?
- I assess every new task and prioritize it based on its potential.
- I set the goals before producing any content. For instance, to rank in the top ten Google search results.
- I assess the top competitors and make sure my content is longer and more in-depth than what’s already available.
- I do keyword research and collect all phrases people use to search for a particular product or service.
- I assess my content performance upon the publication and rewrite it, edit it, and optimize it over again if needed.
Tim Soulo, Ahrefs CMO, once well-said:
“If your content marketing efforts don’t add up over time, you are doing it wrong.”
Focus on producing impactful content that drives results and adds up to your effort over time. It is often a challenging and time-consuming process.
I assure you, you’ll be way ahead of your competitors if you stop focusing on quantity and instead prioritize your users and their needs.
9. Focusing on one content format
If you only use one content format to reach your audience, you make one of the biggest marketing mistakes — you miss out on the opportunity to repurpose it.
Content repurposing is a powerful marketing strategy that allows you to reach your audience on social media, on Google, on Slideshare, or elsewhere with the same piece of content, but in a different format.
Your written content competes for users’ attention in the organic search. At the same time, you can share the very same article in the form of an image or an infographic on social media. This way, you are effectively using your content to reach people on multiple digital platforms.
How to fix it
I’ve published 200+ blog posts on Medium, which are read by over 30,000 readers monthly. To scale my content marketing efforts, I repurposed several blog posts into an ebook.
My free ebook helps me convert my readers into subscribers.
It does not matter that my ebook is a set of repurposed articles available on my blog. People can’t follow and process all the information online.
To say more, they might have not even seen my blog posts. However, they might stumble upon my ebook elsewhere. They get a helpful piece of information that, hopefully, helps them address their challenges. At the same time, I grow my email list. I achieved it by using the same content but in different formats.
If you are a writer, you can repurpose your existing content into the following formats:
- An ebook
- An infographic
- A YouTube video
- A social media post
- A tutorial
- A checklist
Opportunities are endless. Know where your audience is online and seed your content where it will most likely see it.
10. Looking for quick wins
It’s gorgeous if you know how to create content people can discover online. If you do it continuously, your effort will be recognized by others. You will soon start getting various collaboration requests and offers.
I published over 150 articles before I received my first collaboration request. I could barely combine my full-time job and side hustles when someone else wanted to pay me for writing.
Instant gratification is what our brain often wants. I had to decide whether to spend time growing my website or accept a luring offer and write for someone else.
Have you been in a similar situation? What have you chosen?
I accepted a business offer and put aside my side hustles for a while. After some time I realized, it was one of my biggest marketing mistakes as a content creator. I accepted quick wins instead of bigger rewards in the long run.
If you only create content for someone else, you miss an opportunity to build an online business yourself!
How to fix it
It’s not a typical marketing mistake you’ll see others mentioning. People only talk about technical aspects, revenue, and traffic. However, no one tells content creators they have the power and the right to build something for themselves.
I doubled my income in 2020 when I started publishing content online.
Let me give you a small tip — always consider the long-term gains of any new project you accept. If it’s not going to benefit you financially or physically in the long run, maybe it’s worth looking for an alternative.
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