Content marketing mistakes to avoid this year is a 3 minute read.

Content marketing has dramatically changed how businesses use their websites, blogs and social media. Where once it was quite normal for a website to broadcast self-centred information, today, it’s all about building relationships and providing useful information. This article looks at four common content marketing mistakes to avoid.

1. Making it all about you
We’ve all been cornered by ‘that’ person at a party. You know the one. They don’t ask you about yourself, your interests or why you’re there. Instead, they introduce themselves, rave about their achievements and generally annoy you with boring one-way conversation. When you finally make a gesture to leave, they say, “It’s been great talking to you”, and push an unwanted business card into your hand.

If your web content or online strategy reads like it was prepared by this person, give it a makeover right now. Learning how to focus on your customers’ needs is central to getting your online content right. In fact, the key to great content marketing is understanding your visitors and offering genuinely helpful news, information and services. If your online content seems a little self-focused, change your perspective and think like a customer – what information are they looking for?

2. Being pushy
Is your web content coming on too strong? Web content that aggressively pushes for a fast sale misses the opportunity to add value to customers. This, in turn, limits your ability to build trust. It also reduces the likelihood of them returning to your site for a purchase.

As a general rule of thumb, up to 80% of your web content should be aimed at adding value to your audience. The remaining 20% should be self-promotional and purchase-focused. Information such as ‘how to guides’, helpful infographics, videos, e-books and whitepapers are all excellent ways to engage with your audience.

3. Lacking personality
Let’s go back to our party scene for a moment. Just as being too pushy is a turn-off, so too is being boring. In fact, when it comes to content marketing, being boring isn’t simply tiresome; it’s a complete disaster.

How can you tell if your content is boring? Easy. Ask yourself these questions:

Do I really only have one point to make? If so, am I stretching it too far?
Can a reader find similar and better content somewhere else?
Does my content flow smoothly? Is it easy to read, or does it bog the reader down?
Remember, personality is appealing. Making a good impression with clear, easy-to-understand information can go a long way.

4.Forgetting to use an editorial calendar
One of the most common content marketing errors I see repeatedly is when organisations forget to use an editorial calendar. Before you sit down to write your next piece of content, ask yourself these simple questions: Where does my content fit in terms of my larger objectives? and What is my content marketing strategy? If you can’t answer at least one of these, it’s time to put pen to paper in a different way and start creating a content calendar.

The great thing about having a content calendar is that it sets out your objectives and helps you keep things on track. This is especially useful if you have multiple writers working on your content.
Using an editorial calendar will help you streamline your objectives and outputs. You can find a great little free editorial calendar download here. Alternatively, there are some handy WordPress editorial calendar plugins available.

What now?
If your content marketing strategies need a rethink, now is a great time to do a content audit. You can do a content audit in-house or approach a marketing agency like Affect Media to do it for you.

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