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

Content marketing has dramatically changed the way businesses use their websites, blogs and social media. Where once it was quite normal for a website to broadcast self-centered information, today, it’s all about building relationships and providing useful information. In this article, I take a look at four common content marketing mistakes to avoid.

1. Making it all about you
We’ve all been cornered by ‘that’ guy at a party. You know the one. He doesn’t ask you about yourself, your interests or why you’re there. Instead, he introduces himself, raves about his achievements and generally annoys the crap out of you with boring one-way conversation. When you finally make a gesture to leave, he says “it’s been great talking to you” and pushes an unwanted business card into your hand.

If your web content or online strategy reads like it was prepared by this guy, give it a makeover right now. Do not ‘pass go’ and do not collect $200. Go back to the drawing board as it’s doing you absolutely no favours whatsoever.

Learning how to focus on the needs of your customers 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-focussed, change your perspective and think like a customer – what information do they want to know?

2. Coming on too strong
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 focussed. 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 and making it all about you 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 that I see time and again 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 you think that your content marketing strategies need a rethink, now is probably a great time to do a content audit. You can do a content audit in house, or approach a content marketing firm to assist you further.

Need help with content marketing?

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