24 Experts Share How to Avoid Big Mistakes in Content Marketing. I manage five brands and was posting six to eight times on Facebook, three to four times on Twitter, and once on Instagram for each, trying to keep my numbers up and it was burning me out. Quantity makes us feel as if we are accomplishing something: “Look at all that!” How to fix it: Do quality, which takes more time but it’s far more worth the effort. How to fix it: Create content to be helpful. How to fix it: I have to work hard to make people aware of my book, Good Charts, but it’s worth it. Tim Riesterer, chief strategy and marketing officer, Corporate Visions Mistake: Believing the experts know all about their markets A common theme in the mistakes I’ve made in content marketing is this: I did not understand the market well enough. How to fix it: The lesson is to write for your audience, not for yourself. In the second year, we focused on increasing the quality of our content and optimizing distribution strategies. Scott Lum, content marketing manager, Microsoft Mistake: Underestimating the power of email I didn’t build my email subscribers list early enough or focus on segmentation. Former college adjunct faculty, Ann also helps train professionals in content so they can do it themselves.
Blunders, overestimations, slipups, flubs, and missteps – though we hate to admit we make them, they often turn out to be our best teachers.
As the winning college basketball coach John Wooden once said, “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”
Regardless of their future value, these teachable moments can also be problematic and painful in the moment they occur. To minimize some of the friction you’ll experience from unnecessary slipups, we enlisted the help of some “doers” who are presenting at Content Marketing World. They share some of the mistakes they’ve encountered – and offer tips on how you can avoid them in your own content marketing programs.
Mistake: Trying to be everything
For seven years, we put out blog posts that showed how diverse Jordan Winery was as a business – posts about cooking, gardening, farming, floral design, travel, winemaking, construction, and news. This kept us from maintaining a loyal subscriber base. The same customer who wants to learn which is the best kitchen knife to use likely doesn’t care about how grapevines bloom or how floods impact vineyards.
How to fix it: We divided our content into two blogs – one food and travel focused and one more winemaking focused.
Lisa Mattson, director of marketing and communications, Jordan Vineyard & Winery
Mistake: Getting off on wrong foot
The biggest mistake I’ve ever made in content production is not listening to customers first – or not looking at suggestions and clues left by search engines that might have told me what people want.
How to fix it: Don’t write content for any other purpose than helping people to solve a problem.
Wil Reynolds, CEO, Seer Interactive
Mistake: Failing to stop and think
I lived by the quantity of content on social media. I manage five brands and was posting six to eight times on Facebook, three to four times on Twitter, and once on Instagram for each, trying to keep my numbers up and it was burning me out. I never had time to really consider the kind of content I was publishing.
How to fix it: I began to publish less, but took time to make sure the content I was creating and publishing was quality and would connect with my audience on a deeper level. My numbers soared even higher.
Jason Schemmel, social media manager, Harper Collins Christian Publishing
Mistake: Focusing on a self-satisfaction goal
Quality content is much harder than quantity. Quantity makes us feel as if we are accomplishing something: “Look at all that!”
How to fix it: Do quality, which takes more time but it’s far more worth the effort.
Stoney deGeyter, president, Pole Position Marketing
Mistake: Setting virality as a goal
Nobody can make anything go viral. It either happens or it doesn’t. I don’t create content for virality.
How to fix it: Create content to be helpful.
Chad Pollitt, vice president of audience, Native Advertising Institute
Mistake: Saying yes to every project
Brands often do content marketing on a budget that does not allow for true test and learns, for doing it the right way, yet then judge the results accordingly.
How to fix it: Know when it simply isn’t worth doing if it isn’t going to be done well.
Gordon Price Locke, chief marketing officer, Pace
Mistake: Going rogue
Often, one or more people on the team may have separate KPIs (key performance indicators) in mind, and without a clear discussion, they can end up creating what they think is a great campaign but achieves the wrong objectives.
How to fix it: Before starting, decide what you want to accomplish and design your content campaign and measurement around that objective to ensure you’re all working toward the same goal.
Melanie Deziel, native advertising consultant, Mdeziel Media
Mistake: Going overboard
My mistake was oversharing and saturation of the same core audience.
How to fix it: I now diversify who I send content to, and how often.
Chuck Hester, vice president, social media, T&T Creative
Mistake: Thinking writers must be experts
Years ago, I told a professor that I didn’t feel qualified to write about a topic because I was unable to provide concrete answers to the problem.
How to fix it: She told me that it wasn’t about knowing the answers, it’s more important to ask the right questions.
Rebecca Lieb, author and adviser, Conglomotron
Mistake: Assuming audience will find the content
I’m not a content marketer; but I’ve worked with a team to market my book. My biggest mistake was assuming the virtue of my work would attract an audience.
How to fix it: I have to work hard to make people aware of my book, Good Charts, but it’s worth it.
Scott Berinato, senior editor, Harvard Business Review
Mistake: Serving everything at once
I love the big idea; but sharing the big idea and expecting others to immediately buy in is a fool’s errand.
How to fix it: The key is to share your thought process first, then pitch the idea.
Jay Acunzo, creator and host, Unthinkable
Mistake: Underestimating the power of the status quo
About 15 years ago, I…