Last Updated: Oct 13, 2015
Content marketing is important whether you sell products online, advertise your brick and mortar store on the Internet, or make money from advertisers who pay to be on your website. Don’t sabotage profits by making these content marketing mistakes.

If you want to make money online, you have to understand content marketing. Whether your business is 100% online or you have a physical location, there’s no substitute for using articles, videos, and images to attract potential customers.

We put together a few mistakes that people make when content marketing.

1. Content but no Marketing

Just because you produce it doesn’t mean people will see it. Most websites don’t enjoy the perks that come with being a major publication. Good content marketers know that promoting a piece of content will probably take more time than its creation.

Think of each piece of content as a piece of inventory for sale. Use social media, e-mail it to your customers, and network with other bloggers to get started.

2. Creating it too Fast

How long does it take you to write a blog article? Leading content management service, Kapost, asked some of the best B2B content marketers the same question. The majority said it takes 4-5 hours with 11% reporting up to 10 hours. To be fair, approval and compliance procedures hikes up the time needed for some of these larger companies but if you’re throwing a post together in less than an hour, it’s probably not going to compete with some of the big players in the content marketing space.

3. Trying to do it Alone

The same study found that 39% of content creators think coming up with ideas is difficult. If some of the best in the business struggle with finding great ideas, it’s safe to say that you need help. Ask the creative people you know or ask your customers. What would they like to learn or hear about?

RELATED: How to Generate Content Ideas

4. Creating for Yourself

You’ve heard it before—know your customers. That’s hard to do when you’re immersed in your business each day. It’s easy to assume that your potential customers have the background knowledge that you have or that they’ve read all of the latest industry data. For these reasons, you have to create content that your audience wants. When it doubt, make the content more basic, Ask your audience what they want to read. You’ll be surprised.

5. Don’t Talk So Much About Yourself!

Can we be honest? People don’t care that you hired a new employee, opened a new location, or had a record year. And unless you’re an A-list celebrity people don’t want to read a blog post about your last vacation. (Save that for your personal blog)

People want to be educated, entertained, challenged, or moved. If a former president now works for you, that’s probably a good reason to write about a new hire. Otherwise, steer clear.

6. Don’t Constantly Pitch Your Product

Watch an infomercial, one of the home shopping networks, or attend a trade show and you find a lot of pitching. It’s all about the product. Don’t use that strategy online. Although the Internet is full of ads, your customers aren’t happy about it. They want interesting content without a sales pitch. Writing an article about a problem and a step by step way to fix it using your product is still an advertisement but masked in an educational article.

7. Engage Your Customers

If you create a great piece of content, your customers and other readers are likely to comment on social media or directly on your website. When that happens, you have to respond back. Respond to each comment individually and use their name. If they disagree, thank them for their comment but don’t get into a large debate. By engaging with your readers, you’re advertising for your company or product without your customer realizing it.

8. No Call to Action

Sometimes it’s appropriate to go for the hard sell. If you wrote a whitepaper or a product information piece, asking for the customer’s business is not just appropriate, it’s essential. Remember the old sales mantra—if you don’t ask for the sale, don’t expect to get it.

9. Forgetting about E-mail

Everybody tells you to focus on social media. There’s no doubt that social media is an essential part of your content marketing strategy but don’t forget about that faithful e-mail list. E-mail, on average, has a higher conversion rate than social media and your customers are more likely to put up with something slightly more sales-oriented than social media.

10. Failure to Repurpose

If a piece of content takes about 5 hours to create, it can’t be a “one and done” endeavor. Great content marketers know that one piece of content has many uses. A video could become a blog post. A webinar becomes a whitepaper and the whitepaper becomes a series of blog posts. The rule of thumb is to make every piece of content have 5 uses. Suddenly, that 5 hours doesn’t seem so large, does it?

RELATED: How to Identify and Prevent Content Theft

Bottom Line

Content marketing is essential for gaining traction online. Think about how you consume content online. You don’t log in to view ads or articles that are one giant hard-sell of a product. You probably want to laugh, learn something, or experience some kind of emotion. Make your content fit that vision. Then, promote it so people have the opportunity to read it.

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