Marketing May 3, 2017 Last updated September 22nd, 2018 1,445 Reads share

6 Research-Backed Content Marketing Mistakes that Can Cripple Your Business

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#1. Not Having a Documented Content Strategy

Can you guess what the number one reason why most people fail at content marketing is?

Often, it isn’t due to a lack of budget or financial resources, or a lack of talented content marketing experts, or even a lack of traffic or leads. It is due to not having a documented content marketing strategy.

I’ll repeat: the number one reason businesses fail at content marketing is due to not having a DOCUMENTED strategy. You need to have more than a strategy. You need to document your strategy.

Research shows that a whopping 93 percent of companies without a content marketing strategy fail. By contrast, a whopping 60 percent of companies with a documented strategy report success in their content marketing efforts.

You can use the remaining tips in this article to inform your content marketing strategy.

#2. Not Publishing New Content Consistently and Frequently

Blogging experts have long debated the subject of content frequency; is fewer, comprehensive content better or is more frequent content better? People have argued ferociously in favor of both, but there are so many factors involved — such as writing style, niche, etc — to take the words of a single, possibly outlier, expert as gospel.

Instead, what does the research say? According to Hubspot’s blogging frequency benchmarks report, more content is indeed better irrespective of your niche or other factors. The Hubspot study, which is based on an analysis of a whopping 13,500 bloggers, found that publishing upwards of 16 articles a month is likely to yield the best results. The study found that the more content you publish, the more leads and traffic you will get. People who published 16 articles a month got 3.5 times more leads and 4.5 times more traffic than people who published less than four articles in a month.

#3. Ignoring Content Length

Also in line with the content frequency debate is that of content length? Seth Godin is an oft-cited example of someone who consistently gets away with short content, publishing less than 200 words in most of his articles. Unfortunately, Seth Godin is an outlier — a celebrity and a very smart marketer. What works for him won’t work for the average blogger.

Various studies have been conducted to find out what is most effective for average bloggers in terms of content length, and their findings is almost consistent. Two notable examples are BuzzSumo’s analysis of over 100 million articles and serpIQ’s analysis of thousands of top ten results in the Google search engine. Both studies agree that longer, more comprehensive content is better, recommending at least 1,000 words and 2,000 words per article respectively. Regardless, both studies agree on one thing: longer content is almost always better.

Don’t make the mistake of publishing pithy articles. It might work for Seth Godin, but it very likely won’t work for you.

#4. Isolating Your Content Marketing Efforts from Your Business

Ultimately, a good content marketing system aims to educate and sell — for content marketing to be effective, it has to be able to do both at the same time. Unfortunately, most people are good at the former and bad at the latter. When the only thing you’re able to do is educate and educate, barely asking for the sale, then eventually you’ll regard content marketing as ineffective because it won’t yield results for you.

Most businesses that use content marketing create blog posts, whitepapers and other types of content that truly position them as an industry thought leader but that does not inform people about the solutions they offer. This is a deadly content marketing mistake that could cripple your business.

It is essential to make it not just easy but glaringly obvious for people to discover your offerings whenever they consume your content. You can do this by including links and CTAs to your offerings directly inside your content, prominently in your blog navbar and in other key places — such as in the sidebar or below articles — on your blog.

#5. Not Integrating Email Marketing

Email marketing should be a very integral part of your content marketing efforts. While it is much older than all of the hip content marketing techniques we have today, it is much more effective. Contrary to the gospel many people have been preaching — especially as soon as a new social media site pops up — email marketing ISN’T dead.

Data from the Direct Marketing Association shows that you can expect a ROI of $38 for every $1 you invest in email marketing on average. No other marketing channel gives that kind of ROI.

So, pay more attention to your email marketing; better yet, start utilizing the automation features available in most email marketing services that let you tailor your content to users based on a host of personal factors.

#6. Not Having a Blog

Of course, I’d hope I didn’t have to include this — we’re in 2017 after all! However, a good number of businesses claiming to utilize “content marketing” do not even have a blog. This is despite the fact that research shows that businesses that blog consistently generate more leads, traffic and ROI than businesses that do not blog.

Starting a blog isn’t complicated anymore. Most web hosts have packages for bloggers, and many will happily help you set it up if you ask. If you want to go the DIY route, resources abound to help you set up your blog in a matter of minutes. That said, it is important to realize that blogging isn’t just a set and forget thing; all the suggestions already listed in this article apply to maintaining a successful blog.

Robert Mening

Robert Mening

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