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Although content marketing has been around since the late 1800s, it is only these past couple of years that people have started to really talk about it. In the post apocalyptic Panda and Penguin world, content marketing is seen as a beacon of hope to make things right again with the internet. A place that was once ruled by spam, bad links and black hat SEO.
Webmaster’s Note: This is a guest post by our very own in-house content marketer Nia Morales.
But just because content marketing stands for all things good and fair, doesn’t necessarily mean that marketers are making the effort to do it right. Whether you’ve been in the business for a while, or you’re just getting started, it pays to know the mistakes you need to avoid or stop doing.
So with that, I present to you the 5 things you’re probably doing wrong as a content marketer.
1. Not writing for your Target Audience
Before you can create compelling content, you need to know who you’re creating content for. We’ve all been so caught up with Google and its cuddly creatures that a lot of us have forgotten that the internet is still populated by people.
People who turn to their search engines hoping to find love, adventure and valuable information that will make their lives better. This is why it’s important that you take time to study who you want to reach out to.
Create a profile that will best describe your target demographic – their likes, dislikes, where they go on Saturday nights, what emotions drive them, their hopes, ambitions and things that genuinely excite them. Once you get to that point when you start to feel like a stalker – you know you’re doing it right.
Knowing them, REALLY KNOWING your target audience will help you plan and create quality targeted content every time.
2. Settling for Boring Headlines
On my list of top 3 pet peeves, boring headlines ranks 2nd. Right in between people who don’t use their blinkers/signals right and people who write emails in ‘text lingo’.
This is Copywriting 101.
No matter how amazing your content is, it just doesn’t matter if it can’t make the right first impression. Remember, it only takes a few seconds for internet users to decide whether your content is worthy to be read so you need to make those first few seconds count.
If you, I mean your content, naturally lacks personality, don’t fret! The content marketing gods have favored us with amazing resources on how to write headlines that will grab your readers’ attention.
My favorite is and always will be Brian Clark’s CopyBlogger’s series on writing magnetic headlines.
3. Not Offering any Benefits
“What is your purpose?”
I’ve asked this question to countless articles in the past. My past year working as a content writer/ link developer/ content strategist has taken me to all corners of the internet that I feel I’ve encountered too much useless information to last me a lifetime.
Content producers all over the world, let’s make one thing clear. The internet is an avenue of communication designed by people for people. Not algorithms, robots, or cats.
Make it your purpose to create content that has lasting purpose. Make it your priority to offer beneficial, relevant and engaging information.
Even if you’re creating content to support your SEO efforts, there is simply no excuse for making content just for the sake of having something published by deadline.
Be intentional towards your audience, show them love, and they’ll love you back. Dare to make a difference in the world – even if it’s just one blog entry at a time.
4. Forgetting to optimize
Here’s where it gets more interesting. So let’s say, you’ve got the target audience down, you’ve written one heck of a headline and you’ve come up with an article that is overflowing to the brim with benefits.
What do you do next?
It’s time to optimize your content. But don’t let the technical jargon fool you because content optimization is really not that hard.
Optimizing content is just a means for you to ensure that Google is able to find your content and include it in relevant search engine results.
Keep in mind that search engines are getting smarter and faster so there’s really no room for keyword stuffing at this point. There are smarter ways to optimize your content so if you want to get into the nitty gritty details, this guide on creative onsite optimization is a must read.
With the right mix of words, design and SEO sense, your content has all the potential to be favored by the great almighty Google.
5. Being Anti-Social
Think you can pull off a successful campaign without including social media? If you’re confident you can, please drop me a line because I would love to see how you’ll do it.
Just to be clear, social media is an avenue, and not a form of content as some marketers claim. Think of social media as a way to reach out to your target audience. It’s like one big party that everyone can join, but only the few cool people get noticed.
You’re there to be seen and make new friends, not be the overanxious guy trying to sell products that everyone’s trying to avoid. Be casual, stay cool and interact.
With today’s fast paced lifestyle, readers are looking for digestible interesting content that they can easily relate with on their preferred social media platform. You simply can’t afford not to include this distribution channel in your content marketing strategy.
Being a content marketer at this point in time is both challenging and exciting. With so many amazing resources available online, it’s really just a matter of finding which strategies will work for you. Feel free to share any of your experiences in the comment box below.
After all, we’re all in this together.