The Worst Things You Can Do as a Content Marketer

Content marketing is insanely powerful. We all know this. Content marketing is also insanely easy to mess up. We should know this, but many of us don’t – because many of us make no good, very bad mistakes.

It’s okay, we’re all humans. We’ll mess up from time to time. Still, it’s really important to know what these mistakes are and how to avoid them. Here are a few behaviors that are pretty much the worst things you can do as a content marketer (short of hiring monkeys to produce your content, which is bad, and not just because animal rights activists won’t like it).

Ignoring Your Target Audience

Sometimes, we’ll create a piece of content that we think is so great, so captivating, and so marvelous that we can’t wait to see how our target audience responds. And then, when we go to look at the stats, we see that – gasp – our marvelous piece of content, the piece of content crafted with love and care and pretty sparkles, has been ignored.

In these cases, it’s very possible that we completely ignored our target audience and created content that isn’t at all what they want or expect. Content that is so badly aimed it’s like it was an arrow shot by a blind Robin Hood.

Why This Is Bad:

Content has to be precisely targeted in order to be useful. It doesn’t matter how great it sounds or how awesome it looks. Without paying attention to our target audience – what they like, what they dislike, what they expect, and what they prefer to consume – we’ll create content that simply doesn’t appeal to our readers, who will dismiss it without even clicking.

The Solution:

Create every piece of content with your target audience firmly in mind. Put yourself in their shoes. If it doesn’t appeal to your imagination, why would it appeal to theirs –and why would they care?

Phoning It In

Fess up. We’ve all been there before. We’ve all turned in content that is so dull, so drab, that our own mothers wouldn’t want to read it (and they’ll read anything, because they’re moms and that’s what they do.)

Sometimes it’s because we’re stressed. Other times, it’s because our creative mojo has temporarily run dry. Other times, it’s because we’re just feeling a bit lazy. We’ve all been guilty of phoning in content that should be a hit but instead just kind of fizzles out like fireworks on a rainy July 4th.

Why This Is Bad:

It’s bad because poor content is virtually worthless. It won’t get shared, which means its reach will be effectively zero. It probably won’t provide any good Google juice, because during the phoning in process we didn’t go the full mile for SEO and probably left out key elements.  And it won’t impress your client, who will think you are taking them less than seriously.

The Solution:

Don’t phone it in. It sounds simple, and it really is. Put max effort into the content you create. Pretend it’s been prepared for the Queen of England (or, if you’re not into the monarchy, the President of the United States).

Turning Content into a One-Shot Deal

Have you ever heard of Nike?

Sure you have. They specialize in clothing and accessories for two types of people: really insane athletes and people who wish they were really insane athletes.

You’ve heard of Nike because they are everywhere. Your favorite athlete? Probably wears Nike on TV. They have billboards, magazine ads, TV spots, and a million other methods of showcasing the cool Nike logo and whatever brilliant marketing campaign they’ve come up with this month.

What Nike doesn’t do is create a piece of content for just one single use and then never go back to it ever again – which, unfortunately, is what a lot of content marketers do with their content.

We all eventually fall into a trap of creating a great post, then posting it – and that’s it. Nothing else is done with this great piece we’ve created. We have effectively loaded our gun with just one bullet and then fired – leaving us unarmed in front of a zombie horde.

Why This Is Bad:

Not taking a piece of content to the next level by sharing it and incorporating it into as many marketing pieces as possible is a mistake because we’re not getting any mileage from our work. We’re just banking on the fact that enough people will see it the first time around to make it worth our time – but that almost never happens.

The Solution:

If you have a solid piece of content, put that thing to work. Share it often, not just once, but multiple times. Blast it on social media. Put it in a newsletter. Use it as material for an email campaign. Make a video out of it. Heck, make two videos out of it if you have enough material. Think like Nike – be everywhere at once with it, to ensure that you get the eyeball lovin’ your piece needs to be successful.

Content marketing can be insanely fun and incredibly effective – but only if you avoid doing the Worst Possible Things that we just talked about.


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