Effective content marketing doesn’t happen overnight.
It takes some time to get to the point at which you’re finally creating truly high-quality written content for your brand. Even more importantly, once you get there, it’s critical to have a strategy in place that allows you to engage readers and attract quality sales leads—if that’s your ultimate goal.
Unfortunately, there are many content marketing mistakes that can essentially kill any piece of otherwise solid content, no matter how well it was written in the first place. These mistakes are usually in one of two categories: writing errors and content errors.
Common writing-related mistakes
Have you ever read an article or piece of blog content a brand has put out, only to find several errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation? You likely thought to yourself: “Did they not take even a minute to read this over?”
These mistakes make brands look unprofessional and sloppy—and yet they are easily preventable simply through re-reading your content a couple of times before publishing. The following are some of the most common content marketing mistakes we see:
- Misspelled words: There’s little excuse for misspelled words in an era when word processing tools have automatic spell-checking features, and yet they remain among the most common content writing mistakes. Even if you don’t see any words underscored in red as you type, you should still give your content a close read-through after you are finished with a draft just to make sure your spelling is accurate.
- Incorrect word usage: The most common word usage errors involve two or more words that sound alike, but have different meanings. “Compliment” and “complement,” for example, mean two very different things, but are often used in place of one another.
- Improper contractions: There are few things more grating to grammar perfectionists than seeing a content writer mix up contractions, possessive nouns and plural nouns. For example: “I saw six car’s driving down the road today,” or “The dog wagged it’s” Work with an experienced content writer if you have questions about how to use these elements of style correctly.
- Run-on sentences: It’s understandable for a blog content writer to want to pass on as much information as possible to readers, but they should watch out for run-on (or just overly complex) sentences. Try breaking down these sentences into two or three shorter sentences instead, and avoid comma splices at all costs.
- Walls of text: The same is true for paragraphs—longer paragraphs are intimidating to readers and tend to pack in too much information. Break up long paragraphs into shorter, easier-to-read sections, and consider the use of sub-headers to break up the content.
The best advice our content writers can give is to slow down and take the time to carefully edit before posting articles, blog posts, press releases and other content. Doing so will drastically reduce the likelihood you’ll make any of these easily avoided content marketing mistakes.
Errors in content are more difficult to detect
A good content writer or editor will be able to quickly correct the issues listed above, as they mostly relate to proper grammar, spelling, punctuation and the mechanics of writing. Issues with content, however, are a little more difficult to address—and it often takes a more sophisticated editor to catch them.
Here are some issues our experienced content writers commonly see:
- Inability to define the audience: You need to be able to visualize and describe the exact type of person you are trying to reach through your content creation efforts. Without a clearly defined target audience, you simply cannot market effectively and will find it much more difficult to attract new leads.
- Inconsistent publication schedule: Consistency is key in content marketing. Once you’ve decided you are going to create regular articles or blog content, stick to a schedule. Whether you post daily, weekly or monthly, your readers should know when to expect new content from you. Failing to do so could mean that when you do actually create and publish content, your target audience has stopped paying attention.
- Lack of promotion: Don’t just hit “publish” and hope that people will find your articles and blog content. Promote them through your social media channels, email newsletter and any avenues available.
- Too much keyword stuffing: Yes, even in 2016 there are still content marketers who, for some reason, believe keyword stuffing is still a relevant strategy. Keywords are still important, but nothing kills a great article more quickly than awkward words and phrases obviously meant to appeal to search engines rather than readers. Besides, Google can tell when a site has too many keywords, and will penalize it in the search results.
When planning and implementing your company’s content marketing strategy, remember to place some emphasis on making sure you get your content right. Working with a provider of professional copywriting and editing services may be a wise option, as the content created by these firms is thoroughly proofread before it comes time for you to post it.