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Content marketing has become a key ingredient in gaining credibility and raising a business’s profile in its target market. Almost 80% consumers these days first research the product or service they wish to purchase before making a decision. Research indicates that advertisements are not their preferred source of information. They are net savvy and absorb information from online articles and customer reviews. Hence, the direct link from credible content to growth in customer base and revenues.

A mistake or a wrong approach to content marketing can be counter-productive and can, in fact, turn this valuable resource into a roadblock, turning potential consumers off your brand. To help you make the most effective use of your content marketing, here are some key insights from industry experts on what not to do.

 Common content marketing mistakes

 *Not targeting the right audience: It is essential to know your audience. Who is your target consumer? Do the necessary research. Know what they need, the gap your product or service needs to fill. That will give you the idea of how to approach your content creation. Do you need to educate, entertain, amuse or try another tack?  Once that is done, ensure that your content reaches them. Do not sit back waiting for other sites to repost or re-publish your content hoping to reach the right consumer.

*Not having the right content strategy: Once you have the right audience in mind, your content strategy is the crucial next step. Don’t be too general with your content. Simply developing content covering a blanket audience is the wrong approach and delivers no results. Think through your content strategy:

(1)    Is content building your brand?

(2)    Do you plan to share your content on social media?

(3)   Which format of content does your user prefer? Video blogs, live streams, text, infographics or a combination of the above?

Your content should be a solution to the following questions:

(1)    What does your target audience need?

(2)  Which channel of content will connect best with your audience?

(3)    What purpose does your content serve?

(4)    What is the message you wish to convey to your customer?

Be sure to take advantage of user-generated content (UGC). Aggregate the user-generated content on your website and use it to grow your audience. Also, make use of a content marketing editorial calendar to ensure that you release good content at regular intervals. Have the release scheduled at least a month in advance so you can prepare appropriately. Your content needs to be consistent, so the audience can follow your brand regularly and know when to expect new information.

*Not leveraging analytics: You need to know what your audience is engaging with, so you can leverage that knowledge to create more effective content. If you are posting links, you need the numbers to know how much of your audience is actually clicking on it and how much lead to a purchase. These metrics will also help validate your actions. You need to be able to back your strategy with the right numbers. Content marketing analytics is a very valuable tool.

*Not making the content about the consumer: The most erroneous approach to developing content is creating it with the primary focus on pushing sales. While it is true that the whole point of all this effort is to grow revenues and increase customer engagement, merely pushing your product or service on the customer causes content fatigue, reducing your brand appeal. The focus of your content should always be on your customer and not on yourself, engaging their interest enough for them to want your product or service. This will then turn into sales and a brand-loyal customer.

Hence the strategic marketing approach will be to create valuable relevant and consistent content, tailored to answer a specific customer’s question, i.e. think of reverse engineering as answer to a Google search.

*Using buzzwords: Be careful while using internal language. Some buzzwords may hold a lot of meaning to internal stakeholders but may not mean a thing to your customers. Creating content should always be done with your audience in mind. What they need and what they will understand.

*Not understanding the difference between content marketing and SEO: In an attempt to rank higher on search engines, a lot of websites focus on keywords and phrases in their content in an effort at search engine optimisation. This is called keyword stuffing and is a terrible idea. Not only will the content read false to a consumer but search engine algorithms like Google’s will penalise sites for this, sometimes blacklisting them.

Overall, ensure that your content is not something that has been endlessly rehashed, has no punctuation and spelling errors, is well researched and has a call to action, so you achieve the desired results. But keep in mind that content marketing is not a quick fix. It takes time and is a long-haul tactic that builds you and your brand up.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)