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The 7 Deadly Sins of Content Marketing

It’s amazing how many companies work so hard to create a brand identity, and yet in turn make grave mistakes in their content marketing. Every single piece of content you publish speaks volumes about who you are as a business; it’s imperative that you adopt a clear communication strategy for all marketing materials, and adhere to your guidelines as if it’s the law.

Brands are making loads of blunders throughout the new content marketing craze; if you’d like to avoid these missteps, study the 7 deadly sins of content marketing below, and make a vow to never commit a single one!

Sin #1: Misunderstanding Your Audience

Every marketing executive knows it’s critical to understand a company’s core audience, but many think they know the demographic profile without actually doing a lick of research. This is unwise because it reflects the desire to sell to a specific individual, not the actual customer your brand attracts.

How do you find out the true character traits of your customers? Ask them! In the world of content marketing, you can engage your readers by mining for information; those that volunteer the data obviously have a connection to your brand. Here are some key components to enquire about:

Financial status
Geographical location
Hobbies and interests
Main challenges/issues/problems that your company can help alleviate

Sin #2: Copywriting 101 Mistakes

Have you ever sat down in a restaurant, eyeballed the menu, and been dismayed at the litany of grammatical and spelling mistakes? Don’t let your readers do the same. Marketing members that create copy riddled with errors are only exhibiting laziness – there’s simply no excuse these days to misspell words or otherwise butcher the English language. Take the time to proofread, hire talented writers, and show respect to your readers and your business by producing error-free content.

Sin #3 – Only Talking About Yourself

Sure, all marketers must talk extensively about their business in order to entice customers and readers, but if all you ever do is talk about your own company, you’ll bore people to pieces. These days, great content marketing provides undeniable value to consumers, with an underlying marketing message.

In the words of Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute we must resist excessive self-aggrandizing. Joe states: “We love talking about ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for that… Start making a list of all the questions your customers struggle with and develop a content strategy that can regularly answer those questions. That way, you start to position yourself as the leading information provider in your niche. If you can truly accomplish that expert status, your customers will come to you when they are ready to buy.”

How does this play out? As you craft blogs and other articles, make sure you’re choosing topics that are relevant to your customers, but not inundated with your own hard sell. This is the ultimate art form in content creation; continuously solidifying your brand’s message and awareness, while providing valuable information about your industry. Strike this balance and you’ll hit pure marketing magic.

Sin #4 – Forgetting to Convert

Never, ever forget to include 1-3 relevant and worthy calls-to-action in every piece you publish. The web is inundated with posts and pages that hit the proverbial dead end – that is, content that doesn’t send interested readers to the next phase of the website.

If you publish a blog post about the trends in your industry, link it to a relevant product, event announcement, or page on your site. If you don’t, this is a tragically missed opportunity. Calls to action also include reminders to call for quotes, email for more information, join e-newsletters – whatever you need your customers to do next in order to stay informed and become part of your success.

Sin #5 – Pushing Quantity over Quality

Yes, it’s said repeatedly: quality content trumps quantity every single time. Marketers are repetitive in reminding business owners of this nuance for a reason – it’s violated daily, thousands of times.

Publishing a gaggle of vapid social media posts or content pieces each week will normally do more harm than good. Publish just 1 highly informative, well-written article each week, and watch your numbers get a boost.

Sin #6 – Engaging in Negative Campaigns

Here’s a more unusual tip for great content creation: always focus on the positive. It’s very tempting for businesses to call out the failures of their competitors, or to trash talk them out right. This may appear to have short term benefits, but don’t be fooled – this tactic won’t win you any fans. In fact, sensitive and savvy readers may be turned off all together. Take the high road – it leads to the top of the mountain.

Sin #7 – Acting Like a Copy Cat

If you as a business do not have anything original to say about the world you’re working in, perhaps you should rethink your industry. Your unique perspective is at the heart of your marketing efforts. Take the time to develop your company’s point of view, and always avoid copying the efforts of your competitors.

The web is loaded with sites that simply scrape and spin other people’s content. Eventually, this is likely to catch up with you, with catastrophic results. So be original, consistent, and thoughtful about all the content you create.

Are there any content creation sins you see missing from this list? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section.

Digital producer, game designer, Internet marketer and staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs, Tina Courtney-Brown has been shaping online businesses since 1996. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, massively multiplayer games, social networks and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, nonprofit director and true cooking diva. Learn more at her personal website, or find her on Facebook and Google+.

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