content-sins

Content marketing has come a long way.  From a fancy term digital marketers used, to a mandate for every business.

Content marketing is diverse. Your content marketing strategy can be as simple or complicated as you like.

you can't
afford
to be
wrong with your
content marketing
You can get going with a data-driven content marketing strategy in a day or you can simplify it with a one-page plan.

Make it simple or complicated, but you just can't afford to be wrong with your content marketing.

I've been blogging for over 7 years and can attest to the fact many small businesses just don't get content strategy right.

Here are a few deadly sins that can kill your content strategy:

1. No Plan, No Gain

Content marketing is diverse. There are just too many loose ends and it's not as simple as jumping in with two feet, a laptop, and a few blog posts.

Your content strategy is just as good as your content marketing plan.

You don't need anything fancy. All you need is:

You can include details like promoting posts on social media, or a guest posting schedule.

2. Are You Too Greedy?

Remember the "push and spray, only to pray" way of doing things. It worked on greed, might, and buying power. Companies that could afford to advertise could make it through.

Greed helped then. Today, it won't.

spray-marketing

The infographic you spent $65 to develop and the blog post that took you 5 days and 16 interviews aren't going to convert into sales.

Your cash register won't sing just because you show up with great content.

As Rand Fishkin explains, it takes an average of 7.5 visits for people to sign up for a free trial of Moz software.

If Moz with all its authority, chutzpah, and style, takes 8 visits, how many visits would it take for an average visitor to convert at your site?

3. Inconsistency Kills

There is this content graveyard, as Laura Roeder of LKR Social Media likes to call it, that's growing in size by the day.

Blogs go without a new post for several months. They sputter and cough, and the blogging stops altogether.

Social media accounts stay abandoned. Communities on Google+ or LinkedIn groups that started with a mission now look like ghost pages.

Inconsistency is the biggest problem that small businesses face when it comes to content marketing.

publishing-house 

The antidote to this is that regardless of what business you are in, start acting like a publishing house.

Magazines (and newspapers) publish on time, every time, for years. Do what magazines do for your own web properties and you effectively solve the inconsistency issue.

4. Inward Focused, Selfish Pride

Harvest App is a popular time tracking software freelancers use. Now, take a good look at the last five blog posts on their blog. Go on, I'll wait here. ... Barring a post or two, most of the blog is always about the Harvest App new features, updates, and more.

That's what I call an Inward focus. You just keep writing about yourself, or your products, or how much money you raised, or where the entire team was vacationing the last few months.

No one is interested. Period.

With that out of the way, lets take another business into consideration. Go to Freshbooks.com a popular invoicing tool for freelancers. If you see their blog, the content strategy is remarkably different. You see posts that offer tremendous value to freelancers, with popular topics like 75 Websites to Find Royalty Free Images . They do have occasional updates about FreshBooks software too.

Freshbooks is so active on social media that they even sent me a greeting card and a T-shirt several years ago.

Now, that's some personal touch given that I am not even a customer, eh?

Stop publishing only about yourself. Focus outward and lower the pride by a few notches.

5. Stop Feeding The Spiders

If you ever wanted a single line lesson for SEO: Write for humans first.

humans-first-seo

Don't sweat the SEO stuff. Do keyword research, figure volume for keywords, construct titles around those keywords, and then write the posts. For people,not for search engines.

Forget about cramming your keywords in.

The better you write and the more value you provide; the more traffic comes your way. 

6. Lack Of Diversification

It's hard enough to do content marketing right, so ask anything more and you see bloggers, marketers, and business owners cringe. That's understandable.

Just as in finance, it pays to diversify your content assets to meet the needs of your content marketing strategy. In most cases, a blog post remains published and is shared a couple of times on social media.

You can diversify by repurposing your content.

A big listicle blog post also makes for a good slidedeck on Slide Share. A couple of blog posts together can be repurposed as a PDF download. A rich, informative blog post could as well be an Infographic. You get the drift?

What deadly sins affect your content strategy right now?

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* Adapted images: Public Domain Dedication (CC0) Public Domain, pixabay.com via getstencil.com