You don’t have to be an editor at the New York Times to have had this experience:
You’re exploring a cool, new brand for the first time either on social media or a crisp website. Then BAM. It hits you out of nowhere. You squint and reread the sentence just to make sure. But nope, it’s still there—a big, fat typo.
Maybe you’re a more laid-back kind of person and shrug it off to continue on your brand discovery journey. However, for the more finicky Freds out there, the brand’s image takes a hit in your book.
Would you trust a company that doesn’t even give a second look over one of its most important marketing elements?
Content marketing is undoubtedly powerful. Whether you choose to tackle your strategy with landing pages, blog posts, case studies, or a mix of them all, the result (when done right) is a boost to search visibility and customer value. And when it comes to advertising in general, content is king over traditional paid advertisement for lead generation. Around 70% of web users would rather learn about products through organic content, than through paid ads.
If not approached correctly, however, content marketing can be a double-edged sword. Unhelpful, thin content or writing for the wrong audience doesn’t add much value to your company. Or worse—a sloppy job can negatively change reader’s perceptions of your brand.
These are just a few common content marketing mistakes that can easily taint your company brand.
Typos, Misspellings, and Bad Grammar
Even native English speakers and company CEOs make mistakes. English is sometimes nonsensical and rules don’t always make sense.
Some misspellings and grammar mix ups have slipped into everyday usage so that many people don’t realize they’ve been misled, unless a determined high school English teacher had set the rules straight.
QUIZ: Which spelling in each pair do you think is correct? (Answers below)
- Every day and Everyday
- Often times and Oftentimes
- Alright and All right
- CEO’s and CEOs
- Never mind and Nevermind
(Answers: 1. Depends! Both are correct but have different usages. 2. Oftentimes. 3. All right. 4. Using apostrophes for plurals is one of the greatest offences of internet content. Plural? No apostrophe. Showing ownership? Apostrophe. 5. Never mind.)
Even spell-check programs, such as Grammarly or Microsoft Word, don’t catch every small slip-up. Your best bet is to work with professional SEO content writers or to catch up on some grade school grammar yourself.
Overly Promotional Wording
Tempted to stuff and end every article with a call to action to contact your company, sign up for a newsletter, and buy everything on your eCommerce site? Whoa there, let’s calm down a bit.
Keep in mind that 1) no one likes a spammy ad and 2) content marketing works best when it’s educational.
Content marketing goes beyond boosting a website’s SEO and ranking for targeted keywords. It’s an opportunity to set yourself as an industry leader. A 2019 B2B Content Marketing report reveals that a whopping 90% of top-performing B2B content marketers prioritized their readers’ informational needs. This stuff works.
Educate about your products and brand to build trust, but don’t sell.
Fluffy or Thin Content
Google is smart. Consumers are smart. Thin content isn’t smart.
Yet, many low-quality content marketing companies and inexperienced marketers may be tempted to sacrifice quality in the name of keyword stuffing and a quick, easy attempt to rank a website on Google.
Search intent is what drives an internet user to click on a search result and will (if the article is well-written) keep them on a page. Once a reader senses that the answer to their question is not on a page, they’ll hightail it out of there. And what does Google think of high bounce rates? Your page isn’t worth showing.
Uncited Claims and Warped or False Information
While writing this article, I found dozens of stats about content marketing mistakes, its strengths, use over recent years, and so on. In fact, I came across several of the same statistics.
The funny thing is that just by digging a bit deeper, I found many of the same statistics were linked to different sources.
- Only a few cited the primary source.
- Many statistics were drastically outdated and still used in recent content. (I’d say the internet and content marketing has probably changed a bit in the past 10 years, right?)
- Several statistics took studies and research out of context to serve their argument.
- And other statistics weren’t cited at all! Gasp.
The thing is, not every internet reader will care whether you pull information from the CDC or ILoveFakeStats.com (not sure if this is a real website). However, if you’re trying to brand your company as an authoritative, professional source, I’d advise you to have a good grasp on what kind of information you hand out to readers.
Let’s Avoid the Avoidable Content Marketing Mistakes
Whether your content marketing happens in-house or with an outsourced team, the same basic guidelines apply.
- Ensure copywriters are subject-matter experts in the topics they write about.
- Have a level of control over quality. Letting a shady “copywriting” team run with their content right out of the gate isn’t always a good idea.
- Align the content marketing strategy with company goals. Who’s your target audience? What are you selling?
There’s a lot of stuff floating around in the vast world of the internet. Content marketing is a chance to set your company apart from all the others. Develop and own your unique voice, brand, and position in industry.
When used correctly, your content marketing strategy will be an essential part of your marketing toolkit!