VerticalResponse Blog

There are over 27,000,000 pieces of content being shared every day, but did you know that 60-70 percent of content produced by B2B marketing goes unused? Why? Most often it’s due to common content marketing mistakes like not knowing who you’re producing content for, trying too hard to sell with your content, and other content mishaps.

If you’re creating any type of content for your business, find out if you’re making any of these 5 common content marketing mistakes and what you can do to clean up your content act.

Don’t Know Your Audience

One of our biggest challenges is to create and deliver content that people actually want to consume. With so much competing for their attention, if your content can’t break through the noise, it’ll never be seen.

To create content that’s valuable, you need to know what your prospects and customers care about. You can get started by creating a list of the traits your very best customers and ideal buyers have. Identify what their biggest pain points are, what their concerns are in relation to your product/services and what they hope to accomplish. Too often, we fall into the routine of creating content that’s all about the benefits of our product and services instead of helping a potential buyer. Once you identify the types (or buyer personas) you’re interested in targeting, you can better create content with the intention of helping these folks.

Trying too Hard to Sell, Sell, Sell

Around this time last year, we saw Jay Baer speak at New Media Expo. Baer blew the roof off by preaching a revolutionary thought to bloggers and marketers in attendance: Stop selling and start helping. Wait, what? You want us to stop selling? How’s that going to work?

Baer outlined it in his book, Youtility. He explained that “Youtility” is the concept of providing valuable content for your readers and customers, to the point where your company becomes valued, trusted, and synonymous with being useful. So when the time comes to make a purchase, your company is the obvious choice.

As an example, Baer shared a story about Marcus Sheridan from River Pools and Spas. Back when the economy began to go south, River Pools and Spas was hit hard, as not many people install pools during tough economic times. However, the folks at River Pools and Spas didn’t give up. They got smart and started answering questions via their blog that customers and potential buyers had. Then they turned those blog posts into a popular eBook. In just four years, River Pools and Spas grew their company from nearly going out of business to the largest pool seller in the US. Based on all the information they provide, 75% of their customers complete a purchase without ever talking to a real person!

Don’t Create Enough, or Create Too Much

Many of us struggle to have enough content to share on our social networks, in our emails and in our newsletters. Then there are those of us who blog 6 times or more a week and have content pouring out of every corner of our website, social networks and emails. So what’s the magic content frequency number? There isn’t one that’s right for everyone, but keep in mind that quality trumps quantity. You can and should create different types of content from short tweets, digestible blog posts, longer case studies/whitepapers/guides, infographics and videos and even eBooks if you’ve got the resources. By producing a variety of content types, you can also repurpose content into different formats, say by taking a data rich blog post and turning it into an infographic. Or take a few guides or whitepapers with a common theme and turn them into an eBook.

Trying to Do it All Alone

While you may be a sole proprietor, it doesn’t mean you have to create everything yourself. You can share content that others have created, as long as you provide proper source credit and attribution. By sharing other points of view, opinions and expertise, you can grow the quality and quantity of content you have to help your audience. You can also recruit guest writers or bloggers to help contribute to your efforts. Just ensure they create unique, high quality posts that add value for your customers and potential buyers. Another way to create content, while not having to be the expert, is by interviewing someone. You can interview a supplier, a new vendor, a customer or an employee. We’ve got 17 more ideas for creating content in this post.

Not Measuring Results  

If you’re not measuring your content marketing results, don’t stick your head in the sand and hide, you’re not alone. Stats indicate that only 15 percent measure results. It’s important to know what’s working (so you can do more of it), and what’s not so you can either ditch it, or tweak it to perform better the next time around. To measure your results, there are lots of performance metrics, but to start, you can focus on the big four:

  1. Consumption – Page views, video views, document views, downloads and social chatter
  2. Sharing – Like, shares, tweets, +1s and pins, forwards, number of inbound links
  3. Lead Generation – Form completions and downloads, email and blog subscriptions, blog comments
  4. Sales – Look at both online and offline sales that are influenced by content

Many of these results are available in free tools like Google AnalyticsFacebook, Twitter, YouTube, your email service provider, content management systems (like WordPress), as well as your own internal data from sources like your CRM system (if you’re using one).

If you’ve been making any of these common content marketing mistakes, you’re now armed with the knowledge to fix what’s broken.

Have any content mistakes to add to our list? Share in the comments.

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© 2014 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

  • Shafiq Ul Hasan Siddiqui

    Hi Kim,

    Some really nice points are discussed here by you. The logics of consumption, sharing, and lead generation should always be there at the back of a content marketers’ mind in order to crack a deal i.e. Sale. After all, it’s the sales in which a businessman is interested in. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Sonia Harris

    Thanks Kim. I found your blog when I was researching on this subject because I decided to start a new blog from scratch. I knew I’d been making mistakes in the past and wanted to find some answers about how to get things right this time. Before I tried to do it all on my own. I did not really understand what this meant. I want to share content from blogs such as yours and maybe sometimein the future look into guest blogging.

  • Sonia Harris

    Thank you Kim for this really useful blog. Very timely that I came across it because I have just started a new blog from scratch. This time I want to get it right from the beginning. I have started this time by thinking about my audience. I am taking more time to get out and find out what people are saying and what their problems are. I totally agree that we can get caught up with writing about the benefits about our products (well that’s what we’re told to do) rather than focusing on the needs of our potential customers and providing a solution.

  • Giselle Butler

    Kim, this article had a lot of great info but the one thing that speaks to me the most is, when you give freely, you always get back so much more in return like anything else in life.

  • Zea Morvitz

    You are so right about offering clients information, etc. instead of just pushing your product all of the time. I dropped one email service and signed up with Vertical Response partly because of these helpful tips. The other service was constantly pushing me to buy their various add-on products and offering nothing in return.

  • Denise

    I’m a new Vertical Response user. This was very helpful.

  • Helena

    River Pools did it right! That is a great example of a company that was a sinking ship, realized they needed to reach out to their customers and find out what needs they had, what would get them buying during tough economic times. Applied that knowledge and the business exploded with success! Content is essential, but understanding what your public needs is just as much so. Thanks, Kim!

  • Ryan Kettler

    Good stuff as always Kim!

    I agree that it’s important to rely on others whenever you can. Content marketing is time consuming so when you do it, you should make sure to do it to the best of your ability.


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