6 Things You Should Stop Doing to Content

Content Marketing Guide

The most straightforward way of revitalizing your content marketing is to jettison some content pieces that just aren’t working for your brand. Here are six options you should consider first. Then you can focus on producing content that your audience (as well as search engines) will love.

1. Mobile unfriendly

We’ve been discussing mobile optimization for years, but a surprising number of businesses still publish content that isn’t mobile friendly.

We know that this damages the customer experience. Four billion people access the internet via their mobile devices so when your content doesn’t work on mobile you risk alienating a vast portion of your target audience.

Not only are you annoying your audience, but you’re losing visibility in results pages. Mobile is a key factor in Google’s scoring of your site.

The fix: Optimize your website for mobile

First, check to see if your site is mobile friendly in your users’ and Googles’ eyes. Open it on your smart device and see how well you can see it. You also should type the URL in Google Search Console’s mobile-friendly test.

Google Search Console 1

If the tests show your site is not optimized for mobile, you need to take a few steps. (The good news is you don’t need to build a whole new website.)

One option is to use an online site converter, like bMobilized  (fee) to transfer your desktop site to a mobile-first design. Alternatively, look at website mobile plug-ins such as WPtouch and JetPack for WordPress, Responsivizer and JoomlaShine for Joomla, or ThemeKey and MobileTheme for Drupal.

2. Single format

Gone are the days when simple blog posts ruled content marketing. Today, the content choices are enormous, from video to live stories, to podcasts and everything in between.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to carry on churning out the same old text-only articles, expecting to make any connection with your audience.

The fix: Embrace a variety of content options

Look at your content or editorial calendar (if you don’t yet have one, then I’d recommend drawing one up). Ask yourself how varied your content is and identify all the opportunities for more interactive, creative, and engaging formats.

Start using multimedia

Now that 72% of people are looking at content via their mobile devices, they are more likely to expect big blocks of visually appealing content. Use infographics, images, and videos to generate more views and shares.

For infographics, you can use free tools like Piktochart. For images, create your own high-resolution photos or use websites like Creative Commons to access free images and stay on the right side of copyright laws. Free tools like Pixlr and Canva can help you edit those images.

Try immersive content

Immersive content includes formats like virtual reality and augmented reality. Although a newish tactic for marketers, it’s gaining momentum. Get into the swing of immersive content by streaming live stories on Instagram and then look at Facebook Horizon (formerly Facebook Spaces) to see about incorporating VR into your content marketing.

3. Goal-less

It’s amazing how many businesses still just push out content in bulk to drive traffic. The content doesn’t speak to a specific audience. It has no particular purpose and it’s not designed to be helpful or shareable.

Audiences expect more from their content. They want to consume high-quality content that helps them achieve their online goals.

The fix: Define your content goals

Your goals don’t need to be complicated. You may want to increase traffic, improve online, or grow your subscriber list. Whatever it is – and you may have more than one goal overall – make sure that each piece of content has one clearly defined goal.

Your content also should achieve your target audience’s goals – learn about an idea, solve a problem, learn how to do something, etc. Make sure each piece of content achieves at least one of those goals.

Add a call to action to your content to encourage your audience to take some action. Ensure that it aligns with your brand goal and is relevant to the audience’s goal. For example, if the goal is to grow your subscriber list, the CTA should encourage your audience to sign up for more content connected to the article topic. If your goal is to grow your online sales, direct people to your product pages.

4. Unsubstantiated

I’ve already shared the thirst for high-quality content. And it’s not just your audience that wants it. Google rewards sites with valuable and audience-relevant content.

Any content that isn’t backed by relevant data and research probably isn’t worth doing. Or at least it should only be one component in a mix of high-value content.

The fix: Establish quality parameters

First, give the team time to produce good quality content. Although it’s good to publish frequently, it’s more important to prioritize quality. Space out deadlines across your content calendar in line to create a manageable workload and keep track of all the tasks involved in creating quality content.

When creating content, identify key trusted sources to inform your pieces and include relevant and well-sourced data points. Make sure to link to these sources from your content and reference sources appropriately.

5. Sales push

It’s tempting for marketers to use content for the hard sell. Even if you think it’s subtle, chances are your audience will sniff out the sales pitch. And guess what? They probably won’t be happy about it.

Today’s consumers don’t want to be sold to. They want to consume relevant content that helps them navigate their buyer journey and supports their decisions.

The fix: Respond to your audience’s needs

Ditch the sales pitch from your content and instead carry out some audience or persona research. Develop profiles that describe in detail what your audience looks like – their relevant online behaviors, goals, pain points – and consider how your content can cater to their interests and needs.

Go further and map your customer journey, identifying key moments or touchpoints where your content can help them in their decision making.

Map Customer Journey

Image source

Finish up your audience-focus fix by adding all your content opportunities to the editorial calendar. Ensure that you’ve covered all parts of the sales cycle, from the moment your audience discovers your company to long after they converted.

6. Unoptimized

Stop routinely publishing content without a thought to basic SEO principles. Content that isn’t optimized for search engines is unlikely to contribute to your overall marketing goals, let alone be found by new audiences.

Even basic SEO gives your content (and your website in general) a better chance of being found by search engines, reaching the most relevant audiences and achieving your online goals.

The fix: Invest in SEO

Do keyword research first as it underpins the rest of your SEO work. This means listing the relevant search terms (both short and long) that your target audience would type in the search engine field to find your content.

Enter that list into a keyword research tool like Moz or SEMrush to determine which would be the most valuable to include in your content (i.e., those keywords that receive a high volume of traffic but have a low difficulty rating).

Once you have established a solid list, you can attend to other SEO tasks when you produce a new piece of content. These include:

  • Incorporate long-tail keywords in your content.
  • Optimize images and videos.
  • Create a compelling meta description and title tag.

Start now

The first step toward improved content is identifying what isn’t working in your current model. By examining (and fixing) these six frequent mistakes first, you can put your content on a better path to success.

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