Content Marketing Mistakes: How You Destroy Yourself

Content Marketing mistakes are so common, widespread that it’s now considered mainstream.

When mistakes go mainstream, it’s a recipe for disaster (circle back after 10 yrs and read this post again, just in case).

Sad. But true.

These content marketing mistakes hurt you. Content marketing myths, mistakes, misunderstandings, and blindly reading a Tweet or a LinkedIn post and thinking that God has spoken hurts more businesses than we can all stand to bear.

On the topic of how content marketing works, how blogging works, and what businesses should do to make blogging work for them has been completely whacked out of reality (more on this below).

There’s nothing new about the actual definition of content marketing, though. I am sure you know it. The freelancer you’ll work with also knows it. The agency you’ll hire also knows it (I am just hoping it’s not a shady agency or an ass of a freelancer you’ll work with).

What’s common with brands such as HubSpot, Kinsta, SEMrush, Unbounce, Leadpages, Instapage, and others?

More examples? Here are at least 22 other brands that grew with the power of content marketing alone?

They all grew, riding on the back of the incredible power of blogging (along with content marketing).

Hail The Content Marketing Mix

We live in the era of consumers who like to consume a variety of content. Blogging is still alive ( Read: blogging is not dead) and many people love the silent consumption that blogging still affords.

Some folks love the character limits on Twitter and consume wee bits of information that way. Then, there’s short-version of videos (YouTube Shorts, Twitter Videos, TikTok, and Instagram Reels or stories).

Then come the slightly longer videos on YouTube, on your website, and on social media. This is followed by long-form videos (anywhere), Live Streams, and Webinars.

People like to download eBooks, reports, and White papers. Or, quickly look up data on an Infographic.

If you didn’t notice, it’s a content mix at play here. There’s more than one form of content that works. Depending on your business, you’d need to push out that mix of content.

There are no short cuts here.

If you want to make content marketing work for you, prepare to spread yourselves thin by trying out various forms of content.

Demio finds huge success with regular webinars, blog posts, and more. Webflow finds success with Webflow University, blog posts, and a thriving community of evangelists (who love Webflow).

ConvertKit has a community while it still runs webinars, pushes out guides and blog posts, does email marketing, and more.

Similarly, Unbounce and Leadpages found success with a variety of content types (including look books, webinars, academy,industry reports, and more).

What will you create?

Lack of Patience

Despite the “How My Post went Viral” nonsense on the web, here the truth: you need patience to win with content marketing.

Consider Rand Fishkin. The CEO of SparkToro and former founder of Moz (earlier).

Rand has been instrumental in sinking some strong belief systems in place for me. He was (and still is) an inspiration for several bloggers, startups, agencies, and businesses. His story? You ‘ve heard. That story, however, was several decades in the making.

Then, there’s Unbounce. Or HubSpot. Or Leadpages — each of these businesses have been blogging away consistently for years and years (and years) to reach where they are now, with the clout they got.

With a relentless publishing velocity and a firm focus on delivering value (in their respective niches), they soldiered away.

Consider these businesses the “traditional, old-school” types. The new crowd is plagued by the blockchain mentality or the “one-day MVP and become a millionaire in a week” mentality.

Either that or an unhealthy obsession with “products” — spending man-hours (and more man-hours) on “product development”, “Engineering”, “Systems Scaling”, or whatever they call it.

Hint: No one is going to buy products if no one knows about it.

Business owners today don’t have the patience to wait until blogging does the magic. Heck, even eCommerce blogging does so well for eCommerce brands.

But wait, who’s listening?

Believing The Self-perpetuating Ecosystem

Writers want to emphasize on the sheer power of writing.

Editors want to focus on just how tight the writing is (on top of needless fuss over spellings, grammar, adjectives, adverbs, nouns, semi colons, and exclamation marks).

Developers obsess about their products, their code, and their side hustles that find home on GitHub.

In all, it turned into a self-perpetuating ecosystem that benefits everyone except the businesses that gain from the power of Inbound marketing.

Editors love to beat down writers. Writers love to think that “their writing” is the best.

You forget: you are not Stephen King, and writing/editing is not what makes businesses money.

Nothing wrong it that at all — they all have lights to light up, mouths to feed, and a business to run.

The issue here, and it bears repeating, is that you (as a business owner) keeps thinking that “their” business is “Your” business.

You can take their help; but you don’t drift away from the actual nails you need the hammer for.

The focus, as a business, is to grow “your business”.

Focus firmly on what “you need” and what “you need to achieve”.

Content Marketing = Results [Tie It Together]

When you launch content marketing plans — which essentially means writing, publishing, writing, and publishing — the whole world seems to get so distracted with:

“How well is this written?”

“How grammatically accurate is this?”

“How smart do we sound? Or how credible do we come across?”

“How many likes, follows, or views did our content get?”

These questions help. They truly do.

But this isn’t what you are doing content marketing for.

Let’s say you rolled out blog posts (3X per week), ebooks, reports, PDF downloads, Content Upgrades, White papers, videos (short or long), social media content, live streams, and webinars.

[Full scope of analytics, tracking, KPIs, is out of purview of this blog post]. But, what should you measure?

  • Landing page views Vs Downloads (for downloads) (and the resultant conversion rate of each of the multiple landing pages you deploy). Why? You’ll want to improve that conversion rate (the only true measure of “How Good the Landing Pages Are”.
  • Live streams or video views Vs actions taken on “Call-to-action”: Folks watched a live stream? Great. How many people signed-up for the offer you made at the end of the live stream? Ditto for videos.
  • Blog post views Vs Call-to-action: Do you see a call-to-action banner at in the middle and at the end of this post?The only thing I measure is how many people signed up for my freebies, my newsletter, or my courses. What are you calculating when it comes to your blog post performance?

Notice that it’s NOT about views alone. Or traffic alone. Or number of “”Blog readers this year Vs last Year”.

It always was, is, and will be about results.

Consistency [For years]

The only defining trait — it’ll beat skills, talent, and even all the money in the world — is consistency. That’s how the brands mentioned above made it.

Writing two blog posts (for the lifetime of the business) is worse than not blogging at all (Like, Apple doesn’t. You ain’t Apple).

Trying to SEO with exactly 7 extremely thin static pages on your website won’t work.

Putting up an eCommerce store with nothing more than meagre (and uninspiring product descriptions) and buy buttons all over — minus copy that converts, eCommerce blogging to bring in results — will not help.

Even paid digital marketing requires you to show up consistently. Various campaigns with objectives exist — such as reach, conversions, sales, leads, and others — only because you can’t expect to win with paid ads just because you had $100 in free Google Credit to spend.

Without consistency, everything you do is useless (including your ambitious adventures with growth hacking).

Chasing Imaginary Tails

I think the entire world has a case of ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder). Entrepreneurs (who can’t just sit there and twiddle their thumbs) certainly do.

So, they end up chasing tails. We’ll try SEO. Let’s do Facebook Ads. Or Google Ads. Let’s try creating an eBook this fall. How about trying to find influencers? It’s time we try affiliate marketing.

Too many tails. Your budget and resources are limited.

The promise of digital marketing (and content marketing as a part of it) was that you could try it all (even if it’s all moderately done — not throwing out the shirt yet).

Then, the advantage was that you could measure appropriate results (like leads, sales, profits and not likes and follows) with analytics, tracking, data visualization, and more.

Take decisions based on what you find, what’s working, and what’s not.

Double down on what works.

That’s the only way you do it. Try channels = tie-it in =measure = double down. Thank you.

What are the content marketing mistakes you find yourself doing? What’s destroying you?

Tell me all about it on Twitter, LinkedIn, or my LinkedIn Brand page.

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