The digital age has created a demand for consistent, high-quality online content, especially from businesses.
"Social media creates a space where you can find and engage with your target audience, and it makes them more accessible for your brand," explained Talya Miller, community manager at social media and digital marketing agency Sculpt.
Content marketing requires brands to continually think outside the box, and learn from past performance to know what's going to be effective with their audience. However, creating great content can't be done formulaically, said Austin Paley, corporate marketing communications manager at digital marketing agency Blue Fountain Media. It simply can't be automated if you want to be successful at it, he said.
Miller and Paley shared four common mistakes in content marketing, and what you should do instead. [See Related Story: Content Marketing Is Getting More Personalized and Helpful]
Accepting every guest-blogging opportunity
Guest blogging to outside publications used to be one of the most popular content marketing strategies out there. Paley noted that this tactic can hurt your business now.
"In the past, good content marketing dictated that you should write high-quality content as often as possible for sites that requested it, but in the modern age you have to be a little bit more careful," he said. "Even valuable, well-written content can become problematic if it is posted on a website that houses low-quality content."
Content marketers should take the time to check out the quality of the websites that are looking for guest authors before they write, Paley said. You will get the most out of your blogging and avoid any publications that could make search engines penalize you.
Sounding overly promotional
Consumers follow your brand to learn your stories. They rely on you for news and other information related to your product or service, assuming a human is behind a social media account. This helps create a unique voice for your brand, which can be established through content marketing alone.
"Sometimes, brands forget their consumers are human," Miller told Business News Daily. "Humans turn into numbers, and sales goal, but when you think of your audience in terms of being human, you find ways to connect."
Miller recommends giving before asking as a general rule for brands on social media. You’re marketing a product and service, but at the same time, your customers expect a compelling narrative from a human perspective.
"Provide your audience with helpful information, interact with them, tell them your story, [through] your brand and employees," she added. "Once you have given something positive to your audience, it is appropriate to ask for something in return. Speak to your audience in a manner that is kind, but still is brand-voice appropriate."
Failing to consider other sites' SEO
SEO plays a huge role in content marketing. Marketers know this, but often only consider their own website's SEO, and forget about the other sites they may be associated with. Before you connect with any outside website to help you with your content marketing efforts, whether through guest blog posts or link mentions, know if the site has the proper domain authority to keep you in good standing with Google.
"In order to get high-quality placements, [marketers] need to understand what a good online publication is from an SEO perspective," Paley said. "While getting included on a highly trafficked or good-looking site may seem like a good placement, it can often hurt a business [if the site has poor SEO]."
Recycling content too often
Quality content takes time to create and shouldn't be rushed. The larger your audience grows, the more people will be consuming your content, potentially on a daily basis.
"The size and activity of your engaged audience will impact how often you should re-share content," Miller said. "If you have a large audience, sharing a post more than once a week (or sometimes a day) isn't a bad thing."
Audiences will miss content, since they're not online 24/7. Miller recommends sharing an appealing, popular post over lunch hour and again in the evening. However, share supplemental content between your shares to avoid spamming followers, she said. For example, interact with your followers, share articles and retweet from relevant hashtags in-between.
"Be thoughtful about posting," she added.
Additional reporting by Nicole Taylor. Some source interviews were conducted for an earlier version of this article.