What was your reaction the first time you heard about content marketing? Did you think it was going to be the savior of revenue and lead generation? How has it worked out for you?

You may feel like you’re on top of the world if you’ve experienced recent growth in traffic, leads, or sales. You may feel like quoting Mean Girls and saying “the limit does not exist.”

You may also be able to jump onto an initial sales call and close a big deal in a matter of minutes. You may even feel like you could solve world hunger.

Content marketing is a lot of work, but it can be very rewarding. If done correctly, it can bring in a lot of money.

content marketing is extremely important and should be the driving force behind SEO campaigns

Content is king, right?

Yes, what you said is true. But just because content is important, that does not mean that all content is equally important or that every single piece is worth doing. Make sure you’re focusing your time and effort on what you should do, instead of what you shouldn’t do.

There are certain content marketing practices that are no longer effective and should be avoided.

1. Taking a Blog-Only Approach to Content Marketing

I’m not saying that you should stop writing articles altogether, but you could definitely publish fewer articles and spend more time promoting the articles you have published.

I talk to clients every day about the importance of publishing three blogs a week. Writing and publishing articles is a crucial part of your content marketing strategy. However, you could definitely spend more time promoting the articles you have published instead of writing more articles.

If you only smoke the brisket for 12 hours, it’s like you’re forgetting to make the sides.

I don’t care what people think when I buy a rotisserie chicken for lunch.

Blogs can be a great way to directly address key questions that prospects and customers have, as well as providing your sales team with a wide range of resources to help them sell products.

You will need to create different types of content to appeal to your audience.

Video is a powerful content marketing tool that can help you attract a new audience and align your content with how most consumers prefer to consume it, while also shorten your sales cycle.

You can improve your website’s ranking in search engines by conducting surveys and creating original research reports based on the results. Podcasts can be a valuable marketing tool for some businesses.

2. Focusing Only on Keyword Research for Titles

I’ve been in this situation before, where I need to find a keyword to make my article work.

Have you ever attempted to write an article that would be more in line with a keyword you found that had a significant amount of searches?

It is important to research relevant keywords for your content, in order to rank well in search engines; however, this must be coupled with an understanding of user search intent, or you will not be successful.

In other words, keyword research will tell you what someone is looking for and intent research will tell you why someone is performing a search.

If you don’t have the right context for your content, you can’t expect it to be successful.

Performing intent research as part of your SEO strategy requires you to go to Google and start learning. Plug in a keyword and answer these questions:

  • What content is currently ranking high? Are the top results from companies like mine or that offer a similar product or service? 
  • What format/structure is the content in? Are the results leading to product pages, informational blog posts, how-to guides, etc.? This can help guide the strategy on what type of content you can create.
  • What category does the keyword fall into? Understanding this will help you determine if the keyword aligns with what you can offer. If it’s a transactional or navigational search for something that you don’t offer, find other keywords.

3. Creating Content for Buyer Personas

Do you remember sitting down and taking the time to develop your buyer personas in detail, and arguing over whether Store Manager Sandy had two or three kids?

Is it Sandy’s hobby to play golf or make papier-mâché cats?

Although the idea behind creating buyer personas is good, it can lead to content that is generic and lifeless if you rely too much on these semi-fictional representations.

Instead of using generalized profiles of your target audience, take a closer look at who would be interested in the specific type of content you’re creating. Try to understand what motivates them and what they hope to get out of reading it.

What is the pressing problem the reader is trying to solve? What can you tell about their current situation based on what they are searching?

Ask yourself questions like these:

  • Who are they? 
  • What do they do?  
  • Why do they care about this topic?
  • Why are they asking this specific question at this moment?
  • If they were in front of you right now, how would they be acting?
  • What follow-up questions will they have?
  • What objections or resistance might they have?

The questions in the Content Compass come directly from our experiences with replacing buyer personas.

The Content Compass will help you better understand the person interacting with your content, including their function or role.

The Content Compass will help you figure out how to market your content so that it solves your reader’s problems.

4. Using Statistics in Blog Introductions

Liz Moorehead’s Blogging Tips guide teaches six different strategies to help anyone write a powerful introduction.

You can make your article more compelling by starting it with a powerful statistic that puts the rest of your article into context, or helps explain why your article is important.

A big warning sign is that you should include where you found the statistic, usually by providing a link.

I’m here to tell you that if this approach is done improperly, it can completely sink an article.

If we could paint a picture, it would go something like this: You search on Google for something like “How to add more hours to my day” and find an article that looks great.

A Lithuanian scientist is experimenting with a 28 hour day, which is an interesting statistic.

When you click on the link to learn more, you get sidetracked and forget what you originally were doing.

The reader either “gets it” or they don’t. This has happened to all of us before. I view statistics in introductions as a pass/fail sort of thing. If the reader understands it, they pass. If they don’t, they fail.

  • Failing: You’re not sure how else to start an article and search online for something loosely related to your topic to prove credibility. 
  • Passing: Using a stat in your introduction that comes directly from an original research survey that you’ve done.
  • Failing: If you imagine that the reader could become more interested in the stat (and subsequent page) than what they originally came here to learn.
  • Passing: A stat that’s closely aligned to the topic of your article and creates a sense of urgency for reading your article.

We don’t want people to leave our site before they’ve had a chance to read all of the great content we’ve created.

It’s best to avoid using a lot of statistics in the intro to your blog posts. If you really feel like you need to include them, can you please make sure they open in a new tab? That would be much appreciated.

5. STOP Writing Newsfeed Articles – It’s Just Not “Fresh” Content

I understand why you might feel anxious when you look at your newsfeed and see that you haven’t posted anything in a while.

The little voice that sounds like Matt Cutts is telling you that if you don’t post something soon, people will think your blog is dead and Google will be disappointed.

There is some truth in that statement. If a newsfeed on a website has not been updated in a while, it will give the impression that the website is inactive. However, it is important to not just start publishing articles for the sake of it. There are various reasons why this is the case.

To begin with, they don’t improve the experience for the user and won’t help you gain customers or sales. In fact, badly written articles make it seem like your business doesn’t know what it’s doing, which puts other users off.

It is now widely accepted that factors such as click-backs and bounce rates are taken into account by Google when determining rankings. Consequently, if your content is not engaging, this will lead to a higher bounce rate, which will in turn have a negative effect on your site’s overall ranking.

This means that the user has left your site after only viewing one page.

Users who come to your newsfeed from your homepage are not considered bounces, so bounce rates are only a problem for users who find your articles through search engines.

6. Stop Guest Blogging Only for Links

If you do guest blogging the right way, it can be extremely successful. I’ve seen firsthand that a single well-written guest blog can result in new customers who spend thousands of dollars.

If you’re blogging as a guest on another site and only publishing high-quality content, then you’re doing it right. Keep it up, my friend.

This is not about what you should do. Let me explain what you shouldn’t do.

When guest blogging was created, it was mainly a way to build links to content so that everyone could rise to the top of the search engine results pages with Google’s approval and a little bit of admiration.

This definition is outdated. If you’re only writing guest blogs to get links, you’re risking getting in trouble.

The saying “quality over quantity” applies to guest blogging.

IF a site is willing to accept a post without an author and has little to no guidelines, they are also likely to offer little to no traffic or authority.

7. Stop Regurgitating and Rewriting Duplicate Content

It’s frustrating when other bloggers would rather copy your work than do their own, especially when your article becomes popular.

There are two possible outcomes of putting up duplicate content – getting a backlink from another website (assuming the website isn’t spam), or confusing search engines as to which content is original and which is duplicated.

If you allow others to copy your content, they could potentially get the credit for the work you put into optimizing it for search engines.

The idea that duplicate content has little impact on SEO is somewhat of a myth. While it is true that content that is duplicated verbatim may not be penalized by search engines, it is still important to avoid duplicating content as much as possible.

This is because search engines may still consider duplicated content to be less relevant than original content, which could impact your website’s ranking.

There might be another problem where Google doesn’t know which page to show in the search results if there is duplicated content on two different pages on the website.

If you’re worried about businesses copying your content and impacting your site, don’t be! In the case of the first two, they will link back to your site.

As for companies stealing original content and using it as their own, Google has the capability to identify where the content was first posted.

8. Stop Writing Poor Content

Content is the most important aspect of digital marketing today. Sites that continuously publish quality content that is well researched, well written, and not full of keywords are more likely to be at the top of the search results.

But it’s not always the case.

Before 2000, it wasn’t necessary for websites to have high-quality content to rank highly on search engines. Most of the time, the content was not very good.

If searchers had difficulty finding great instructional and how-to articles, they wouldn’t be as commonplace as they are today.

Of course, we know that thin content is never going to be rewarded in search results. When Google rolled out their Penguin update, it rendered great content an absolute must for anyone wanting to even dabble in the SEO game.

Today, poor content is more detrimental to your site’s ranking than any other SEO practice out there. To create great content, start with these tips:

  • Don’t make keywords the focus of the piece. Let your writing flow.
  • Write around 700 – 1000 words for an amazing article. If you’re just creating static copy for a business page, the 300-word mark will do.
  • Focus your content on points of interest and problems the audience may have.
  • Post engaging, fresh articles frequently if you want to stay relevant.
  • FYI: If a post is greater than 1,500 words, it tends to receive an average of just over 68% more tweets and around 22.6% more likes on Facebook than shorter posts.
About the Author Brian Richards

See Brian's Amazon Author Central profile at https://amazon.com/author/brianrichards

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