Don’t Make The 7 Deadliest Content Marketing Mistakes!

As you begin to consider rolling out your content marketing strategy, you will make your life a lot easier by avoiding 7 deadly traps. Here’s where too many marketers have gone wrong and wound up in the pit of marketing despair:

1. They fail to research their buyers and their needs. Because they didn’t really understand what was most important to their customers, they couldn’t possibly deliver relevant content that would make a difference.

2. They confuse information that’s important to the business with information
that is important to the customer. Of course, once prospects are ready to buy, they want to know all about your company. But, when they first connect with your company, they are looking for solutions to their problems. They don’t want to read your mission statement or read your latest press release.

3. They don’t integrate their content initiatives with the rest of their marketing programs. Unless you make sure that your entire strategy is customer-centric, one great content marketing effort will be largely wasted. For example, if you have a great eNewsletter that takes prospects to a web site that doesn’t offer any relevant content, you may have alienated customers forever.

4. They try to dress up sales information as quality content. A surprising number of white papers and webcasts are so thinly disguised that marketers do more harm than good. Your customers have highly developed B.S. detectors. They greet the public as poorly disguised wolves in sheep’s clothing. That’s a baaaaaad practice.

5. They don’t integrate visual elements into their content. Lack of great visuals makes for huge missed opportunities. That’s because unless customers are drawn into the content, they won’t engage with it. On the web, you have less than 10 seconds to engage your visitors. Relevant visuals can make orders of magnitude differences in a web site’s ability to transform visitors into buyers.

6. They have no measurement process that establishes key benchmarks BEFORE beginning the initiative. Since you can’t manage what you can’t measure, launching a content marketing campaign without a clear set of benchmarks for success, makes it impossible to determine whether hard fought dollars were well spent.

7. They fail to develop content that’s just right for their readers, often aiming too high or too low. Once again, understanding precisely who are customers are makes all the difference. Understanding not just what they need to know, but where they are on the learning curve is critical to creating content that resonates with your prospects.

Learn More About the Basics of Content Marketing

If you’d like to understand why the trend toward content marketing is acclerationg–and how you can benefit from deploying a content marketing strategy–Download the FREE eBook, Get Content. Get Customers. Just click here.

This entry was posted in News, Tips & Mini-Guides, Top Posts. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. William Waites
    Posted October 24, 2007 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Hi Newt:

    First, please know that I am finding your e-newsletter to be a significant resource for internet marketing ideas. Thank you.

    Second, have you, your contributors or your readers had any experience with “polls” as an online marketing tool?

    I am considering using one or more polls to engage my customers. Any thoughts?

  2. Newt Barrett
    Posted October 24, 2007 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the kind words. I think polls can be very effective. We used them extensively when I was the publishing director of Logistics Today. We repurposed the results in the print magazine each month. The challenge is to make sure you have enough traffic to get a respectable number of responses. Offering an incentive, once again, would probably help boost response rates and loyalty to the site.

  3. Posted October 24, 2007 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Coincidentally, I just uncovered an article on Seth’s blog that discuses Surveys. He says that they can be used to tell as well as listen. An example is a question that asks readers if they prefer Option A or Option B, when many of them may not even know there is an Option B until they read the survey. I was also thinking of a survey as an “activator” on the premise that an engaged reader can become an advocate or a more loyal customer.

  4. Posted December 23, 2007 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Hi Newt –

    This is an excellent list — a company would do well to read and contemplate it… thanks.

    Here’s what struck me when I read it.
    a) It’s mostly common sense
    b) Companies “Mar/Com” departments are usually focused on sales, not marketing
    c) The shift to quality content requires a paradigm mind switch from sales to publishing.

    Easier said than done. Most marketing groups are trained primarily in sales, and lack skills and experience in marketing. Conclusion? Savvy companies will hire experienced publishers.

    Best to you –

  5. Posted December 25, 2007 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Focus on initiating, fostering, and building long-term client relationships in your marketing that naturally lead to sales rather than supporting traditional “image/branding” advertising.

    Also, who, outside of corporate MAR/COM departments actually uses the term “customer-centric”? Think Client Focus. That IS a shift in how you think about your relationships. Clients rather than customers. Focus rather than centric. A world of different thinking.

  6. Newt Barrett
    Posted December 26, 2007 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    You are right on the money in the need to build long-term relationships. Branding advertising is probably best-suited to reinforce existing relationships. Content marketing is all about establishing a trusted relationship, even before your target buyer actually buys anything from you.
    I am still comfortable with customer-centric, however. I’d make the case that too many Marcom folks are busy creating stuff that doesn’t help they company drive sales because they don’t really understand what’s going on at the customer level.
    Thanks for commenting.