Brightcove has issued a report that shows that 93% of North American B2B marketers use content marketing for generating leads and sales. Given that content marketing generates 3 times more leads than traditional marketing techniques and costs 62% less, it is no surprise to most people that content marketing is the best route to take. 

Yet despite how popular it is, just 42% of the content marketers surveyed think they are effective with their content marketing.

Given all of the information on content marketing that is available, why do so many businesses continue to struggle with using it effectively?

The following are some of the common mistakes that businesses are making with their content marketing and some useful tips on how they can be avoided.

Not Knowing Who Your Audience Is 

One of the biggest problems that beginner content marketers are faced with is not knowing who their audience is. It is very important to take the time to get a customer avatar created to help marketers target the right audience properly with their content. 

Unfortunately, this step is skipped by many businesses. They just start to create content and that can result in leads being generated for businesses where they never buy anything. 

Never guess about what kind of content is wanted by your audience. Instead, listen to customers carefully and get feedback from them on the kinds of problems their businesses are facing. 

When content is created that targets your ideal customers it will attract similar customers as your content gets shared on social media sites or starts driving traffic using SEO and other methods. Take the necessary time to define who exactly you are writing your content for and the types your ideal customer expects to receive. That will allow you to attract the right kind of audience.

Creating The Wrong Type Of Content 

Many businesses focus too much on creating keyword-targeted content for the purpose of SEO. They might have noticed that some of their articles are ranking for specific keywords and bringing search traffic is, so they decide to focus just on SEO. 

When just keyword-targeted content is created, it usually does not provide a good user experience. It is unlikely that human readers will follow your blog since instead of targeting the interests of readers, your blog is just posting keyword targeted content to please the search engines.

Keyword targeted, evergreen content may be boring since the highest volume keyword search phrases have been written about already numerous times and appear on many different websites. Most blogs that just focus on SEO are simply rehashing the same exact ideas that have been written about already many times. 

Avoid creating low-quality content for the sole purpose of ranking for keywords. Posting a lot of low-quality content can definitely backfire and will discourage visitors from following you or wanting to share your content. SEO is critical for content marketing purposes. However, make sure you are creating useful and interesting content that will still attract visitors to your blog who will want to become regular readers. Even when SEO is a top priority, not all of your content needs to be strictly SEO focused.  

Failing To Optimize For SEO 

Although it is a mistake to create content for SEO purposes only, marketers also need to avoid completely ignoring SEO. 

Search engines have the potential to drive a continuous stream of traffic to your website, and the more content you publish on your site the more your traffic can increase with it.  

Before publishing each article, do some keyword research so you get can some targeted keywords inserted into your meta tags and title. Search for similar articles that have been written by other people and search for potential keywords that you can target in your content. 

Your article should ideally contain a combination of content that is designed to engage thought leaders within your niche and your target audience, while also ranking well in the search engines. When you have a mixture of engagement focused content and SEO targeted content it will make it possible for you to increase your website traffic and also build an audience at the same time that is interested in your content.

Failing To Promote Their Content 

Another common mistake that is made by many businesses is failing to promote their content. Creating a solid content creation plan is just half of the battle. If your content is not promoted then your target audience will not be able to find it.

It is essential for marketers to create a solid content promotion plan. This will allow them to systematically inform people about their new articles. Typically, a strong promotion plan will include a social media plan for getting influences to share your content, guest posting, and link building. 

To maximize the reach of your content, promote it in multiple channels. You can also consider repurposing it. Search for social media sites and communities where your content can be shared.

Develop relationships with important influencers in your industry by mentioning them in your content and sharing their content. Visit and contribute on a regular basis in forums and online groups to get your name known in various communities that relate to your niche. Also, consider using email outreach campaigns for sharing your content. Paid advertising is another possibility. Your content marketing plan can always be adjusted in the future, but make sure to have a solid plan in place before you get started. 

Expecting Results Too Soon 

These days, so many businesses expect to see fast results. One of the most common mistakes that marketers make with their content marketing is expecting to see results right away.

So how long should it take before results start to be seen with content marketing?

According to Joe Pulizzi, who founded the Content Marketing Institute and is the author of the book Content Inc, businesses need to invest 15 to 17 months of content creation on a consistent basis before they see results or expect to start generating significant amounts of revenue from the content marketing efforts they make. 

Hubspot conducted a blogging study that showed companies with 400 published blog posts or more received twice the amount of traffic that companies with 300 to 400 blog posts did. 

Although the amount of effort and time that is required to be successful with content can vary, companies should plan on their content marketing to be part of their overall long term strategy. It does take time to generate momentum and build an audience. Therefore, marketers need to have realistic expectations before they get started.  

Businesses that make a commitment to a long term strategy and that produce high-quality content will achieve the best results. As you continue to add more articles to your website, your content will start ranking for more search terms and also attract more social shares and inks. Your website traffic will begin to accelerate at that point.

Too Much Selling 

So many businesses get started using content marketing to generate leads and sales from it. However, many might find that their content doesn't generate new leads and sales directly. 

To try to solve this problem, some companies will add a sales pitch or put their product in each piece of content they create. 

Although in certain situations it can make sense to add a call to action to your content, some businesses try to sell too much with their content. That can be a big mistake. Mentioning your company in all of your blog posts can cause readers to question your sincerity and authenticity.

Readers are a lot more likely to want to read content or follow a blog that comes from a source that they genuinely think is providing them with the best and unbiased information. When marketers spend too much time selling in their content, it can cause readers to be skeptical about the information contained in the article. Instead of using every article to try to sell something, sales pitches should be limited to the bottom of your funnel articles where readers are more likely to be converted. Or you can test adding on a call to action to a couple of relevant articles every month that are receiving a lot of traffic.

In order for your content marketing to succeed, your reader needs to be put first before the interests of your business. It isn't necessary to completely ignore your goals, but be careful about sounding too much like a pushy salesman if you are trying to grow your audience. 

Blindly Following Generic Advice on Content Marketing 

Don't follow the herd blindly. That is another mistake that is often made with content marketing. For example, many content writer job listings come with job descriptions that just require writers to write very long 2,000+ word articles. 

The belief that long-form content needs to be used in order to competitive stems from different studies that have shown that better search engine rankings are achieved by long-form content than short content, but that is not always the case. Short-form content strategies can be very effective as well. SimilarWeb reports that is among the top 5,000 highest websites when it comes to traffic. Over the past 6 months, the website received about 14 million visits.

However, on the guidelines page for contributors, they state they want short articles only that are a maximum of 1,200 words. 

To succeed with your content marketing, you need to have the ability to judge for yourself what is working for you and what isn't. Individuals who develop into thought leaders are able to do this because they know how to be creative and form their own opinions rather than simply following what everyone else is either saying or doing.

Just because a marketing blog is claiming that something is really true, you can always find examples where the opposite was done by someone and it succeeded still. There are not many marketing rules that cannot be broken or bent, so make sure you’re open-minded when you are coming up with a content marketing plan for your business. 

Disabling or Ignoring Blog Comments 

There are several reasons why businesses disable blog comments. One of the major reasons is that it can take a lot of time to moderate and reply to comments, especially if a blog gains a large audience. Taking the time to reply to blog comments can take away time from creating more content and growing your business. 

As a blog grows, spam comments can increase, which is another reason why businesses might want to disable comments. It can take a lot of time to manage them.

However, completely disabling or ignoring components definitely has drawbacks. Comments allow people to directly connect with you. Although many of the individuals might only be casual readers, some of them might be prospective customers who are considering spending money with you. Blog comments are also a great place to create a community based on your content and provide solid social proof of the popularity of your blog. Blogs that have a lot of comments can help to attract more follows and your blog with appear to be more authoritative as well. 

Although it can be hard to measure what impact blog comment has, it can have a greater impact than many people realize. 

For example, Neil Patel was able to generate $25,000 in revenue by commenting on similar blogs in the same niche. He noted that replying to comments made by people on his blog also caused readers to return to his blog. Do not disable blog comments simply because you don't want to have the hassle of needing to deal with moderating them. View blog comments instead as a chance to build a community and potentially generate more leads for your company. 

Failing To Invest in Thought Leadership 

Aberdeen conducted a study that showed marketing thought leaders enjoyed 7.8 times higher annual growth in website traffic compared to content marketing followers.The dream goal of content marketers is to achieve thought leadership within their niche. However, many businesses become discouraged from the pursuit of this goal due to the fierce competition that exists. However, the much higher return on investment received by thought leadership definitely makes it a goal that should be pursued by all content marketers. In order to win big with your content marketing, you should hire the most talented people and look for someone who is an industry expert.  Do you think your industry is one we cannot write about? You might be surprised by the answer you get. 

Winning With Your Content 

Content marketing can be very challenging. however, with the proper mindset and persistence any company can use effective content creation to grow their business. Avoid the mistakes above and you will be able to create a successful content strategy.