Don’t let these content marketing mistakes cost your business.

Content is what convinces customers to take action. It’s what causes someone to click on a website or blog post. Ultimately it’s also what causes someone to buy, register, download or share.

If it’s not connecting with your audience in a meaningful way, it’s hard to keep them invested, and even harder to convince them to read.

Writing for the web can seem like a wide open, intimidating proposition. But your content may not miss by much. Below are three of the most common content marketing mistakes, and what you can do to fix them.

Fix These Content Marketing Mistakes, and Your Results Will Improve

Mistake #1: It’s Not Written to Your Reader

You might have years of experience in your industry. You might even have a specialized education and an advanced degree. You know your stuff inside, and out. That makes you a valuable resource for your customers. Don’t forget that. It also makes you prone to some common content marketing mistakes.

Now, stop writing above your customers’ heads. There’s a knowledge gap between you and your customers for all the reasons stated in the paragraph above. They don’t know what you know about your industry.

When your reader stumbles while reading your marketing content, it doesn’t make you look smart. It drives them away. If you’re lucky they’ll go to a dictionary. It’s more likely however, that they’re going to the next search result.

Here’s what you can do to fix this content marketing mistake:

  • Stop using inside industry terms and acronyms. If they absolutely have to be used, define them and spell them out.
  • Have someone outside your industry read your content before it’s published to make sure it’s relatable.
  • Talk with your customers regularly about their pain points and knowledge base related to your industry. This will keep you in touch with what they know.

Marketing copy shouldn’t read like an academic dissertation. It should be something your audience can identify with, and a reason that they grow to like you and your business.

Mistake #2: It Focuses on the Hard Sell

The natural instinct for a business writing website copy is to want to sell. But that instinct can lead to trouble. Here’s what I mean.

When a reader finds your website online, they’re usually doing so because they have some sort of problem they are looking to solve. They may turn to Google and search some phrase related to this problem, and congratulations, it’s your site that pops up!

The battle is only halfway complete, however. In case you wonder what I’m talking about, you can’t pay your mortgage with website traffic. It’s not enough to have the largest party. If you’re in business, you need the people at the party to buy something.

However, your customer might not be in the right mindset to buy just yet. Try and solve their problem first. Resist the urge to write content sounds like a used car salesman, trying to convince their prospect to take that test drive.

Here’s what you can do to fix this content marketing mistake:

  • Write about how to fix things related to your industry.
  • Provide consumer advice for shopping around in your industry.
  • Do keyword research to determine what matters the most to your readers, and adjust your content to that.

This is one of the easiest content marketing mistakes to remedy. Make sure that you are providing an immense amount of value in all of the content you produce. Remember, they sought you out, and not the other way around. If you jump to the sale too fast, they may not be ready. Work at establishing trust first to fix this content marketing mistake.

Write Right Sell Now

Mistake #3: It’s Not Clear What You Want Your Reader to Do

Your readers may make it all the way to the end of the piece. They may really like what you wrote, and find it useful.

But if they’re not buying, or they’re not taking the action you intended for them to take, it can still be frustrating. Did you make it as easy as possible for people to take the action you wanted them to take?

Here’s what you can do to fix this content marketing mistake:

  • Ask people to take one action at the end of every marketing piece (including blog posts). There are more calls to action than to simply buy: download, contact, register, sign-up, share and comment are all perfectly acceptable requests.
  • Include “buy now” or “contact now” buttons in various locations on pages with a longer body of content.
  • Test the wording on various calls to action within your content. Repeat the ones that have a high success rate.

Calls to action add clarity and a sense of direction for your reader. If you’ve done your job and provided value to your reader, a well-worded call to action can have a significant impact.

Conclusion…

Remember, design guides readers through the marketing experience, but it’s the content that dictates readers’ action. Make sure you are doing everything you can to improve your readers’ experience. It’s the best way to turn them into customers.

Matt Brennan is a Chicago are marketing writer and copy editor. He is also the author of Write Right-Sell Now: How to Create Content That Grows Your Business. 

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