Even the sharpest and best marketers make B2B content marketing mistakes. I’m breaking down some of the most common ones. And I included easy fixes to help you get your content back on track.
I want you to go back in time with me. Remember when you were starting your first content marketing program? You were seeing that needle move with less effort. Customers were engaging with your brand. Website visits were spiking. Leads were rolling in.
Let’s get back to present day. Is your content marketing progress stalling? If you answered yes, please don’t fret. I’m going to help get your content marketing program back on track.
B2B Content Marketing Mistakes: Creating content in a vacuum
Your content is well-written. It’s presented in a variety of formats. Your graphics are beautiful. You’re sharing via your website, email and social channels. But your audience doesn’t seem to care. Why are your efforts no longer pulling in your audience?
The Problem: No clear who, what or why
Is your content team writing for everyone? Are they guessing who your audience is and what engages them? Do they not understand why your brand would resonate? All are harmful to your content marketing program.
Well-written content that doesn’t foster engagement isn’t audience-centric. Do you guess who your audience is or what they need? If you answered yes to either question, your content marketing program will never connect and convert.
Many brands make the mistake of trying to appeal to the masses with their content. They fall into the trap of not wanting to miss out on connecting with prospective customers. This ends up diluting your message and stalling your content efforts. Good content marketing should repel and attract. You want to attract those who fit and repel those who don’t.
The Fix: Review your content marketing strategy
Many marketers skip an annual content marketing strategy review. You have a packed schedule. You’re worried about feeding your content pipeline. But instead, you’re ignoring this crucial review.
Remember that your audience, your company and your industry are in flux. Things can and do change faster in our digital world. The most well-written content will fall flat if you don’t have a clear and up-to-date understanding of:
- Why you’re producing content
- Who you’re writing for
- How you help your audience meet their goals
Carve out the time. Go back and review your content strategy. Make sure that the answers to these questions haven’t changed:
- What goals will our content marketing program help us achieve?
- What will success look like?
- How will we measure our success?
- Who is our target audience?
- What will they gain from our content?
- How can we make our content powerful and useful?
- How can we make our content more useful than that of our competitors?
Lastly, don’t forget about your data. Review it, analyze it, slice it and dice it. This deep dive data analysis will help you make better content decisions. It will ensure you’re delivering content that appeals to and motivates your target audience. Here are some places you can farm your data from:
- Google Analytics: Monitor Google Analytics to build and refine your buyer personas.
- Google Search Console: Make sure your content indexes correctly, and fix crawl errors.
- Social analytics: Plan content with social listening data.
- Keywords: Strategize search-engine-optimized (SEO) content with keyword data.
B2B Content Marketing Mistakes: Your content is too smart
Writers face a common problem – the “curse” of knowledge. Your subject experts know the ins and outs of your products and services. Your marketing team has worked hard to cast them as thought leaders in your industry. Yet your writers are struggling to interview your subject experts. They end up producing technical content that’s difficult to understand.
The Problem: Content is complex and confusing
It can be hard for your team and your content to explain things in simple terms. This struggle often occurs when your customers require complex solutions. They do a lot of research to find answers. When your team lands on bloated, jargon-filled content, customers become confused. They keep searching until they find a competitor that they understand better. Similarly, they might look for one they think knows them better.
The Fix: Simplify content and make it compelling
When writing about a complex subject, your writers should aim to keep things simple. But it shouldn’t be so simple that your content isn’t compelling. It’s not an easy balancing act, right? But it’s well worth the effort.
Here are some tried-and-true writing tips to simplify complexity:
- Tell a story
- Avoid jargon
- Watch your tone
- Write as you speak
- Simplify word choices
- Stick to active voice
- Remember your audience
B2B Content Marketing Mistakes: Quantity over quality
Remember the old phrase, “quality over quantity?” It can apply to many things. It’s the golden rule when it comes to content marketing. Sadly, many businesses mistakenly produce too much content. Surprising, right?
The Problem: Too much content can lead to overlapping content
Brands often fall into the trap of having an overloaded content calendar. The goal may be to cover all the keywords they rank for and are targeting. Alternatively, they think more content will make Google happier.
This approach can lead to blog articles being too similar to each other. Content begins to overlap. Keyword cannibalization ensues. This causes your own blog content to compete against itself rather than your competitors’ websites. This leads to Google sending less traffic your way.
The Fix: Merge similar content
SEO requires ongoing work and development to get the most out of it. Think of SEO like a plant. Sure, you can give it a ton of food and water all at once. It might even get a temporary boost. But after a while, it will perish because you haven’t fed it properly.
Think about merging similar articles. By combining instead of splitting, you’ll give your content and your keywords more power. Feed your SEO regularly with optimized content. Nurture it. Give it time to grow.
B2B Content Marketing Mistakes: Being consistently inconsistent
Feeding your content pipeline can be hard to keep up with. If you can’t feed your pipeline consistently, you’ll lose momentum with your audience and search engines.
The Problem: Failing to produce consistent content regularly
- Are you posting three articles a week, then nothing for the rest of the month?
- Does your varied content sound like it’s from a different company?
If any of these sound like your content, then consistency is a big problem.
The Fix: Make a plan and stick to it
On a subconscious level, your audience is always paying attention. You must connect with a prospect seven or eight times before the individual becomes a lead. If you allow long stretches between exchanges, you risk being forgotten.
To be memorable, you must present a consistent identity with your brand’s voice, tone and look. You’ll reinforce trust by publishing quality content regularly. Fostering awareness, audience trust, authority and customer loyalty starts with consistent content.
Here are some tips to produce content at a steady cadence:
- Audit existing content for voice, authority and SEO
- Create an editorial calendar
- Make topic selection a team effort
- Hold monthly brainstorm sessions
- Listen and learn from your customers
- Have a backlog of evergreen content
- Refresh and repurpose existing content
If your branded content is lacking consistency in execution, you should:
- Create content for your target audience
- Express your brand’s core value
- Pick a writing style (AP Stylebook, Chicago Manual of Style) or create your own
- Create and follow brand guidelines
- Content (messaging, keywords and phrases, tone, do’s and don’ts, boilerplate, etc.
- Design (logo usage, typography, design elements, digital and print communications, color palette, photography, etc.)
B2B Content Marketing Mistakes: Not keeping up with SEO
A misleading concept has been circulating since the birth of SEO. Create and post good content consistently, and you’ll make the search engines happy.
Unfortunately, this is far from true. Yes, content marketing and SEO are attached at the hip. And good content is necessary for SEO. But assuming that “good” content will make your company effective in search is dangerous.
The Problem: Good content can’t outrun bad SEO
The idea is right, in principle. Google’s algorithm naturally ranks “good” content higher.
But why isn’t good content enough to increase your search rankings? Because Google’s bots must be able to see your content. They must detect, index and categorize it. This level of “awareness” happens on a technical level. Remember, we’re dealing with bots.
The Fix: Apply healthy SEO practices
Writing good content with relevant keywords and phrases is a must. Combine that with solid SEO practices, and you’ll give your content the best chance to rank. A successful SEO strategy must include:
1. On-page SEO
On-page SEO improves your rankings by building and optimizing your content. This includes:
- Incorporating keywords into page content
- Writing high-quality content regularly
- Making sure your metatags and titles are keyword-rich and well-written
2. Off-page SEO
Off-page SEO is the optimization that happens beyond your website. This includes:
- Earning backlinks from reputable sources
- Building relationships
- Creating shareable content
3. Technical SEO
Technical SEO optimizations make your website easy for search engines to crawl. Search engine crawlers index pages and websites for search engines. These crawlers help search engines store your page and website data for future searches.
The final type of SEO is content. Content is the bread and butter of your SEO and your website. It gives users and search engines essential information about your company. It tells them what you do, what types of services you offer and how you approach education and problem-solving.
Realizing where the problems are with your content marketing is the first step. Those who can get it right will earn the rewards of their content efforts.