Spend any time on YouTube watching videos created by content marketers, and you will see men driving super-fast red cars along palm-tree-lined highways. These business people boast about their six-figure income and reassure you that with “a little hard work” (and a subscription to their newsletter) that you, too, can enjoy a life full of designer clothing and personal chefs.
Yes, there is money to be made with content marketing. Yes, many attempt to make this money. But not all content marketers are driving around in red sports cars. Although content marketing is still in today, it’s not all easy, especially when you are just starting out.
Read on to learn more about the most common pitfalls when starting out with content marketing.
Pitfall #1 Lacking focus
It’s so easy to get excited when hearing about content marketing for the first time. It looks like easy money! Literally earning money even when you are asleep is such an attractive concept.
Maybe you immediately start on a website, you create a Facebook page, and you collect email addresses. Having many irons in the fire is not necessarily a bad thing. Some of our best thinkers and creators are people who work this way.
However, to be a successful marketer, don’t just place links for Amazon products willy-nilly all over the Internet. Instead, spend some time in the planning stages. Make decisions on the fundamentals of your plan. Understand your audience. Figure out how the best way to reach your audience.
Pitfall #2 Ignoring your audience
You worked hard creating worthwhile content. Your content has been shared by others, and people are commenting on your work. Don’t ignore these comments! If your reader actually took the time to write ANYTHING to you, they must at least have some minimal interest in what you are selling.
Take the time to respond to their comments, even if it is a simple “thank you for commenting.” Set up an email notification system to let you know when new conversations have been started on your website.
And while we are on the subject of commenting, interact with other social media profiles within your industry. Read other blogs and share your story in the comments.
Pitfall #3 Providing unnecessary content
It’s hard to come up with a unique idea. Search any random string of nouns, and you are bound to find a website dedicated to the subject. But don’t give up! Just because something has been done before doesn’t mean that it has been done well.
Of course, try to find a subject in which you have an interest, such as health supplements, cryptocurrency or even online shopping. But also think about a time when you needed information about a product, and it was difficult to find a valid source.
Pitfall #4 Not focusing on quality
Hire good writers and website designers and pay them well. Read the copy before publishing. Check for grammatical errors. Make sure the information you provide your audience is current and accurate. Have plenty of high-quality, current content on your website and maintain it to ensure all the links work correctly.
But even if your writing would make your old high school English teacher sing “Hallelujah,” make sure your writing tells your audience how they will benefit from your product. Try to put yourself in your audience’s shoes and write from the heart. Include personal stories that others may identify with to draw the readers into your article. Beautifully written content that draws people in can make such a difference!
The other day, someone asked me to provide feedback on a website that reviews lumbar support pillows. I’ve never had a back issue in my life, but after reading his content, I started sitting up straighter, pulling my shoulders back, and felt a few twinges of discomfort in my lower back.
By the time I finished reading the review, I followed his links to Amazon, and picked out a lumbar system that was right for me. That is the power of content marketing in action.
Pitfall #5 Not using the right keywords
Teach yourself about search engine optimization. There are plenty of videos, articles, ebooks, and seminars available online. It doesn’t matter if you have the best content on an issue in all of the Internet world, if you aren’t found, you will not reap any monetary rewards.
Use the Google keyword planner. This helps get into the Internet user’s collective minds. For example, relating to the example above regarding my buddy with support pillows, it would be helpful to know what people search for when looking for something to help with lower back pain. Do they use the word lumbar? Use keywords in your writing that people are searching for.
Pitfall #6 Not using the right format to share your information
When USA Today first entered the publishing world, media critics were intrigued by their use of color and infographics—even on the front page.
Look at your own content. Is there another way your can get your point across besides a bulleted article? Why not use a well-designed, attractive infographic?
If you are writing about lumbar support systems, use an accompanying chart that shows the similarities and differences among products. Give readers the information they need at a glance. And make it attractive! If you don’t have the skill set to do this on your own, there are plenty of websites where you can hire freelancers to complete small jobs, such as Upwork or Fiverr.
Pitfall #7 Expecting riches overnight
Many content markets have a day job and can’t spend 40 hours a week dedicated to their marketing gig. You may be the same. Even if you hire a team of designers and writers, the process can be lengthy and costly. Have patience, but don’t be so patient that you never move forward.
Do something every day to help your at-home business. Write an article. Create a video. Take some photos. Hire a writer. It may not be overnight, but hopefully someday you, too, will be cruising with your shiny new sports car just like the dudes on YouTube.