Common Paid Advertising Mistakes That Are Killing Your ROI And Conversion

We reached out to content marketing pros across the interwebs and asked them to riff on the theme of content marketing mistakes:

“In the middle of 2015, what are you seeing content marketers do that they shouldn’t?

Or not do that they should?”

Their comments build on each other, reminding us of how to address content marketing mistakes via best practices and how we can all do better. Their keen insights tease out a few common threads and areas for improvement, such as:

  • Focus on generating quality content that your readers will want, enjoy, and share, as opposed to churning out ho-hum content like a hamster on a wheel.
  • Pay attention to your distribution strategy and channels so that your content finds an audience and vice versa.
  • Don’t waste good content by letting it lie fallow, used only once or twice.
  • Don’t cut bait too soon. It takes time for the investment in content marketing to pay off.

Here they are in their own words. Take it away, experts!

(NB — We did not interview the late leadership consultant and author Stephen Covey for this piece, but his canonical work on Highly Effective Habits gets a hat tip, particularly the 7th, which you can review further on his site.)

9 Experts on Content Marketing Mistakes They See Every Day

Janet Fouts

Janet Fouts

Founder and CEO

Tatu Digital Media

I see content marketers missing opportunities to get their message heard. Sharing a blog post once, broadcasted simultaneously to all your networks, really is a drop in the bucket. Pull out the points in the post and share it in different ways at different times to reach different audiences. Share it again in a few days, a week or even months later. A one-time blast is simply a waste of your great content.

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen

Chief Content Officer

Actionable Marketing Guide

The biggest content marketing mistake I see again and again is marketers failing to promote their content enough. Take Social Triggers’ Derek Halpern’s 80-20 rule to heart. Spend 20% of your time creating amazing, quality content and 80% of your time promoting it.

Marketers must think beyond once and done promotion. Consider repromotion in the form of re-imaging content for different platforms. Here are 50 ways to repromote content marketing.

Jim KeenanJim Keenan

CEO and President

A Sales Guy Inc.

Creating content that doesn’t provide any value to the audience. Content is about teaching. Therefore it needs to align with the issues, challenges and problems your target market is facing. Too often content today is bland, simple, uninspiring drivel that doesn’t educate users on how to solve, address, capitalize on or leverage big, hairy, problems.

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The biggest mistake content marketers make today is they’re too busy focused on the frequency, and quantity of the content and not on the quality and value of the content. Few people are creating really meaty shit.

Kristy MeyerKristy Meyer


Online Bridge

Please stop making your own business’s news the priority in your content feed. Get someone’s ear up at the top and show them how great brands are becoming greater by participating in the conversation. Let them know that playing it safe and only sharing carefully crafted messages about your own brand makes your brand too boring to be looked at as a contributor to bigger conversations in the social media space.

Joe PulizziJoe Pulizzi

Founder, Content Marketing Institute

Content Marketing Evangelist

Well, we see a couple things. First, the focus on campaigns, or short content bursts, is killing most marketers efforts. It takes time to build a loyal audience. It typically takes over a year when targeted a specific audience in a content niche.

Second, there is little focus on actually building audiences. More of the focus is on lead generation or lower-level metrics like web traffic, clicks and “engagement”.

Third, there is still incredible priority put to building social audiences on platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn, rather than building opt-in email audiences. We have no control over other platforms, where we have much more control over our own databases.

To sum up…if ROI expectations are less than a year, the initiative will most likely fail. Marketers need to build audiences for the long-term. If that can be done, we can build amazing assets that will ultimately lead to growing the top line. Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.

Rand FishkinRand Fishkin

Wizard of Moz

The four areas I see content marketers making the biggest mistakes / missing the most opportunities are:

  1. Targeting content exclusively at your buyer/conversion-ready audience, trying to convert them to a sale directly. That’s very rarely how great content marketing works. Instead, I urge content creators to consider the entire conversion journey, from discovery to engagement to interaction with a brand (all the stuff that happens before a purchase/conversion). You’re trying to build your expertise, create a relationship, and grow your brand, so you need to target a broader audience (including potential influencers of your buyers), and a broader set of needs (like information a potential buyer would need long before they might even consider a purchase).
  2. Too many content marketers ignore SEO and search as channels for content distribution. Some keyword research & targeting, basic SEO-friendliness, and technical SEO best practices can help you get in front of the billions of searches that happen every day on Google. Google still sends vastly more traffic to websites that every social media platform combined (Facebook included) – and for certain types of businesses, that number is 5X+!
  3. Content gets produced without a great answer to the question “Who will help amplify this and why?” If you don’t have a list of at least 5-10 specific people you know will love that content and want to share it with their own audiences, don’t bother making it and focus instead on an idea where you feel great about that list.
  4. Content investments are often abandoned way too soon. Content marketing takes a long time to develop into a scalable, powerful channel, but many companies give up a few months in because they’re unhappy with the results. Just learning what your audience wants, what resonates with influencers, and what has potential legs can take months – if you expect results in
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Author: Suzanne Hoenig

Suzanne Hoenig helps small business owners, nonprofit executives, and private practitioners in crafting their marketing copy, growing their online and offline community, and navigating the changing tides of social media and digital content marketing.… View full profile ›

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This article originally appeared on Return On Now Blog and has been republished with permission.

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