Top Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid – Advice from the All-Stars 2019

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Do you remember our July 13, 2018 blog post, Top Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid – Advice from the All-Stars? It’s time to return to this popular topic to find new offenses. There is still too much “content is king” talk and too many pretenders to the throne to ignore any longer. As we did last year, we offer observations from our dream team of industry thought leaders about where content marketing efforts go sideways – as well as some wisdom gleaned by our Virtual Stacks Systems home team!


Advice from the All-Stars


First up is Tamsen Webster, founder and chief idea whisperer of Find the Red Thread.

The common mistake Webster often sees is businesses that consider social media just another advertising channel.

“I was part of a meeting when a company was figuring out if they should invest more time in Twitter. I will never forget these words from the managing director, “‘Will Twitter make the company an extra $150,000 per year?’”

“Every channel has its own type of culture with an unwritten role of engagement and connection. The example I highlighted is not isolated, most brands go into channels to sell from them instead of digging deeper to become part of the culture.”

In other words, your business should go on social media to learn the wants, needs and interests of members of your target audience and communicate with them about how your brand can help. If your brand is able to build or build upon a community of like-minded people enthusiastic about what you offer (think Yeti), all the better!


Next up – David Gerhardt, Vice President of Marketing for Drift.

Expecting instant results from content marketing is another common big mistake.

“Content marketing requires effort. You can’t publish a couple of blog posts and expect to see an increased ROI, a mounting audience and tons of subscribers immediately. Blogging for your business is an investment, not a get rich quick scheme.”

Gerhardt uses his own company’s blog as an example of playing the long game. Click on this link for the chart showing the breakdown of traffic to Drift’s blog to show the long-term impact of individual blog posts.

Although Gerhardt singles out blogging, his observation applies to all forms of content marketing. Contrary to popular misconception, blog posts and/or social media posts alone won’t make the phone ring off the hook with new prospects. They need to be part of an overall marketing strategy and assessed accordingly.


This from Eli Schwartz, Director of Growth for Survey Monkey.

“One of the biggest mistakes is not hiring someone to do content marketing full time. If you just have current employees try to create content in their free time or on the side, your publishing will be sporadic, unfocused, and eventually peter out when you don’t see results in the first six months.”

This is a common mistake by businesses that want to do content marketing on the cheap rather than hire an experienced content marketing professional or digital marketing agency. Not only do your existing employees not need the additional workload, they’re being set up for failure because content marketing isn’t in their wheelhouse. You get what you pay for.


From Lee Wilson, Head of SEO at Vertical Leap.

Writing from his lofty perch as VIP Contributor for Search Engine Journal, Wilson calls out stagnated content as a major no-no.

By Wilson’s definition, stagnated content is “Content which has seen reduced performance contribution toward its original intended purpose, and has therefore slowed down, or stopped adding marketing value completely.”

Content may stagnate in a matter of weeks, months or years, depending upon several factors that can include content, the robustness of the content when it went live and the speed at which its perceived value deteriorates over time. Trends that indicate stagnated content include reduced metric performance, a slow declining reduction and/or lower value derived over time.

However, stagnated content doesn’t always need to be removed. Wilson identifies the circumstances when content can be repositioned and refreshed, and offers useful methods for doing so – such as bringing the content up-to-date, and adding new statistical reference points and sources.


Now from our own Best Content Writing Team!


Inconsistent messaging/content doesn’t address the target audience – For example, the brand of vitamins and nutritional supplements we’ve seen for the 50+ market. You wouldn’t know baby boomers were the market, though, because the stock photos on social media posts feature millennials. And nothing in its social media and blog posts addresses the nutritional needs and health concerns specific to people in this age group. Every opportunity to position the brand as ideal for older adults who want to follow a healthy lifestyle, be fit and stay independent has been passed up. Instead, the brand gets lost in the mushy middle of generic messaging.

Poor-quality images – Much of the success of social media posts – particularly on Instagram – depends upon the quality of the images to engage people and start that all-important customer conversion process. As covered in our June 29, 2018 blog post – Get a Sharper Image for Your Brand Through Sharper Images – images are also content.

If you’re not working with a digital marketing agency, study the social media accounts and blogs of your competitors to see the types of images they post. Are they sharp, well-composed photos of employees, guests, customers, products, etc.? Are they interesting on their own, without context?

If you are working with an agency, are you providing images that will help increase engagement? Even scheduling access to your office/facility (if possible) so an agency member can take photos and/or videos can go a long way in producing images that boost your branding. A good client-agency relationship should be in the spirit of collaboration. An open discussion between you and your agency’s creatives can be beneficial in improving the quality of visual content.


The take-home message

Unless your business has an in-house digital marketing department, content marketing that checks all the boxes for best practices is a daunting task when you go it alone. Virtual Stacks Systems offers a wide range of digital marketing services – including PPC advertising, website design and redesign, SEO marketing, review management services, social media marketing, video production and much more!

Contact us today to get started.


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