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Dan ReedMon, Jul 27, 2015 7 min read

4 Content Mistakes That Destroy Inbound Marketing Results

ThinkstockPhotos-476583444When executed correctly, content marketing elevates your inbound marketing campaign and enables you to generate more leads.

By providing your prospects with educational content that helps them solve their pains, you establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Then, when your leads finally reach the point in their buyer journey at which they’re ready to buy, they’re going to think of you first and contact you. This makes it much easier to convert leads into customers.

Unfortunately, many companies don’t know how to carry out the content marketing portion of their inbound marketing campaign. If you fail to implement this properly, you risk making damaging errors that devastate inbound marketing results.

To get the best outcomes from your inbound marketing content, avoid the four success-killing mistakes below.

Mistake #1. Action Without Content Strategy

When you decide to incorporate content marketing into your inbound marketing campaign, you might be tempted to just start producing content without conducting any planning. Maybe you begin firing off blogs on any topic that comes to mind, posting case studies all over your website or creating marketing videos with whatever resources you have.

Avoid these haphazard tactics at all costs.  

Instead, start with an extensively researched content marketing strategy document. This document should begin with a particular pain from your prospect’s experience. Then, come up with topics for blogs and other types of content that address the pain.

Sketch out a schedule for when this content gets created and subsequently released. You should also conduct in-depth SEO (search engine optimization) research to determine the keywords you need to incorporate into your topics and content.

Only after you’ve dedicated considerable thought and planning to developing a well-written content strategy document (a verbal content strategy does not suffice) should you start generating content.

Mistake #2. Ignoring Your Buyer Persona

As you’re laying out the strategy and writing the copy for your inbound marketing content campaign, you have to keep the buyer persona in mind at all times. It’s not enough to simply start with your persona’s pains. You must also consider your persona’s content consumption habits.

If, for example, your persona typically has an advanced degree and frequently conducts extensive research projects, you should opt for longer, written content for your campaign. Lengthier blog posts and long-form reports such as e-books fit this persona well.

If, on the other hand, your buyer persona has less time or patience for reading, you need to keep your content short and easily digestible. Content for this persona should include tip sheets, short blogs and marketing videos that are less than three minutes long.

If you ignore your buyer persona when planning and creating your content, you lose the ability to connect with your prospects and convert them into customers.

Mistake #3: Not Enough Content Variety

To properly guide your prospects through their buyer journeys, be sure to produce a variety of content types.

While one type of content creation may come more naturally to you than others, you still need content that corresponds to the various stages of the buyer journey. Blogs, for instance, do not usually require the reader to invest a great deal of time or contact information, which makes them a great way to engage prospects at the very beginning of their buyer journey.

To guide users further along, you need informative content, such as tip sheets and whitepapers, that give them additional education on your area of expertise. This helps move them from the late stages of the awareness phase into the early parts of the consideration phase.

More interactive types of content, like assessments and webinars, help buyers transition from the consideration phase into the decision phase. For this type of content, consider requiring more contact information from your prospects (e.g., job title and phone number).

Once you’ve gotten your prospects into the decision-making phase, this is the time to offer a consultation. A consultation is an opportunity to convert prospects into customers – all while continuing to remain helpful and educational.

Mistake #4: Ignoring The User Experience

To maximize user engagement, keep in mind the ways in which prospects interact with your content – both physically and psychologically.

Your content may offer the greatest, most educational content that’s been published about your area of expertise, but if you ignore best practices for user experience when presenting that content, very few prospects are going to take the time to read your content and gain your valuable insights.

Format your written content to have ample margin size and a visually pleasing amount of white space between paragraphs. Also, keep your paragraphs as brief as possible. Large blocks of copy intimidate readers (even highly educated ones) and cause them to disengage.

Keep long, complicated words and industry jargon to an absolute minimum. While you may be trying to communicate knowledge and expertise, this type of language actually gives the impression that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Finally, keep all of your content as concise as possible. When you intentionally stretch the length of your content, you waste your prospects’ time and fail to add any real value.

Don’t let costly content marketing mistakes derail your inbound marketing campaign. Avoid the errors above to ensure that your prospects move through their buyer journeys as seamlessly as possible.

Start Today Tip – Never cut corners with the quality of your content. Careless errors, like spelling and grammatical mistakes, kill any trust you’ve built with your prospects. To prevent minor mistakes from turning into prospect attrition, hire an experienced, strategic copy editor to review all of your marketing content before publication.

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