Friday, February 28, 2020

9 Content Marketing Mistakes That Are Hurting Your Brand

The original version of this blog appeared at:

Are your content marketing strategies companies creating value or distaste among consumers? We asked our team of content marketers their biggest pet peeves (as both marketers and consumers) that really set them off and guide them on their own strategies of things not to do when creating content.

Mistake #1: Uninspiring subject lines

Just because Ive agreed to receive your periodic dispatches doesnt mean I have the time or desire to read everything you send. Sorry. As a result, the subject line January 2020 newsletter probably wont draw a click unless I really love your organization. You can help me out, however, with a bone in the subject line: Entice me with a teaser and by all means, use active verbs.

  • Kerby Meyers, SmarterCX Contributor
Mistake #2: Quantity over quality

As a content marketing and SEO expert, my biggest pet peeve is the perception among some executives that crafting successful content is more about quantity than quality, and the lack of understanding all the elements that go into creating a blog post that eventually ranks in the top organic search position.

When content mills were a thing, lots of companies started copying the strategy with their own blogs, thinking that this was content marketing. With Google and other search engines getting better at understanding the difference between high-quality URLs and thin content, the companies that followed this old approach are now rightfully losing a massive amount of organic traffic.

  • Erik Mathes, SmarterCX Contributor
Mistake #3: Chasing quick wins vs long-term gains

My biggest and only pet peeve in content marketing is when companies chase quick wins rather than long-term gains. We need to treat audiences and the people tasked with reaching them as people rather than machines.

One piece of advice that I have for content teams moving into 2020 is to slow down and to focus on quality above quantity. In the digital ecosystem, there tends to be a lot of pressure to emphasize hypergrowth and hyperspeed to launch campaigns for the sake of launching campaigns.

We need to remember that were writing for people, not search engines, campaigns, or robots.

  • Ritika Puri, SmarterCX Contributor
Mistake #4: When email is used by other divisions without asking

As a customer: when I download something and my email is used by other divisions of the company or for what is often many other uses (I actually think this contravenes GDPR but companies still do it). I recently downloaded something from IG and I was absolutely inundated with emails! I unsubscribed but other products from the same group kept sending me emails. I think they should make it clear where the email will be used and by whom.

  • Timothy Woods, SmarterCX Contributor
Mistake #5: Creating content just to create it

As a marketer: My biggest content marketing pet peeve is hiring for content, but not strategy. Time and time again, new clients will come to me asking me to audit why their current content isnt converting. Or, clients will come looking for a writer to tackle topics theyve come up with themselves (that their audience might not be searching for or interested in!). Its like throwing spaghetti at a wall to see if it sticks. Pro tip: it sticks because of the starches, not necessarily because its finished cooking! Creating content just to create it wont benefit any business. A well-planned strategy is what attracts an audience and converts them into customers.

  • Erin Ollila, SmarterCX Contributor
Mistake #6: Multiple email follow-ups to unresponded-to pitches

As a journalist, I get hundreds of pitches from marketers about topics outside of the subjects I typically cover. Most of them I simply ignore, but on occasion I will receive did you see my message? or just checking inagain emails associated with pitches I didnt respond to. One of these is bad enough, but two or three demonstrates you dont know who youre pitching to, havent put in the time to research your market, and guarantees your address will be added to my spam list.

  • Benjamin Hunting, SmarterCX Contributor
Mistake #7: Content marketing as advertising

Clients come to me within a week or month of embarking on a new content marketing strategy, wondering why their numbers are not shooting upwards and towards the right. Ive lost track of the number of times Ive had to explain that content marketing is a long game that will reward handsomely in the long run, but only after months of consistently publishing and building trust in your brand. Content marketing is not advertising, period.

  • Daniel Tay, SmarterCX Contributor
Mistake #8: Trying to trick me with the subject line

My biggest content marketing pet peeve is when company emails try to trick me into thinking it is personalized or even that it is a reply by using Re: as the start of the subject. It doesnt feel genuine, and it makes me not want to read your email when I have figured out your strategy.

  • Jodi Warner, SmarterCX Editor
Mistake #9: Telling the customer what to do

My biggest content marketing pet peeve is using commands in messaging and phrases, like companies today need to…’ and to get ahead, you must…’ Ive seen messages like this used by every tech company Ive worked with, and it drives me crazy!

As content marketers, were not telling our audience what to do. Were giving them information to make an informed decision. When we take lessons from our favorite literature, movies, etc. and show instead of tell, we set ourselves apart and above the content marketing norm.

  • Mia McPherson, SmarterCX Editor-in-Chief


We all learn from our mistakes. Writers learn by writing, rewriting, and editing. Find out “How Content Marketers Always Succeed By Always Failing.”


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