1. Your content is too short.
Multiple studies tell us that Google tends to prefer longer content. According to my friends at Searchmetrics, the highest-ranking content is at least 1,100-1,200 words. According to serpIQ, the ideal word count is actually more than 2,000.
While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to word count, the general trend is clear: longer, more comprehensive content usually performs best and ranks better in Google.
2. Your content doesn’t include any “elements of interest.”
A well-balanced and interesting piece of content should include more than just basic text. Images, videos, links, quotes, statistics, bulleted lists….these are all elements that add an additional layer of interest to your content. And considering they’re also great for getting high rankings, you should be including them in every single piece of content you create.
3. You’re too promotional.
The goal of content marketing is to create content that people actually want to read/view. If you’re being blatantly promotional, there’s a good chance your content marketing efforts are falling flat.
While you should be generating leads and sales through your content, this will usually happen further down in your marketing funnel. Which leads us to #4….
4. You haven’t thought through your content marketing funnel.
Each piece of content you create should lead your readers further down the path to purchase. Typically, sales and leads won’t happen until a prospect has had multiple points of contact with you, so don’t expect sales after a single blog post.
Carefully consider how and when you’ll promote your products or services, and then don’t pull the trigger until you’ve reached that stage of the funnel.
5. You’re not guest blogging.
Guest blogging is one of the best ways to gain visibility for your brand. Regularly posting on popular sites in your niche exposes you to a new audience, helps boost traffic to your site, and can even improve your search rankings.
Simply put, it’s a strategy that’s far too valuable to ignore. To learn more about finding guest blogging opportunities, check out my post How To Guest Blog Anywhere.
6. You’re overusing industry buzzwords.
Consumers have become increasingly attuned to insincerity in content. They don’t want to read posts that rely heavily on industry lingo or jargon, and will express their annoyance by promptly clicking the back button. A good rule of thumb is to write the way you talk; an authentic, conversational style will beat out industry-speak any day.
7. You’re using someone else’s voice.
The best content marketers are the ones who are true to their own voice and style. You don’t need to be a Neil Patel to succeed at content marketing. Be true to yourself, and work at developing your own style and tone. Let others emulate you!
8. You don’t promote or distribute your content.
According to research from Altimeter, only 26% of businesses invest in content promotion and distribution. This means that the remaining 74% of businesses are likely not getting as much traction out of their content as they’d like.
Remember that creating content is only the first step; have a plan in place for how you’ll get each piece of content in front of your target market.
9. You’re not using internal linking to your advantage.
Internal linking is important, both for SEO and user experience. Linking to relevant pages on your site allows web crawlers to find your content more easily, ensuring it’s indexed as quickly as possible. These links also provide your readers with the best possible experience, leading to higher time-on-site and increase page views.
10. You’re not linking out to authoritative sources.
According to research done by marketing firm Reboot, outbound links to authoritative sources have a positive effect on rankings. While this has long been suspected, it’s good to have some actual data to back it up. Apart from the SEO benefits, linking to relevant and trustworthy content is also great for user experience, and can boost the credibility of your site and content.
11. You think content replaces the need for SEO.
Content marketing has often been touted as “the new SEO”. However, these two strategies work best when used together. Writing excellent content often isn’t enough, especially if you hope to get that content ranking in the search engines. On-page, off-page and technical optimization will always be part of a successful content marketing strategy.
12. You’re too focused on SEO.
Optimizing your content is key to getting high rankings. However, content marketing is primarily about writing for your audience, not the search engines. Use keyword research to help find the specific words and phrases your audience is using, then write with those keywords in mind. This doesn’t mean your entire post should focus on those keywords – instead, use what you’ve learned to come up with general topics and subtopics you know your audience wants to hear about.
For more on this, see my post Why SEO Is Sabotaging Your Content Marketing.
13. You’re caught up in feeding the content marketing beast.
This is such a common mistake, and is one I’ve been guilty of myself at times. 77% of business owners in 2016 say that content marketing is core to their business. If you do the math on this, that is a lot of content being produced on a daily basis. Instead of just writing content for content’s sake, make sure each new piece has a specific purpose, and that it offers true value. While this strategy may mean you produce less content, the content you do produce will likely be far more successful.
14. You’re not writing with your target market in mind.
According to Ben Sailer of CoSchedule, the benefits of identifying your target market are numerous: “Defining who your real audience is will help you focus not only on creating great content but on creating the right content. It makes it easier to create content that establishes you as an authority in your industry, rather than creating content for its own sake.”
If you want to succeed at content marketing, take some time to think about who you’re really writing for. This simple process will keep you focused on the people who really matter, driving optimal results.
15. You’re not reusing or recycling content.
Constantly creating new content can be costly and time-consuming. One way to save time and money is to reuse, repurpose and recycle your existing content. This might mean promoting a single piece of content multiple times; re-optimizing a blog post to improve its rankings; repurposing blog posts into a paid ebook, etc. These strategies will mean less time creating content, leaving you more time for promoting your content.