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Four Content Marketing Mistakes Even Experts Miss

By September 20th, 20239 Comments

Jackie Chan | Meme Face

Few would argue that content marketing changed digital marketing as a whole in the last couple years. In an industry that started with big box ads, search engine marketing and making sales on forums; the digital marketer of today requires a deep toolkit. As a digital strategist by trade, I can’t help but embrace the ongoing updates to Google and the ongoing challenges that force our industry to do better.

I know a lot of marketers who focus solely on making a sale to their clients and never back it up with results. In todays world, you need to not only be able to educate your clients on why you’re looking to do something but also provide them with real results at the end of the day. When you look at the toolkit for someone doing content marketing, there are a variety of different tactics that can be implemented to find success. With the ongoing changes and various updates to the space however, it can be challenging to keep up with.

I want to share some things that even the most advanced digital marketers forget when developing their plans for clients or their own businesses. My hope is that these tips and tricks will be handy in ensuring that you can achieve success and see real results. Here are four marketing mistakes you don’t want to make:

Effective Infographic Branding

No. Infographics are not dead. These ones are getting ignored, these ones are not.

In world filled with text, infographics cut through the noise and take a shape of their own. Infographics provide people with a visual that is easy to digest, understand and share. Not to mention, when done properly, infographics can elevate a brand higher than they currently are simply through beautiful and captivating design. Infographics are not only great for these things but also provide brands to achieve the following; (1) an increase in backlinks for SEO (2) convey a complex idea very simply and (3) spark ongoing and consistent social media shares.

One mistake that many businesses make however, is branding their infographics. I know, it sounds obvious but you can go to one or two extremes when it comes to infographics and both have serious repercussions associated with them. If you forget to brand your infographic and it’s being shared left right and centre; you will generate little benefit beyond the odd backlink for your viral success. People will see this great infogrpahic and consume the information within it but have no connection between that infographic and your business or organization. On the flipside, if you create an infographic that is overly branded, people are simply not going to be interested in sharing your content. Most people don’t want to share ads with their friends, they want to share cool stuff.

Nugget of Insight: Because there isn’t a lot of text for search engines to review with infographics, you need to pay careful attention to the details. For example, never upload a photo with a file name like “screenshot-mac-10430-3257.jpg”; give it a name that describes the content within the infographic and use keywords, such as “four-content-marketing-mistakes.png”.

Forgetting the Power of SEO

A few years ago the concept of being a social media specialist was kind of a big deal. Today, content marketers are starting to generate the same kind of buzz as social media specialists which was really an evolution of SEO experts which was another buzzing title that became less glamorous with time. A true content marketer understands the power of Google and how it can impact the success of their content. Yet, a lot of content marketers have gotten so caught up in content marketing best practice that they’ve forgotten about some of the tricks of the trade as it relates to search engine optimization. Here are a few things that marketers often forget about or overlook:

Personalized Search: Recently, Google made a huge change in the SEO space when they started delivering personalized search results. Meaning, when you do a search for “content marketing tips” you will more than likely get different results than I will. How do you ensure that your content shows up in peoples results?

  1. Add People to Google + Circles: Your content is more likely to show up when people have you in their circles.
  2. Drive more people to your site: If someone has visited your site in the pass and it’s in their history; Google is more likely to show your content if you’ve created something relevant to their search.
Google Authorship: Recently google introduced a new way to increase your chances of having your content clicked on during a users search. They call it, Google Authorship. It’s a rich snippet within your content that results in your profile picture showing up in Google search next to your content. An example can be seen here:
Guest Blogging: I know it’s common practice for startups and SEOs but for the traditional content marketer; this is often seen as an ego killer. I’m here to say screw your ego. Embrace the networks of others and embrace the idea of generating SEO backlinks through high profile guest posts. While it’s a simple practice, guest blogging can drive great success for your content marketing efforts.

Not Paying for Eyeballs

If you spend more than an hour a day online you will quickly realize how much content is out there. You will realize that a quick google search can provide you with research and answers that both confirm and disprove your initial thinking. Whether it’s a health issue or a marketing debate; there are opinions everywhere and content about everything. The challenge for great content marketers isn’t the difficulty of writing a good blog post or creating unique content; the challenge is getting it in front of the right people.

To often do marketers believe in the idea that; “If you build it, they will come”. Well this isn’t Rome and there isn’t any marketers by the name of Julius Casear that I’m aware of. If you develop great content, some will come but not all. For that reason, it’s important to support your content with advertising that will drive an increase in eyeballs to your pages. If you’re simply looking to keep connecting with your existing audience, keep it up. If you’re looking to grow your audience and penetrate new markets; start targeting markets outside of your existing one.

Mediocre at Everything & Great at None 

Too many businesses are getting caught up in trying to be everything to everyone. I’ve worked with a handful of clients over the last few years and time after time, I hear them asking the same old question. “What’s going to be the next Facebook? We want to be there.” For goodness sakes… Focus on getting Facebook right first and then start looking at other channels.

If you try to do a little bit of everything you will excel at nothing. It’s the reason why Seth Godin only blogs and doesn’t spend his time tweeting or using Facebook. He recognizes the importance of focusing on one channel and doing it to the best of his ability. As it relates to content marketing, brands and marketers need to take a similar approach. Identify something you can do very well and perfect it. Stop trying to be great at Twitter, Pinterest, Blogging, Linkedin, Quora, Facebook, MySpace, SnapChat, Vine, Songza, I think you get the point…Focus.


Andrew Chen once said, there are two types of marketers; direct response marketers and brand marketers. One group focuses on the big, shiny creative idea while the other focuses on the integration of true analytic measurement as it relates to cost per customer and generating meaningful measurable results. I believe both of these marketers play an important role in business and when one can combine the best of both worlds; real magic happens.

In content marketing, I feel you need to embrace both sides of the coin as it relates to this idea. You need to be embracing the big idea but also embracing the accountability associated with generating meaningful results.

Content marketing is a constantly evolving game and if you don’t keep up with it, you will have a hard time staying up with the elite. It’s important for marketers not to spend a lot of time trying to simply create content for quantities sake and instead focus on providing quality. If you can do that, you will notice that success doesn’t happen overnight, it happens with commitment to your craft and dedication to quality work.

What I’ve personally experienced when working with businesses looking for help with content is simple; provide content that your target audience wants to consume. For example, if you’re a startup that is targeting the owners of car dealerships; create a piece of content that will show them how to sell more cars. Quality over quantity. 

What other mistakes have you seen content marketers miss?


Want more insights on content marketing? I’m writing a book titled Level Up: A Guide to Content Marketing where I’ll be sharing insights like these about emotion and diving deeper into a handful of tips and tricks that will help take your content marketing efforts to the next level. Sign up today for updates regarding launch and other developments.

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Ross Simmonds

Ross Simmonds is a digital marketing strategist who has worked with everything from Fortune 500 companies to startups to drive results using digital marketing and technology.

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Nigel Rawlins
10 years ago

I like the way you put things and talk straight. For a one person business this is a hard thing to get their heads around. That not only do they need content, and a variety of types of content such as video and yes, ideally an appropriate infographic, but they’ve also got to be focused, creative and put the hours in to at least get some eyeballs. And yes, quality over content. Well written and thanks!

Ross Simmonds
10 years ago
Reply to  Nigel Rawlins

Thanks for the comment Nigel – It’s definitely challenging for a one person business; that’s why prioritization is key. One person businesses need to focus on places their audiences are and what their audiences are interested in. Focus is key.

10 years ago

Content marketing is a very powerful tool, but you can easily sink yourself if you make any of above mistakes. When done well, content marketing will increase your traffic and increase the number of prospects in your sales funnel.

Ross Simmonds
10 years ago
Reply to  ambreen11

You’re spot on – Definitely easy to sink the ship if you don’t keep these things in mind. Thanks for the comment.


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