SEO

How To Fix 21 Content Creation Mistakes That Impact ROI


Technology and evolving consumer behaviors are making content creation increasingly challenging.

And if content doesn’t perform, it impacts ROI – big time.

Everyone involved in the content marketing process – creators, marketers, and agencies alike – needs to know and avoid content creation mistakes that could be hindering the best potential performance of each piece.

In this column, you’ll learn about the most common content creation mistakes, how to spot them, and what you can do to prevent or solve them in order to drive the greatest ROI.

Let’s Fix 21 Content Creation Mistakes Impacting ROI

See if any of these may be happening in your content marketing operation.

1. No (Or Little) Discussion On “Who”

One of the biggest content creation mistakes is to miss out on discussing who will consume your content with the people creating it.

Marketers typically have a well-defined ‘who,’ ‘why,’ and ‘how’ for each piece of content. But what good is that information if it doesn’t make it into the hands of your content creators?

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Without audience information, content creators may inspiration from competing blogs on search engines. That’s not the right approach because competitors might target a different set of audiences with the same keywords.

If those are not your target audience, your content will suffer from incorrect messaging, affecting the ROI of content and its marketing potential.

How To Avoid This Content Creation Mistake

Either take a call with your content creators to explain who they are writing for, or create a content brief.

Your brief can include who they’re writing for, what that person should get from it, and what you want that content to do whether that is driving engagement, conversions, visits, or some other measurable outcome.

How to avoid a content creation mistake: an example.Add the “Who” Information in the Content Brief

2. Not Identifying The Searcher’s Intent

This is a critical mistake, especially with recent Google updates.

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Why would a customer search for this content?

Marketers have likely done detailed research and analysis on why and when a content topic best fits the target audience.

Here’s an example. Let’s say our topic is:

Top Fashion eCommerce Brands In India

There could be two audiences searching for this topic for two different reasons:

  1. End customers looking to buy fashion online.
  2. Entrepreneurs looking to explore this segment in ecommerce.

We picked up #2 search intent to create content in 2018, and to our surprise, it still ranks as a featured snippet.

Topics with Different Search Intent - Fix Content Creation MistakesGoogle Search; screenshot by author, 2021.

How To Avoid This Content Creation Mistake

If you’re creating a brief, clarify your intent, searcher’s intent, and detailed keyword intent for content creators so they know how to attract readers and provide clarity about the intent of the piece to search engines.

3. Disregarding The Stage Of A Buyer’s Journey

Yes, this is a content creation mistake.

Marketers define the stages of the buyer’s journeys and document them. But that’s not enough.

The buyer’s journey and content creators need to be in sync. If you’re outsourcing your content creation to freelancers or agencies, they won’t know the right message to use without knowing the stage of the buyer’s journey.

How To Avoid This Content Creation Mistake

Let your content creators have this information when you call, send a brief, email, or otherwise communicate with them.

With this, content creators can choose where to make the right call to action to drive the desired customer actions.

4. Failing To Plan Content In Advance

Every marketing team has a long list of content topics. They pick out the best ones and start sending them to the writers. I’ve seen this, especially with SEO professionals.

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With this kind of process, you cannot estimate ROI because you don’t know:

  • Your purpose in creating content.
  • Why users would be searching for content.
  • How many keywords you’re targeting for content.
  • At which stage of the buyers’ journey they belong.
  • What results the content will drive within a couple of months.

And when planning is not done right, content creation will be flawed.

That’s the reason why failing to have a content plan is one of the biggest content creation mistakes.

How To Avoid This Content Creation Mistake

Get your content calendar in order with all of the pertinent information needed to schedule and promote your content.

And, if you think it’s time-consuming or challenging, copy this template into your Google Sheets (we use this internally for our projects and keep it updated).

Not having a content planner - Worst content creation mistakeMy Content Calendar Template; screenshot by author, 2021.

5. Overlooking Your Writers’ Understanding Of Your Business

Most marketers hire niche content writers for topics such as SaaS, eCommerce, sales, lifestyle, manufacturing, technical, and more.

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Why? Because you think they will understand the industry.

They know what to write and how, and it’s assumed that the content creation will be as per your expectations.

While they may know the subject, do they know how they can personalize and brand your content? Do they know:

  • How your product is different from the competitors?
  • How do you want to position your business?
  • What features should be highlighted?

If this is missed in the content, you’re not going to get desired results: conversations and conversions.

How To Avoid This Content Creation Mistake

Don’t just share your brochure or website.

Help content creators better understand your brand by experiencing your products/services with storytelling, demos, live meetings, and more.

6. Not Publishing Content Regularly

No, I’m not mistaken that this is a content creation mistake that could impact ROI. Though publishing is an after-creation process, it’s a part of your marketing activities.

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Most marketers (including SEO pros) have this misconception that publishing content regularly means:

  • Writing more content.
  • Needing more budget.
  • Adding more effort.

What it actually means is following your timelines consistently. Be it your audience, platforms, or search engines, they need to know when you’re coming back with the next piece of content.

How To Avoid This Content Creation Mistake

Even if you have a limited budget for SEO and content, make sure you put out content at regular intervals.

This helps your audience and search engines know when they should expect new content.

After all, every time Google comes to your site and finds good content, it helps boost your organic visibility.

7. Excluding Your Sales Team From The Content Creation Process

Sales representatives are the people who talk with your customers day in and day out. They understand what the customer wants, what language they speak, the keywords they use, and more!

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If you don’t add your sales team at the following stages of your content process, you’re making a huge mistake that affects the quality of leads you receive:

  • Topic research.
  • How to approach a topic.
  • How to incorporate sales messaging within the content.
  • Whether the writer has effectively explained the context.

How To Avoid This Content Creation Mistake

We use a process where during the monthly meeting, the sales team is present to discuss our marketing strategy to ensure it’s aligned with what the sales team wants to achieve.

There, we discuss topics, briefs, messaging, CTAs, and everything in between. You can do the same for your website.

8. Creating One ‘Endless’ Long-form Content For Each Topic

I recently wrote How To Optimize For Google Featured Snippets, a how-to guide on what featured snippets are, the types of featured snippets, and the process you should follow to optimize for them.

However, when I wrote 13 Tips For Writing Product Descriptions That Convert, I didn’t add what product descriptions are, why they are necessary, and other pertinent details.

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If I had added them as well, the readers coming to get 13 tips would have gotten frustrated with unwanted information at the top, affecting the performance of my content.

By creating one ‘endless’ long-form content, you have to target almost all the keywords for one topic, which makes it challenging for the content to rank for all of them.

How To Avoid This Content Creation Mistake

Understand that the psychology of the reader ingesting your content will vary depending on the topic, keywords, and search intent. That will help define an outline.

9. Writing Without A Defined Brand Voice

Nobody likes stale content. As explained by Julia McCoy, content with consistent brand voice:

  • Establishes your brand.
  • Keeps messaging from going stale.
  • Creates an emotional connection.
  • Gives you a competitive edge.

It also helps your customers know who you are as a brand.

If you don’t have it defined, the brand voice will differ in every piece of content created by various creators. This makes it one of the most underrated content creation mistakes.

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How To Avoid This Content Creation Mistake

Don’t just document brand guidelines for marketing purposes. Send them to content creators to get the actual return value of that content.

10. Publishing Content As Received From The Writers

Most marketers have created their blog guidelines, including content that must have some links (both internal and external), keywords, graphics, and a CTA.

And that’s why, when they receive the content with all of these things in place, they publish it right away.

Publishing content without checking it for the proper context, brand voice, intent, and marketing message is the most critical content creation mistake. It ruins the chance of getting any real results out of your content.

I’m not talking about ranking the content as the real value here. You might rank well, but if you don’t make your audience take the next action after reading, you lose the opportunity to move them down in the funnel and convert.

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After all, you invest in content to get more business and grow.

How To Avoid This Content Creation Mistake

Invest some time to read the content and, if possible, involve the sales or product team to review the content to align sales and marketing messages for better conversions.

11. Hiring Writers With Only The Budget In Mind

No, I’m not saying that considering your budget is a mistake. Considering ONLY the budget is a huge one.

All content writers write from different perspectives. Some write opinion-based, some write data-driven. Some write as an author and SEO copywriter, some write from the branding perspective, and some from the business perspective.

Hiring budget-friendly writers may or may not help you achieve any or all of the above things to enhance your marketing ROI.

How To Avoid This Content Creation Mistake

Identify where the gap is. Whether you need your writers to focus on SEO, branding, or business perspectives that you want to save time and money on, you must give importance to that and budget.

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Do a proper calculation and plan your budget allocation.

12. Forgetting To Optimize Your Content For SEO

Ignoring SEO can cost you. Be it video, blogs, or images, optimizing your content for discovery in search is a must.

Pinterest has the strongest SEO despite having a site full of graphics and short text. Even other social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter have come up with ALT text for the graphics.

If such platforms are not ready to compromise on SEO, how can we avoid this huge content creation mistake?

How To Avoid This Content Creation Mistake

Go for SEO copywriting or use my MOM (Monitor -> Optimize -> Monitor) approach to keep optimizing your content for SEO and boost organic traffic.

Fix content creation mistakes - MOM approach by Himani KankariaMy MOM (Monitor -> Optimize -> Monitor) Screenshot from Slideshare Presentation, November 2021.

13. Vague Article Headlines

The performance of your content depends on whether your target audience is inspired even to open it. This is the case with email newsletters and subject lines, as well as with the articles and their headlines.

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Copying the headlines from competitors and editing a bit to prevent duplicate headlines is a common practice amongst marketing teams.

Copying and editing is not a mistake. The mistake is not making it apt for users to click on it because the second KPI of content is to get clicks (the first is to get impressions).

I’m sure that only 1 or 2 search results get the most traffic – not all results on the first page of the search results.

How To Avoid This Content Creation Mistake

Keep experimenting with your title tags if you’re not getting enough clicks, and don’t forget to keep a balance of user-centered headlines with the punch of keywords.

14. Targeting Out-Of-Focus Keywords

While discussing the punch of keywords to fix the above content creation mistake, I realized that targeting out-of-focus keywords is all too common.

When you optimize blog posts for your money keywords, you can cause keyword cannibalization where blog traffic outranks your money pages. When you do this, you’re affecting the SEO ROI of your landing pages, as well.

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How To Avoid This Content Creation Mistake

Do separate keyword research for blogs and landing pages.

15. Irrelevant Or Ill-Explained Graphics

It’s essential to add graphics or media in blogs to rank on the search engines.

But users matter, too. When content is not made for users, you’re not going to get business, which is the ultimate goal of investing in content creation.

In order to make sure you’re creating content for users, you must add relevant graphics that contextually fit in.

How To Avoid This Content Creation Mistake

Either choose writers who write such content or ask them to use the graphics contextually by explaining the graphics used in the content.

16. Discounting Relevant Internal And External Links

If you think adding more relevant internal and external links looks unprofessional, you need inspiration from major publishing sites.

Google discovers new pages through links, a fact that has been confirmed by Gary Illyes at Google.

If you’re just putting one link to the landing page and one link to your blog in your content, you’re missing out on the opportunity to rank better.

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How To Avoid This Content Creation Mistake

Create an outline and content flow that references any previous content. This brings more linking opportunities, resulting in Google crawling and indexing your content faster and being authoritative enough to rank higher.

17. Overlooking The Right Calls To Action

“Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below,” “Contact us for more information,” “Learn more,” “Talk to our experts now,” etc., are super generic calls to action. If you are still using such common CTAs, you’re probably failing to get the attention of your audience.

The audience is changing, and so is the way they look at a product, service, or brand. If you need to make the most out of your content, you need to identify:

  • Different places in the content to put CTAs.
  • Creative ways to place CTAs.
  • The most compelling messaging in CTAs.

How To Avoid This Content Creation Mistake

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Make sure you know what different types of CTAs you can put where – and how. After all, you want your users to take some action while or after consuming your content.

18. Abstaining From Personal Stories

Clients seeking thought-leadership content are often looking for ghostwriters who will write the content for them to publish on their channels or websites.

That’s not thought-leadership, because it’s not your story – it’s the writers.

Writers are not marketers and product owners – at least, not the owner of your product – so they can’t just invent personal stories coming from your own experiences. That must come from the thought leader.

If you want to win the industry with thought-leadership, avoiding personal stories or self-references could be the biggest mistake.

How To Avoid This Content Creation Mistake

Bring your ideas for a topic, provide insider insights for writers, and review for gaps prior to publishing.

Think of Google E-A-T and how you can bring maximum expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness to each piece of content.

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19. Neglecting The Promotion Of Your Content On Social Platforms

Perhaps you’ve heard that creating content should be only 20% of the task, and the rest 80% should be distributing and promoting it.

But still, when it comes to content distribution, I’ve seen various growth marketers neglect to promote it on social media saying it doesn’t impact SEO.

Yes, social media helps SEO – and here’s how.

Do you expect your content to start getting traffic from the search engines the moment it’s published? No, right?

So how can you help Google understand whether the audience enjoys consuming your content?

Social media is the quickest way to drive traffic, especially if you have a solid follower base.

How To Avoid This Content Creation Mistake

You should use social media to promote your content and even re-promote it by repurposing the published content to enhance its performance.

20. Overlooking Copyediting and Proofreading

Whether you’ve got in-house writers or freelancers, we’ve seen proofreading as the most underrated part of the content creation process.

And it’s all because the biggest misconception is that copyediting and proofreading mean eliminating grammatical and spelling errors.

No, it’s not limited to that. It’s about checking whether:

  • The messaging is right.
  • Branding is appropriately maintained.
  • Products are contextually and properly explained.
  • The content is ready to serve readers and our purpose.

How To Avoid This Content Creation Mistake

Either develop an in-house editorial process to have a 3-step review done by proofreaders and marketers, or hire it out to professional freelancers or agencies.

21. Overlooking To Measure Content Performance

This is potentially one of the worst content creation mistakes on the list.

If you haven’t defined performance metrics, measurement becomes almost negligible.

Marketers and even business owners know that without content, marketing cannot work.

But what are the criteria for content to prove successful? You’re just throwing your money at it without knowing whether it’s driving any results – or the results that actually matter.

How To Avoid This Content Creation Mistake

Set content KPIs to measure whether it is getting impressions, clicks, conversions, engagement, and more based on the investment you’re making.

Most importantly, these KPIs must align with your business objectives. Traffic volume is going to matter a great deal for a news publisher, whereas that metric alone without sales could actually indicate a problem for an ecommerce store.

Content Creation That Works For Both Users & Platforms

We see a lot of websites in need of a deep cleaning because they’ve added too much underperforming content, which hardly helps at all in driving traffic or conversions.

Creating content is about delivering value to the audience.

And to create content that delivers value and performs, you need to avoid the above-mentioned content creation mistakes.

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Featured image: Shutterstock/YuliiaD





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