For a long time marketers believed that publishing the odd blog post here and there and writing a couple of posts for social media was enough to call a ‘content marketing strategy’. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Sorry about that. The truth is, there is a lot more to content marketing than blog posts, and to get the most out of your content you need to utilise all of the tools in your toolbox; from awesome writing and multimedia content to PR and social media.

There are unfortunately a few common content marketing mistakes that everyone is guilty of committing. We’ve come up with the top five, so that you can make sure you’re well and truly off of the content marketing naughty list from here on in.

1. Content marketing is all about driving sales

This is true about marketing as a whole, not just content marketing, but it is an important one to keep in mind. It can be very easy to put the blinders up and get caught in a “sell, sell, sell” mentality, but selling is only a single part of the function of marketing and content marketing. Content marketing strategies can be working before there is even a product or idea to sell, and can continue right through an item’s entire life cycle. Marketing is an investment, and to get the most ROI you have to remove the blinders and adopt an innovative approach, thinking outside the box.

2. Forgetting your customer

Forgetting your customer, including who they are and what they’re looking for, is a fatal mistake for a business. Modern technology has made it even easier for companies to make sure that they are talking to, and even more importantly listening to, their customer – so don’t waste it! Knowing who your customer is allows you to target your content strategy towards them and their needs, giving you a greater chance of success. Not listening to your customer, or forgetting them entirely, disconnects you from them, and this is never good for business.

We recently wrote a blog post about how to start a conversation with your customer that was full of handy tips and tricks for engaging with your existing brand following; it’s well worth a read if you think your customer interactions need a little TLC.

3. OTT SEO

SEO is important. Don’t panic, no one is denying this. The key to written content however is writing things that real, squishy, human beings will love and want to share, not to write content that is only optimised with Google in mind. Keyword stuffing has become the dark art of the SEO world, and thanks to Google’s super intelligent algorithms this procedure is now not only frustrating, but totally ineffective. Think about how real people would read your content, and then make it work for your business by adding in subtle, relevant keywords that enhance the overall content, not make it unreadable.

4. Aiming for ‘good’ content

In a recent Whiteboard Friday on the Moz blog Rand Fishkin discussed how aiming for good, unique content is the wrong bar to be setting when it comes to your content marketing strategy. Rand explains that with content for Moz they will only try and pursue an idea if they believe they can create something 10 times better than what is currently being produced by competitors on the topic, otherwise what’s the point?

Rand recommends using tools like BuzzSumo to search for other content around the topic you’re considering writing about, so that you can see what’s being shared the most and use this to inform what you’re doing. You can use other people’s content to ask yourself questions, such as what questions are they asking and answering? What’s lacking? And what sort of user experience is being provided?

Answering these questions lets you determine what, if anything, you could do better if you choose to produce content on the same topic.

5. Not making time for content

This is a tough one, and something that everyone, including us here at SGM, has to make an effort with. Social Media Today say that 51% of marketers struggle with creating enough content. Creating great, high quality content is time consuming, so good time management is crucially important.

When you’re running a company or working within an agency it can seem like there are already way too many things to do in a day, without having to add writing content to the endless list of tasks. This is why it’s important to set time aside to dedicate to your content marketing, focusing on what needs to be done and remembering that content marketing can be a great tool for your brand. It just needs a little TLC.