There is no magical recipe to becoming a successful content marketer. It’s a lot of hard work, a lot of gut instinct, and a lot of flexibility.
The traffic and engagement metrics on a piece of content speak for themselves and any successful content creator would tell you that it takes more than quality to become successful.
Great content marketers have to not only know who their audience is and what they want but also how to give it to them. Not doing so can be detrimental to any campaign, preventing businesses from attracting and retaining the right attention with their content.
Even the most seasoned digital marketers are prone to making the occasional mistake, so here’s a look at some of the most common blunders that are made and how they can and should be avoided so your article, infographic, or video can go on to reach its fullest potential.
1. You are not using a compelling image
If you want to evoke a certain emotion within your readers, you should show them something that is going to make them feel that emotion.
Just about everyone on the planet has seen the picture of the disappointed grandfather that circulated the internet last month.
If you haven’t, sorry to have to do this to you.
Girl posts tweet about disappointed grandpa, internet grabs their pitchforks and simultaneously cry and rage on grandpa’s behalf.
Content marketing is no different.
People like pictures, which is why infographics and sites like BuzzFeed are so hot right now.
Make your images personal and relatable — have them tell the story themselves so you don’t have to.
2. Your article titles are designed to reach your competitors who don’t want to link to or share your content
An article title can make or break whether or not someone clicks your article. It can also make or break whether or not you get that important backlink.
When looking to get a backlink from someone, you aren’t necessarily looking to be promoted by your competitors. Instead, you are looking for someone in a related niche to promote your content.
Think of it like this:
Imagine for a moment that you want to promote an article about different ways to brew tea.
You can either promote this article to someone else who writes about brewing tea, or you can promote it to someone in a related niche — like someone who writes about meditation.
Tea can be a big part of a meditation ritual, and you could develop a post related to the best ways to do it.
Take a look at this search result I did with Buzzsumo for blog post ideas:
It gives you a better understanding of the top shared articles across social media.
If you’re going to be lazy, you need to be good.
Say you just want to copy what’s out there, that can work. In fact, stealing blog post titles can even result in your bounce rates dropping from 75% to 25%.
If you pursue this strategy, however, you need to make sure you make your newly written article awesome.
- It needs to be longer
- More in-depth
- Better designed
- A combination of all three
If you see that someone has posted an article on 10 different brewing techniques, you should aim for 20 techniques.
Be more informative, more interesting, more specific to a potential customer pain point, and more thorough than anyone else and you will successfully appeal to those in related niches who can offer backlinks, and eventually garner more traffic to your site.
3. You aren’t split testing placement of related content on your site
Amazon, a billion dollar shopping engine, is built on recommendations of what to buy next while Netflix famously offered $1 million to anyone who could improve on their recommendation engine.
If you’re already recommending content on your site, then you need to be split-testing what works best.
Everything from where a link is on your site to how it looks can affect whether or not someone decides to click on it.
Try out different placements and see not only what appears most appealing to the eye but what makes the most sense logically.
If an overwhelming number of people click the related content link when it’s at the bottom of your article as opposed to the side, then chances are that you’ve found your answer.
4. You aren’t split testing article title names 25 times
You don’t have to A/B test 25 different titles, despite how it sounds.
What you do need to do, however, is think up 25 titles and narrow down your favorites from there.
Keep in mind the keywords that get the most views, and see which of your titles have the most titles.
Adam Mordecai posted this image to show the difference a title made on one of Upworthy’s videos.
Something that leaves people wanting an answer (think of all the articles you’ve seen that lure you in with a ‘See what happens next’ title) are always more likely to get a click than something that simply states a generic title.
You will only know what works best for your audience if you test it out, though, and that means trying several — even 25 different titles (like Upworthy does).
Run your titles through A/B testing programs like Optimizely to test UX changes and text changes alike.
5. You’re not republishing your content to SlideShare
Furthermore, it drives about 500% more traffic for business owners than sites like Facebook and Twitter.
That makes it plenty ideal for appealing to customers of all business types.
The site itself has over 60 million unique visitors, and those could potentially be yours if you take advantage of it to increase online traffic to your site.
Make your slides informative, beautiful, and interesting.
Don’t be afraid to link back to your own site and turn those SlideShare viewers into loyal website readers, too. Doing so will also help re-activate current customers by sending them back to your products and services.
This Slideshare from SEOMoz that garnered 341 LinkedIn shares is a great example to use for what a great campaign should look like:
Additionally, you can dive deeper using this Marketer’s Guide to SlideShare via Kissmetrics.
6. You aren’t providing original research that generates natural backlinks
Try as you might to come up with a trendy and unique way to get views, but few do it as successfully as the art of the natural backlink.
As a matter of fact, a case study with Backlinko proved one thing for certain: one of the largest correlations with top performing content was links.
Total backlinks against Google position according to Backlinko case study
Both the number of backlinks and the higher authority of those backlinks proved a positive correlation with the overall position within a Google search.
The only way to get a successful natural backlink is to provide content that isn’t already easily available on the internet.
Your backlinkers aren’t going to share your content “just because,” are they?
They are going to share your content if it is bigger, better, and more informative than what’s already out there.
Collect customer / reader data, host surveys, and elicit feedback you don’t see elsewhere for a new twist.
How to conduct an SEO outreach campaign
Getting links from your killer content is more than just sending an email. You need to be prepared to provide value for your audience.
For the ‘About Me Page Guide’ on WiseStartupBlog.com, we created an infographic that simplified the tips from a 3,000-word article and then solicited bloggers to write a guest post to accompany the infographic.
What’s in it for them?
The infographic provided new content for the blogger, plus the guest post adds even more value.
And it works.
Bloggers are getting bombarded by emails like this, so it’s imperative that you customize your outreach emails.
Check out these 7 tips for ensuring your outreach emails will actually get opened.
7. You aren’t using Haro as an extension of your content republishing plan
We have already established just how important the backlink is to make a successful story.
Equally important, perhaps, is that of an “authoritative” source. HARO, which provides journalists with quality sources, can easily be used by digital marketers to secure media mentions and high-authority backlinks.
Here’s an example of a query I worked up from Outbrain:
Once you dedicate yourself to becoming a part of HARO’s team, you will receive 3 emails a day with queries from reporters who need quality sources for their stories.
It is your job to sift through those queries, find something relevant to you and your niche, and then insert your expertise.
Start building relationships with reporters.
Once you answer the query and establish a professional relationship with the reporter, you become a part of their story.
This will do several positive things for you and your career.
For starters, it will establish you as an expert in your field. People will read this story, see your name mentioned as a niche expert, and begin to believe that you are one. This will provide you and your brand with credibility that it lacked before, which can have a large effect on current and prospective audiences.
It will also provide you with quality backlinks as you will be quoted as a source in the article, and most likely have your site linked somewhere within for validation. That’s free promotion!
And, beyond that, you’re making awesome contacts with great writers, and hopefully establishing a great working relationship so they return to you as a source again.
If you are unfamiliar with how it works and/or how to get started, I highly recommend taking a look at this tutorial.
No one has the world of digital marketing all figured out, and that’s okay. The truth is that it’s an ever-changing niche that can sometimes be a bit too fickle for its own good.
Fortunately, if you remember to stay relevant with your content, take advantage of resources like SlideShare and HARO, and put a lot of effort into testing your articles, you should do just fine.