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In the digital age, content marketing has become a particularly effective way to catch the attention of potential consumers. But if you’re new to content marketing, there are some common missteps that entrepreneurs often make while creating articles and posts. To help you avoid these mistakes, we asked a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members this question:

What is one misstep small businesses should watch out for when they’re first getting involved with content marketing? What should they do instead?

1. Publishing for the sake of publishing

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Content marketing is a great way to build trust and establish your brand as an authority in your industry. Too many companies focus on creating content without a purpose. Publishing just for the sake of publishing doesn’t accomplish much. Instead, strategically publish content that will develop a resource for customers and position your company as a credible authority in your industry. —Shaun Conrad, My Accounting Course

2. Low-integrity content

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It’s so important to make sure you have and are promoting good content that has integrity. In order to ensure that your writing is integrity-driven, there are some clear rules you should follow. Always double-check your sources, make sure they are recent, and know the difference between opinion, fact, and expert opinion. —Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting Inc.


3. Lack of visual content

Informative copy and driving powerful SEO are important in marketing, but your content must contain compelling images. In order to catch the eye of potential customers, use visual cues as a means to draw them in. The image is what catches the attention for them to then find the value in the message. —Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.


4. Being too “salesy”

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Too many small businesses only put out ad content that is “salesy” in nature. They are pushing for sales from buyers who don’t necessarily know why they need their product. Before selling, put out content that educates the buyer on why they need your product or service. Use blog posts, videos, PDFs, presentations, and survey results to help buyers understand the need for what you offer. —Ben Walker, Transcription Outsourcing LLC

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5. No promotion strategy

While content is king, it still needs to be marketed to reach your desired audience. If you already have an audience, such as an email list, you can focus more on thought leadership and content quality. When you’re starting from zero, you’ll need to do keyword research and also optimize for search engines. Even on high-trafficked websites, not many people go from your homepage to your blog. —Karl Kangur, Above House

6. Writing for search engines instead of readers

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It’s easy to get caught up in the cycle of writing just to increase traffic or attention instead of creating quality content. Strive to write quality, relevant, engaging content that adds value to the reader. Writing just so your content shows up higher in Google by stuffing in keywords and links is a surefire way to turn off readers from coming back for more content. —Joel Mathew, Fortress Consulting


7. Poor research and data

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Now more than ever, putting out content that is accurate and sourced is so important. But getting accurate information is challenging these days. When conducting research, find multiple articles that support a claim or statistic. When forming and sharing opinions with your audience, make it clear how you came to your conclusions. This approach shows respect for your brand and your customers. —Saloni Doshi, EcoEnclose LLC

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8. Adding too many links

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Links are great for fleshing out your website and improving your SEO ranking, but adding too many links can raise red flags when Google bots are crawling your website. Instead of worrying about fitting as many links as possible into your content, focus on writing informative, engaging blog posts. Include several links naturally within your text for maximum effectiveness. —John Turner, SeedProd LLC

9. Not understanding the audience


Rather than “marketing by fire” or generating content and putting forth efforts at random, it’s important to understand your desired audience before attempting to market to them. Build personas of your target customers—who are they, what’s important to them, and what keeps them up at night. Through content marketing, you should address the thoughts and questions at the center of their minds. —Traci Beach, Craft Impact

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10. Lack of brand alignment

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One misstep small businesses should watch out for when getting involved with content marketing is not to deviate from what their brand is about. It’s important to know how you can provide value to your target audience through content and have a plan to keep consistency. —Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME


11. Not optimizing for search

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Content marketing goes hand in hand with SEO. Creating content without identifying keywords, contextual keywords, or doing research leads to missed opportunities. You need to build your content marketing strategy alongside your SEO strategy to get the best results. Great content powered by SEO will help your business stand out online. —Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner


12. Unedited content with bad grammar

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Small businesses should hire an editor to review and edit all of their content to ensure grammatical correctness. If I see a blog post or a landing page with a lot of grammatical errors, I will stop reading it immediately. Poor grammar impacts credibility negatively. Be sure to hire an editor or have an employee read every piece of content before it’s published. —Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

13. Lack of content strategy

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Content marketing is popular, and small businesses often prioritize it early on. But chaotic content production produces no results in the long run. A robust content strategy guarantees that copy adds up slowly but steadily, growing the knowledge base and enriching the blog with relevant content tailored to the target audience. If you’re starting out, make sure you plan ahead—then execute. —Mario Peshev, DevriX

14. Giving up too soon

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Content marketing is a long-term strategy, and you should be prepared for long-term results. So don’t give up on it after just 10 blog posts because you aren’t getting any traffic. Instead, make a commitment that you will invest in content marketing for at least a year. Then you can determine whether or not it’s been helpful. Don’t give up! —Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff

RELATED: How Long Should Your Blog Posts Be?

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