Content marketing is a simple concept to understand. It is about creating, publishing and distributing content for a targeted audience, driving traffic to a website or other digital destination. Many companies struggle to execute on content marketing or make it effective. Here are 5 ways you may be sabotaging your efforts and how you can make your content marketing better.

#1 You don’t have a plan

Everything starts with a plan, including marketing with content. You wouldn’t start building a house without a plan for what the house will look like when it’s finished, so why approach marketing, especially content marketing, any differently?
Start with the end in mind. What are your goals and what will success look like? Next, understand the profile of your target audience, what their buying process or journey looks like, and align the content you create to those stages. Plan the work, then work the plan. Your content marketing effort will be more successful.

#2 You are not leveraging your blog

Blogs are the front end, the driving force, of inbound marketing. They are the best vehicle to create content that gets discovered online by your target audience. And yes, people really do read blogs.

Blogging will help drive traffic to your website. Every time you publish a blog post it creates another indexed page on your website and increases the opportunities for you to show up in search engines. But don’t use your blog as a place to put anything and everything – be strategic and use your blog with your marketing plan in mind and make sure it aligns.

#3 You aren’t using calls-to-action (CTAs)

Now that you have a plan, are leveraging your blog, and are creating content that aligns with your target audience and their buying journey, you don’t want to stop there. You need to guide your audience to take another step with you to stay engaged on your site.
Create a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of every piece of content that offers your audience the opportunity to take another step with you. One great CTA that can be used with blog posts is another blog post related to the topic they are interested in. Good content that answers their questions will keep them engaged and more likely to convert as they move through their buying process.

#4 You put forms on everything

Your content effort, if done properly, will produce more traffic to your website. It will be tempting to try and capture every person’s contact info as soon as possible. Be patient. And strategic. The digital world gives consumers the power to engage with you without having to identify themselves until they want to.

If you put a form on every piece of content or every CTA, it is likely that you will turn more people away then you convert. Use forms on CTAs that are further down the buying process and give some things away for “free” and your audience should stay engaged with you longer and eventually identify themselves.

#5 You treat every piece of content as a sales pitch

It’s tempting for sure. After all, the reason you are leveraging marketing with content is to increase revenue and create new customers. Your audience wants to learn. They came to your blog looking for answers to their questions.

If all the content you create is a sales pitch, readers will see that immediately and leave to find their answers elsewhere, and likely won’t be back. You already have plenty on your website that talks about your company and product or service. Keep your prospects engaged with your content by helping them and don’t force the sales process.

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