Daniel Burstein

Do You Make These 5 Mistakes in Content Marketing?

January 21st, 2014

It’s the start of a new year. We’ve made resolutions to fix mistakes we make in our diet, in our exercise frequency and in our relationships – put content marketing on your list as well.


Mistake #1. Toeing the company line

Sure, your company is engaged in content marketing because it has a message to get out in the world.

But nobody, except maybe your agency and brand police, cares about that message.

They care about themselves. Content marketing is inherently permission-based and inbound. Your content marketing needs to focus on what the customer really cares about.

The headline for this blog post was (lovingly) ripped off a legendary, high-performing ad for Sherwin Cody’s English course.

Sherwin explained, “There is but one sane, salesmanlike way to begin a selling letter, and that is with the customer and his needs, his troubles, his fight for life and success.”

That rings even more true in content marketing.

Overcome Mistake #1. How to use social media to help discover why customers buy from you


Mistake #2. Teasing

Local TV news promo commercials are the worst. They always hint at something of value, but only deliver if you tune in to the newscast.

Content marketing should, in and of itself, deliver value. It should help fulfill a customer need. It should help solve a customer’s trouble.

Overcome Mistake #2. Focus on value, not length


Mistake #3. Lonely content

No content is an island.

How does the content you’re creating tie into every other way your company is communicating?

Ideally, you would have an overall structure for your content with logical paths for the reader to follow. Those paths aren’t always linear since human decision making in a data-rich world is not linear.

However, they offer logical progressions and opportunities for further engagement through channels that your audience already uses.

Overcome Mistake #3. A process for evaluating content channels


Mistake #4. Telling customers how brilliant your company is

The people in your company are likely brilliant at something. Your software engineers are brilliant at de-bugging Java. Your project managers are brilliant at scheduling. Your audio engineers are brilliant at sound mixing.

They’re just not brilliant at creating content.

Because of this, your company’s brilliance is hidden. By using content marketing to pull back the curtain and shine a little light while not being overly concerned with corporate secrecy, you show the world how the brilliant people in your company can help members of your audience overcome their challenges.

Overcome Mistake #4. How to get your subject matter experts on your corporate blog


Mistake #5. “Free” content

Perhaps you think you’re producing free content because you don’t charge dollars or euros or Bitcoins for it.

But you’re not – customers are paying for your content with their time, their attention, and sometimes, their information.

Therefore, you need to sell your free content. Sometimes with other content (this ties into Mistake #3), and sometimes with actual paid advertisements.

Even press releases can help.

Overcome Mistake #5. Selling Free Content: Why Seth Godin never gives anything away for free


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Daniel Burstein

About Daniel Burstein

Daniel Burstein, Senior Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS. Daniel oversees all content and marketing coming from the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa brands while helping to shape the editorial direction for MECLABS – digging for actionable information while serving as an advocate for the audience. Daniel is also a speaker and moderator at live events and on webinars. Previously, he was the main writer powering MarketingExperiments publishing engine – from Web clinics to Research Journals to the blog. Prior to joining the team, Daniel was Vice President of MindPulse Communications – a boutique communications consultancy specializing in IT clients such as IBM, VMware, and BEA Systems. Daniel has 18 years of experience in copywriting, editing, internal communications, sales enablement and field marketing communications.

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  1. January 23rd, 2014 at 11:08 | #1

    All great points – thanks, Daniel!

  2. January 27th, 2014 at 12:30 | #2

    Good insights on the right ways to perform content marketing.

  3. February 16th, 2014 at 06:10 | #3

    Often people make such mistakes intentionally which sometimes cause bad results so it is very important to identify such mistakes and do possible changes. Your customers are everything for you and you should to write such contents which attract customers’ attention and let them to share with others. Good to read all the important points highlighted by you about content marketing.

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