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5 Content Marketing Fails You Must Avoid

Amanda Nelson

I’ve been living and breathing content marketing for large and small brands over the past four years, and in that time, I’ve tried (and failed) a lot. However, failure is key to uncovering what works, as much as what doesn’t work.

If you dedicate your time and effort to taking the right path, you will see a difference. Be aware of the fails in this post, and implement what you learn from each. When you do, you’ll not only grow your audience and your community, but you’ll create fans for life, new customers and a very happy sales team.

5 Content Marketing Fails You Must Avoid

  1. Making Yourself the Hero

We love to talk about ourselves, and brands often fill their content with testimonials, awards, product information and offers. There is a time and place for all of that good stuff, but content marketing is not that spot. Focus your content around the customer. They reap the reward, they save the day. Case studies are a great example of customer-centric content. It’s not about your product, but the problem your customer solved as a result of working with you.

  1. Only Including the Marketing Department in Your Content Marketing Plans

Content marketing is much more than a marketing strategy or a campaign. It is a cultural change that involves everyone in the organization. Everyone must rally behind the idea of content that helps versus sells. Everyone in your company is an expert in what they do. If they all contribute to content marketing, you suddenly have a vast team of experts writing and creating content for you. Content marketing isn’t a strategy; it’s a way of life.

  1. Reinventing the Wheel with Every Piece of Content

Content marketing does not equate to writing brand new content everyday. It’s about creating helpful, relevant content, whether it’s new or existing. Much of your existing, helpful content can be repurposed, so there’s no need to start from scratch. Take a great case study and turn that into a webinar where you interview the customer. Transcribe that webinar, and now you have three blog posts. Curate a bunch of relevant blog posts together into an e-book. The opportunities are endless and it doesn’t require brand new work.

  1. Avoid Taking Risks

Great content marketers take risks. The web is the perfect environment to test and try new things because the response is instant. Either it sinks, or it floats. Failure is non-existent, because the worst that can happen is no one reads your blog posts or shares your tweet. In other words, failure means no one saw it in the first place.

  1. Focusing Only on Text-based Content

We all digest content in different ways. Whether it’s videos, infographics, blog posts or e-books, slice and dice your content into multiple formats that everyone can enjoy. Content marketing is not just a blog or a webinar. It’s any type of content that helps your customer, so put them first and think about how they gather information.

What other content marketing fails have your experienced? Share them in the comments and let’s continue to learn from each other.

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Amanda Nelson is Director of Marketing at RingLead where she leads the content marketing strategy and execution. She has spent the last three years in content marketing and community management at and Radian6, and has a background in account management for interactive and full service advertising agencies.
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Michael Kamleitner
Enjoyed reading your article, Amanda! Content marketing is king while engagement via social media is queen. Therefore, after creating quality content, remember to share it with others that need the information. When creating content, it’s very important to use your empathy and truly understand the readers’ needs and expectations. Don’t write for the sake of writing, would be my personal advice.
Amanda Nelson
Michael Kamleitner
Thanks for the great feedback, Michael. Jason Falls once said, "Never blog to blog." I couldn't agree more.
Great post and I agree with Jesse on Point #1. It is all about the customer and why you are the best for them. Nice to reconnect with you too, Amanda.
Amanda Nelson
Jeff Ogden
Hi Jeff! I completely agree. Good to connect again.
Jesse Stoler
I love your point #1. I see too many brands just try and represent themselves as "the best." Consumers/users don't want to know why you're the best - they want to know why you're the best for them.
Amanda Nelson
Jesse Stoler
Thanks Jesse. It's a tough change to make since it's truly a cultural shift, but it can be done and there are huge benefits.
Matt LaClear
As someone who has been in the industry for a while, I can clearly remember seeing many bloggers and brands use these tactics only to disappear a few months later. As much as bloggers and brands love to talk about themselves and boost up their services, it simply comes off the wrong way to the reader. The same holds true for content creation... how many times can someone write a post on how to setup a blog or install wordpress? More online marketers and brands need to get original with their content or mix it up with videos or infographics. Thanks, great post!
Amanda Nelson
Matt LaClear
Being innovative, fresh and risky is worth it in the end. You can't do the same thing over and over and expect change. Thanks for the comment!

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