Updated: Jan 31
Writing marketing content can be a tricky task to undertake when you first start out. Sometimes a post attracts a lot of readers and converts to sales while another post is ignored almost completely.
As a business, you don’t want any missed opportunities for making a successful sale, so what can you do to avoid writing content that will not create sales?
Here are 17 content mistakes to avoid:
1. Writing Bad or Confusing Headlines
The goal of your headline is to catch the reader’s attention and make them want to read your post. You can’t do that if you use cute, clever or confusing headlines. The best type of headline to use is unique, useful, addresses a specific topic, or have a sense of urgency.
Some great headlines are:
14 Best Educational Toys for Toddlers, According to Experts and Real Kids
10 Kitchen Aids For Seniors that Can Safely Increase Independence
These headlines show exactly what the post will be discussing and whether it’s relevant to you or not. Here are other headlines on the same topic I’ve seen online:
The Latest Podcasting News
Writing for Google Rankings
14 Fun Toys for Kids
Kitchen Gadgets for Seniors
As you can see, they’re vague and readers will be more inclined to keep scrolling.
Avoid the first content mistake and write clear, concise and catchy headlines for all your posts. If readers are not clicking your headlines to your site, there’s no traffic for potential sales.
2. Forgetting to Link to Other Posts
You write a great and informative piece, but you forget to add links to it. Your content should have several links throughout it, some linking to your older posts and some to reliable outside sources.
This is done for several reasons.
Helps to prove a point with backup data
Drive new traffic to those older posts
They contain keywords to rank high with
Best way to direct Google spiders through your site
So if you make it a habit to have at least 2 – 4 links in each post your blog will receive more links back to it, social shares, and traffic, which accomplishes your goal of getting more leads and traffic for more conversion to sales.
3. Forgetting a CTA – Call to Action
The third content mistake is forgetting to ask your readers to do something for you, this is called a call to action. A CTA is encouraging your readers to do something for you. Some simple CTAs include:
Sign Up on our Email List
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Try for Free
Give Us a Call
I know it seems like you’re bluntly in your readers’ faces asking for a sale, but if you wrote a great content piece, you should, by all means, be comfortable telling them what you’re selling and where they can learn more about it.
4. Having a Cluttered Post
Have you ever been on a blog post and every third paragraph has an advertising banner across the page?
Some sales sites feel that they need to show the reader everything they have to offer and the page gets cluttered and confusing. The typical reaction for readers that are overwhelmed with widgets and visual “noise” is to just leave.
So, instead of showing all your wares in an attempt to make a sale, you’ve lost them. The best way to make sales through your content is to speak directly to your customers in a “loud voice”. A voice that addresses exactly what the reader is feeling and thinking and sparks a personal connection with them. Once a reader feels you are talking about and to them, the higher the conversion to becoming a customer.
5. Publishing By an Irregular Calendar
You may wonder how your publishing rate affects your sales as it doesn’t sound like they correlate at all. But if you’re not publishing content regularly, it affects so many parts of your website.
Here’s what happens:
Google spiders stop coming to check your site, so your ranking slips
SEO ranking slips as well
You lose credibility with your readers
Web traffic slows down
Slow traffic means slow sales, simple as that. Correct this mistake by utilizing a content calendar or hiring an outside content management service to take care of all your writing and publishing needs.
6. Writing Short Posts
If you’re assigned to writing posts while working in another full-time position in the company, there’s going to be times where you’re trying to meet your editorial deadline and just feel the need to write “something” and publish it and get it over with.
Posting short articles affects your sales the same way posting infrequently will, you’ll lose your ranking, readers, credibility, and sales. You need to have the right length to be comprehensive and to cover everything your readers need to know and answer all their questions. Learn what’s the best length post for your content and industry is and make time for writing your content.
7. Forgetting to Utilize SEO
SEO is specially chosen keywords used to match readers’ search terms and to drive traffic to your site. In addition to knowing which keywords to use, you have to use them consistently throughout your page, which includes your title tags and paragraph headings.
Utilize SEO tools such as Google Trends, Moz, Clear Scope and other free and paid applications and sites. Don’t forget about hashtags for all your social media platforms as well, this helps a different media market find out about you and what you have to sell by finding your social media pages as opposed to an article, video, or landing page that you created.
8. Having Text-Only Posts
This is the opposite of #4 and having a plain text-only post, void of images or other multimedia to hold your reader’s interest. Images, infographics, and videos are great for helping your reader’s understanding. A bonus benefit is that you get an SEO boost by placing the keyword in the image title and alt text too.
People actually retain 95% of a video’s message compared to 10% from text only. Another bonus is that the average reader spends 88% more time on a website that has video. The longer they’re on your site, the higher the conversion rate.
Fix this boring content mistake and add a variety of different media formats in your posts.
9. Not Using Enough White Space
This writing mistake is similar to #4 and #8, where your writing starts looking cluttered and busy with large blocks of text and ends up being boring too. Writing website content is much different than writing a white paper or business proposal, there are internet writing strategies that are much different than what one may have learned in school and college.
One quick rule to remember is that internet readers are scanners, they will quickly scan a page to see if anything stands out. Big blocks of paragraphs will thwart this and many readers will just leave and find content that’s quicker to read.
Write shorter paragraphs, have plenty of headlines and white space for optimal eye ease in reading and scanning.
10. Not Using Any Share Buttons
Your content needs to be able to be shared by your readers, even if your company doesn’t have accounts on social media platforms. People in North America spend an average of 2 hours and 6 minutes checking out social media, so if all these people are spending a large amount of time surfing Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms daily and you don’t have any share buttons on your content, they won’t see your company and products.
Shares also tell you how well your content is doing too, a post share of 1,000+ tells you that it’s doing better than the post with only 100 shares.
11. Not Knowing Your Audience
Some content marketers feel the need to write on a broad number of different topics in order to attract more readers instead of focusing on their specific niche.
Akin to casting a large tuna net in the ocean trying to catch minnows, you’re going to miss big and those you actually catch were by accident.
An effective content marketing strategy is when your team takes the time to know your audience by studying their consumers and developing client personas. It’s putting yourself in their shoes and writing what they specifically are looking for.
Writing for a specific audience and niche leads the right people to your products and services.
12. Leaving Out Reviews and Testimonies
A frequent writing mistake is leaving out user reviews and testimonials of your content, or even omitting them from your site altogether. When people are seeking a product or service, they want assurances that it’s the right one for their needs and reading other users’ reviews and in fact will be more likely to buy after reading them – as much as 92%!
Showing testimonials not only helps explain how your product or service works but its benefits and how it is different than your competitors’ products.
13. Not Staying Current
Do you know what the newest internet trends are? What’s the most popular way people are shopping online?
If you don’t know the answers to these types of questions, you’re missing out on potential sales. Shopping methods that are increasing in popularity are voice assistant shopping with Echo and Google, mobile-only shopping, and buy now buttons on social media platforms. If your website and content is not keeping up with these trends you’ll get left behind in the digital dark ages. 14. Your Content Isn’t Evergreen You want your content to be relevant today and long into the future. Evergreen content is anything that provides a basic overview of a topic or provides information that is just as true 10 years from now as it is today.
Evergreen content can be linked back to, reused, and reshared over and over again with minimum effort. This content is very effective in driving new organic traffic to your site as new people encounter new issues that require your product or service.
Lastly, Evergreen content can be converted into more passive ways to create sales as you can convert the content into an eBook, promotional material, a webinar, and more.
15. Not Reusing Your Material
I briefly mentioned in #14 about turning your evergreen content into a future eBook, a future promotional material, or a number of other ways.
You’ve already completed the work in writing it, so reuse the material so it can continue to work for you years later. Reusing your content and creating more sales material is a valid and inexpensive way to create more sales suitable for a wider audience.
16. Using Clichés
As a marketer writing content, you may be tempted to use marketing clichés in your material. This mistake will cost you sales because it’s proven that marketing clichés repel readers, not make them interested.
In the Freelancers Union, Mark Concannon writes about the 10 phrases to avoid in marketing, and some of these words are:
Instead, simple, straightforward, humble, and jargon-free communication is the most effective way to build trust and meaningful dialog between your company and your consumers.
17. Not Reviewing Your Strategy
You’ve fixed all your content mistakes and now believe you’re ready to attract customers and gain more sales. You’re on the right track, but you also need to review your content marketing strategy to see if everything is aligning with your company goals. According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute, a majority of B2B companies are not clear if their content marketing is successful.
The ways to review your strategy is to:
Calculate spending – How much you’re spending on content creation, posting, and sharing
Review your site’s metrics – Checking web traffic, sales conversions, post shares and more. Google Analytics is a great tool for this Search Engine Ranking – Find out what keywords are ranking higher in searches and where your company ranks in searches
Measure ROI – Calculate your ROI to determine how well your content is converting.
If numbers are not matching your marketing goals, then you’ll know where to concentrate your efforts to improve your strategy.
Writing for a business website shouldn’t be complicated, but sometimes we push too hard, or we forget a detail or two when trying to address our audience. Just remember to keep your posts clean, concise, include a variety of material, have a call to action, at the right length and post them consistently. Here’s a great guide for planning the perfect business blog.