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Content marketing involves creating and sharing content in multiple formats with the goal of acquiring customers, with formats including video, white papers, info-graphics, how-to guides, blog posts, and case studies.

Content marketing is all about sharing valuable information.

Content marketing is all about sharing valuable information.

While increasing sales is the ultimate goal, content marketing is about communicating and interacting with your target audience to inspire loyalty to your brand. Content marketing requires that you consistently deliver valuable information that people will want to consume and share. Here are ten common mistakes people make with their content marketing efforts. Are you making any of these content marketing mistakes?

1. Not Knowing Your Audience

To know what content your target audience wants, you have to get to know them. This involves interacting with them and keeping up with your website analytics so you can learn where traffic is coming from, what search engine terms your audience uses, and which content gets the best reception.

2. Not Establishing Goals

Is your goal a certain number of "Likes" on Facebook? Reaching a milestone number of Twitter followers? Is your goal to improve sales by a certain percentage over the next six months? Knowing what you're aiming for is critical for designing content that will help get you there.

3. Producing Low Quality Content That's Not Easily Shareable

It's been said a million times: People want content that is valuable. It should answer questions, provide helpful information, or otherwise make your site visitors glad they consumed your content. And you should make it as easy as possible for your audience to share content, with sharing buttons adjacent to every piece of content.

4. Thinking that Content Marketing Takes Care of All Marketing

Content marketing can be very effective, but it isn't a substitute for an overall marketing strategy. You need to put your marketing eggs into several baskets, rather than counting on content marketing to do it all.

5. Not Focusing on Your Audience

While you should share important news with your audience, such as an upcoming product launch or webinar, most of your content should focus on your audience and their needs. Do they come to your site for specific technical information? If so, you should provide it for them rather than focusing solely on sales pitches.

Focus on audience needs, and your content marketing strategy will succeed.

Focus on audience needs, and your content marketing strategy will succeed.

6. Forgetting About SEO

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Content marketing without sound SEO principles is not as effective as it could be. Keyword research is as important as ever, and whatever your SEO strategy, it should apply to the content you develop as part of your content marketing plan.

7. Making Everything a Sales Pitch or Making No Sales Pitches

Every blog post, Tweet, or Facebook status should not be a sales pitch. When someone follows you on Twitter only to find an endless string of sales pitches, they'll unfollow you in a hurry. The other extreme is no better. If you never have a call to action or mention a new product, your content marketing won't meet its goals. Striking a balance is a key to success.

8. Not Interacting with Your Audience and Influencers

Reaching out to your audience on social media, on blog comment threads, and with other products like email newsletters is critical. Content marketing is a two-way street, and you don't want to come across as aloof or "removed" from your audience. Interact with your audience and with important influencers in your field.

9. Not Tracking Analytics to See if Content Marketing Is Working

Setting goals for content marketing is essential, and so is measuring progress toward those goals. Are you getting the audience development you hoped to see? Are you using your most effective social media channels to their full advantage? You need to know so you can adjust your strategy.

10. Not Being Everywhere You Should Be

You don't have to be on every social media site out there, but you should be on the big ones: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and if your brand is heavily visual, Pinterest. As you learn which channels are most effective, you can scale efforts accordingly.

Content marketing should be an integral part of your site development plan, because it can bring in new site visitors, give repeat visitors more reasons to return, and increase sales conversions. If you're a web publisher exploring your revenue development options, RealMatch invites you to check out its recruitment advertising solutions for media companies and digital publishers. It's a great way to augment the many benefits of your content marketing efforts.

Photo Credits: bplanet / freedigitalphotos.net, stockimages / freedigitalphotos.net

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