Ever since content was claimed as king back in 1996 (thanks, Bill Gates), a ton of organizations all over the world have created content simply for the sake of the trend. I get it, “other people are doing it, we need to do it, too.” Unfortunately, many companies get lost along the way because they are missing key elements throughout their content planning and strategy process.

Here are a few frequent mistakes made by ‘content marketers’:

Failing to Understand Your Audience

The first step of any content strategy is to figure out who the hell you are trying to talk to. You need to identify who you are trying to reach with your messaging before creating your content.

Next, you must take it a step further and dig into your audience. Understand what motivates them, what problems they experience and what common objections they have. I’d encourage you to develop buyer personas to target via your content.

Keep in mind, individuals within your identified audience are spread throughout your sales funnel so it is important to create content for all of the stages throughout the buying journey. Some people might just be realizing that they have a problem and don’t know what the solution will be yet, while others may be at the stage of price comparison.

To add even more wood to the fire, remember that members of your audience have different and unique preferences in terms of how they prefer to consume content. Make sure to have a strong mix of content mediums such as written blog posts, videos, infographics, ebooks, etc.

Without identifying and understanding your audience, your content is doomed before you start creating it. And trust me, we've all been here.

Failing to Create Content that Provides Value

When creating a well-defined content strategy, you must laser-focus on resolving the wants and needs of your target audience (discussed above). Remember, it’s the wants and needs of your target audience — not the wants and needs of your organization. The content produced by your brand shouldn’t be what you want them to know about you.

Don’t fall victim to the statement (or trap) above. Instead, strive to provide your audience with the information they’re looking for. They need help solving a problem or reaching a desired goal -- help them.

Failing to Analyze (and Refine) the Results of Your Efforts

This is one of the most important steps and more often than not, it’s fundamentally overlooked. I challenge you to honestly ask yourself, “how does my content perform?” Be honest with yourself. Do you even know?

Publishing a particular piece of content is not the end of the journey by any means. If you would’ve actually taken the time to analyze the success of your content, you may have realized how terrible and unsuccessful it is.

It is simple really -- analyze the performance of your content (views, clicks, conversions, etc.), interpret the data, and make decisions based on your findings. Leverage the efforts that are working to refine the efforts that aren’t. Chances are you’ll see that the advertorial, self-promoting content you’re creating isn’t performing as well as you’d like and not nearly as well as solid information will.

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