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Mission Control / Content

6 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Content Marketing (and What to Do About It)

From ad hoc content creation to skipping promotion, these mistakes are costing you.

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By Kyle Crafton

As with most things in life, learning from your mistakes is a great way to make improvements. That holds true for your content marketing efforts, too. While a certain amount of trial and error is to be expected, relying solely on ad hoc content and lack of strategy is, well, no strategy at all.

Here are six common mistakes you may be making with your content marketing — and how to fix it.

1. You don’t have a brand guide.

If you don’t have a brand guide that clearly details audiences, brand goals, voice, tone and personality, it makes it hard to accurately represent your brand via content. Even worse, it makes it nearly impossible for multiple content creators to contribute to a brand’s marketing materials without ending up with contradictory and disjointed messaging.

What to do about it: A branding workshop is a great way to gather consensus from key content stakeholders around brand messaging. Discuss everything from brand goals, audience needs, core messaging statements — even specific words and style decisions. Compile your findings in an accessible and shareable brand guide, a valuable resource for any and all branded content creators.

2. You don’t have an editorial calendar.

Many brands know they should be creating content. But when it comes time to write a blog or post a social media update, writer’s block sets in. You either end up sharing low-quality content, or you don’t publish anything at all. Ad hoc content creation can also lead to incongruous messaging — a disconnected string of content posts do not a brand story make.

What to do about it: Create a content calendar. You can work as far ahead as you’d like, but working at least one month ahead of time gives you the chance to plan for major business initiatives. Planning ahead via a content calendar makes it easier to support product launches, company news, service updates, sales and more.

3. You “spray and pray.”

Posting content across your channels without any thought to channel-specific audiences or features may work for a while, but it’s not a sustainable approach. “Spraying” your content everywhere you can and “praying” that it will work for you is no strategy at all.

What to do about it: Have a channel distribution strategy. Know what kinds of content belong on what channels; know when you should post on those channels and how often; and know which audiences are on which channels, crafting unique marketing messages that leverage platform functionality to your advantage.

4. You’re not tracking anything.

Monitoring and reporting on your content performance is the only way you’ll learn what’s working and what’s not. If you’re not looking at metrics and analytics, you could be wasting a lot of time and money on underperforming content initiatives.

What to do about it: Start looking at the numbers. But even before that, identify what success looks like for each of your campaigns. Only after you understand what you’ll be measuring will you be able to make meaningful decisions based on your findings.

5. It’s all about you.

Yes, at the end of the day, your content should be inextricably tied to your brand identity. But no one likes an egoist, and brands that do nothing but talk about “me, me, me” rarely offer customers anything valuable.

What to do about it: Bring your customers (and prospective customers) into your brand story. How does your product make their lives easier? What about your brand identity aligns with the identities of your customers? How have your customers impacted your approach to service? Making your customer the star of your brand story makes you infinitely more relatable and genuine.

6. You’re not promoting your efforts.

Putting content on a blog or website and hoping people will find it organically is only one small piece of a content marketing strategy. Content without promotion is often dead in the water.

What to do about it: While it’s not always easy to hear, it’s the truth: You have to put your money where your mouth is. If your content is worth spending time and money on, it should be worth promoting. From pay-per-click ads to Facebook ads, promoting your content across various paid media platforms is an integral part of any successful content marketing plan, and should always be factored into your content marketing budget.

Never fear: Learning from mistakes only makes you stronger. Need a little guidance? We’re here to help, obviously.

Kyle Crafton
Kyle Crafton Chief Executive Officer

Kyle’s career experience spans the media landscape, beginning as a magazine publisher and later as CFO and publisher of He served as the publisher and GM of the Curbed Network, now part of Vox media. In 2010, he swapped New York City for Arizona and dove into agency life, leading digital initiatives — design and development, interactive marketing, UX and search — and working with clients such as Nationwide Insurance, Charles Schwab and NASCAR.

Kyle has taught courses on digital media entrepreneurship and the business and future of journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. He feels at home among the many Chicago ex-pats in Phoenix. His passions include cooking, college basketball and spending time with his (significantly more talented) creative director wife, his tween children and his dog.

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