We obviously love content, which is why we hate it when we see Content Marketing pieces that just don’t work. Content is a lot like steak. There’s a lot of things that can ruin a good piece of content. That’s what we’re going to talk about today. What are the things that wreck a Content Marketing campaign and destroy any chance of a good ROI?

These content no-no’s apply to any piece of content regardless of audience or niche. If you’re making any of these mistakes you must fix them before you lose money in your Content Marketing campaign. In this article, we’re going to focus on things that can go wrong within a written content.

Typos and structure

Have you ever seen a grammar and spelling fight online? It can get ugly, fast. You have to make sure that your content follows the rules of English or whichever language you’re writing in. A glaring typo in an otherwise-good piece of content will lose readers. Using an extension like Grammarly can help you catch many writing sins before your post goes live.

Most content needs to be broken into bite-sized portions. Bulleted lists, header breaks, images, and short paragraphs are the rule. People don’t want to wade through long paragraphs. We can thank social media for adjusting our expectations there.

The exceptions for this rule are white papers and ebooks. White papers are technical pieces and ebooks have their own rules depending on the audience. If you’re targeting a learned crowd, a longer paragraph length is fine, but continue to use headers and images when necessary to break up the flow. It helps the eyes to rest.

Images are an absolute must. According to Kissmetrics, content with a relevant image gets 94% more views than content without relevant images. There’s a reason that Content Marketing isn’t called text marketing. Pictures, videos, podcasts, and other forms of content are important too. Don’t have a photographer? Get a Shutterstock account to buy stock photos or learn about picture licenses so you can use pictures you find online.

Reaching the audience

You can have the best content distribution network in the world, but you won’t get the clicks if your content is boring. Every Content Marketer needs to have a decent grasp of basic copywriting skills to understand what goes into making a great headline.

Even if your piece of content isn’t sales-oriented, the headline and the snippet need to attract attention as if they were. The way to attract attention is through understanding what your intended audience reacts to. This is a study all in itself. For instance, if you just read through the headlines of a big-name niche site like Kotaku or Jalopnik, you can see how their language leans to attract certain crowds.

Your snippet, sometimes called the meta, is the little blurb of text that goes below your headline. The headline grabs initial attention, but it is the snippet that sells the story enough to get the click. Good snippets elaborate slightly on the headline to give a reader an expectation of what they’re going to read about if they click.

Call to Action

Just like how you can’t have a dangling modifier, your content can’t dangle with nothing else to attach to. The goal of content marketing isn’t to get them to click on the content and read it. Any piece of content should try to spur the reader into taking further action. It can be a big action, like purchasing a product, but it can also be a tiny one like clicking a ‘like’ button.

If you don’t have a clear Call To Action, then your content doesn’t connect to the rest of your strategy. Possibly good for brand awareness, but a disaster for any other metric.

One of the great things about social media is that it has call to action built into the system. If you read a Facebook post, you’re hit with three types of CTA: commenting, sharing, and reacting. Same with Twitter: favoUriting, retweeting, and replying. What about your blog though? Can you name three ways people can respond to your pieces easily? If not, you’ll want to put some in!

Even if your main goal is a certain kind of conversion, having multiple CTA options can keep your piece in the mind of the user. A blog comment can attract a later response if you reply. Social sharing buttons can cause their social circle to react to a piece and bring it up again. Don’t be fixated on getting the data or the sale. Smaller CTA responses can build to larger ones.

Next time we’re going to focus on the mistakes people can make when delivering their content. In the meantime, why not read some of our other posts to learn more about how you can improve your content marketing strategy. And if you’ve like what you’ve read, give us a shot out on social media.