Tag: Content marketing

Are You Making These Content Marketing Mistakes? The Most Common Ones I See

As someone who spends a lot of time on content strategy and creation, I’ve seen my fair share of content across niches.

By the way, if you’re wondering, What is content marketing?

ContentMarketingInstitute.com defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

The most familiar form of digital content marketing is blogging, but videos, audio, and infographics count as well.

Anyways, as I was saying, I’ve seen my fair share of content – good and bad. One of the first things I tend to do is analyze an organization’s current content and strategy and look for ways to make it better. Here are the most common mistakes I see during that process:

Illegible text

You may be surprised to see something that sounds like design on my list of content marketing mistakes, but design is SO important to content.

There’s no use in spending hours, effort, and money on great content only to slap it into an underperforming design. The design makes sure the content can reach its full potential.

So in terms of illegible text, there are a few sub-issues that I see a lot:

Tiny font: I get so upset when I see quality, good writing in a teeny tiny font. This is especially a problem for “minimalist” themes in WordPress, and in most Squarespace sites I see. You should be writing online in a font that is no smaller than 16px, period.

Grey font: This is another thing I see often with modern/minimalist themes. Tiny grey letters. Dark grey is fine and sometimes even preferred to blackest-black because it’s a bit softer on the eyes. But if it’s grey enough to where you would look at it and say “that’s grey text”, it’s too grey. You need more contrast than that to optimize the readability of your content.

Text areas that are too wide: Your text area should be between 80-100 characters wide. This could mean a number of things in terms of pixels – that’s not the point (although I’ve noticed somewhere around 680-750 pixels wide is usually good). The ideal width will depend on your font and font size. I see a lot of full-width blocks of text, and this makes it hard for the reader’s eyes to jump to the next line.

When in doubt about font, visit Medium and study what they do for blog post formatting. They’ve optimized their site for readability.

Lots of content and no promotion

Content marketing mistakes: lack of promotion
Promotion is just as important as the content itself. Here are a few ideas of how you can use multiple methods of promotion for a single high-quality piece of content.

Producing content for your business’s blog is great – essential even. Businesses with blogs generate between 67% (B2B) and 88% (B2C) more leads per month than those without (Hubspot’s “The State of Inbound Marketing 2010“).

But without any efforts towards promotion, your content will just sit there unread. Investing in a social media manager or VA to handle your social media marketing is a good start. You also want to work on backlink building to build a presence on search engines (your SEO).

Lack of understanding of target audience

Content marketing mistake: not knowing target audience
Excerpts from a customer avatar I made for a project

I get why this is hard: when you’re so deep inside something, it’s hard to see it from the outside perspective. It’s hard to step into your reader’s shoes. I struggle with it myself for my own blog, so I know the feeling.

It’s worth it to talk with someone with a bit more distance from the product or service for sale on developing or revisiting your customer avatar.

What are your target audience’s pain points? Can you define different segments? What are the primary and secondary benefits your product or service can offer them?

Your content is for them, so you need to have a next level understanding of what they’re thinking and feeling.

Fear of sharing too much value for free

Different currencies

Yes, some of your information and expertise should be saved for paying customers. But if you want to generate leads, you need to attract people and build trust by giving away really juicy value for free.

Don’t be afraid to give too much. There is always a point where people won’t have the time or expertise and will rather pay you to do things for them. Always.

What Robert Irwin can teach us about marketing

What Steve Irwin’s 13-year-old Son Can Teach Us About Marketing

If you haven’t met thirteen-year-old Robert Irwin, be prepared to be blown away. He is by far the most gracious, likable, intelligent, well-spoken 13-year-old I think I’ve ever seen.

As someone in the video comments section said, “He is a f***ing treasure”.

Robert recently stopped by the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. He brought in baby animals and let Jimmy interact with them while he told Jimmy fun facts about each one. Jimmy plays the “city guy” to Robert’s “outdoorsman” and the [very real] hesitation we get from Jimmy makes for a fun and entertaining contrast with Robert’s sheer, unstoppable delight.

Have a watch:

You’re ready to go on an expedition with Robert, right? I know I am.

So how come this pre-teen can sell us wildlife research and conservation but some of the biggest NGO’s in the world can’t?

Robert (or the team behind him, I don’t know) is excellent at marketing.

Here’s what we can learn as marketers – especially those of us working in the social impact space – from 13-year-old Robert Irwin:

He’s excited as hell about his brand

Talk about infectious excitement! Now Robert didn’t invent the gig – his father certainly did this first – but he knows how to use his energy to get our attention. Notice how positive he is about everything. Notice his passion and enthusiasm to share every single “fun fact” about each animal.

You might not have the opportunity to appear on the Tonight Show anytime soon, but there are still opportunities to be excited as hell about your brand. Think about how you can “write like you speak” on social media posts to convey this kind of enthusiasm. Think about how you can incorporate your energy and passion for your business when you talk with leads, funders, the press.

Obviously, you should tailor your messaging to fit the tone of your brand. But if you don’t get excited about your products/services/project, no one else will either.

Here’s another clip from the same show a few months ago

He tells interesting stories

The major challenge anyone working in social impact has is that oftentimes the thing they’re selling doesn’t have a direct or clear benefit for the audience their selling it to. It’s social impact, so it usually benefits someone else, maybe a community in need – a community your target audience doesn’t know, has never met, and will never meet.

Let’s face it: it’s hard to get people to care about anything or anyone but themselves.

You have to do as Robert does and sell the stories.

Make those communities across the world very real. And be INTERESTING.

This is where so many organizations go wrong: no one wants to know “we had X-many honey badgers in the world in 2005 but we only have only X-many today”.

American badger


Data and facts and all that serious stuff are important to have in your back pocket because they validate that the world needs what you have to offer. But, if you’re marketing yourself to a lay audience, you need to be more interesting than that to get their attention.

How about, “In Africa, the honey badger has been known to back down lions! They have NO FEAR AT ALL!” Ah, that’s better.

Robert layers on these little anecdotes one after another. He paints us juicy pictures of the animals’ lives. Tells us their names, feeds them, pets them.

I dare you to aim for interesting in your marketing. Think of the really intriguing stuff you can share with your audience. The stuff they don’t usually get to hear about. Tell anecdotes, or tell longer stories with a beginning, middle, and end – but start with the end and keep them on the edge of their seats!

Maybe you’re thinking, “Well Robert’s got it easy. He has exotic animals to show off for godsakes! I don’t have anything that interesting or exciting.”

I would bet your brand has its own “exotic animals” to share with the world. You just need to look for them.