Good content development within a content strategy is just like a pastry shop purchasing the freshest eggs for their cakes.
Without it, the end products are nowhere near as tantalizing as they can be and you likely won’t be able to arouse the “oohs” and “aahs” needed to achieve your end objective.
In the case of the baker, it’s to stimulate those taste palates and get customers coming back for more. In content marketing, it’s to engage readers and convert them.
You may have a solid blogging and content marketing strategy in place and even an editorial calendar to guide your content production. But without proper content development to support your blog planning, you’re aiming blind and you may end up missing your goals by miles.
If salivating customers are what you want, then you need to execute your recipe as well as it’s been tested and put together. In short, making as few mistakes as possible.
In this post, we’ll talk about the top seven mistakes to avoid in blog content development.Without proper content development to support your blog planning, you’re aiming blind and you may end up missing your goals by miles. Click To Tweet
Content development mistake #1: Focus on your product only
One of the most common mistakes we’ve seen with blog content development strategy is the heavy focus on the product.
While having articles about the ins and outs of your product and how it works can certainly be a make-or-break factor (and one that’s key in the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey), that’s not what your blog content should be all about.
Focusing too much on your product would be to essentially neglect the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. Given that it’s the very first of the three stages and the one that sees the biggest traffic volume, this means missing out on a substantial amount of potential leads.
When working on content development for your blog, it’s important to include content that helps your target audience learn more—and we’re not just talking about your product.
Take a few steps back, zoom out a little, and look at the larger picture.
Develop content around the pain point your product solves, the industry, and even adjacent industries, if and where relevant.
For instance, if you’re a freight forwarder providing ocean freight transportation services, don’t only publish content around your product. Branch out and talk about logistics, customs, world trade.When working on content development for your blog, take a few steps back, zoom out a little, and look at the larger picture. Click To Tweet
Content development mistake #2. Too much corporate content
We get it. You’ve just landed a prominent account. Or maybe as a startup, you’ve just secured a new round of funding.
It’s perfectly normal and professionally instinctual to want to let the world know about your company’s achievements.
But that doesn’t mean having it dominate your content development and flooding your blog with such content. As mentioned in our previous point, it requires targeting the different stages of the buyer’s journey.
Your blog should be filled with articles that can help your potential customers solve the issues they’re facing. It’s unlikely that reading about a newly inked corporate deal can bring them one step closer to a solution.
Now, that’s not to say you shouldn’t be publicizing these efforts—because you definitely should. After working so hard to get funding or to close a big account, the last thing you want to do is lay low.
That said, the blog may not be the best place for it.
With corporate news, we recommend having a dedicated section for it. If you still prefer to have it on your blog, consider assigning it a category and/or separating it from your main blog content.
At the end of the day, your blog should function like a trove of helpful resources and not read like the front page of Forbes.Have a dedicated section for corporate news. If you prefer to have it on your blog, assign it a category and separate it from your main blog content. Click To Tweet
Content development mistake #3: Content regurgitation
Hands up if you’ve come across what appears to be the same content time and time again. No, not from the same blog but from various ones with articles that address the same topic.
When it comes to content development and looking up material to fill and support the piece, many writers’ first move is to head to—you guessed it—Google.
Who can blame them? I mean, what can you not find on Google these days (other than Trump’s financial records, of course)?
Where content regurgitation is the most obvious is with data. Because while the written word can often be rephrased or substituted with a synonym, a number is what it is—there’s no way to change it without jeopardising its accuracy.
To avoid content regurgitation, include interviews with subject matter experts in your content development process and reference internal data and research where possible.
Now, Googling for more meat to beef up your content is a natural part of the content development process. But to produce content that’s original and not a reorganization or rephrase of other published content, start with this approach before heading to Google.
That way, any material you find on Google can act as a supplement and support instead of your content’s lead and angle. This allows you a unique view of the problem you’re addressing in your blog content, one that’s different and that can set your content aside from the rest.To avoid content regurgitation, include interviews with subject matter experts in your content development process and reference internal data and research where possible. Click To Tweet
Content development mistake #4: Outdated data
Speaking of using data as part of your content development strategy, if relying on internal research isn’t an option for your content team, then at least make sure that the data you’re pulling off the internet is updated.
And I don’t mean just looking at when the article referencing the data was published. If the page from which you’re quoting the data provides a link to the data’s source, go one step further and check when the source was published.
You’d be surprised at how many “recently updated” articles there are that continue to publish years-old data without any disclaimers, which can be misleading for its readers.
Having done our fair share of data-heavy articles, we know just how common such practices are.
Sure, there may be times where there’s simply no updated data available. For instance, a search for official figures on self-employed income in the US shows that the latest available data from the US Census Bureau is dated 2012.
Under such circumstances, consider forgoing the data. If it is absolutely vital to your content, include a disclaimer about its date and contextualise it in your content.
Content development mistake #5: Unreliable sources
Remember the children’s game Chinese whispers, or as it’s called in some parts of the world, Telephone?
To jog your memory, it’s where a relatively long message is whispered from one person to the next and passed along until the last person in line. The final version of the message is then compared with the original, often sparking laughs of incredulity because of the huge differences between them.
Believe it or not, this happens pretty often on the internet, too.
When citing information from other pages or using it as a reference, avoid quoting from the first source you chance upon. Make the extra effort to go straight to the horse’s mouth.
If it’s a quote, dig for the original source in which the quote appeared, which can be a news interview, a video, an article written by said person, etc. If it’s a company’s corporate information, like sales revenue, look up their press releases or search through their website’s corporate page.
You want to make sure the source of the information you’re using in your content development is as reliable as possible. This is particularly important with content requiring heavy data references.
Note that what’s deemed as “reliable“ may differ from industry to industry and topic to topic. But your best bet would be to use data and information from official organizations or established consulting agencies where possible.
(We’re talking the United Nations, World Health Organization, World Bank, McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, and the likes.)
Because not only do they have access to a large enough sample size for accurate data, they will also have the capacity and expertise to conduct a thorough analysis of the data to generate more precise findings and conclusions.When citing information from other pages or using it as a reference, avoid quoting from the first source you chance upon. Make the extra effort to go straight to the horse’s mouth.Click To Tweet
Content development mistake #6: Forgetting your buyer persona
Great blog content resonates with its readers, and the most effective way to achieve that is to write with your target audience in mind.
After all, the goal of your blog should be to generate traffic, leads, and boost sales. So what better way to hook them in with content they can relate to and identify with?
This requires a thorough understanding of everything there is to know about your buyer persona during blog planning: their interests, what sort of content they consume, their biggest pain points, and more.
Once you’ve built your buyer persona profile, write as they do.
This is akin to mirroring body language to build rapport and understanding. Using the same language your target audience writes in and thinks in can help to break down digital barriers and speak straight to their minds—or better yet, their hearts.
The more they feel like you understand and empathise with them, the more likely they are to return to your content, explore other content, and at some point, convert.
Content development mistake #7: Be too SEO-focused
Newsflash: There is such a thing as being overly focused on SEO.
Don’t get us wrong. SEO is important in content development—no one’s denying that. But that’s not to say that all your content should be keyword-focused.
There are actually many ways for content to be effective that don’t require SEO and there’s content for which keyword research and optimisation aren’t needed to perform.
One such example would be the news. Because of its rapid nature, it’s impossible to obtain keyword search volume data from one day to the next to know just what keywords you need to target to rank.
Let’s look at an example.
Say your product is a social media scheduling tool and Facebook has just announced it would be acquiring YouTube from Google for an earth-shattering $10 billion. This is certainly big news and considering its relevance to your industry and product, you decide to write a post about the deal immediately.
This then raises the question: What keywords would you target?
Because it’s only just been announced, it’s unlikely that searching through SEO tools such as SEMrush or Ahrefs would give you a clear indication of the keywords people are searching for.
You can only rely on search terms that would make the most sense. And if you’re among the first (after the media) to chime in on the deal and produce content around it, chances of ranking are high.
Plus, it’s no hidden secret that Google values quality. By focusing only on SEO, you may be missing out on opportunities to flesh out your piece in ways that other content has failed to, thus giving it value and—guess what?—propel yourself to the top of the SERPs.SEO is important in content development. But that’s not to say that all your content should be keyword-focused.Click To Tweet
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Lin’s an ex-journalist who’s found her new love in content marketing. In her spare time, she’s on a secret conquest to find a solution to never having to cut her nails again.