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The Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing

When done correctly, content marketing can be one of the biggest contributors to traffic and brand awareness for a business. With the correct content marketing plan in place, site owners may quickly become branded as an authority within their niche. There have been start ups that virtually explode onto the scene without ever having to undergo the usual growing pains that newbie sites typically have, because a piece of their content went viral.

Unfortunately, most simply go about it the wrong way, leading to a lot of wasted time and effort on their part. Today, I’m going to outline the major issues that cause the majority of internet marketers to fail and how you can avoid the same pitfalls to create your own content marketing campaign that POPS.

Before we begin, it’s important to define what content marketing is. It’s simply a strategy employed through the use of creating fresh content for the sake of creating exposure and increased visibility. This can be done through blogging, guest posting, and submitting written material to various resources. If done correctly, this can not only help improve your linking profile, but also generate traffic that converts to sales.

Like any campaign though, content marketing requires specific planning and execution in order to succeed or else you’re simply killing time (which sucks).

So, without further ado, here are the biggest content marketing blunders and what you can do to avoid them…

Not Creating an Actionable Plan

“Content marketing” has been a buzzword for some time now, leading to experienced marketers and newbies alike to follow the advice of others without having any real actionable plan.

Perhaps they went on their favorite internet marketing forum politely asked how others were obtaining traffic. A typical answer may have been “through content marketing.”

So, in an effort to generate more traffic, they began pounding out a copious amount of blog posts, guides, and other informational material. Sooner or later, they realize that it was all a complete waste of time, setting them back even further than once they began…

Sound familiar? The number one error that most internet marketers make is that they simply jump in without an actionable plan or purpose behind their work.

Content marketing without setting specific goals beforehand is a monumental waste of epic proportions. There will be no traffic, no brand awareness, no increased visibility, and worst of all, no additional sales. Before you embark on a journey to create massive amounts of content, ask yourself a few questions…

How will your content marketing campaign fit into the grand scheme of your overall business goals?

What is the ideal end result of beginning a content marketing campaign and is it reasonable?

How do you plan on achieving this end result?

How will you drive additional sales through this approach?

Like anything, a plan of action needs to be thoroughly investigated prior to starting. If you can answer the above questions in detail, then you will be ready to begin. If you’re answers are proving difficult or aren’t concise, then perhaps more planning is needed.

Not Identifying Your Target Audience

It’s important to narrow down exactly who your writing is geared towards or else you’re going to spend a lot of time typing to no one in particular. Creating blog posts and articles is easy. Creating content that fits the needs of a specific demographic is a bit more difficult…but well worth it.

Your target market may consist of thousands or millions of potential consumers. However, if you could choose only one person that fits your brand perfectly, who would they be?

Who is your ideal consumer?

What do they look like?

What is their age?

Are they a male, female, or both?

What problems do they have?

How is your content going to provide a solution?

By answering these questions, you will be able to effectively create content that suits your target market, thus allowing you to improve your action plan.

Not Knowing What Would You Like to Convey to Your Audience

Writing without a specific message is just a mass of typed words on your screen and nothing more. It needs to say something or else it is completely meaningless.

Every piece of content you create must exude this message. When done reading, your audience should have a clear and direct understanding of what it is that you and your business can do for them. You’d be absolutely amazed at how many websites lack a core message. Their content is all over the place and fails to capture the attention of any specific audience in particular.

Ever heard the old saying, “A jack of all trades, but a master of none”?

That is exactly what you’d like to avoid! You need to become a master of a specific area in order to drive targeted traffic. When I think of other top level marketers, in the business, I can clearly define what it is that they do. For instance;

Brian Dean – His site is about creating backlinks. It’s simple and straight forward.

Neil Patel – his website, Crazzy Egg, is about providing much needed analytic data for marketers.

Mathew Woodward – He shows others how he makes money with his site through affiliate sales.

Do you get the point? Your message needs to be a subtext of every piece of material that you create.

Produce Fresh Content as Regularly as Possible

There are countless ways to repurpose your content. You could create a blog post and then turn it into a powerpoint and upload it to a number of sites. You could then take that powerpoint and create a video and distribute it to all of the video providers. Then, you could take that video and create an all inclusive guide that you give away as a freebie…or something like that.

Either way, it’s important to leverage your content as much as possible.

However, it’s equally as important to continue feeding the masses new, non rehashed material or else they will get bored. There’s nothing worse than a stagnant site. Although all of your steps to repurpose your content could very well bring in loads of new traffic, what are you going to do in order to make them stay?

The only way to ensure return visits is to continuously produce new information for your audience to digest. This will keep them interested and willing to come back for more.

Additionally, it will help you out in the SERP’s. Every piece of content created is a sign to Google that you are active and deserve to be shown in the SERP’s.

Not Doing Any Additional Promotion

I know I referenced the movie, “Field of Dreams” in a post recently, but I am about to do it again, so bear with me…Just because you BUILD it does NOT mean that THEY will come.

Possibly the biggest mistake that marketers make with their content is to hit the publish button and assume that it is over. It’s not! This is the point where the actual marketing comes into play.

You need to actively promote your content to get the absolute most out of every piece that you publish. This is where you can make the use of social media, email lists, social bookmarking sites, reaching out to other marketers within your niche, etc.

Your audience may be busy with other things. Hey, sometimes life gets in the way. That is why it is up to you to be pro-active and ensure that they know that you have new content for them. With a little bit of effort, and a few really engaging blog posts, you could easily go viral.

The Final Say

Content marketing is a great way to create new viewers and to keep older ones coming back. It does however, require planning and a bit of effort. Nothing in life comes free and that includes traffic. Even organic traffic isn’t free as you’ve labor in some way to obtain it.

If it fits your marketing strategy, I would suggest sitting down and beginning a content marketing plan as soon as you get the opportunity. The rewards are well worth the work.

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About Sean Donahoe

Sean is one of the most recognized industry leaders in business and marketing. As a popular speaker, author, consultant he has helped over 50,000 students world wide find success in their businesses and has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and businesses of every size grow and thrive...


  1. Sean,

    As always, you continuously produce great content and products. I enjoy reading them as they offer so much value. At the same time, I love Backlink Commando and Rapid Mailer suite. They save so much time and get my message to my audience quickly and effectively. I just built a new blog. It is mainly leveraging what you share here on this blog post. When I am ready, I will certainly join your coaching or inner circle program as well.


  2. Thanks for this most informative article Sean. There are several things I am doing correctly, however, there are also many I am not. I will watch out for more wisdom from you.

  3. Great post Sean, I think The most important thing is to focus on an action plan as you said and this is also the most common part where beginners fail

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