6 Common Content Marketing Mistakes You’ll Want To Avoid

Content marketing is easy to mess up. We’ve all been there. Heck, you may have been getting it wrong this whole time and not understood why.

These days, we’re all creating content. Whether it’s for our blog or social media channels. And we’re expecting to see results from the effort. But a lot of the time, this isn’t happening.

So, where could we be going wrong? Well, these 6 content marketing mistakes could be the reason:

  1. Being too self-promotional
  2. The wrong types of images
  3. Keyword stuffing
  4. Sharing one type of content
  5. Overly descriptive copywriting
  6. Not understanding your audience

1. Being too self-promotional

This one is a biggie. And as we get so much content through Quuu, I’ve witnessed it first-hand. It’s going to make some newbies confused, though.

Take this piece of content, for example. Does anything jump out at you?

Or what about this short blog post? It’s title is: “What is a business coach?”

Can’t work out what links them? Start by counting how many times both writers refer to themselves.

Now, this is fine if you’re on the ‘About’ page of a website. But talking about how great your service or product is isn’t content marketing. No matter how hard you try to justify it. It’s direct advertising. 

And, yes, content marketing is a form of advertising. And this kind of advertising has its place. But that’s not what people are looking for when they find your blog through search engines. 

The main goal of your content marketing strategy is to provide value for your target audience. Above everything else. That’s the whole point of it. Indirect marketing is about building a relationship with your followers using quality content.

So, how do you correct this mistake if you’ve been doing it? Well, it’s an easy switch. Start writing about the problem your product or service can solve. Not about the product or your business itself. That’s it!

Customer-centric marketing is all about showing you can meet your customer’s needs before they even have to ask. So, your content marketing efforts need to represent that.

A bit of self-promotion isn’t wrong. But keep it as a punchy CTA (call to action). Or try turning it into a case study or something equally valuable. Try making your digital marketing strategy about helping rather than selling.

2. The wrong types of images

Content creation has to be visual now. That’s a given. 

According to HubSpot, the main type of media used in content marketing is video. People are filming podcasts. Dipping into webinars. Creating YouTube videos. They’re everywhere. But what about trusty old written content?

You could spend a lot of time on data-filled whitepapers and blog posts. But if it’s just a wall of text, people probably won’t be interested. Fill them with high-quality visuals, though, and you can turn good content into great content.

But are you thinking about simply shoving some stock photos into your articles? Let me stop you right there. While this type of visual used to be the most-used graphic by marketers, its terrible reign has (thankfully) come to an end.

Now, over 40% of marketers agree that stock photos do not help them reach their marketing goals. This is a content marketing mistake we want to leave in the past.

Source: Venngage

In saying that, there are sites like Unsplash that host freely-usable images from content creators. They’re way nicer than a lot of generic stock shots. And they can be really handy to use as part of your main banner image for blog posts. 

The right kinds of images

Basically, unless an image is going to add something to your text, don’t bother with it. The right types of images to include are things like:

  • Infographics
  • Graphs
  • GIFs
  • Memes
  • Screenshots
  • Drawings

Fancy trying to create your own infographics and designs? There are loads of online meme and GIF generators. Plus, graphic design tools like Canva are super easy to use with tons of templates. 

But you can get infographics wrong too. For example, going image-heavy with barely any info. Like this one from MTV:

Source: KlientBoost

Are they meant to be eyes? What do they represent? On the flip side, avoid too much info that just ends up being confusing:

Source: Visme

That’s a lot of lines. Demonstrating that too much clutter can reduce an infographic’s impact.

Lastly, don’t forget to have someone else check over your work before publishing. They might spot something you didn’t…

Source: KlientBoost

I’m saying nothing!

3. Keyword stuffing

This used to be one of the most common content marketing mistakes because it actually worked. For a while. Since it’s been outlawed by Google, we don’t see it as much. But some folk still haven’t got the message.

In the early days of search engines, it was easy to top the first SERP (search engine ranking page) with a really simple form of content. Being a marketing manager was a walk in the park.

Say you owned a surf brand. All you had to do was: 

“Write some surfing content about surfing. And be surfing sure that you used the word ‘surfing’ as many surfing times as surfing possible. Surfing surfing surfing.”

Your past marketing campaigns could just have been random pages full of the keyword. And those pages would have ended up ranking highly for those search terms. 

If you’ve ever written the same word so many times that it didn’t look like a real word anymore. Congrats. You’d have mastered the art of “keyword stuffing”.

Black hat SEO tactics

Keyword stuffing is now a “black hat tactic” in the world of SEO. And trust me. You want to avoid these.

Black hat tactics basically try to trick search engine algorithms into making your page rank higher. And if you’re caught, there are penalties. Your site could be dropped in the SERPs. Or removed altogether. Yikes.

Thing is, you’ll always be caught. Google’s Webmaster is too smart these days. But some people still try to be sneaky. They’ll do things like randomly insert the keyword at the end of a sentence. Then match the color of the keyword to the background, so it’s invisible.

Instead, why not just use a tool like Clearscope to work out which different keywords you should include? It’s our go-to when we produce content. Just stick to SEO writing checklists. Forget trying to cheat Google. And you should be fine.

Source: Clearscope

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the main reasons for content marketing. But one of the biggest content marketing mistakes you can make is writing for SEO and forgetting about humans.

Google’s number one goal is to satisfy user search intent. So, to please Google? You’ve got to please its human users. And make sure you’re solving their problems with your content.

4. Only sharing one type of content

Content comes in plenty of formats. Articles and blog posts are one of the most common types because they’re the easiest to create. And they’re everywhere.

It’s easy to just keep pumping out written content. Small business owners who don’t have marketing teams can fall into this trap. They know they need to be posting content regularly. But don’t have the time or skills to create a variety.

But different types of content are exactly what your marketing strategy needs. Seth Godin is a modern marketing legend. In 2015, he boldly stated that “content marketing is the only marketing left”.

So, boring blog posts just ain’t gonna cut it anymore. Seth says. But this is a content marketing mistake a ton of people are making. And there are so many different types of content out there that you can create or curate.

Videos are now taking over written content as the most popular type.

Source: Visme

But don’t forget about things like:

  1. Tutorials
  2. Webinars
  3. White papers
  4. Interviews
  5. Slideshows
  6. Infographics
  7. Podcasts
  8. eBooks
  9. Competitions
  10. User-generated content
  11. Polls

If you’ve got an email list, why not try creating a monthly newsletter? Curated newsletters are super popular in all industries. Because we all love learning from real-life examples.

If you’re brand new to content creation, Content Marketing Institute has compiled a ton of resources that’ll help. Check it out if you could use some inspiration.

If it’s curation you need help with, Quuu has a handy tool for that.

Source: Quuu

5. Overly descriptive copywriting

Content writing and copywriting are one and the same. Copywriting expert Brian Clark agrees:


To be good at one, you have to work on the other. And as written content is so popular, you’ll likely be creating a lot of it. 

Same with curated content. The share texts you add on social media are just as important as the content itself. Something needs to make your audience stop scrolling and want to read the full thing.

A common content marketing mistake involves the type of copywriting you’re doing. Let’s assume at this stage that you can string a sentence together. You know what you’re talking about. But your writing isn’t having an impact. Why could this be?

Could it possibly be the case that you are, in fact, writing in a way that loses the attention of your reader before they have even gotten to the end of the sentence? It could.

Overly descriptive copywriting can include:

  1. The length of your sentences
  2. Your choice of words
  3. Whether you’re getting to the point fast enough in each section

For example, LinkedIn may be aimed at professionals. But that doesn’t mean you need to pull out the thesaurus when writing for them:

Source: Marketing Examples

Conversational copywriting

Conversational copy is the art of writing how you talk. It keeps the language simple and easy to read. Instead of “metrics”, use “numbers”. Forget “functionalities”, try “features”. 

To get started, always use contractions to keep things informal:

Source: Marketing Examples

It’s actually a lot harder to write in a simpler way. It takes more effort to reduce than it does to ramble. But once you nail it, it’s so worth it. 

You can make anyone reading your content understand and relate to it. And when you do, you’re opening it up to a much wider audience.

6. Not understanding your audience

Want your product or service to be successful? Everything has to be aimed at your target audience. Your customers should be at the forefront of every decision.

Micro-influencers are those with about 1k-10k followers on social media. But they have the most engaged and dedicated audiences of all influencers. So, why is that? 

Source: GIPHY

Well, they know their niche. And they stick to it. They also understand the type of content their audience enjoys. And they make sure to give it to them.

Creating customer personas

You’ve probably heard of creating customer/buyer personas. These are fictional representations of buyers you want to target with your marketing. But a huge content marketing mistake (that many people make) is basing these on no data. And being super vague.

Something like this isn’t going to help anyone:

  • Digital marketer
  • 40 years old
  • Married with 2 kids
  • Needs help with social media automation

It’s time to nail down the details.

If you’re a new business that doesn’t have any data yet, no problem! Choose a specific starting point. Like: digital marketing agency owners with 1-10 employees. Find people on LinkedIn and interview them. Create surveys. Cold email. Make that data come to you.

Outreach is always a solid way to get to know loyal and potential customers. You want to end up with a customer persona that’s got depth.

Source: Cacoo

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to create content that revolves around these personas.

I’ve covered why you want to avoid self-promotional content above. You want to solve your customer’s problems. Not talk about how great your business is. And once you know your audience, this part should be a lot easier.


Content marketing mistakes are easy to make. But they’re also easy to fix. Because all of them revolve around putting your audience’s needs first.

No one cares what your product can do. But they all care about what it can do for them. So, along the way, try to avoid:

  1. Being too self-promotional
  2. The wrong types of images
  3. Keyword stuffing
  4. Only sharing one type of content
  5. Overly descriptive copywriting
  6. Not understanding your audience

As long as you’re focused on truly helping your audience, you’re in a great starting position for success. Stick to this advice, and you’ll be golden!

Do you make any of these content marketing mistakes? Are there others you think we should have mentioned? Let us know below!

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