According to Econsultancy's recently published Content Marketing Survey, the number of search queries for the phrase 'content marketing' has more than doubled in the past two years, a reflection of the fact that more and more companies are turning to content marketing to promote their wares.

When used effectively, content can be one of the most powerful marketing tools, but many companies dipping their toes in the content marketing water are making huge mistakes in how they develop and execute their strategies.

Here are five of the biggest that can easily be avoided.

1. Relying solely on the marketing team

Content marketing is marketing, but don't fall into the trap of believing that your content marketing strategy is a marketing-only affair. The knowledge, experience and insight that serves as the foundation for compelling content is often more likely to come from other parts of your organization, so it's usually wise to ensure that the appropriate non-marketing teams are involved in content marketing where appropriate and desirable.

2. Not going beyond owned media for distribution

Great content doesn't distribute itself and distribution is a crucial part of any successful content marketing strategy. Unfortunately, many companies make the mistake of focusing on owned media because, well, it's easy. If your company has highly-trafficked websites or blogs, this may not be so problematic, but most companies don't have massive audiences through owned media, so not developing external distribution channels can be a huge mistake.

From opportunities to provide guest posts on third party sites to content distribution services, there are plenty of ways to ensure that your content is seen by more people, and the right people.

3. Thinking 'viral' is a strategy

For some companies, 'viral' is a big part of the content marketing strategy. The assumption: social channels like Facebook and Twitter will be used to great effect, delivering substantial eyeballs to your content.

While social can play an important role in your company's content marketing efforts, don't fall victim to the belief that social is the strategy. Social channels can be difficult to stand out in and, depending on your target market, may not provide the audience you're after.

4. Selling too hard

At the end of the day, content marketing is like any other form of marketing: it's supposed to help move the needle. As such, the content produced as part of a content marketing strategy should drive action, even if indirectly. That means content will focus on commercially-relevant topics, include a call to action, etc. What it shouldn't mean: that your content reads like a brochure.

5. Not establishing metrics for data-based decisions

A good content marketing strategy should evolve as you learn what's working and what isn't working. The bad news: many companies aren't monitoring their efforts closely enough to know.

For content distributed via owned media, analytics, for obvious reasons, is a must. For content distributed via third parties, acquiring direct analytics data may not be an option, but that doesn't mean that you can't establish metrics that measure success indirectly. If you're authoring guest posts on a third party blog, for instance, tracking comments and social shares, for instance, can provide valuable insight.

Patricio Robles

Published 13 November, 2012 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (6)

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Adrian Snood

A great post. I wrote an article (By clicking by name) about the fact that many businesses forget the simple fundamentals of marketing that we all used in the days before social media. If you don’t have a goal or objective you cannot put the stepping stones in place to aim towards it. You can accomplish so much using social media, if you set yourself clear goals by taking some time to think about what you want to achieve.

over 5 years ago



i have wrote many articles and got many mistakes but i can't able to identify them, after reading your article i came some idea about my mistakes thanks a lot

over 5 years ago


Dennis wafula, C.E.O at Rhoma

The content is spot on on the challenges that enterprises are facing in the content marketing arena.As a content marketer,I believe that the suggestions offered by Patricio are simple yet when diligently implemented,can lead to impressive gains.

over 5 years ago

Albie Attias

Albie Attias, Ecommerce Director at King of Servers Ltd

A good checklist of what not to do. An effective piece of content should be some or all of the following:

On brand

over 5 years ago


Meagan Sutton

Although the marketing team is very important in developing effective content, you definitely have it right that the real insight can come from other departments, especially when you’re creating content on a global scale. Having a team of in-market translators is your best asset in this case. Content should be localized for the appropriate market and adjusted for cultural differences, not just translated. Localized content is compelling content!

over 5 years ago


James Smith

Content is a huge part of a digital marketing strategy but most definitely needs to be backed up with monitoring metrics, SEO and social media initiatives. Creating a unique and engaging piece of content can often be the most difficult part of the process but without the follow up, there would almost be no point.

over 5 years ago

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