The role and value of content marketing has dramatically changed in just the past year. Many business owners are still trying to get their heads around an effective social media strategy; now they have to also think about becoming publishers and content marketers.

Why? The digital media convergence of social, search and content. If social and search are peanut butter and jelly - content is the bread that makes the sandwich.

The problem is, while most businesses and companies realize the importance of content marketing and are attempting to engage in it (recent studies suggest 80-90%) many don't understand it and are making critical mistakes that could undermine their efforts.

Below, I've put together a list of 21 reasons why your content marketing strategy may be headed for trouble.

  1. Your current content marketing plan is that you have no plan
  2. You publish a random assortment of articles, videos, infograhics, etc that don't come together as part of a larger story or message.
  3. Newsletters, social media posts and other communications are unpredictable - not scheduled or consistent
  4. Your website, social media, press releases, newsletters and email are all handled separately and not tailored to specific channels around a unified, targeted message.
  5. Your published content is "salesy"
  6. Marketing, PR, Product and Customer Service departments within your organization don't meet on a regular basis to discuss and optimize a content plan and calendar
  7. Your content always ends with a period. There are no next steps or paths to take the reader deeper into your content or message
  8. You treat content marketing like a marketing campaign not like a communication channel
  9. You don't respond to comments and questions posted to your published content
  10. You write about your company's experts and expertise rather than sharing it
  11. Your content is not personalized, building a relationship with the reader
  12. You're not monitoring your competitors. Caution: don't ever copy what they're doing but definitely watch it and take away key learnings.
  13. You create and publish awesome, amazing content - but you have no strategy for targeting, sharing and promoting it to your audience
  14. You cannot succinctly describe the make-up of your target or niche audience
  15. You finally "nail it" with a viral piece of content - maybe an infographic or video however; a few people are saying negative things about it. You respond by disabling the comments and deleting each of the negative comments
  16. Your content is just that ... content. It doesn't move anyone to take action or engage. In other words, there is no value in what you're publishing
  17. You publish content without Search Engine Optimization (SEO) being a part of the over-arching strategy
  18. You don't track and measure the activity and performance around your published content. 
  19. You haven't set any defining goals or objectives. Lacking specific goals and objectives will send you down the wrong path every time. Each social platform and type of published content should have clear goals and objectives (fans, followers, shares, downloads, etc)
  20. You believe that content marketing competes with your other tactics rather than supports and compliments them
  21. You talk about things that are important to your company and that you care about - not what your audience thinks is important, or cares about