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Simply defined, content marketing is a strategic approach to creating relevant and consistent content. It’s targeting a specific audience with the right message, in the right channel and at the right time. Organizations – from small business to large enterprises and major brands – are embracing content marketing; in fact, 86% of B2B marketers report that their organizations are using content marketing, and 70% of them are creating more content than they did one year ago, according to the Content Marketing Institute.

Before you jump headfirst into content marketing, you need to be aware of some common misconceptions that can create challenges. Here are five content marketing mistakes and steps on how to avoid them:

Mistake #1: The Random Marketing Splatter

While it’s great you want to get your marketing message out in the world, the “spray and pray” approach may not hit your target audience. It’s important you approach content marketing through a holistic, strategic lens. A few questions to ask yourself include:

  • Is the content medium(s) appropriate for the target audience?
  • Are there other resources that can support the marketing initiative; for example, should you consider creating a blog post to support a recent white paper?
  • Are all marketing channels aligned and appropriate for the marketing launch (i.e. Social, Blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, Website, Ad copy, Newsletter, Email)?
  • Was SEO considered before creating the campaign?

Mistake #2: Not Knowing Thy Audience

It’s vital you have your target audience in mind because if the message doesn’t resonate with them, they’ll ignore it. Can you picture who the person is that is viewing your content? The more targeted your content is, the more likely it will speak to the customer. Remember to keep the audience in focus and try to speak to them with honesty, respect and directness. They’ll appreciate it more.

Mistake #3: Lack of Different Formats

Consider all types of formats for your content marketing mix including video, podcasts, and infographics. Your audience is on various platforms, so you need to make sure your content gets to them where and when they want it. Be sure to take a strategic approach, as these various formats can connect with the audience at critical touch points.

Mistake #4: Forgetting the Customer Benefits

How well do you know your customers? Are you aware of their challenges and obstacles? How will your service/product/solution solve their problem? What are the benefits of them becoming a customer? These are important questions to ask before creating your content.

Content should be useful and provide insights and benefits. Have the goal of creating such great content that your audience will want to share it with their staff and network.

Mistake #5: Not Allowing Enough Time

Content marketing results should be cumulative, and measured over time. It’s not instantaneous, so let the content breathe and grow. Find out what works and what doesn’t — then adjust accordingly.

Overall, when done properly, content marketing can be one of the most effective and budget-wise ways to build a customer base with an eye on the future, as well as today.

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