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11 Australian experts reveal common content marketing mistakes

Mistakes are a big part of business, and learning from them is how we grow. Like any industry, content marketing is full of mistakes but luckily you don’t have to make them all yourself in order to get the best from your marketing budget.

We’ve spoken to some of Australia’s most knowledgeable people in the content marketing industry and asked them one simple question:

What is the most common mistake you see in content marketing campaigns?

In the quotes below, you’ll find that there are four main areas where people are going wrong with content marketing:

  • Not understanding their audience
  • Not using their content wisely
  • Expecting short-term results
  • Not measuring their work effectively
Content marketing mistakes

To create effective content you need to know who you’re writing for and why you’re writing for them. There are several ways you should be doing this, and skipping any of the steps might mean you’re targeting the wrong people or the right people at the wrong time — making your content less effective.


James Gilbert, Head of Marketing in Australia

The most common mistakes are not having a good understanding of the buyer persona for your business and not knowing which part of the customer journey your content is speaking to. You need to orientate your content around those.

You don’t want views or likes for the sake of it. You want to reach the people that will care about your business and hopefully, one day, will be a customer. Despite what most marketers will tell you, not all engagement is created equal.

James Gilbert

Claire Austin, Content Marketing Evangelist ANZ

Q: What are you looking to achieve?
A: We want more leads

Q: I have this conversation every day and although I understand the value of leads, I see so much waste with the poor quality leads that are being churned out to meet quotas.

A: So many brands disguise demand gen through content marketing which means they purely concentrate on bottom of funnel content. They are creating great top of funnel, brand awareness and consideration content and posting it organically, but the people they want to reach aren’t seeing it. What they are seeing is the content that is being promoted to them which is lead gen content. This leads to a poor customer experience that replicates cold calling! Brands need to invest equally at all stages of the funnel and build trust before they ask for customer to take an action.

Claire Austin

Belinda Weaver, Owner

I think it’s a lack of understanding of the people they are trying to motivate. Even though a content marketing campaign needs to be valuable and useful, it should ultimately motivate people to take some kind of action. In order to do that, you have to know what’s driving your readers crazy and what kind of transformation they are looking for (as a purchase is really just a tool for transformation).

Belinda Weaver

Bec Derrington, Founder & CEO

You should know your audience and what their problems are, and then try to solve them through your content. Content that doesn’t inform or address your audience’s pressing questions or needs is unlikely to get much traction. Content should never try to sell – it should educate the reader/consumer.

Bec Derrington

Dominic Flannery, Director

The most common mistake is not doing extensive, in-depth research before launching a content creation program. We have a lot of clients coming to us with the same problem; they are creating content, but not getting results. This is usually due to them creating the wrong type of content, aimed at the wrong audience, and not including the keywords that will drive them up the search results.

Research on your audience and potential client/customer base needs to be conducted prior to creating any content – creating personas is a great way of clarifying your customer. Figuring out the keywords that best relate to your service and the keywords people are actually searching for is another step that will help lay the foundations for quality content that ranks well.

Dominic Flannery

Not Using Your Content Wisely

Good things come to those who wait. Content marketing, like SEO and most other forms of marketing, takes time to kick in. If you don’t plan for long-term growth it’s unlikely you’ll see any success.


Elmo Stoop, Founder & CEO

The biggest mistake I see is that expectations are not aligned – either the marketing team is not aligned with management or the external agency doesn’t manage the client’s expectations with regards to results and ROI. This leads to work being cancelled far too soon as the expectation was that results would be generated sooner or it would be more obvious to see ROI.

Content marketing is a long-term investment – think of it like your super. You won’t be rich from investing in your super after a few months, nor will you from content marketing, but we all know the long term benefit of compound growth. Content marketing is very similar.

Elmo Stoop

Bec Derrington, Founder & CEO

One of the most common mistakes I see (and am guilty of) is thinking that content marketing can be a quick, short-term fix. In fact, even the phrase ‘content marketing campaign’ is wishful thinking. The term ‘campaign’ suggests that you can create great content for the life of a campaign and then switch it off. Unfortunately, just like a puppy you get for Christmas, you need to feed and water your content until it fully matures, and even then you can’t stop.

Bec Derrington

Claire Austin, Content Marketing Evangelist ANZ

Many brands adopt content marketing using a traditional advertising approach – short term campaign planning. The result leads to many marketers and brands writing off content marketing before they’ve truly started with it.

On LinkedIn, brands who adopt an ‘always on’ model and have a documented strategy are those who see the most success. This is down to three key things: they’re visible and adding value at any given time a prospect is looking, they are constantly building trust and authority which in a post-trust world is crucial and they are audience centric, they have stopped talking about themselves.

Claire Austin

Not Measuring Your Work Effectively

Even if you are doing everything right in the early stages — from research, creating plans and writing great content — you can still ruin future work if you don’t look at the results of your content.


Grant Doyle, Course Presenter

I think too many marketers have ‘performance anxiety’. That is, few of them apply quantitative goals to measure the success or otherwise of their digital campaigns. Hardly any set conversion metrics, let alone monitor and map performance back to their original proposition.

It seems quantity outweighs quality too often where deadlines are prioritised over measurable content objectives.

Such a lost opportunity to listen, learn and leverage data. And made so accessible via the various analytic programs.

Grant Doyle

Claire Austin, Content Marketing Evangelist ANZ

57% of marketers say their biggest challenge is measuring content marketing. It is a challenge, just as all digital measurement is challenging, however in 2018, we need to start changing this. The role of marketing is changing and we have to get better at showing valuable data and analysis.

This requires better understanding of what we’re actually measuring and then how we are going to do that – this requires a strategy and an agreed approach.

“This shouldn’t stop in marketing either, this alignment needs to exist between sales and marketing too. LinkedIn has been working hard to develop the platform’s capabilities in this area and it now has some really great tools that help clients to track conversions and to see who is coming to their website.

Claire Austin

Elmo Stoop, Founder & CEO

Another key area is to ensure you know how to measure ROI and what it looks like. You might be able to manage expectations and ensure everyone commits to the long-term play, but you still want to see results and improvements.

Making sure you are tracking and reporting on data in the right way is key to knowing if what you are doing is starting to gain traction. If you are and you can measure ROI correctly it only gives you further confidence to keep doing what you were doing.

Elmo Stoop

If any of these comments ring close to home, it’s not too late to make changes. Rather than adding bells and whistles or simply doing more for the sake of it, the best way to improve your content marketing is to get the basics right. With a strong foundation, you can see benefits much more clearly.


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