The 10 Plagues of Content Marketing

Tactics to Get Your Content Marketing on Track to Succeed

Egyptian Pharoah Content marketing is red hot. But you must ensure that every element works together to achieve your business goals or you’ll be plagued with problems like the Pharaoh of ancient Egypt.

A little planning goes a long way. An editorial calendar and other content management tools can help you avoid the challenges of content marketing and prevent you from wasting your resources.

With that in mind, here are content marketing’s ten plagues and actionable content marketing tactics to circumvent them.

  1. Plague of not knowing about what to write. Content requires that you go beyond reporting the facts about your products. To continually feed the content beast, you must offer your target audience fresh content. Closely related to this plague is the challenge of having no story to tell. Story telling is a critical aspect of content marketing. Without it, you’ve got a collection of facts that are difficult for your audience to remember. Actionable Content Marketing Tactic: Create a set of regular columns to help structure your content offering. Meet your prospects’ information needs by answering their product related questions and by showing them how to use your offering.  (Here are eight tips to create stellar content every time.
  2. Plague of not incorporating non-text formats, especially visual content. Think beyond text. Understand that people take in information differently.  Some people need to read it, some need to hear it and some need to see it. Actionable Content Marketing Tactic: Provide a variety of different forms of content including images, videos, audio and presentations. Don’t forget to add live events such as meetings, conferences and presentations. Also, insert an image in every piece of content to attract attention.
  3. Plague of not having a human voice. In today’s social media world, content must have a human voice. Your content shouldn’t sound like a computer generated it.  Actionable Content Marketing Tactic: Skip the sanitized corporate communications that don’t sound like they’ve got any connection with a real person. Your information must have a human element and reflect the perspective of your senior executives.
  4. Plague of not extending your branding. Without branding your content has no context. Even more important you’re missing a critical opportunity to provide brand associations with your information. Actionable Content Marketing Tactic: Integrate your brand into every element of your content. This includes the context in which you place your website or blog as well as the look and feel aspects such as typeface, colors and voice. (Here’s a list of seven branding tips for your content marketing.)
  5. Plague of being too promotional. You can’t continually shout “Buy, buy, buy!” No one will pay attention to your content. Actionable Content Marketing Tactic: Instead, support your sales process by answering customers’ questions and providing information to support product use (such as how tos and styling).  To support sales, link to your product pages so visitors can see it in action.
  6. Plague of not being formatted for easy consumption. Since people send a lot of time taking in information, it’s important to format your content to attract readers. Make it easy for readers to get through your information. Related to this is the plague of having poor usage and grammar. It makes your information hard to read and turns readers off. Actionable Content Marketing Tactic: Format your content to facilitate consumption (I call this dressing your content for success!) This starts with a great headline to grab readers’ attention and pull them into your piece. Then use bolding and outlining to help guide readers through. Remember many of them may be reading your information on a mobile device.
  7. Plague of not being optimized for search. Every piece of content must be findable in order to attract an audience.  To this end, optimize every element of your content. Actionable Content Marketing Tactic: Include links to other content on your website and social media entities as well as links to third party sites. Also, focus each piece of content around a keyword phrase and use the keyword in the title and permalink. Add an image and associate text with it.
  8. Plague of not distributing your content marketing. Just having great content isn’t sufficient to attract an audience. You must promote it where appropriate so it gets shared and distributed widely. Actionable Content Marketing Tactic: To maximize the effectiveness of your content marketing, make sure that you’ve distributed each piece of content across your owned media and provide social sharing icons. Develop a plan to extend your content’s reach. Publicize it on different social media platforms and respond to questions to help attract readers. Understand that your followers on social media don’t want recycled content. Also curate other people’s information.
  9. Plague of not allocating sufficient resources to create amazing content. This plague is tough for many businesses since it requires sufficient personnel and budget to create strong content. Actionable Content Marketing Tactic: Leverage the power of content creators in your organization. Where appropriate supplant this writing with outside resources such as freelancers, consultants and agencies. Understand that these resources require money.
  10. Plague of not knowing how effective your content marketing is. This means measuring the results from your content marketing efforts. Actionable Content Marketing Tactic: Incorporate a call-to-action into your content to motivate your audience to act. Also, track your results back to your business objectives using appropriate content marketing metrics.

Understand that the content marketing plagues can immobilize your team and prevent them from creating great content that your audience finds useful. Therefore, ensure that you have sufficient content ready to meet your needs as well as sufficient budget to cover your expenses.

What plagues have you encountered using content marketing? How have you over overcome these setbacks? 

Happy holidays,
Heidi Cohen


Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies. You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

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  • http://www.ncs.tv/ Dan Auito

    Rock Solid!

  • http://twitter.com/NMGPRSuzanne Suzanne Mannion

    Fun way of presenting the information. And also consider when NOT to utilize content. You point out that if we get caught up in the plague the content might not provide value. So recommend considering the pros and cons as you map out your communications strategy.

  • nur costa

    That was absolutely eye opening. Thanks for sharing this insightful content :)
    nurcosta.com