3 Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in 2021

WHEW – y’all, what a year. If online marketing wasn’t on your radar yet, it most certainly is now. We’ve seen content marketing mistakes to avoid, trends that we can support, and some very interesting apps pop-up for the digital space.

If you’re just exploring content marketing for your small business or you’re realizing it’s time to set a strategy – we gotchu’! 👏

Setting up a content marketing plan could look like:

  • Creating a marketing schedule for your small business
  • Learning how to engage with your community online
  • Setting up branded content across your social media platforms
  • And standing out with a brand message that is clear!

In this post we’re going to recap what worked and didn’t in 2020, especially when it comes to content marketing. Then we’ll dive into 3 content marketing mistakes to avoid in 2021. 

womxn sitting on a log with a laptop

Our goal here is to help you set-up a simple content marketing strategy that is NOT overwhelming or daunting, and instead matches your business and lifestyle – so you know, you can go out there and live your life instead of spending hours behind the screen creating content. 

That’s OUR job (*wink wink*) – but, we digress. Let’s get into it!

What is a successful content marketing strategy?

First, let’s start off with the basics. Content marketing is a form of digital marketing (really, marketing in general) that focuses on creating, publishing, and distributing content to your audience. 

Before the digital age, content marketing included:

  • TV Commercials
  • Brochures
  • Articles
  • Billboards
  • Radio Ads

Which can also fall under advertising and public relations. Read about the difference between advertising and public relations here from Marshall PR.

Content marketing in the digital space involves all of the content you watch, read, consume, or listen to online. This includes:

  • Instagram posts
  • Facebook Groups
  • Instagram Reels
  • Blog posts
  • Newsletters
  • Podcasts
  • And a whole lot more

READ: Simplify Your Marketing Strategy With A Marketing Plan For Small Businesses

A content marketing strategy

A content marketing strategy includes all of the content you create for your business and makes sure there is a clear goal and action that your audience can take from it. A successful content marketing strategy includes:

  • What platforms you’re using
  • A posting schedule
  • Ideas for content
  • Different types of content (ie: text, photos, video, audio, etc.)
  • And your marketing timeline

Content marketing strategies can be as simple or as complex as you’d like them to be. It depends on your small business goals, audience engagement, and the clarity of your brand message and how you communicate the value you provide. 

womxn writing in a notebook with an orange pen

Over this past year, we’ve seen PLENTY of content marketing mistakes you can avoid and trends that went very well. Let’s review some of the 2020 content marketing trends and mistakes to avoid in your content for 2021. 

Content Marketing Trends

We saw a HUGE shift in social media platforms and content this year. Most of it was heavily focused on video content that was funny, relatable, or educational. 

READ: 5 Content Marketing Tools To Upgrade Your Strategy

83% of video marketers say video has helped them generate leads. (Wyzowl, 2020, Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

Since most of us spent A LOT of time at home, video content in all forms took off. Some of these included online yoga classes, Facebook Lives, and a wave of TikTok that took off. 

The 3 biggest content marketing trends we saw in 2020 were:

  1. LIVES on Instagram and Facebook (as well as, LinkedIn, depending on if the account had capabilities)
  2. 15-30 second video clips
  3. Hosting virtual events

And although all these trends are amazing and gave small business owners, like you and us, the opportunity to put ourselves directly in front of our audience – can you say “ZOOM fatigue” x10? 

Towards the beginning of 2020, we noticed that video content marketing was ‘fun’. 

Then it became ‘strategic’ (which we’re all about).

Then it turned into fatigue and overwhelm, especially for people who couldn’t “keep up with” the constant creation and new updates that a platform would make (looking at you, Instagram)

womxn sitting outside with books

So, how do we know if a content marketing trend is actually worthwhile? It depends on a few factors from your own business and lifestyle. Some things to keep in mind as you’re incorporating ‘trending’ marketing tactics:

  • What is your capacity (or your team’s capacity) to create content?
  • Does your content have a clear goal and purpose or is it just trying to keep up with everyone else?
  • Can you use long-form content and repurpose it on video?

NEED AN EXTRA PUSH WITH YOUR CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY? Download our Content Generating Machine for FREE get ready to rock the content creation process!

We don’t think video marketing is a trend that will go away anytime soon. In fact, video content paired with long-form written content is probably where content marketing is headed in 2021! Don’t just take our word for it – in a 2020 survey by Wyzowl, they found that “84% of people say that they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video. (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)”

The Quirky Pineapple Studio 2020 Content Marketing Trend

To give you a look inside our own content marketing strategy, we’re using ourselves as a case study! How did we implement the trends we saw and what were the results?

Below is a quick summary of stats and data after using video content:

  • 7-day Facebook LIVE marketing marathon (at the beginning of quarantine) hosted in our private Facebook Group
  • 5-day Instagram challenge using pre-recorded videos to send out to subscribers
  • Weekly Instagram LIVES teaching about a topic
  • Hosting paid virtual retreat intensives to learn about content marketing and brand strategy
  • Repurposing IG Lives into IGTVs
  • Repurposing TikTok videos to Instagram videos
  • Using reels to share about our latest programs and client results

The results of using video:

  • 5 sold out virtual retreats from January to July (with an average of 8 participants per retreat)
  • New Instagram followers and Facebook group growth
  • Email subscriber growth by 100+
  • Creating an engaged community who regularly watched our content and joined LIVES
  • Collaborated with 6 different guest experts to share new information and cross-promote audiences
  • 90-95% repeat clients
womxn with a camera creating video content outside in the cold weather

Video content worked for us to create familiarity with our audience and keep them engaged! 

Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Of course, if we’re talking about content marketing trends, we have to dive into content marketing mistakes to avoid! 

As you plan out your content marketing strategy, make sure to avoid these mistakes that could hurt your business:

  1. Reinventing the wheel with each new platform or update that comes up
  2. Solely focusing your content marketing strategies on social media
  3. Trying to keep up with ‘marketing trends’ and getting distracted by them

READ: When To Invest In A Marketing Mastermind Group

Let’s break it down even more and explain what we mean by avoiding these content mistakes.

Content Mistake #1: Reinventing the wheel with each new platform or update

Content marketing can be fun (we promise!), and testing out new features and updates is one of the best ways to keep your content fresh. Unfortunately, we’ve seen a lot of our clients get caught up in reinventing the wheel with their content. 

However, instead of ‘reinventing’ and trying to do new things ALL THE TIME, which can cause burnout and overwhelm, and possibly frustration – focus on REPURPOSING your content instead. For each new platform or update there is, how can you recycle the content you already have for that? It could be creating shorter ‘bite-sized’ pieces, doing a parody to relate to your audience, or creating the same content on a different medium! 

PRO TIP: You don’t *always* need to be on each new platform or jump on each new update first. See what fits your business and audience. 

Content Mistake #2: Solely focusing your content marketing strategies on social media

We get it, social media is FUN. It’s where you can see the fastest results and results in real-time, BUT it isn’t the ‘be all, end all’ of content marketing. This is actually one of the biggest marketing mistakes we see when a small business owner ONLY markets on social media and doesn’t have a back-up plan!

What happens if the platform crashes? Or what if it gets shut down the next day without warning? How about if your account gets hacked and you lose all your followers? What if, what if?! 

Although we love social media to create community, share content, and generate leads, it’s also important to have a ‘cornerstone content’ as part of your content marketing strategy. 

womxn photographing graffiti with her cellphone

A cornerstone piece of content is content that is long-form and usually lives somewhere else, OFF of social media. This could be YouTube videos, podcasts, blog posts, articles, etc. Do you have cornerstone content set up?

Content Mistake #3: Trying to keep up with ‘marketing trends’ and getting distracted by them

Marketing trends are FUN, sometimes overwhelming, but mostly fun! Another one of the content marketing mistakes to avoid is getting distracted by content marketing trends, instead of focusing on where your clients hang out and SEARCH FOR information. 

Sometimes a marketing trend is simply just that, a trend that fades. Sometimes they stick and become great lead generators! It depends on the type of business you have, your brand message, and who your ideal clients are. 

If you aren’t sure if you should ‘hop on a trend’ or totally skip it, ask yourself these questions: Where do your ideal clients hang out? HOW do they use the platform they hang out on (ie: do they search Pinterest for inspiration but aren’t necessarily sticking around?), and are you fully committed to and an expert in one marketing channel before trying to test out another?

PRO TIP: Usually you can avoid the FOMO feelings by asking your audience directly about the trend and see what they’ve got to say! We’re not saying ‘don’t do it’, but check back with your audience, first!

The Quirky Pineapple Studio 2021 Content Marketing Plans

To give you an idea of how we avoid content marketing mistakes, below is a quick snippet of our 2021 content marketing plans. It includes following trends but mainly creating a solid strategy that uses social media as a complement to what we already have.

  1. Focus on SEO optimized written content – We have A LOT of great blog posts and written content in our database that we can optimize to bring in more traffic. We’ll be focusing our efforts on SEO optimized blog posts for the next year to create sustainability.
  2. Repurposing content across social media using video – Video content performed GREAT for us! We want to keep the momentum going by repurposing a lot of the SEO optimized content we already have, into bite-sized, shareable pieces for social media that can be quickly consumed. This will be in video (ie: Reels, IGTV, Facebook & LinkedIn videos, and potentially LIVES). 
  3. Community content and user-generated content – We already produce A LOT of content over at TQP Studio, which we plan on repurposing even further. Now we want to involve our community and share more of their content (client results) and user-generated content. The goal is to highlight the people who work with us, support us, and are our brand ambassadors – creating more word of mouth referrals through digital marketing!

So, to wrap it up because this could’ve been a TL;DR moment…

Content marketing is filled with trends and ‘mistakes’ that can create overwhelm, frustration, FOMO, and fatigue. It’s a fast-paced marketing strategy that constantly has new updates, new apps, and platforms, or new features that somehow are only available to certain people and not everyone. 

Copywriter sitting in coffee shop and writing in a notebook
Photo by Laura Quintero Photography

To make sure that your content marketing strategy is aligned to the business and lifestyle you want to live, these are 3 marketing mistakes to avoid for your next year:

  1. Reinventing the wheel with each new platform or update that comes up
  2. Solely focusing your content marketing strategies on social media
  3. Trying to keep up with ‘marketing trends’ and getting distracted by them

READ: Business & Marketing Lessons For Small Businesses

And maybe one or two trends that we suggest testing:

  1. Cornerstone content that is long-form
  2. Video content (that can be repurposed from other pieces)

And that’s THE BREAKDOWN of our predictions for 2021 and a review of 2020!

What did you implement in 2020 that worked well for you? Did you fall for a marketing trend that ended up being a marketing mistake? Share with us below!

Enjoyed this post? You might like these, too:
5 Ways To Revamp Your Travel Content Marketing Strategy
How Small Businesses Can Effectively Create & Use A Content Calendar
Why Your Small Business Needs A Story Toolkit For Efficient Marketing
How To Incorporate A Video Content Strategy For Your Business

Ready to make the most of a new year? The Impactful Business Guidebook includes a collection of questions, exercises, and writing prompts that’ll help you dig deeper and reconnect with the “WHY?” behind your business. Grab your copy HERE!

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We’re a brand strategy & copywriting studio for mission-driven, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and Feminist-run brands and businesses who want to increase their visibility and connect with their communities through the power of story and content. We share tips & advice on how to make marketing (and business) fun!

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