By Susan Guillory

I’m not afraid of masked men wielding chainsaws this October. I’m afraid of all those small businesses who are doing a poor job of content marketing for their companies. Are you guilty of any of these #FrighteningFails? Learn from the following content marketing tips to improve your process.

You’re Writing for Yourself, Not Your Audience

You yearn to write about your amazing product, but the fact is: nobody cares. People search for content that helps them solve a problem or answers a question. If you don’t do that on your blog, they won’t visit it.

Quick Fix: Browse your competitors’ blogs. What are they writing about? You don’t want to steal ideas from them, but rather use them for inspiration to write more of what your audience cares about.

Formatting? What’s That?

Your blog posts consist of a single paragraph of 500 words. No images. No breaks. And you wonder why no one’s reading your content! People like to quickly skim content, so it’s important to make your content easy to read.

Quick Fix: Break up your articles into paragraphs of 3-5 sentences. Use bolded subheaders, bullets, and number lists to make it easy on the eye.

You Don’t Share It

If your blog traffic is lower than you want, look to how well (or not) you publicize it. Every post should go out across all your social media platforms, multiple times. Then your contacts can share it and read it themselves, helping it get spread further faster.

Quick Fix: You can automatically share your new posts through various automation tools like Twitterfeed, but to vary up your shares, handwrite some of them as well to engage people and make them curious enough to click.

You Don’t Respond to Comments

Maybe you have 200 comments stuck in the queue in WordPress. You don’t really pay attention. And so the people who left those comments feel abandoned and like you don’t want to interact with them, and they never visit again. Comments are actually a great way to engage with your audience, so don’t be a fool and ignore them.

Quick Fix: Make it a goal to check the comments on your blog one or more times a week. Move the crappy ones to spam, and approve the others. Then respond to them with a well thought out reply.

All of Your Content is the Same

Every week, you write a 500-word post. You’re stuck in a rut. Different people have different ways of processing information, and while some enjoy reading content, others want to learn through watching a video or reading an infographic. By diversifying your types of content, you’ll attract more readers.

Quick Fix: Plan out your monthly content so you can aim for a healthy mix of types of content. Also experiment with different lengths in your articles.

If you’re going to put in the effort to use content marketing, at least make sure you’re not doing more harm than good with your endeavors.