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Content marketing is a powerful trend which reflects the need for marketers to find meaningful ways to connect with customers online. The best content marketing doesn't sell — it informs, entertains, educates, and shares information that will improve the quality of life for your customers.

But for all the content marketing that brands are doing, why does most of it fail? 

Here are three common mistakes in content marketing and how to avoid them:

1. Your headlines aren't catchy. 

A majority of the battle is getting users to click on your content. Think about what kind of teasers, abstracts, or summaries would make you click.

Is it an enticing question that you're curious to find the answer to? Is it a shocking statistic? When you scroll through Twitter, what catches your eye? If your teaser copy isn't compelling, users won't care long enough to get to the main portion of your content.

2. You don't know who your audience is.

Before you begin writing content, you should have a specific audience in mind of who to target. Start by analyzing your existing customers to identify the core players involved. Is the decision-maker a brand manager or an ad operations manager? Will engineering be involved? Make sure you write articles that reflect the key audience's values, business needs, level of technical knowledge, concerns, and more.

3. You're selfish.

It's a turn-off for customers to read content that pretends to be value-add and objective, but turns out to be glorified sales material.

The goal with content marketing is to provide value, even if you're not part of the immediate equation. It comes down to whether or not your audience would share the content with colleagues and friends.

If you patiently and graciously provide useful content about industry know-how, trends, tips, and other relevant information that's not centered around your product, you will build credibility and expertise as a thought-leader.

You show customers that you understand their pain points and know what matters to them. So when the time comes to find a solution-provider, customers and prospects are much more likely to already be convinced of the value you provide than if you only talked about yourself all along.

Remember that content should always be relevant, so put the customer — not your product — first.