We’ve all been banging on about content marketing for years and by now many very serious businesses have sunk a large amount of money into content marketing and many of them are by now wondering why it’s all gone wrong.
As with any form of marketing, it’s very easy to sink a lot of money into a strategy without getting a lot back for it. The key with ongoing marketing is to have a plan which you can test and refine, and then test and refine again!
So you’re going to want to put down on paper your content marketing strategy – I always tell people if it’s not written down it doesn’t exist. It needs to be something you can go back to and change as you go along.
Over the years I’ve worked with and for businesses where content marketing has been a hugely important element of the marketing mix, often the most important element of a company’s marketing. However, I’ve also worked with a number of businesses that have created a huge amount of content which has failed to help them grow their business to any perceivable manner.
Here’s my list of reasons why content marketing fails:
- Everything’s about you – Sure you’re going to want to create content that’s about what’s happening in your business, however this is going to be a very small proportion of your content marketing activities. If you only create content about your own business you’ll probably find you’re not creating a lot of content and you’ll probably find there aren’t a great deal of people reading your content. It’s not all about you!
- You’re spending too much time thinking about it – I’ve seen this so many times. Content marketing is about creating a lot of content. It’s true a piece of well thought out content could bring in more qualified traffic however on the whole it’s a slog and it’s about creating as much as you can, as often as you can. If you spend too long thinking about content creation it will never get done – just crack on!
- The content is poor quality – if you’re only going to create content that’s a few hundred words long, you’re only going to have limited success. There’s a place for small pieces of content, however you’re going to want to make sure there are also articles that are weighty and which provide real value to your visitors and customers.
- You’re not referencing your sources – re-purposing and improving a number of articles isn’t a bad thing. The thing is, you need to properly link out to those sources to let Google know that you aren’t just copying off other people’s good work. If you don’t do this you’ll get a duplicate flag and the content will likely rank lower in the SERPs.
- Your content is too nice – a clever headline is often one that challenges the reader and helps convince them to click through to the content on your site. You don’t always need to be nice in the content you create, sometimes being a bit controversial will gain you huge amounts of traffic.
- You’ve not included calls to action – Calls to Action tell your reader what you want them to do after they’ve read through or whilst they’re on the journey through your content. Think Click Here, Read More – Get in touch now!
- No one is responsible for creating content – I’ve worked in a few environments where multiple people from around a business have been responsible for creating content and the result is always too little and poor quality content. Eventually in all those situations we’ve changed the policy so one person is responsible and everyone else feeds in.
- The business owners and managers don’t get it – before engaging on the road down content marketing you’ve got to get buy in from everyone involved, and especially the key stakeholders. Whilst working for a company where content marketing was the main route to market we had online (telesales offline), although many people had bought into content marketing one of the directors didn’t get it and didn’t think it was the right option. This lead to a whispering campaign against the marketing tactics employed – if he had been brought in earlier on it’s likely he could have been very useful in helping guide the types of content created.
- You’re covering too much – you could write about anything when you create content, but it’s crucial that you understand who your audience is and that you’re creating content targeting that audience. If you go to broad it won’t make sense to any regular visitors and you’ll find you won’t attract the people you want to.
- You’re not promoting it properly – it takes time to build up a network through which you can properly promote your content, however if you’re months down the line and you’re not generating good levels of traffic from the content you’re creating it’s likely you’ve not yet figured out how to promote the content. I love using news sources such as Reddit, social media as well as the free blog sites such as Medium.
GrowTraffic’s Rachel Weinhold operates as a freelance content marketing consultant, her role call either be at a strategic level to help businesses achieve the best they can from their content marketing function whilst she can also help produce the content for a business’ content marketing campaign. I always tend to come at content marketing from an seo perspective, looking at how to create content that will deliver better positions in search engine results pages whilst also thinking about how the businesses brand is portrayed through the storytelling in the content (all of which will help attract and retain potential customers).