(and what you can do about it)

Companies big and small have started throwing more and more money at content marketing, but that doesn’t mean that their efforts are paying off. In fact, some marketers are finding that the darling of digital media can fail even when there’s big bucks and big names behind it.

10 Reasons why Content Marketing Fails

The success of content marketing doesn’t just hinge on the budget available, or the number of people you have creating that content, or even the amount of content you are putting out, success is about the connection between the expectation and the reality.

Content marketing needs a plan

Failing to make a plan is the quickest route to a content marketing fail. Even with a big budget, a dedicated staff and a wellspring of ideas, a campaign isn’t guaranteed success if you’re creating content piecemeal. While you might gain some traction with one-off pieces, you’ll miss out on the benefits that a well planned, integrated campaign will provide you.

Develop a content marketing plan to ensure you are delivering with value and purpose. Click To Tweet

Want to find out more about creating your own purpose-driven content plan? Check out this post and get your free Content Marketing Planning Guide.

Content marketing needs great content

Sometimes content marketing fails simply because the content itself isn’t good enough. What exactly does “not good enough” mean and how can you avoid it?

The top 10 reasons content marketing fails (and how to avoid it!) Click To Tweet

# 1. It’s all about you.
Let’s face it, your customers don’t really care about you or your business. What they care about is themselves. Make sure your content focuses primarily on your customers and what you can do for them.

# 2. You set the bar too low.
Your content marketing should be the very best work you can produce. That means that everything should be thoughtfully planned, expertly written and professionally published.

# 3. You’re telling the same story.
If you’re telling the same story and singing the same song as your competition, there is nothing to help you stand apart. Make sure your story is just that: your story.

# 4. You don’t take risks.
If you don’t take chances and experiment with your content, if you don’t step out of your comfort zone, you’ll be doomed to the status quo. Do something different, something unexpected and uncover new possibilities.

# 5. You’re too focused on one channel.
If you’re only posting on Facebook or only Tweeting on Twitter, you’ll have little opportunity to expand and diversify your audience. To meet new customers you have to go to new places.

# 6. You don’t include a call to action.
If you don’t give people a direction to take, they won’t know where to go. Every piece of content should include a call to action. If you can’t figure out what it might be, if you can’t find the “marketing” in your content marketing, ask yourself why you developed the content in the first place.

# 7. You’re running an inconsistent campaign.
If your content is sporadically published, lacks focus and isn’t consistent with your brand, it breeds distrust. Distribute your content consistently, keep it on topic and on brand. Your content marketing is your promise to your customers, what are you going to deliver?

# 8. You’re a “Jack of all trades, master of none.”
If your written work is amazing, but you lack the design skills to create killer graphics or the development skills to build an audience-driven website, your content marketing may fall flat. Don’t be afraid to outsource to writers, designers, developers, and consultants to help you tell your story.

# 9. You pretend to listen.
If you don’t really listen to your audience, how can you develop content that’s valuable to them? Really listen to what your customers are saying, pay attention to what’s important to them so that you can tailor your content to suit their needs (not your own.)

# 10. Your content didn’t offer anything of value.
If there is no takeaway, no inherent value in the content you create then you’re just making noise and interrupting your customer’s day. We’ve convinced ourselves that inbound marketing isn’t interruption marketing, call it what you want, but unless your audience feels that you’ve used their time fairly and offered something of genuine value, you’ve interrupted them. Make sure that the interruption is worth it. Every email, every Facebook ad, every Tweet, and every blog post must add value to your customer’s day.

No content marketing strategy will succeed if the content itself isn’t good enough.

Content marketing needs to be in alignment

Sometimes content marketing can also fail even though both the plan and the content are sound. This happens when there is no logical link between the business and the content, when the two aren’t in alignment. If the content doesn’t somehow relate back to the business, it doesn’t matter how wonderful the content is or how strategic your plan, there will be a disconnect and you’ll lose out on conversions.

There needs to be logical link between your content, your audience and what you are selling. For every piece of content you produce, ask yourself:

  • Is this topic something my customers would be interested in?
  • Is there a logical connection between my content and my business?
  • Does it make sense that someone seeing this content would go on to become a customer?

As a producer of content, you need to be able to create valuable content that makes sense for your business. If what you create for your marketing doesn’t align with what you create in your business, take some time to think about what can be tweaked or changed to ensure this logic falls into place.

Content marketing requires commitment

Content marketing is by its very nature, a long-term commitment. It takes time to build momentum, time to build awareness and time to build trust.

You can’t build trust overnight, it takes time for people to get to know you, for people to consume your content and share it with others. You have to put in the time and put in the effort to earn that trust by consistently building your content brand.

It also takes time for some marketing channels to kick in. Google, for example, favors established sites with lots of content. That means, if you’re just starting out with your website or blog, you won’t find yourself ranked very highly until you’ve consistently put out content for some time.

It can also take time to find your place in your customer’s lives. It’s crucial to know who your audience is, what matters to them and how you fit into their story. It can take some trial and error, a lot of listening and some good analytics to learn what truly matters to your audience. But in the end, you’ll be rewarded with a deep connection to your customers who will, in time, become valuable members of your community.

And of course, nothing builds value, connection and trust better than good content. The more great content you have, the better you can serve your audience, because good content breeds more good content.

Have a question or looking for some ways to make your content work for you? Send me a message and let’s chat about it!