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Why does content marketing fail?

A couple of weeks ago we published a blog post explaining that we believe content marketing is not just another bandwagon – it is a worthwhile strategy that deserves business investment. However, we can’t get away from the fact that sometimes content marketing falls flat. Quite simply, it fails to deliver the results you were hoping for. Here’s a list of reasons why that can happen – and tips on how to avoid them.

Your audience can’t find your content

Opted-in contacts in your database are getting rarer and rarer. And in all honestly, the attention span of those individuals may be decreasing as well, so you can’t just rely on this channel to distribute your content. Promote widely and repeatedly on social media, and make sure that your SEO efforts are in sync with your publication strategy. By working on your search terms in both your collateral and your web content, your content will appear higher in search results and will generate higher volumes of traffic to your site.

Too much focus on the top of the funnel

Content marketing doesn’t start and end with the introductory-level content that is designed to get your brand associated with a given problem or challenge. Once you’ve got new prospects into the top of the funnel, you need to be able to nurture those individuals with suitable pieces of content that demonstrate your company’s credibility and results. Your nurture strategy needs to include a variety of collateral pieces to address every step of the buyer’s journey. More on that to follow…

One size does not fit all

One piece of content can’t do the whole job of filling up your marketing funnel, and it can’t be all things to all people. Look carefully at your overall marketing strategy and create content pieces that address specific pain points for specific audience segments in detail, so you don’t short change your readers.

Your messaging is too ‘blah’

There is something to be said about using well-known terms in your content to make sure that it gets found through search and social channels. But if you are just saying the same thing as everyone else, you can’t expect your content to really stand out. Don’t rely on generic messages like ‘fastest’, ‘strongest’, ‘best value’, or ‘most reliable’. Instead, spend some time drilling into what it is that makes you special and then shout about it from the search engine rooftops.

Your tone isn’t hitting the right note

The right tone is crucial in your content. Speak to your audience in their language and make sure your content is easy to digest. Remember, you may be a B2B vendor, but you are selling to human beings sat behind their desks. Address the individual, not the company.

Too much ‘me, me, me’

The best content marketing offers value to the audience and actually asks for very little in return. By providing insight and expertise, you are showing your audience that you know what you’re talking about and are a credible vendor. But we still see a lot of product pitches thinly veiled as content trying to compete at the top of the funnel. Your audience can see it coming a mile off and will simply turn the other way. Save that good stuff for later in the buying journey.

You don’t provide clear signposts to the next step

You’ve done the hard work – you’ve crafted an insightful piece of content marketing, promoted it widely and generated lots of registrations – but you haven’t shown the reader where to go after that. They are curious and they take a little stab at finding some other content on your website, but it’s all a bit confusing and they come up empty handed. So they look elsewhere…and they’re gone. Every piece of content needs to provide clear signposts for additional reading, next steps and appropriate contact channels to avoid wasting those precious early-stage engagements.

What are your thoughts on the reasons why content marketing doesn’t always give you the results you were hoping for?


About the Author: Sarah Dinneen

Sarah Dinneen

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