Last night I overheard two guys bitching about their woeful content marketing results at my local bar…
…and so—rather than just listening in like some 2nd-rate spy trying to look inconspicuous—I thought I’d introduce myself and join the conversation. At that point it turned into a pretty fascinating discussion, much to the disappointment of my date (but more about her later)…
After basic introductions and business backgrounds, Jason, Phil and I got down to the heart of it:
“I don’t understand” Jason said. “Surely any and ALL content marketing should get results? I figured if I was one of the few small businesses that played it like the big boys, I’ll kill it in my local market.”
You see, MOST businesses use content marketing in some way, and not just big businesses like you might expect—small businesses and startups do too. Surprisingly, about 94% of small-scale businesses, 77% of B2C businesses and 93% of B2Bs businesses, all use content marketing.
Does that mean everyone using content marketing is winning? … No way!
According to Content Marketing Institute, only 9% of B2B promoters think their content marketing efforts are “very effective.” This clearly shows that not many are successful with content marketing.
…“But if marketing gurus swear by content marketing and rely on it so much, why isn’t it working for us?” Phil asked. So I explained…
Here are 10 possible reasons why your content marketing hasn’t yielded results.
1. No refined strategy
Any marketing form you pick, you will need a strategy to succeed. Content marketing is no different. According to Content Marketing Institute, only 11% of the marketers who were unsuccessful had a strategy. As for B2C firms only 27% had a strategy and more than 50% either don’t have one, or haven’t documented it. If there’s no documented strategy, it means there’s no strategy at all! If you want to succeed in content marketing, you definitely need a strategy!
So, let’s look at what a successful strategy must have. A good content marketing strategy should have defined KPIs (key performance indicators) and have ways to determine the important numbers (clicks, shares, traffic, conversions, etc.). There should be a tracking system in place for evaluating and analyzing the numbers, so changes can be made to the strategy where and when needed. Publishing is not the be all and end all of content marketing. On the other hand, content marketing strategy is a bigger picture, which includes profit, audience, brand and revenue! Remember that when you come up with your marketing strategy for content.
2. Not enough spend on content marketing
You get what you pay for! When you don’t pay adequately for content, you won’t good quality content. If you want good ROI on your content marketing, you spend adequately and where it is needed! Not just spending money, but how you spend is important too. So, again, it is time to re-evaluate your strategy! For example: It is a good idea to invest on a content marketer, who knows how and where to invest. This way, your ROI will improve.
3. Not promoting the content
Not promoting your content is the fastest way to hamper your efforts! Creation of content is just one half of content marketing. The other half is promoting the content. Doubtful? Remember, we’re talking about content marketing, here. Not just content. There are different ways to promote your content, social media sharing being one. Find out ways to promote your content, if you aren’t doing it already.
4. Your content is awful!
Not trying to be rude here, but truth be told – there are times when content is awful. We’ve already mentioned creation of content is one half of content marketing. So, are you doing that half right? If you are churning out low quality content, it will impact your brand negatively. This will affect your brand’s performance.
Content must be informative, interesting, engaging and keep up with changing trends. If your content is boring, filled with fluff and outdated, you cannot survive in the realm of content marketing. It is not cheap and doesn’t have to happen overnight. Evaluate and come up with ways to create high quality content.
5. Tough niche
Most content marketers struggle because their niche is tough. For example: their industry is one where people don’t interact online! There’s no magic key for tough niche. So, identify what niches work for content marketing and see if your niche will fall under that. Go back to your strategy and work it out!
…At this point, Jason tells me it’s his shout and calls “Another round here please!” to the bartender. My date stood up, said “not for me” to the bartender, then “I’ll call you” to me, and left. But I could tell she wasn’t going to call. It was getting late and a lot of the other folk in the bar had already left, but it felt like we were just getting warmed up…
6. A dominant competitor
At times, your competitor is dominating the realm! It isn’t difficult but a challenging scenario. The key is to not back down, but put in more efforts to build devoted audience, analyze your competitor and come up with ways to better them! In other words, identify what the loopholes are and how to exploit them.
7. Not enough time
If you did not know already, content marketing consumes time. The results won’t be in a few weeks, or months even! So, give adequate time before you gauge your results. Content gains traction with time, organically. So, wait it out.
8. Your SEO efforts are sub-par!
SEO and content marketing aren’t competing against one another. They work together. If you have good content marketing but subpar SEO, there’s going to be zero results for your content marketing efforts! After all, SEO is what helps audience “find” your content right? So, evaluate your SEO efforts and take a call on the personnel or agency you are using!
9. Impossible expectations
Don’t wait with bated breath for your results! Be realistic about your expectations. Content marketing will NOT multiply your revenue in trebles or doubles drastically! Look for gradual and consistent results than sprints and overnight results.
10. You’re being too serious
Content marketing shouldn’t be too serious. Keeping your content engaging, humorous and light will get you more audience! You don’t have to do it always. But you should have a good mix of it. If you aren’t, it is time to switch gears. Loosen up. Don’t believe me? Come up with at least one post that’s humorous and light this week and check the results for yourself.
The reasons why content marketing isn’t working could be many, but most of them will fall under these 10 reasons. So, evaluate, come up with a strategy and get started.
“We sure will!” Phil said… and I could tell, he really meant it (unlike my date!).