As a content strategist, I can tell you that in the last year everyone’s talking about content marketing. In fact, everyone’s doing content marketing, they just aren’t doing it well. 94% of small businesses, 93% of B2Bs, and 77% of B2Cs use content marketing. That’s a lot of content marketing. So why are so many people telling me that their content marketing isn’t working? In this article, I’m going to tell you 5 reasons your content marketing isn’t working and what you can do to fix it.
Your Content Is Horrible
There’s no nice way to say this. If your content is horrible then your content marketing won’t be successful. Many companies that I work with believe it is just about churning out content. Any content. It isn’t. Copying other people’s content, rushing shoddy articles and creating shameless self-promotion after self-promotion won’t get you the results you need. Coming up with a strategy, creating an engaging series, thinking about your content marketing funnel and dedicating the right resources to content marketing are all key here. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes. Would you share that piece of content? Are you going to take the next action to book an appointment or order a product? Can you honestly say that you would find yourself emotionally closer to the brand after reading that piece of content? If not then you have your answer. Your content is horrible.
You’re Using A Cheap Writer
Let’s be completely straight. Good content costs money. When I take on a content writing project for a new client there is a lot of work involved. I need to research your brand, look at your content marketing funnel, research the topic I’m writing about, factor in keywords and SEO rankings, write the piece, edit the piece, submit the piece… You get the idea. If, like many brands, you are paying your writer $15 dollars per article, then you are going to get a $15 article. What does that mean? It means that your writer will be producing content quickly with plenty of shortcuts. It may mean that they are copying text from somewhere else, not researching the subject, not editing the text properly and basically not caring too much. Frankly, I don’t blame them. Good content writing takes time and expertise and that is something you need to pay for. Unless you have an inhouse content manager who can edit the hell out of badly written content, then using a cheap writer just won’t work.
You’re In A Difficult Industry
With an extensive history managing content marketing for the financial services sector, I know what it’s like to be in a difficult industry. The financial services sector is packed with regulations, its followers speak numerous languages and frequent numerous online sites, it suffers from online reputation concerns and is plagued by high targets and stiff competition. Additionally, there is no tangible product, no shiny discounts and no free shipping to sweeten the pot. It’s very different from the content marketing projects I oversee for beauty and travel brands which lend themselves to creating reviews, user stories, eye catching photos and sharable social media updates. This is where you need a really good content manager who is able to create engaging content from a pretty boring subject. A creative content manager will be able to look at your brand, analyse your clients and competitors and create a strategy that really works. There’s no reason why you cannot succeed if you’re in a difficult industry, you just need to have a great content manager to get you there.
You Didn’t Create A Content Strategy
Many of the companies I work with don’t have a content manager and therefore don’t have a content strategy either. In the business world, only 27% of marketers have a documented strategy and 50% have a content strategy that is “not documented,” which is to say, no clear strategy at all. This is a huge problem and one of the main reasons that content marketing efforts fail. Look at it this way. A graphic designer working with a brand will have a brand style guide. That guide will include the hex colours they need to use, fonts, style guidelines and layout templates. This brand book helps the designer to stick to the brand’s style and therefore continue to create representative images. Now, look at your poor content writer with no equivalent of the brand style guide. How do they know how things should be written, your targets, the plan for this year, the percentage of created versus curated pieces, the aims of your content marketing? Without an overall content strategy, your content marketing is hit and miss. Probably miss.
You’re Not Spending Time Promoting Your Content
To tell you the truth, when I started out in content marketing, I was guilty of this one. Constantly churning out content, publishing it and then starting the next one. It was an unrewarding and never-ending hamster wheel which yielded little in the way of results. Now, I do things very differently. For every piece of content I create, I spend triple the time promoting and reusing it. That means that if I make a Live Facebook video, I will embed it into a blog post, tweet it out, reschedule it to be tweeted out ten more times, tag some relevant influencers, email it to my client database and then boost it on Facebook. Many brands are in a content marketing downward spiral, putting pressure on their writers to produce more and more content but not taking the time to promote it. Think about it. How often do you randomly visit a brand’s website to read their blog? Probably never. You go there because you saw an email, a post on Facebook or a tweet. Constantly pushing your content is a huge part of your content marketing success.
There are a million reasons why your content isn’t working but for every challenge there is a solution. Get in touch with me now to talk about your content marketing and if you loved this article then be sure to share it. I know I will.