11 Reasons Your Content Marketing Fails (And How To Fix It)
Content Marketing can often feel out of reach for many businesses. Between a constant schedule of managing, selling and more, marketing can often be brushed aside to put out the fires of the day and keep the company churning.
Some business owners will try to hire out their marketing and inevitability run into some digital marketing "gurus" selling snake oil, so it's no wonder businesses are uncomfortable when the words digital marketing, SEO, and content are brought up.
Content Marketing is one of the keys to a solid foundation and should be the center of any legitimate marketing agency. Content marketing along with a solid website design and experience create the foundation of your website. I can not stress enough how important content marketing is to your overall digital strategy.
The good thing is most content marketing is extremely simple to do. You may need resources and some help at first, but content marketing is the key to attracting and gaining trust with potential clients. Create content that is unique and informative, and you will be rewarded with gains.
Google is actively exploring the internet and can see from complex algorithms who is spending the time creating content and promoting themselves online. When this type of quality content becomes a habit, google and your clients take notice.
Let's talk about the reasons why that your content marketing is failing and how to fix them.
The Reasoning Behind Content Marketing
Trust. Simply put, Google needs to be able to trust your site and content before it can start ranking you in the top spaces for your keywords.
1. Commitment is KEY
The easiest way to fail in content marketing is to not commit to content marketing at all.
This partially comes from the fact that most companies are interested in quick results through alternatives like Google Ads and Facebook Ads.
But these quick results aren't quick fixes. No matter how much you pay for ads to reach your clients, if your brand doesn't show authority or trust through their content, customers won't trust you enough to go through and commit to your product or service. This is why content creation is so important as it attracts AND converts clients.
Publishing content is KEY.
One of the secrets of the trade I would offer to most business owners that struggle with this is to hire out your content marketing efforts. The most basic and simple form of content marketing is blogging. Blog writers can easily be hired out through a third party that is proficient with writing and optimizing online content.
But be careful, finding those special writers are very difficult and require some serious hunting. Test out different writers and review their work until you find someone who is committed to quality.
Once you find a writer, build a strategy and be consistent. Quality is always more important than quantity but I would say 1-3 blog posts a month is the standard that most businesses should follow. If you can do more while maintaining quality, then more power to you!
2. The Strategy Behind It All
Along with figuring out how to achieve your content marketing goals, be sure that your company is clear on why those goals are important.
Content for the most part is supposed to engage with your client helping them solve the problems or answer the questions that they have regarding services you offer. Notice, this is not selling them on your products or services, as much as it is about educating them on how your services or your expertise helps them solve their issue.
One of the best ways to develop a strategy is to research and model your strategy off of one of your leading competitors. If you see a type of content that is performing well for a competitor, take the idea and build a better version of your own.
For example, one of our most successful clients is a home remodeling and building company, Scroggs Construction Services. They have a great blog that we've established over the years, but one of our biggest feats of content was establishing a creative work portfolio. This portfolio showcases previous work through high quality images and video content that attracts over 50% of the traffic on the site.
Images and videos? Still pretty standard. But we even used a slider plugin that you can slide over a single image to see the before and after visual of the space.
This clearly won't work for some businesses, but imagine how confident and interested potential clients are when they can see the design of a project before and the finished service after. Not many companies are showing their work in such a unique way.
For more on the strategies and details of content marketing, check out the content marketing institute. They're the leaders in everything content marketing and a bookmarked website for anyone marketing.
Bottom Line: Identify your target audience and create a great user experience for their wants and needs. Think about the format and strategy behind your content whether it be video marketing, blog posts or anything else.
3. What is Your Customers Next Step?
This step is simple but often overlooked. When finishing your piece of content if it be video or blog, where do your customers end up going?
- Driving them to another video or blog?
- Driving them to talk to you about your services?
- Are you using Google Analytics to see where these readers are going?
- Are you re-targeting people who read your blog with other offers?
Businesses will often focus on traffic amounts and not realize the purpose of their content is to convert customers! Use your expertise to your advantage by connecting similar questions and content together.
The longer the person stays on your site consuming your content, the more comfortable google is with providing you as a answer for the keywords your website is using across the entire set.
4. Analyze Competitor Content for Your Target Length, Keywords, and Ideas.
Keyword research for any piece of content is incredibly important to determine what is needed to be recognized by google in the SERPs. SEO software like SEMRush can give insight using their content template checker to obtain important information like LSI keywords and blog post length of the top 10 ranked pages for that keyword.
Obviously, unique and new content will naturally do the best as you're fulfilling a need that hasn't been served, but there isn't always a need to start creating the wheel from scratch.
5. Create Content for Every Step of the Buyers Journey
Blog posts are definitely the most prominent way of creating content, but there are a multitude of different options to create content.
For a second, let's think of the customers perspective while browsing a service based business like flooring for example. Not only are the customers expecting quality products but also quality service during the installation of the product. Consumers want to know that their money is going to be used reliably and efficiently. Consumers want to TRUST the brand they're purchasing from.
With this content matrix from Smart Insights, we can see that content has multiple forms that specialize in different uses. If you are new to creating content, the "Educate" and "Convince" sections are probably the most useful for the majority of businesses.
Pro Tip: You can use re-targeting on your websites most interested visitors through tools like google analytics and Facebook to show "convincing" content to only people who spent over a certain amount of time on your site. This targets your most interested customers and you can even narrow it down to traffic that didn't convert.
The more you optimize in your sales funnel, the more money you make and the more traffic and leads you receive without having to pay for traffic or leads from the top. (Google Ads Search, Lead Websites, Etc)
6. Create a Workflow Of How Your Content Is Created
This goes along with the earlier tip of being committed. It's easier to stay committed when you have a workflow and idea of how your content marketing efforts will start and finish every month.
We generally use a approach that can be summed up into 3 separate phases. Feel free to use and adapt this strategy to your liking.
Gather information about keywords that are important to your site and clients. Research your keywords for traffic and competitiveness mainly. Obviously, the more traffic a keyword brings, generally the higher the competition for that space is going to be.
Use this strategically depending on the current state of your site and content marketing strategy. Brand new business? Try out some long tail keywords or keywords with a lower volume and lower competition.
Already ranking high for certain terms? Go after some big keywords and send some internal linking power to your new post and see where it goes.
Once you determine what keyword you want to target, check out the current leader in the SERPs and gather all of the information you can. Remember, these tops posts have been deemed by google to satisfy the searchers intent for that keyword.
Try and analyze what tactics and information people are finding value or what makes it stand out. Think about certain things you think were more important to the content and try adding that into your content when you make it. This is all about knowing whats out there for your benefit when you move onto the create stage.
Create your content. This is probably the easiest part, but comes with a lot of decisions. The goal of research and analyze is to try and eliminate blank time of having a topic but having no clue how to start.
Obviously all content should be unique, but writing should be a lot easier when you can bounce ideas and ignite your creativity off the ideas of some of your top competitors.
One of the biggest tips for the creative process is to not go for perfection on the first try. Completely write out your blog post before you do any spell checking, any image additions, or internal linking. Writing for most people is difficult if you aren't doing it every day, so try and use all your focus on the thoughts and the meat of the content before you fine tune.
7. Recycle Or Create Content Marketing Through Other Forms or Mediums
After researching your the keyword you're targeting you come to find that another competitor has a great piece of content already that even you enjoyed reading.
How are you going to manage to do it better?! Is it even worth trying?
Yes. Creating content through different forms can separate yourself from the competition and provide readers with a different experience.
Different forms of content you could create for keywords are:
These are the most common but truly content is only limited by your creativity. The biggest part of all of this is just getting out there and creating the content.
8. You Haven't Defined success with your content and/or aren't tracking Your Content
Tracking and using your website data is over looked by most small businesses. Analytics and goals are all about follow thru and patience, things that we as humans struggle with.
In general, digital marketing is not so much a single effort or tactic, but more of a collection of ideas, mediums and content all working together to create one unified brand and experience.
With business decisions, we want to make decisions as effectively as possible and having access to which content pieces resonate with your audience can give you ideas and data to back up business decisions through your entire digital marketing strategy.
Get into google analytics and start tracking now so you aren't behind when it matters!
9. You aren't correctly optimizing your content for SEO
Even though the digital marketing space is always evolving, SEO will always be a key ingredient to success of any company online. View SEO as a language for the internet more than a technique.
SEO is the foundation for any website and truly any type of marketing online. Just the consideration we give to website domain names and twitter handles in some aspect or form is a way of keyword research.
Optimizing your content for search engine will always benefit you and in 2020 has to be executed correctly as most sites and companies are aware and at least understand the basics of SEO practices.
Backlinko has some great articles regarding optimization in great detail but the most important princicples are:
10. You Are Writing For Google With No Human Voice
There is a few rules with content you should follow for google.
- Include your keyword in title
- Include keyword in your URL
- Include your keyword in the first paragraph of the page
But beyond those and a few others... You should always be writing your content to benefit another human.
And even the bots of google over time have found ways to determine this writing style. In other words, even the robot and bots know you're writing for them! (cue skynet)
On a more serious note, it's really important to follow this rule for the simple fact of enjoyment and customer benefits. Let's discuss the important of time on page in relation to google and search terms.
Let's say you have a fantastic blog post on the color blue that ranks 7th for color blue on google.
A reader sees the post and thoroughly enjoys it to the point that they see another post on your site about the color red. This reader probably expects the same quality and may click on that other post if so inclined.
Now 30 minutes later, google is saying "wow... This person LOVED this resource on the color blue. In fact, they were on the site for 65% longer than the 6th ranked post."
It's small things like this over many times and many pieces of content that can add up and rank a site.
11. You Aren't Promoting Your Great Content
What good is great content if no one can find it? Promoting your blog is one of the most important steps to maximizing your content marketing efforts. Does your content have a great image or infographic? Check out our other blog post for the best infographic sites.
Some of the best ways you can promote your content are:
Send Out E-Mail to Your Subscriber List - If you are writing helpful content that pleases users then this should be a no brainer. People signed up for your content because they were looking to be educated and informed. Take advantage of this and boost your new content with your subscribers.
Post on Socials - This can be harder for new businesses as posting to 2 followers on facebook obviously is not going to drive your rank up to number 1 on the SERPs. Consider using some paid ads like facebook promote post feature to gain traction or eyes on a content piece you might be particularly proud of.
Pro tip: Create a lookalike audience or even use facebook to re-target the traffic and customers already on your site with your new content. Chances are that if your customers enjoyed your first piece they may click again on facebook if they recognize you. At this point, you can even add a button to e-mail subscribe at the bottom of the page you're promoting to build your e-mail list we talked about above.
All in all, digital marketing is the best way to connect with your audience of prospects and customers in 2020.
We hope that our insights helped you get a solid understanding of what digital marketing is, why it matters, and what benefits it poses for your business and brand.
With that, it's our turn to hear from you. What are your key marketing goals for this year, and how are you planning to tackle them? Let us know in the comments down below!