By now I’m pretty sure everyone knows the importance of content. If not, let me give you a quick breakdown. Google loves new and fresh content; it is one of their important ranking factors. So if you want to see a better ranking, it is important for you to write engaging content, and frequently.
Content by itself is just content. You actually have to do something with the content for it to be effective. You have to market it! Content marketing is just as important as writing the content. Whatever your content, you will need to have an effective content marketing campaign in place.
A highly thought through content marketing strategy can certainly do wonders for your brand awareness as well as help you make long term profits. There are so many advantages of content marketing that you would be stupid not to invest in it. However, the upsetting thing is, only a limited number of businesses are able to introduce a particularly effective strategy that leads to exponential growth.
When businesses implement a content marketing campaign and they don’t see the results they are after, they kind of become a deer in headlights. They are completely stunned and they don’t know what they are doing wrong and why it isn’t working.
Seeing undesirable results isn’t uncommon, so if you aren’t seeing what you want, don’t freak out! Content marketing is ongoing, so make sure that poor results only mean you work harder and not give up. You probably won’t get it write the first time. But giving up should never be an option for you.
There could be many reasons why your content marketing campaign is failing.
So if your content strategy isn’t working for you, you are able to stop and change your angle. The hard part is actually identifying exactly why your content marketing campaign is failing. But this is where I come in!
This blog is designed to show you some of the most common reasons why a content marketing campaign would fail. So if your campaign isn’t producing the results you thought it would, have a read and make sure you aren’t performing any of the below actions.
If you are, don’t worry! The hard part is actually identifying the problem. Now that you know the issue, you are better equipped to alter your campaign to rectify the situation. It’s not all doom and gloom for your content marketing, sometimes only a couple of small changes are needed.
1. No Documentation
You wouldn’t start a business with a business plan right? So why would you start a content marketing campaign without a plan or even documenting what is going on. Documentation at every stage of your content marketing campaign is so important.
You probably have a million things being thrown at you every day. If you don’t write things down you are problem more likely to forget them. This can result in a real miss-match of a campaign. By documenting your campaign you ensure there is direction.
You may be thinking, “ah duh, of course I am going to document my campaign, I’m not stupid”. Well, let me hit you with this:
As someone who feels the need to write literally everything down, this sends shivers down my spine. Yeah, writing stuff down may take a few extra minutes. But it could take you a lot longer if you need to remember something important but you can’t find the exact information.
As I said in the introduction, a content marketing strategy is different to just writing and uploading content. You will need to go and market it. Your content deserves more than no strategy. You take the time to write great content (hopefully!) so make sure you also take the time to actually market it.
When you implement a documented marketing campaign, your efforts will be much more focused and direct. You know exactly what you need to do and when to do it. Keeping your content organised is also important. This means that if you need to find a piece of information quickly, you will know where to find it.
Your documentation doesn’t even have to be that specific, just enough information so you and any of your employees know exactly what is going on and where you want to take your campaign in the future.
2. Visual Content
Content isn’t just about words, to make your content even more amazing and stand out from the rest, you will need to utilise for visuals. Visual content should make up an important component of your marketing strategy.
Think about how you can use visuals to further showcase your content.
I’m not just talking about photos, there are other important visual content campaigns assets and they can include:
- Videos – short videos showcasing your content is a new and interesting alternative to normal content.
- Slideshare presentation – Slideshare is gaining rapidly in traction. It is a good tool to use because you are only providing readers with the most valuable pieces of information.
- Infographics – this is an awesome way to showcase any type of information, especially things such as statistics and graphs etc.
- Branded images – these types of images are so important because it reaffirms your brand to the reader and makes it more likely that they will remember your business.
Your old content that doesn’t utilise visual content can be updated with colourful infographics or even turned into a Slideshare. This makes your content more engaging and will hopefully mean that readers look at your other pieces of content.
When creating visuals for your content it is important to remember that quality matters. Don’t just slop together an infographic and think that’s all you have to do. You will need to consider things such as:
- Your target market’s interest
- Using up to date statistics from high authority organisations
- Choosing a relevant topic that has the potential to go viral
- Ensure correct tone for the content it is accompanying
- Continuous promotion
A piece of content with little to no visuals is very unlikely to gain any traction. And if your visuals are bad this will only add fuel to the fire. So make sure you take the time to develop high quality visuals, just like you took the time to develop high quality content.
This is exactly what marketing is, you are promoting your content! You may be promoting, but not in the most effective way. As well as this, if you aren’t committed to content promotion, how exactly are you expected to see good results?
Promoting your content (like content creation) is an ongoing process. You can’t just promote your content for a couple of weeks and think “okay that’s it; I don’t have to do anymore”. It simply doesn’t work like that.
It is a continuous process that you will always need to be working on.
I find that when people create new content, they promote it straight away on their social media platforms. But that’s it. That bit of promotion is the first and last time their followers will hear about that particular piece of content.
You shouldn’t be shamelessly promoting the exact same piece of content every day, but you certainly need to be promoting it more than once. Even if your content is amazing, if you don’t promote it on a semi-regular basis, not many people are going to see it and your content’s success will be highly limited.
When looking to promote your content, there is a rule you should follow. The 80/20 rule. When following this rule, you should spend 20% of time actually creating the content and then 80% of time directed towards promoting it.
Promotion doesn’t just take place on social media (although social media does play a major part in promotion). Have a read below at some of the other ways you can boost your promotion efforts:
- Share important sections of each piece of content (for example, a statistic or quote) and publish them as different posts on social media.
- Share your content on other social media platforms, not just the typical Facebook and Twitter. Look at sharing your content on Reddit as well as LinkedIn groups relevant to the topic of the content.
- If you are including infographics, make sure you submit them to infographic directories.
- Respond to relevant questions on Quora and link back to your content. This only works if your content will actually answer the question a user has. For example if someone had a question on why their content marketing campaign is failing, I would answer the question and include a link to this blog.
- Become a guest blogger to relevant industry blogs. You can include links back to your other pieces of content.
- Include a link to your content as part of your email signature.
- Produce your content in a Slideshare.
Yes, that’s right. You will have to spend money on your content marketing campaign. If you aren’t, then I can say for certain, that is one of the major reasons your campaign is failing. The Content Marketing Institute explains in their report that in 2016 the average B2B business spent almost 30% of their total marketing budget on content marketing.
There is also a connection between an effective content marketing campaign and the amount of money spent. However, I’m not saying that if you just throw more money into your content marketing campaign you will see better results.
When you spend your budget for content marketing, you must have a solid idea of where the money is going.
You must also have a clear idea on why you are spending money where you are spending it. Do your research and invest your budget in areas that you are convinced will provide you with the highest levels of return.
Many people do believe that content marketing is free, because you are the one to create the content. However, if you want to make money you are going to invest money. With content marketing, the more you invest in it, it is hoped that more people will visit your website. Then it is the job of your actual website to convince users to purchase what you are selling.
As well as this, sometimes business owners aren’t interested in writing new content every week. They may not have the time or the skills necessary. This can result in business owners looking to outsource their blog to professionals that are skilled in writing engaging content.
Side note: Be careful if you are thinking about outsourcing your content. Remember that a cheap outsourcing company usually translates to poor content creation. So the cheapest option may not necessarily be the best. Also, if you are looking to have your content written in English (like most people), it is best to hire an English speaking business. Outsourcing to places like Indonesia or the Philippines could jeopardise the quality.
If you are looking to create high quality pieces of content, you will need more than just words.
I talked about this above; you will need to include visual content as well. Many people may not be a whiz a creating visual content (i.e. videos or infographics). This is where you should hire the assistance of a skilled professional.
By allocating a chunk of your budget towards gaining the assistance of skilled professionals, you are ensuring your work is of a highly professional nature and that your brand reputation doesn’t suffer under your lack of technical ability or time. However, if you feel as though you can produce great quality content (including visuals) on a regular basis then you probably don’t need the assistance of a professional.
So there you have it! The top 4 reasons why your content marketing campaign is probably failing. Content marketing isn’t always a walk in the park. Sometimes it can seem tedious and just plain boring, especially when you can’t find the direct link from your content marketing campaign to your sales.
It is important to invest time and money into your content marketing campaign if you want to see the results you are after. Sometimes things fail and if you think your campaign is on the verge of failure, there are a few things you should be aware of.
Firstly, if you aren’t documenting your campaign and how it is tracking, you are more likely to be heading for failure. Documenting your work makes the campaign more effective and organised. You will also need to include highly optimised visual content. Content isn’t just about words anymore!
As well as this, you need to think about how you are going to promote your content. Never think that promoting a piece of content once is enough; employ the 80/20 rule. Finally, your budget! You will need to spend money on your content marketing campaign, so think about where that money would be most effective.
Charlotte is a digital marketing and communications practitioner at SEO Shark. She takes on a range of roles relating to SEO and has a keen interest in studying the SEO industry and its future direction, particularly in relation to content marketing. Charlotte takes her writing very seriously and always seeks ensure the content she produces is of a high standard of quality.