Content is king. Content is key. Content is the axis that the internet spins on. The way you produce and distribute content determines how people find you and the impression they get of your company.
You probably realized this a long time ago, and decided to create and execute a content marketing strategy for your business. Many people find, however, that content marketing doesn’t work the way they expected it to. It can seem like you’re wasting time and money on content when it fails to bring the results you need.
When this happens it’s hard to know what to do next. Here are 7 things that could be preventing your content marketing strategy from working, together with some tips for fixing them.
1) You have no idea what people want to look at
The point of creating content is to get eyeballs on your site. Few sites do this better than Buzzfeed, who have it down to a science. They’ve got quizzes, listicles, articles and a million other pieces of clickbait to keep your screen filled until the end of the world or until you’re out of mobile data (whichever comes first).
Many websites see this formula and attempt to copy it, even though Buzzfeed is a media company and theirs is selling something like… toiletries. Buzzfeed-style articles may get clicks, but those clicks won’t convert into sales.
What’s best way to correct your course and give the people what they want? Ask them.
Surveys, email questionnaires, and lurking around forums where your potential customers hang out are all excellent ways to find out what kind of content your customers would really appreciate.
People love being asked about what’s relevant to them and this is the best tactic to bring them closer to what they want, and more importantly, closer to YOU.
2) Your content is recycled
When looking at some websites, you are sometimes overcome with déjà vu. “Didn’t I see this somewhere else? I must have seen this EXACT article posted 3 other places today. Must be a slow news day!” So much online content is recycled, so an easy way to set yourself apart from the rest is to create something new.
Recycled content is better than no content at all, but you know you can do better. Rather than copying what’s already out there, you can absorb information in your industry and look at it from a new perspective.
You love and care for your customers. Show them that by giving them what they’re missing from your niche.
3) You swim in a red ocean
A “red ocean” is an overcrowded market where there’s too much information and very little of it is of any value. This concept comes from the book Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, which contrasts companies that try to grab market share from each other (a red ocean strategy) with those who try to create new markets (a blue ocean strategy).
Many companies make the mistake of swimming in a red ocean when it comes to content marketing as they publish low-quality content in fields where there’s already more than enough mediocre content.
Save yourself time and effort by finding out what people really and truly want to know in your content niche that hasn’t already been explored in depth. If you write something new you can dominate search results for that topic straight away rather than trying to compete with other sites for all the more obvious keywords.
4) You haven’t studied your competition
The internet is a big place and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you see what the major players are doing. You don’t need to be overly concerned with competition but you should at least know where they stand and furthermore why their standing is so prominent in your niche.
Do you want to be the site that’s doing what’s already been hashed and re-hashed for the 5th time this year? Avoid this by studying who’s already working in your market, noting what they do that works as well as knowledge gaps they may show.
By having a good handle on your competition you can make sure you create something original that will position you well in your industry. You can take inspiration from what other companies do well, without trying to imitate them exactly.
5) You’re impatient
Content is not a “become the idol of millions overnight” game, despite what some “gurus” would have you believe. Getting ranked high enough on search engines, not to mention establishing yourself as an expert in your niche, takes time. Knowing this from the outset will temper your mind as well as give you the mental clarity to create long-term content strategies you can and will follow through with.
The internet will probably be around after you’ve made your mark in it, so think in terms of months and years versus going viral in days.
Before you conclude that your content marketing strategy has failed, first ask yourself if you have given it time to succeed. Content marketing is a long-term marketing technique; it’s not like running a short-term campaign.
6) You don’t promote your content
As a published of content, you operate on the premise that people already want to hear from you. However, you can’t simply post things and expect people to find it.
People won’t know about what you’re building or working on until you tell them. Google and other search engines don’t know what you’re doing is any good until other people start linking to it.
Help yourself by spreading the word about your content on everything from social media to newsletters in your industry. You should also try to build a network of people that can actively share what you’ve got across their networks, thereby spreading it and building your social proof.
This is a lot of up-front work. Think of content marketing like running an old-fashioned steam train: it takes a lot of power to get going but once you’re at full-speed, it takes a lot MORE force to actively stop you.
7) You let money get in the way
We all need money to finance everything from our social lives to our businesses. Free channels are great and indispensable for content, but if you want to get more eyeballs, subscribers and buyers in the next few days rather than years, you’ll want to invest more in content marketing to get better returns.
Think Facebook ads, Twitter ads, paid posts on other websites. Investing a small amount at a time until you’ve experimented with your strategy enough to have something that works means you won’t be throwing money into an endless clickbait pit.
If you do feel like the money you invest isn’t doing anything, revise and explore places better suited to what you’re doing. Maybe promoting your restaurant on Yelp would work better than on Twitter and the ad spend should go that way.
Perhaps your Twitter audience could use more promoted tweets to increase your brand awareness. Getting a content marketing to work requires tweaking hundreds of variables, experimenting with every option to find out what works.
Let Experimarketing solve your content marketing pains and problems. Check out our marketing services here.