Does Content Marketing Work? 9 Reasons Why Your Blog Isn’t Working
Often when we talk about blogging and content creation as a marketing strategy, people say ‘oh yes, we tried that’. You may be thinking the same thing – you may have put time into writing regular blog articles (or paid someone to do it for you) and not noticed any difference in results.
So does content marketing work? Well not always, no - but when it doesn't, it's usually for one (or more) of the following nine reasons:
1) No content strategy
Most business owners and marketers jump into tactics without fully developing their strategy first, and writing blog articles because it seems like a good idea or because it’s the done thing is not going to be a winning strategy. A good content marketing strategy starts by defining your business goals and by knowing your audience – who your content is for, and who it isn’t for. Only by fully understanding the demographics and psychographics of your target customers can you create content that will really resonate and interest, entertain or help them solve problems.
2) No content plan
The best content is produced when there has been some formal planning behind it, rather than it being an ad-hoc ‘what shall we write about this week’ process. Content planning allows you to ensure your blog posts, videos or infographics are well thought through, and that they fit in with the business objectives and with your overall content strategy.
3) Your content is all about you
I mentioned three things in the previous point – good content should be interesting, entertaining or useful to your target customers. Your company news, your latest charity work and your latest promotions probably don’t fit into any of these categories – they may be interesting to you but not to your potential customers. It’s important to understand that potential customers do not care about you or your business – they care about themselves and their businesses only. So your content needs to address issues that they care about and want help with rather than promote your own interests.
4) You have poor quality content
For content to achieve a result, it needs to be of a high standard – it needs to be engaging, shareable, and look professional. If it is written content, it needs to be well written, with a compelling headline and broken up with sub-headlines and bullet points to make it easily scannable. If it is video, then the sound quality is very important (you can get away with video footage taken with a smart phone but the sound quality is very important). If it is an infographic, or powerpoint on slideshare, it should look professional and in keeping with your company branding, and needs to tell a story in a clear and easy to understand way.
5) Your content is created by the wrong people
Another common issue with blog content is that it is given to the office juniors to write – many companies give the task of writing blog articles to their marketing assistants, their interns and work experience staff, or any ‘younger’ member of staff who ‘understands the internet’. This is a mistake because your content is your way of communicating to the world – you would not ask the office junior to give a live press conference on TV, so don’t ask them to communicate for you online either. An hour a week is all it takes for senior people to add their knowledge and expertise to a company blog which makes the articles more substantial, better informed and with far more expertise and even thought leadership.
6) There is no search engine optimisation (SEO)
For content to really succeed, SEO should be built in at every stage – from concept, planning and execution to promotion once published. Content and article headlines can be planned on the back of keyword research, and when published should have full onsite optimisation – title tags, meta descriptions, alt tags, H1 tags etc. should all reflect the target keywords. Outreach and link building can then ensure that the content ranks well, and attracts links to build the domain authority of your entire website.
7) There is no promotion of your content
In most industries, your competition will also be producing content – as will countless journalists and bloggers. In order for your content to cut through the noise it requires promotion – through SEO and outreach as per the point above, but also naturally through social media, email, targeted advertising/sponsored social promotion, and by promoting it to targeted online communities via forums, groups and industry blogs and other websites.
8) Your content is inconsistent
You build an audience over time by being consistent with the quality and frequency of your content – too often businesses see their online content as a nice to have that goes out of the window when they get busy or a member of staff leaves. The reason content marketing works is that it helps you build trust with potential customers, and being consistent is a cornerstone of creating this trust.
9) There are no calls to action
If you have thousands of pageviews for your content that is fantastic, but if it doesn’t lead to anything that impacts the business then it is useless. That doesn’t mean every article should be a lead-generator but frankly, you will help your potential customers most by helping them take action with you. So rather than just have them read the content and then wander off to another site, include a call to action to a logical next step that will help them get more information.
Ours is to download a free eBook which presents and entire system for using content marketing together with the latest marketing technology to help you attract high-spending customers into your business. It’s called ‘How to get customers coming to you’ and you can grab your copy for free here. Without a call to action, the impact of your content will be minimal.
When content marketing is done right, it works – it will grow website traffic, attract inbound links for SEO, and can generate high numbers of leads from potential customers. But when done well over time it does something even more important – it establishes your business as an authority and as an expert in your industry and it builds trust in potential customers.
This is incredibly powerful and is worth a huge amount to you and your company, however you have to earn this trust - and if your content falls foul of these nine common mistakes, then it you will miss the mark. Instead of growing traffic, generating leads and building trust you’ll feel like you are shouting into an empty room, that no-one is listening, and that you are wasting your time.