You used to believe that content marketing was King and were convinced that it would encourage users to engage with your brand, as well as generate new leads.
Then you decided to produce content. You set up a dream team, came up with several content ideas, and sat in a big armchair, waiting to become the Marketer of the Century. But nothing happened. Why?
If you invest a lot of resources in content marketing, but your efforts don’t pay off, there’s an alarm bell ringing, and you to figure out what exactly you are doing wrong.
The bad news is that you’ve already put a lot of time and money toward creating ineffective content. The good news is we know the reasons why your content strategy might not be working.
In this article, we’ll discuss the most frequent situations that prevent your marketing success.
Red Flag #1: The content you publish is only focused on selling your product
Unfortunately, “the look how wonderful we are,” strategy has nothing to do with content marketing. It boosts the ego, but it doesn’t bring any value to your followers.
You start to move in the right direction if you produce content that:
- Identifies the pain points of your customers
- Gives readers a clear understanding of how to apply the information you provide
Creating valuable and engaging content can be quite a challenge. According to Content Marketing Institute research, producing engaging content is the top obstacle for 54% for B2B companies.
According to VP of Marketing at Greenhouse Software Barbra Gago,
“engaging content is about “how much value you are genuinely adding to a person’s professional or personal life–and, I’m not talking about your product.”
The challenge lies in trying to draw the reader’s attention, offer knowledge, inspiration, or a glimpse at something they haven’t seen or heard of before.
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As soon as you stop creating egocentric content, you`ll see how different your audience`s reaction will be.
Ann Handley, one of the earliest leaders in content marketing, said that in content marketing you need to take your brand (or product) out of the story and “make your customers the hero of your stories.”
Keeping this in mind, provide your readers with thought-provoking and valuable information , but do not sell. Only in this manner you can build brand authority and client trust.
45% of people surveyed said that they will unfollow a brand on social media if their platform is dominated by ‘too much’ self-promotion.
Red flag #2: You don’t respond to comments or questions posted to your published content
Ignoring comments is not the way to deal with your audience. The head in the sand approach is acceptable for an ostrich, but not for a person who wants his or her business to prosper.
If you do not respond, you will discourage customers from future interactions. They will think that you are indifferent. Churn rates can increase by 15% for companies that fail to respond to customers on social media.
How quickly you answer questions matters, as well. 53% of people complaining about communication problems via social media expect a response within an hour.
NanxiLui, CEO of Enplug said,
“In fact, it’s now a consumer expectation that not only can they learn about a business on social media, but they can talk with the business—whether it’s to troubleshoot a problem or simply give praise.”
McDonald`s is a great example of how to best manage customer feedback.
All of the comments have a personalized approach, and there is not any spam like, “call our customer service,” to the messages addressed.
Meaningful and relevant responses to comments humanize your brand and strengthen the connection with your audience.
The manner and quickness of your response also affect your reputation.
According to an NM Incite study, 71% of consumers who experience positive customer care on social media are likely to recommend the brand to others, compared to 19% of customers who don’t get a response.
Red Flag #3: You are providing too much sponsored content
Sponsored content is paid for by an advertiser and intended to promote the advertiser’s product.
On the one hand, this form of content is a tasty deal for content producers, because it can bring in the desired money. For example, The Atlantic expected three-quarters of its digital advertising revenue to come from sponsored content in 2016.
Slate, the web publisher, says that about half of its ad revenue comes from native ads – as sponsored content is also called – and the other half from traditional banner or display ads.
On the other hand, however, people generally do not trust sponsored content, because they feel like they are being tricked. To be more specific, the majority of readers, 54%, don’t trust sponsored content.
A Kentico Software survey found that 74% of the general public trusts business-produced educational content only on particular topics, but, “even signing off an otherwise objective blog post or newsletter with a product pitch will bring the content’s credibility level down by 29 percent.”
So, if you plan to publish sponsored content, track the quality and be honest with your audience about the paid content of the article. Don’t try to write about a topic in which you are not an expert — readers can see through the bullshit.
Red Flag #4: You have trouble succinctly describing the make-up of your target or niche audience
There are two reasons for the blurry vision you’re experiencing with regard to the people interested in your content.
Number One: You don`t worry about identifying your audience, because you assume that creating a great product or service is enough.
Marketing expert Fleur Filmer said,
“some people either don’t understand what their target market wants, does or is interested in. If they don’t know what their target market wants, then they can’t tailor their message.”
Number Two: Your target group is too broad or too narrow.
Marketer and a founder of Francis Moran&Associates, Francis Moran,likes to explain this fact in the following way:
“It’s too broad when you are having trouble isolating the specific pain point your product or solution solves. It’s too narrow when you have succeeded at the above but find yourself with too few prospects to make the financials work”.
To reach your target market keep these points in mind:
- What social media platforms your customers use
- What kind of content will resonate with their preferences
In terms of social media, Facebook is the undoubted leader. Nearly eight out of every 10 Americans (79%) who use the Internet now use Facebook. That’s more than double the share that uses Twitter (24%), Pinterest (31%), Instagram (32%) or LinkedIn (29%).
Ways to find your target audience through Facebook
- Make posts with relevant content to provoke discussions
- Include a share button that encourages readers to post your content to their walls.
Identifying your target audience is essential. Once you figure out why the audience comes to your website, you`ll be able to make much more effective choices. You`re going to figure out what people want from your product or service, understand their problems, and discern what information they expect from your site.
When posted on social media, relevant content can help you to reach your audience.
Red Flag #5: You publish content without Search Engine Optimization (SEO) being a part of the overarching strategy
As a great product needs promotion, so great content needs SEO, which is also a promotion of some kind.
Thanks to SEO your content can be visible to people looking for exact answers and decisions.
A content marketer and a columnist Nate Dame noted, that
“as Google’s algorithms become more sophisticated and more adept at understanding and identifying high-quality content, marketers need to see the light: good content is good SEO, and good SEO drives good content.”
SEO is also a way to maximize ROI.
73% of in-house marketers and 76% of US agencies said SEO provided excellent or good return on investment.
All these facts speak for themselves – search engine optimization is an inalienable part of overarching content strategy.
Red Flag #6: You haven’t set any defined goals and objectives
You don`t set any specific goals because you don’t have a clear perspective on the eventual outcome. It may happen when you create content because someone told you it`s a must, not because you feel the necessity.
Without clear understanding what your goals are, confusion arises as to whether or not you have actually achieved them.
B2B marketers whose organisations have a clear vision of what content marketing success looks like are much more effective than those that do not:
- 79% of the most effective marketers have clarity
- 77% of the least effective marketers lack clarity
Well-defined goals help you to create content which is going to satisfy the needs of your customers.
To set effective and truly working goals, keep in mind SMART rule. It means your goals must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely.
Before creating any content, you should think about an eventual outcome – what goals do you want to achieve after publishing the material. Do not fool yourself with vague, unreachable or immeasurable goals.
Investing in content that doesn’t bring tangible result is painful. But you can change the current state of affairs.
To make your content marketing efforts more effective, follow these tips:
- Provide your readers with thought-provoking and valuable information, but do not sell. Only this way you can build brand authority and client`s trust.
- Respond to comments and questions posted to your published content. It humanizes your brand and strengthens the connection with customers.
- If you agree to publish sponsored content, track its quality and be honest with your audience about paid character of the article.
- Use social media to describe the make-up of your target or niche audience.
- Make SEO the part of your content marketing strategy.
- Set concrete goals and objectives.Well-defined goals help you to create content which is going to satisfy the needs of your customers.
What obstacles have you met on your path to content marketing success? Share your experience in the comment section.