Thursday, January 19th, 2017 | 7 min read
Content is a powerful tool for every business—a way to build brand authority, customer trust, and a high-performing sales funnel. It’s so important, in fact, that it’s used by nearly 90 percent of businesses. Yet many of these businesses find that their content strategy “isn’t working.”
Because each piece of your content marketing strategy feeds into the other, from creation to distribution and analytics, simply forgetting to tag links, for example, can throw everything off. This makes it seem as though your content strategy isn’t working, when really, it’s just missing a few pieces.
Below are five common reasons why your content marketing strategy may not be working. Consider what you’re missing, patch the gaps, and keep creating.
In a world overflowing with content of all forms, value is what sets you apart. Anyone can write a blog post on the first thing that comes to mind. Not everyone can create targeted content meant to provide value to a specific subset of people.
Relevance is critical to content success. “The content you’re producing must address your specific audience’s interest and needs—providing them with overall value and satisfaction,” says Holly Rollins, president of 10X Digital and 3-time CMI Content Maven winner.
She continues, “The end goal of a successful content marketing strategy is to position yourself as an industry leader and build trusting relationships with your audience. When people trust what a company has to say, they will remember that feeling when they’re ready to purchase.”
Fix it: Establish specific goals as part of your overall strategy, along with benchmarks so you can compare and learn as you analyze content success. One goal might be to drive 20 leads from your blog in Q1. When you check the numbers you can easily say, “Yes this is working,” or “No this is not” and pivot as necessary.
Without data, you’re guessing. This rarely leads to creating effective content that can drive leads, engagement, and brand authority. Without knowing what your audience likes and which topics they care about most, how can you create content that they’ll care about? In most cases, you can’t.
Fix it: Create a monthly data report where you look at traffic along with top visited pieces of content. Note that the “top content” will depend on your goals (visits, engagement, time on page, leads-driven, etc.). Now ask yourself: How can we replicate this content? You may find themes in style (lists format question title) or topics, for example, which you can use to plan new content.
Certain types of content do better when shared (distributed) through different channels. Known as targeted content distribution, this is one of the most important aspects of content promotion.
“The key is to share your content strategically,” says Anne Murphy, former Director of Content at Kapost. “Don’t try to push every asset on every channel. Otherwise, you’ll have too much to share and your audience will get overwhelmed by the amount of content you’re asking them to consume.”
Not only might your audience be overwhelmed, but you also won’t get as much engagement as you could for each piece. For example, Facebook is becoming a video-centric platform while Twitter is still best for engaging with influencers and sharing articles. Segmenting your content in this way allows for maximum exposure and interest, making it an important part of the content strategy.
Remember that while social is the main marketing distribution channel for content, email, Quora, republishing (Medium), podcasts, and blogger or influencer outreach are all important as well.
Fix it: Add distribution metrics to your monthly content data report. You’ll soon start to see a pattern emerge that you can use a blueprint for effective promotion and distribution.
To create high-value, effective content, you need to think outside of marketing. What are the most popular questions the sales team gets? What are you overall business goals? What experts do you have in-house?
Content can be a hugely effective tool for driving leads and sales and promoting your brand. When it’s not aligned with business objectives or created with the customer in mind, however, it will never achieve its potential.
Speaking to people who work with these details every day will give you greater insight, allowing you to build a more robust and effective content calendar.
Fix it: Connect with the sales and business development teams each quarter. Ask questions about company objectives, popular customer complaints, common questions being asked, etc. Consider how content can help with 1 to 3 of those company priorities and what questions it can answer to help move potential customers through the funnel.
If you’re not tracking your content efforts, you’ll never know how to improve them. Luckily, once it’s set up, tracking content is quick and easy. When using Google Analytics, you can add UTM parameters to the end of your links. This is easy to set up with the URL builder here. Other tools like Mixpanel have their own tracking system in place that you’ll need to implement.
When everything is set, be sure to start tracking in a few important spots:
It’s not that your content marketing strategy isn’t working. It’s likely that you’re just missing a few important pieces that are throwing the rest off. Keep these reasons in mind as you assess your content strategy. Consider where you can make changes and then test and track to see if it’s working better.