Source: Search Engine Journal
Do you know why I love content marketing? Because every brand can make a considerable impact—regardless of their size.
It doesn’t take a multi-million dollar budget or even hundreds of posts each month. In fact, sometimes large budgets and high quantity can lead to worse content marketing. I’ve seen many companies use these things as a crutch for publishing sub-par content.
Don’t get fooled. Bigger isn’t necessarily better.
In content marketing, slow and steady wins the race. It doesn’t matter if you’re a large corporation or a small shop. But if it doesn’t have to do with budget or company size, why do content campaigns fail?
I’ve broken down the why into four main reasons:
You Haven’t Developed an Actionable Strategy
65% of B2B marketers don’t have a documented content marketing strategy.
That’s a huge number of companies aimlessly trying to make something stick. If you want to beat them, you’ve got to make a strategy, document it, and stick to it.
Set Reasonable Expectations
As you strive to set your content marketing strategy, don’t aim for a goal so lofty that you’ll never be able to reach it. Set reasonable, realistic expectations. No, you can’t make $1,000,000 from that $5,000 investment in 30 days.
Content marketing just doesn’t work like that.
Come up With a Plan for Reaching Your Goals
Once you’ve set goals that you can achieve, work backwards to decide how you’ll get there. Come up with a detailed plan of exactly what you need to do on a monthly and weekly basis to reach your goals.
Document it and Review the Strategy on a Regular Basis
Now, write it all down!
Don’t forget to review the strategy every now and again. It’s easy to forget your goals and get distracted. Keep your strategy top-of-mind by looking at it from time to time.
You’re Not Investing 100% in Your Campaign
If we’re all honest with each other, sometimes we’re just not 100% invested in the campaign. Other things steal our attention and we just can’t find the time to execute good content marketing. It happens to everyone.
And, unfortunately, that lack of investment is exactly why your content campaign fails. To succeed in this noisy marketplace, you’ve got to put in the work to stand out.
Anything less does a disservice to your brand.
Decide What Type of Investment You Want to Make
Before you can invest 100%, you’ve got to decide what that 100% looks like for you. Generally speaking, there are two main forms of investment when it comes to content marketing:
- An investment of your time
- A financial investment
You can take an either/or approach, or blend the two for a well-balanced campaign. Just be sure your commitments are based in reality. If you’ve only got an hour free each day, don’t plan to fit eight hours of work into that timeframe.
Time Investment: A DIY Approach to Content Marketing
Many people think they can’t do good content marketing because they don’t have the money. That’s simply not true. Content marketing can be done extremely cheaply, it’s just going to cost you something different: your time.
Time is the great equalizer. We all only have 24 hours in the day.
If you can’t afford to hire someone else to do content marketing for you, then you need to invest your time and do it yourself.
Financial Investment: Hire a Strong Team of People
If, on the other hand, you do have the funds, you can save your time by making a financial investment. This comes in the form of doing things like:
- Hiring a team or agency to handle your marketing
- Investing in advertising opportunities
Whichever path you pick, go all-in with it. If you don’t spend the hours it takes to make your content campaign successful, you can’t complain when it fails. Likewise, if you don’t invest in a competent marketer that brings results, you’ll be just as likely to fail.
It’s all about making a strong investment—regardless of the investment type.
You’ve Given up Before Giving it a Chance
It’s frustrating when you aren’t getting the results you want from your content. As a result, many brands give up on content marketing way too soon. They throw in the towel and make the excuse that content marketing just won’t work for their business.
If you really want to see results, you’ve got to give it a chance.
Choose the Right KPIs and Stick With Them
Measuring the right key performance indicators (KPIs) is the only way to really know what’s working. If you don’t measure success, how will you know when you achieve it?
It all comes down to your KPIs.
There are a number of different KPIs you could use to measure success. A few of the more popular indicators include:
- Page visits
- Time on page
- Inbound links
- Social media shares
- Conversion rates
- Comments on posts
- Subscribers to email
The KPIs you choose will ultimately depend on your overall goals. For example, if you want to use your website to build your email list, using subscribers as a KPI is a logical choice. If you’re more concerned about expanding your social presence through content marketing, measure your social shares.
Give it at Least Nine Months of Complete Dedication
Content takes time to gain traction. The web is a huge place, filled with tons of information. You need to give your work time to be noticed and engaged with by your audience.
I like to advise people to make a minimum investment of nine months for content marketing endeavors. At that point, if it’s still not making an impact in your business, you can reevaluate your investment.
But during that time, you have to give it 100%.
Don’t Throw in the Towel—Adjust and Make Changes When Necessary
If something doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to make adjustments. If your car broke down and all that needed to be replaced was an engine belt, you wouldn’t trash the car. You’d fix the belt and keep on driving.
Think of your content campaign in the same way. If your efforts aren’t working, replace the broken parts and keep using the overall machine.
Giving up too early has been the downfall of many solid content marketing strategies. Even small content campaigns can make an impact—but not if you give up before they have a chance to succeed.
You’re Just Not Publishing Good Content
I’m going to be brutally honest right now: Most marketers don’t produce good content and that’s why their campaigns fail.
It’s not because you aren’t publishing enough. And it’s not because you don’t have enough money. It’s because the quality isn’t there.
That’s a sad reality, but it doesn’t have to be that way…
Stick to Accepted Standards for Writing Online
Writing for the web isn’t like any other type of writing. It takes a special kind of style, tone and format to do correctly.
And if your content doesn’t measure up to these standards, it won’t make the kind of impact you want. What are these standards? I like to use the guidelines Usability.gov put together:
Avoid Generic Content That’s Full of Fluff
Get to the point. There’s no reason to add extra words. Fluffy content just for the sake of a longer article does more harm than good.
Instead, write in-depth posts backed with statistics, images, and research. Ask yourself what kind of content would be genuinely helpful to your audience, and then provide it.
Support Written Content With High-Quality Design
In many ways, design is just as important as the writing itself. And both design and writing fall into the overall “content” category.
The online world is becoming increasingly and increasingly visual. It’s important that when you publish custom graphics or images, they’re high-quality and a good resolution.
No one wants to look at poor design—don’t drag your content creation efforts down by using it.
Will You Do What it Takes to Succeed?
Have you ever failed with a content marketing campaign? I think we all have at one point or another. Luckily, failure doesn’t mean death. You can get back up and try again right now.
It’s that kind of tenacity that will make you a content marketing success story