Implementing content strategy isn’t child’s play. Especially when most enterprises do not have a well defined and clear cut idea on what is to be achieved from their content marketing efforts. It’s not just about knowing what is to be done. The focus is more on why it is to be done and how it fits in the long term overall marketing efforts of the organization.
In a recent research by CMI, it was said that “Only 44% of B2B Marketers have a documented Content Marketing Strategy”. This obviously means, either the rest are still in Stone-Age, or are going all out blind in their Content Marketing efforts without knowing head or tail about it. Maybe that’s exactly the reason why the above mentioned research shows that B2B Marketers with a content marketing strategy are 600% more likely to be effective!
Based on many of the case studies we have conducted ourselves and various others we found over the internet, following are 10 Major Reasons Why A Business’s Content Marketing efforts might not be working out -
Inconsistency in post updation – Why start off something if you can’t do it properly? Especially when you are a business! Anyone serious about content marketing efforts for their organization have to keep in mind “Rule No. 1″ – post consistently. This not only tells your audience when to expect your next post, but also helps the “Search Engine Deal” i.e. informs the search engine that the site is being updated regularly and hence has something of value in it.
No Content Strategy- What form of content are you posting? At what frequency do you come up with e-Books? Are weekly blog posts supported by monthly Infographics? How well in advance do you decide which piece of content has to be shared on which day? Are they decided on the spot or well in advance? In short, do you actually have a strategy in place as to how and what sort of content should be shared, and when? If your answer is no or “I don’t know” to any or all of the above, it definitely means you have no content strategy in place. So stop all that you’re doing right now, take time to find answers to the questions above, and start afresh.
Not knowing the audience and/or their needs- If your targeted audience are Marketing Managers and CXO’s of organizations, do you write only about Movie Award nights? Obviously not. Before you commence with designing a content strategy, identify your audience. Don’t restrict it to rough demographics as 25 – 50 yrs, Male, South Asia. Be specific. Whether your TG are housewives of age group 35-50, college students interested in rock music, startup entrepreneurs within first 5 years of establishing etc. Know what content will bring them in and what genre of content they are on the look out for. Don’t worry if your audience is niche. It’s actually better because then both you and your readers know exactly what they need.
Failure to share quality content – Lets get it straight. The web is full of 99% noise and just maybe 1% quality content; and with the noise increasing day by day, the only way to get people to come to your website is by sharing quality content and making sure you add value to them. Failure to share high grade content will definitely piss off your prospective audience and they actually just might never return.
The Sales Pitch tone – Griefness! People actually still do that. Writing about why your product is awesome or how you are the best service provider in town doesn’t count as “content”. It’s advertising, and people aren’t coming to your website to see you praise yourself. They are there to see how you can add value to them. In that scenario, if you go around with a loudspeaker talking about only yourself, heaven save you.
No storytelling – Ever since we were kids, all of us loved listening to stories. Which is the exact same characteristic people still love. Tell them a story they can relate to, a story which makes them feel you consider them a human and not just a demographic. The storytelling streamlined approach of presenting content is an art to be learnt, and learnt well. Whenever you start off with presenting a content, consider the 3 most important factors the content should convey – the data, what the data means and why it’s useful for the reader.
Not correlating content shared over different platforms – Just as the brand should have a specific identity, so should its content. Yes, it’s important to cater and stitch your content based on the platform it is being shared in, but still a certain level of homogeneity is to be maintained. You can’t go about talking only about your services on Twitter and in Facebook focus only on discussions about your product. Similarly, a Social Media Agency can’t just talk about only Social Media on its Twitter Profile and write content focused only on Content Marketing. Some sort of uniformity is expected.
Not having a defined measurable goal – Once the audience has been identified, a content marketing strategy has been formulated and all’s in place, it’s very important to also define how you would measure the impact of your Content Marketing efforts. Is it by setting a goal of 100 subscribers in first 6 months, 10% lead conversion from your blog to your Whitepaper download page, getting 5 guest post requests within the initial 3 months etc. The measurement criteria is up to you, but make sure you have one.
Failure to reply to comments – Sounds too trivial right? Well it isn’t. When someone takes up his valuable time to read through your content and then to comment up with his/her opinions, make sure you give them the importance and respect they deserve. Else, it’d be akin to inviting a guest to your home and then avoiding them once they start talking to you. If you wouldn’t do it in real life don’t do it on your blog either.
Outsourcing to the wrong team/ Hiring a freelancer – This is actually one of the most common and practical mistake many organizations do. It’s not wrong to outsource the Content Marketing initiatives to an external agency, especially since they can bring in varied perspectives of their combined team to the drawing board. Things take a turn for the worse when either the organization is not able to rightly communicate their needs to the agency or the agency itself is not well equipped to handle the work. As with hiring freelancers, the issue arises since unlike agencies, they aren’t bound by the terms and conditions applicable to a firm. The risks applicable when outsourcing work to a freelancer is more than those that arise when outsourced to an agency. If you wouldn’t handover the total reigns of your organization’s marketing to a freelancer, then better not do the same here.
Content marketing is a discipline and an approach in itself. Though still in its early-adoption stage in many markets, its importance is being understood by marketers all over and everyone’s waking up to the fact that inbound marketing has to play a major role as compared to the sum total of all the combined marketing efforts of an organization. If you make sure that the above said mistakes are taken care of, then it can definitely be assured that you’re on your way to reaping the maximum benefits out of your content marketing strategy.
Let us know if you have more points to add on to this list. We leave you off with a simple little infographic we found on the net comparing Content Marketing and Traditional Marketing.