20 Reasons Why Your Content Marketing Isn’t Working

You were expecting boatloads of traffic weren’t you? Disappointment is the first step to mastering content marketing. And I’ve got 20 tips for you on how to drill down and pull everything together in a powerful strategy.

Internal Marketing

You can take heart in knowing that few businesses excel at inbound marketing and half of them aren’t aware of any revenue or brand awareness it’s generating. Regardless, inbound is important and you need to do it well.

49.5% of Marketers don’t have a documented content strategy and are challenged with producing engaging content.


Figure 1 Screenshot courtesy of Content Marketing Institute

Even small business is doing content marketing, but they’re just not doing it effectively.


Figure 2 Screenshot courtesy of Content Marketing Institute

Inbound: Key Part of a Modern Marketing Plan

According to Hubspot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report, 48% of marketers expect to raise their spend higher than the current rate of 34% of budget. The stakes are getting higher and it’s getting more competitive. There will be winners and there will be losers. You need a strategy.

Modern Marketing Plan

In this post we’re going to take a look at what doesn’t work and how you can get your strategy aligned for better and more measureable success. After you’ve picked up some great insight, check out the links at bottom for additional resources.

What Went Wrong with Your Inbound?

I can answer that one with 3 phrases:

  1. No reach
  2. No quality
  3. No strategy

Does your inbound program include the type of quality content in this graph below? Yes, video and other epic content are not easy to produce. You may need help with it.

Demand Metric Chart

Figure 3 Screenshot courtesy of Hubspot

It takes research, creativity, quality production, good execution. engagement and follow-up. All the issues below stem from the 3 factors above.

  1. No Purpose. Your strategy should be based on a clear specific purpose (build brand awareness, improve engagement or generate leads).
  2. Shallow, Poor Quality Content. (You need to create epic content in order to catch people’s interest. They face a barrage of junk everyday).
  3. Not Engaging. No whitepaper, video, or graphics (you need to be compelling using materials that engage their mind and senses, often assembled like a storyline).
  4. Doesn’t Grab Attention. Too milquetoast and not bold enough (think bold and use words and images that jump out, contrast and dominate attention).
  5. Insufficient Reach. – no one is seeing it (if you have no developed channels such as SEO or social media, then you’ll need to advertise).
  6. Not Search Engine Optimized. (SEO is important. You need a keyword focused content strategy to give Google the signals it needs to rank your pages high).
  7. Doesn’t Build Trust. (Your messaging must be transparent and credible for people to take you seriously and share your content).
  8. Lacks a Community. A group of interested people (a social media group or closed community of people with similar interests) can be your best fans and help you out tremendously).
  9. It’s not Consistent with People’s Beliefs.  Your message isn’t going over well so they ignore it or won’t support your content (your research should tell you what they believe).
  10. Doesn’t Appeal to Influencers. Influencers need more reasons to promote your stuff. (Reach top influencers for a big boost to your reach)like
  11. Doesn’t Make the Sharer Feel Good. People share when they feel good. (Your content needs to make them feel good about themselves so consider what’s in it for them, or they won’t share it).
  12. Inadequate Research. Do you know the market? (If you’re not precise about your value proposition to your targeted customer, then you’re shooting in the dark. You need good primary and secondary research)
  13. Forgettable.  They can’t see any reason to come back. (Does your content make them feel there’s more coming and they need to come back?).
  14. Doesn’t have a Way to Convert their Interest or Intent. You didn’t move them from interest to action. (You need to take them from curiosity to commitment, and then measure which channels and content types are doing that the best).
  15. Content Strategy Half-Baked. Is your content appropriate for what you want customers to do? (Your strategy needs a plan and to cover all of these problem areas. Continue perfecting each one and fusing them together in one stream).
  16. No Tracking Being Done. Is your content failing somewhere? (You need a strategy that tells you where your inbound process ended so you can investigate and fix it).
  17. Not Enough Content and Effort. Do you have lots of content? (It’s almost certain you need to be blogging and tweeting daily, as well as posting to Google+ and Linkedin).
  18. Your Unique Value Proposition and selling proposition are not clear and compelling. (If they believe there’s no real value behind your marketing content, they’ll just ignore it. Always talk as though it’s leading to something really good for them. Have that in your mind always).
  19. Something for Nothing. You’re trying to get people to do things without being generous and giving yourself. (You need to identify relevant value and then dish it out online).
  20. Timely. Are you publishing when they’re looking? (Content needs to get to people at the right time, the time they’re ready to accept and share it. Test publishing on different days and time of the day and see which get viewed or clicked).

One additional issue is whether you’ve chosen the right social channels to pursue. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest and your blog all require different content and there are unique strategies to drive traffic through each.

The 3 Keys to Improvement

  1. Fail Fast (don’t fret over failure. It’s guiding you to success).
  2.  Improve all 20 aspects I mentioned above.
  3.  Automate and Create Engaging Conversations (use management tools and persistently create great content. Quality is everything).

Inbound ROI

Figure 5 Screenshot courtesy of Hubspot

Avoid being obvious and patronizing because people are wary of that. They prefer subtlety, unpushy hints and if they see value, they may just reach your goal page.

Good luck on improving your digital marketing strategy. If you’re truly serious about succeeding and you need help with your content development, SEO, ecommerce and social media strategy, contact us for a quote.

Helpful Materials

Go Inbound Marketing http://elementthree.wistia.com/medias/x0ed4nbii1

Inbound Convention Boston http://www.inbound.com/

Inbound Marketing Trends http://moz.com/blog/2014-inbound-marketing-trends

Salesforce State of Marketing http://www.ravenshoegroup.com/blog/2014/marketing/salesforce-state-marketing-survey-2014

Content Marketing Institute http://contentmarketinginstitute.com

Joe Pullizi’s Book Managing Content Marketing: The Real-World Guide for Creating Passionate Subscribers to Your Brand,  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0983330719/


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