5 Reasons Why Your Content Marketing isn't Working

by Sarah Quinn on 24 September 2014
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I'll admit it, content marketing can be seriously annoying. You've read the blogs, you've researched the stats and you've put your awesome content out there, but you're still not seeing the results.

The experts tell you that you should have tripled your leads by now, heck, you should be bigger than Google! But you're not. You've put a lot of time, money and effort into your content, and it just sits there, without any shares, leads or return.

Frustrating isn't it?

Should you give up and start spending a shed load of money on traditional ads? No. What you need to do is go back to the planning stages and pin point where you are going wrong. Because when you get it right, the results can be be pretty damn awesome.

So sit back, grab a brew and check out these 5 reasons why your content marketing isn't working for your business...

1. You're too concerned with sales

It's understandable that the ultimate goal is to get more customers. But you can't go into content marketing with that mind set. It's like a domino effect. Your content is the first thing that you do to get your audience interested in you, and then the rest will follow. The key to good content marketing is to lure your customers in, not to bombard them with a stream of adverts.

At this stage, it's not about the hard facts and figures or the off putting sales messages. It's about interesting content that your audience wants to read and share.

The secret to creating great content is to tell a story. Maybe it goes back to our childhood but it's human nature to love stories. We all like something we can relate to, something with a happy ending. The way that you can put this into your content is by outlining the problems that your customers face, and show them that you are their solution.

Action Points:

  • Your content shouldn't be an advert -- make it valuable
  • Tell a story through your content -- outline the problems and solutions
  • Lure your audience in -- make your content, your trophy wife

2. Your target audience is EVERYONE

When planning content, your audience should be at the forefront of your mind. But if you don't have a clue who your audience is, or you are trying to target every single person on the planet then your content is not going to work.

Think about it. The language that you would use for a student full of teenage angst, will be completely different for language that would be used for middle aged high-flying executive. By trying to come up with a message that will resonate with everyone will only spoil your content.

Do your research and get to know who your audience is. Come up with a customer persona so you can have a clear idea of who you are targeting. From your customers age and gender, to the places they shop and their salary, a customer persona needs to detail everything there is to know about your audience.

Action points:

  • Implement surveys and discover who is interested in your product
  • Really get to know your audience, like you would a friend -- so you can target them effectively
  • When creating content, always speak in their language

3. You're writing for search engines

When it comes to certain content, like blog posts, you need to make sure that they are optimized well so your audience can find them. But this can be a problem when trying to create content that people will want to read and share. Do you stuff it with keywords and links in the hope that Google will pick it up?

No.

The point of content is that it's useful and interesting to the reader, so that they share it. Over-using keywords will only create bad content that no-body will ever want to read. It's not just about turning off your audience either. Did you know that by stuffing content full of links and keywords, it can actually harm your Google rankings?

When you're ready to get writing that blog of yours, don't think about keywords. Just start writing. Your content will naturally optimize itself, because you are writing for your audience. You'll find that the copy you write will have enough keywords, without having to place them in. And if you're writing useful content, then you will naturally link to well established websites, which will in turn help you move up the ranks.

Action points:

  • Write your content naturally -- don't overstuff with keywords and links
  • Share your content on social for more views and natural links back to your site
  • Link to established websites to give your content more authority

4. Your proof circle is too big

So once you've created your content, how many people in your company need to see it? It's true what they say, sometimes too many cooks can spoil the broth. The same theory applies to your content. Does the person in admin really know what you're trying to achieve with this piece of marketing? How about Jim from finance? Although it's nice to include the people of your company in your processes, sometimes it can do more harm than good.

What you need to do is trust the experts. From copywriters and designers, to animators and marketers, these people know what they are doing, so you need to have a little faith in the people you hired to the do the job. Sure, there will be slight tweaks and edits along the way, but if their job is to create content that will connect with your audience, then you need to let them get on with it.

Sometimes if you're too close to the project, it can cloud your judgement, so sit back and let the professionals do the hard work!

Action points:

  • Hire experts and trust them to do the job
  • Don't let too many people have an opinion
  • Limit your proofing circle

5. You're SOLELY focused on your product

So you want to create content that relates to your product, but as previously mentioned, content isn't about sales. It's about engaging with your audience and increasing your reach. The secret to connecting with your audience and keep them engaged is to not produce the same content day in, day out.

Sure you want to talk about your product, but it will help you gain more followers of your brand if you also talk about other stuff, that will grab the interest of your audience. It goes back to finding out who your audience is. Once you know that, you will be able to cover topics within your content, that they are interested in.

Say for example you sell nail polish. Now that is a very limited subject. How many times can you create unique content about the specific nail polish you sell? Not many. What you could do is create an infographic about 'the history of colour trends', post blogs with make-up tips from experts, or even create an e-book on 'how to dress for success' -- and your nail polish can be a small section within that content.

Action points:

  • Think outside the box -- don't just post stuff about your product
  • Find out what your audience is interested in and tailor your content to match that
  • It's ok to have fun

Takeaway

The biggest takeaway here is that you need to remember your content shouldn't be an advert. It needs to be valuable, interesting and above all, good enough for your audience to click that share button. The truth is, it's not that hard to do the above. You just need to separate your sales head, from your marketing head. Take everything that is fun and interesting about your brand and put it into your content. Good luck!

Need some help?

If you need help with this, don't forget that we can create awesome content for you and that includes coming up with ideas and concepts, copywriting, designing and more! Check out our content marketing examples for more info!

Content Marketing

Sarah Quinn

Written by Sarah Quinn

I eat, sleep and breathe great content so it kinda works out for me that I get to do this as a job. But waaaaait, I'm not one dimensional..... I also LOVE peanut butter, odd socks, running, daydreaming about time and space, corgis in top hats, afternoon tea and Chandler Bing.