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Posted by Todd Hockenberry ● Aug 20, 2019

Why content marketing fails

Everyone it seems is doing content marketing, or at least talking about doing it. Why then are there so many failed attempts to implement content marketing? We have worked with hundred of companies over the past 10+ years and we have seen the good and the bad of content marketing up close.

First, who does content marketing? Just about all B2B small businesses do, that's who.

94% of B2B Small Business Marketers use Content Marketing

OK, so we all use content marketing. How effective do we think it is?

How B2B Marketers Rate the Effectiveness of their Organization's Use of Content Marketing

Almost 60% rate content marketing as no better than average in terms of effectiveness.

So what is the difference between effective content marketing and ineffective content marketers?

Comparison of Most Effective B2B Content Marketers with Least Effective B2B Content Marketers

Build it and they will come works in the movies but not in content marketing. The number one reason content marketing initiatives fail is a lack of strategy. A strategy is who you want to reach, the buyer persona, and what they want to consume in terms of content. In other words, what content are they searching for when they need solutions? What questions are they looking to answer? What problems they are trying to solve.

No strategy means no focus, no focus means no persona, not persona means no interesting and helpful content, and not interesting and helpful content means no audience. No interest. No engagement. No success. 

Closely associated with no strategy is not developing a detailed, long-term plan and just winging it. Many content marketers fire shotgun blasts of content and hope something sticks. You must run specific campaigns with specific engagement goals. To do that you need to know your audience. Create content for them, in their voice, from their perspective, about the things they care about.  Not your product, but what it does and how it helps them. Application stories of success about other companies and people just like them.  It is all about them. Not you, sorry, they don't care about you.

Not trying enough tactics to drive engagement with your content is an easy one to miss. Posting a blog is a great start but what about:

  • video
  • eBooks
  • webinars
  • podcasts
  • how-to articles
  • case studies
  • technical bulletins

And then there are the distribution and promotion options:

  • SEO - do not overlook classic best practices, you still need to be very good at this
  • all social media channels
  • paid ads
  • remarketing
  • social ads and sponsored content
  • p/r
  • influencer marketing
  • good old trade journals - they love when people create content for them!
  • industry sites
  • guest blog posts
  • and many more!

Not spending enough budget to create great content and the discipline to stick with it are symptoms of a lack of understanding of how people research and buy today. I am not going to talk much about this....we all know this is true! Some studies show that up to 97% of B2B purchases start with an Internet search. What comes up in a search? Your content. Case closed on why you need to be committed to content marketing. 

People that say they are challenged to create great content say things like 'we are in a boring old industry and no one wants to read anything about us'. Baloney.

That is an excuse pure and simple. If your content sucks, is boring, lightweight, and not engaging it stems from people thinking they work in boring industries that no one wants to read about. Or they lack the ability or initiative to put themselves in the buyer's shoes. I promise you they don't think their issues are boring or unworthy of great content. In fact, they are begging you to create it!

Over the past 10+ years we have helped companies in industries such as these:

  • metal roofs
  • airplane parts
  • pipe fabrication equipment
  • aluminum fabrication services
  • cooling towers
  • composite pipes
  • fuel additives
  • marking equipment
  • gearboxes
  • lasers - OK lasers are pretty cool

Our fuel additives client went from -0- traffic on their blog to over 150,000 unique visitors per month. We are talking about fuel for crying out loud! But we are interesting, consistent, strategic, and most of helpful to the audience. We don't sell first, we help first.

No one is in charge and owns the results. This is true of any marketing or sales initiative but especially true of content. Content marketing is measurable, and if done correctly, easily tied to lead generation and revenue.

Bonus reasons content marketing fails:

  • Not sticking with it over enough time and quitting too soon
  • Assuming your market is the one outlier and your customer do not search or use content online
  • Not promoting internally - everyone should be tasked with sharing and using your content
  • Not measuring the right things and not adjusting
  • No SEO - I know I mentioned this before but we are seeing some bad SEO that stops content from reaching the audience
  • Wrong resources - you have content marketing partner just mailing it in, or is inexperienced 

Call us about that last one, we will help you fix it quickly!

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Topics: Inbound Organization, Content