Everyone is doing content. As the Content Marketing Institute reports, an impressive 93 percent of today’s B2B marketers use content to generate leads and influence their decisions. According to them, content marketing is the most cost-effective solution out there. It costs around 60 percent less than outbound marketing, and it has the capacity to brings in 3 times as many leads.
Even though in theory, content marketing sounds amazing, in practice – that really isn’t the case.
Most businesses still struggle to grab some notable wins from their content marketing efforts. Regardless of how hard they work on their content, their efforts still fall flat in this department.
There are literally hundreds of different reasons why quality content fails, and all of them can basically be traced back to three core issues. In the following segments of this article, I’m going to share with you the three most common reasons why content fails to achieve the desired results in today’s world, regardless of how good it may be:
1. Too Many Birds Singing the Same Ol’ Song
Influenced by all the praise around content marketing that can be read all across the Web, reports have shown that 75 percent of companies have increased their content marketing budget in the last 12 months, and 43 percent of them have added more manpower to their content dev departments.
It is believed this was the catalyst for the so-called content shock.
The main issue with content marketing today is that the market is oversaturated. Everyone is creating content (not just written) and so it has become quite challenging for most brands and entrepreneurs to stimulate their targeted audiences to interact with their blog posts, videos, webinars, infographics, etc. Every single one of us is competing with 3 million Facebook posts, 1400 blog entries and 500 hours of video content that gets published literary every minute of every day.
The MOZ and BuzzSumo study has revealed that 75 percent of all blog posts generate fewer than 10 social shares and zero links in their lifetime. A lot of people are failing to compete with this many competitors and, contrary to all the claims by experts, are finding content marketing to be ineffective.
Even though things currently look dark for a lot of marketers, now is not the time to quit. Creating content is still great for your brand, if for nothing else than solely for SEO purposes. But, even though the Internet is drowning in content right now, there is still more than enough room to turn the game around. For brands willing to invest the time and resources to evolve with the changing landscape, there is a huge opportunity to cut through all the noise.
If you want to generate some real interest with your content, you cannot just settle for “good”. You have to produce outstanding material, something that’s unique or at least 10 times better than anything that can be found in the search results for the same query.
2. People Don’t Have a Plan for Their Content
Regardless of how popular it is, the term content marketing is often quite confusing. It’s just another industry buzzword that actually means everything and nothing at the same time.
It doesn’t offer a clear set of instructions.
When you Google the phrase “the definition of content marketing”, the engine will provide many different results, where the top ones describe this practice as a “form of marketing that involves the creation and distribution of content that doesn’t necessarily promote the brand, but it is intended to generate interest from specific audiences in its products and services.”
The problem with this and many other similar definitions of content marketing is that it doesn’t really describe anything in particular. Marketing is the creation of a message, the insertion of that message into a piece (or pieces) of content, and then the promotion of that content to the desired audiences. In that sense, content marketing is just another word for regular marketing, because all types of marketing use content.
And just like regular marketing, content marketing heavily relies on promotion. You have to pay to play. Engagement per brand has dropped on every channel. Creating a good post is just the tip of the iceberg now. It’s phase 1. People invest a couple of days in writing it, and they just let it sit there on their blog. Content doesn’t convert on its own. You need to amplify it, if you want it to work. Use a cross-channel promo strategy to re-engage your targeted users and stimulate them to “start a conversation” with your material.
3. No Prep Work
As you have already figured out by now, engagement is a critical KPI for everyone who practices content marketing. Engagement is important because it shows how well the content aligns with user interests. This, of course, means different things for different companies with different budgets.
For instance, an e-commerce business will try to create more conversions by developing content that gets users to stick around more on their product pages and actually click on their proposals, while, on the other hand, an SEO agency will invest in quality content in order to get as many people as they possibly can to naturally link back to their pages.
A lot of people who invest in content marketing don’t have a smart strategy for coming up with topics to pursue on their blog or guest blogging efforts.
Everyone who wants to create valuable content today needs to take a lot of different factors into consideration before writing a single word in the CMS.
Having in mind all the noise and competition – all content creators and marketers need to carefully choose their battles and figure out how to beat their competitors to the punch. The only type of content that has any chance of bringing significant ROI for those who produce it is the one that earns a lot of organic links. That kind of content offers original research, fresh insights, or just provides authority answers to some of the core industry-related questions.
The last one is the easiest to do. In a way. Sure, in order to create authority content you actually have to be a master of your trait – but, unlike other types of material that are known to bring a lot of value to those who produce it, this type of content is the least abstract of them all. Apart from knowing your work inside and out, all you have to do in order to create such content is conduct proper research. Look for what’s currently ranking for your topic, single out a couple of top results, read them a couple of times, and try to find what they’re missing. Once you acknowledge where they fall short, you can fill in the gaps with your own content and produce something that’s even more valuable for your targeted audience.
Over to You
Thank you for taking the time to read this article from top to bottom. As you can see from everything written above, content marketing is a complex and crowded game where great wins don’t happen all that often. If you want to make your efforts count in this department, you have to do a lot more than just produce “quality content”. You have to create material that your targeted audience actually needs, and not just something that only repeats something that has already been covered thousands of times online. Be different, be smart, and do you hardest to promote your content accordingly.