Most small business owners have realized that content marketing is the best way for them to engage with their audience in this digital age. So much so that according to a report by the Content Marketing Institute, 94% of all small businesses are doing it.
There is no doubt that employing the right content marketing strategy could lead to more sales, better engagement with your audience and better brand awareness. However, just because almost everyone is doing it does not mean that it is working for everyone.
Why Content Marketing Works for Some and Not Others
As is the case with almost everything in this world, there are those people who are just “crushing” it while others seem to be dead and in the water. Take Red Bull for example. At one point, this mammoth of a brand was struggling against other energy drinks that sought to encroach on its market.
However, a few years ago, it came up with Red Bull TV which became its primary content marketing platform. Red Bull TV was all about live streaming high octane events around the world; events that red bull drinkers would love to be a part of and to see. That set Red Bull apart and more than tripled its revenue back in 2013.
That is a good example of a content marketing strategy that works. However, just because it worked for Red Bull does not mean it will work for everyone. There are so many brand-operated YouTube channels that get dismal to no views even today. So, what is the difference?
Here are some reasons why your content marketing strategy might be failing:
1. You Don’t Have a Content Marketing Strategy
Yes, it sounds rather obvious when you read it out loud, but it is very true. Most small business content marketing efforts fail simply because they do not have a content marketing strategy to begin with! Simply putting up a blog on your website or a YouTube page/Facebook page/LinkedIn account does not guarantee your content marketing success. The same goes for haphazardly posting articles online.
You need to come up with a well thought out content marketing strategy. This involves doing things like:
- Identifying your target audience
- Finding out what your target audience likes to read
- Researching and creating a list of their main concerns
- Creating content that addresses those concerns
Once you have done all that you still need to find out when and how to give them that content, so they actually consume it and take action. You see, it takes quite a bit of planning. For your content marketing efforts to have a prayer, you need to create content that is geared towards your target audience, period!
2. You Haven’t Clearly Defined Your Content Marketing Objectives
Yes, the right content marketing strategy can accomplish a great many things. However, trying to accomplish too much with the same piece of content can lead to failure. Before you get started you need to clearly define your objectives:
- Are you looking to attract new customers?
- Are you looking to create better brand awareness?
- Are you looking for better SEO and ranking?
- Are you looking to educate your customers about a new product/service?
Every single one of these objectives calls for a change in strategy. If you are looking to create brand awareness, then build links and improve your search engine ranking, and then going broad and wide with your content makes sense. It gives you an opportunity to educate your readers as well as show the search engines that you know your niche subject matter. However, if you are looking to drive leads and sales, this strategy might not work as well. You will need to take a more pinpointed approach with things like landing pages.
3. You Are Not Keen on SEO
Search engine optimization is one of those headache-inducing things that simply must be done and without which all of this is for naught. Most business owners are happy to write away and produce entertaining content without really looking at the SEO aspect of it all. SEO determines the kind of traffic you get from search engines likes Google. Without that traffic, you might as well forget about coming up with a content marketing strategy.
You need to incorporate aspects of SEO in your content creation. Things like:
- Keyword research
- Using different types of media to pass your message across (Videos, images, and infographics)
- Creating content that is easy to digest and share
- Making sure your content is relevant to your audience
All these aspects, including the more technical ones, are incredibly important and have a huge impact when it comes to how successful your content marketing strategy is going to be.
4. You Are Not Using the Right Avenues to Promote Your Content
There is an old business saying that goes “if you build it they will come.” When it comes to content marketing, this does not apply. Just because you wrote the perfect article or created the best video does not mean that your audience will find it. You have to take it to them. The avenues through which you share and promote your content will determine the amount and kind of traffic you get. Think of using:
- Social media pages
- Email marketing
- Commenting on a popular website with your link at the bottom
You also need to encourage your audience to share your content with their circles. This is very tricky. You first need to create content that they would be proud and willing to share.
5. You Haven’t Given Your Content Strategy Enough Time to Work
Content marketing is very much like investment banking; it will take a heck of a long time to show you great results. You need patience. It takes Google between 4 days to a month to index any new website. That is a month where really nothing is happening to your website while Google tries to figure out what you are about. After that, it will take months, if not years, for your content (if done properly with SEO in mind) to slowly rise through the ranks and reach the first page of Google’s search results.
This is to show you that everything takes time. Just because your content marketing strategy hasn’t brought in the first million dollars worth of clientele within three months does not mean that it is not working. You need patience.
This system only works when you work it. Create the right kind of content with your target audience in mind, incorporate SEO, share through the right avenues, and for the love of all that is good and green, make sure that your content does not suck!