Six Reasons You Can’t Get Your Content Marketing to Work

Can't get your content marketing to work?

Excuses, reasons, challenges, obstacles…call them what you will, they’re mosquitoes at your Content Buffet that hamper marketing efforts.

Marketing managers: If you’re trying to understand content marketing, you need to follow these three sources:

  • Marketing Charts – thought-provoking data and useful factoids served up daily
  • Content Marketing Institute – most of what you need to know about the mechanics of using valuable content in your marketing
  • MarketingProfs – webinars, forums, lessons and list-posts for anybody with the word “marketing” in his/her title

These three FREE resources sometimes converge to give you gems like this:

In other words:

Six reasons you can’t get your content marketing to work

Which of these do you need to fix in your organization?

1. Producing engaging content – 42%

You put content out, but its boring. Nobody comments on it, nobody is quoting or re-using it, it’s not helping you in the search engines, and it’s not moving the sales-needle. Whether it’s blog posts, case studies, white papers, podcasts or video, it’s just not adding up to an engaging story. It probably isn’t valuable (meaning “valuable to your prospects,” not “valuable to you”).

Try this: Have your marketing communication writers write for a real human being, not for a demographic or market segment. And since nobody cares about your products, have them write about your customers’ problems instead.

2. Producing enough content – 20%

How much content is enough? If you’re serious about getting onto the first search engine results page (SERP), you need to put out valuable content with masterful use of relevant keywords about five times per week. Hey, what marketing manager can’t do that, especially with legal reviews of the content?

Try this: Cross-examine yourself. If you land on page one, will you necessarily attract qualified prospects and the kinds of customers you want to have? Or will you attract tire-kickers, time-wasters and people who wannabe you? If you can’t generate enough content to get above the noise in your keyword-space, then generate enough to look credible to prospects who find you through other means. That’s a different “enough,” but it’s an important “enough.”

3. Budget to produce content – 18%

This goes hand in hand with #2. You ask the VP of marketing or engineering for budget to write a white paper, or to hire a marketing writer for a series of case studies or blog posts, and she tells you “no dice.” It happens a lot in a soft economy.

Try this: Find content other people are already producing about you and ride those waves. Here’s the Yelp listing (B2C) for a nearby restaurant with hundreds of reviews; that represents acres of valuable (because user-generated) content that nobody needed budget to create. Here’s the Facebook page (B2B) of Johnson Controls, with a mixture of free content they want and free content they don’t want. They may not have a white paper budget, but they can use this as a starting point for producing content.

4. Lack of executive buy-in – 12%

Yes, some execs still haven’t gotten the memo, or don’t yet consider it dangerous that their competitors are consistently generating valuable content. Content marketing can be a tough sell, especially if you have to justify return on investment (ROI).

Try this: You may not be able to get attention around producing new content, but nobody in his right mind would ignore things – both good and bad – that other people are saying about your products and services. If you can’t sweet-talk your execs with terms like “content marketing,” then shake them up a bit with “reputation management.”

5. Producing a variety of content – 7%

Limited resources, unlimited possibilities: video, podcasts, white papers, case studies, eBooks, newsletter articles, blog posts and more. But especially on a small team, it’s hard to produce every kind of content you want and do it consistently and well. Or, maybe you’re accustomed to just one or two kinds and haven’t tried any others.

Try this: Do a six-month rotation, generating two types of content per shift. At the end of a couple of years, you’ll know which types are the best match for your organization.

6. Budget to license content – 1%

Instead of generating your own content, you decide to shore up your website with somebody else’s content. Or, maybe you want to license a report with independent (favorable) information about your products. That’s not so much “content marketing” as it is “someone-else’s-content marketing.” Fortunately, not many of you face this predicament.

Try this: Build your own brand with your own content instead. And get your customers to rave about you so that you don’t have to pay industry analysts to do it.

photo credit: Toronto History


Author: John White

John White of venTAJA Marketing is a content marketing writer for technology companies. He posts about technology writing from the perspective of the marketing manager. It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. Download his eBook, “10 Questions to Ask When Hiring Your Content Marketing Writer.”