The promise of inbound marketing is a lure that pulls businesses of all types, but few understand the efforts it takes to achieve success. After just a few blog posts, they flame out and grumble “We tried content marketing, but it surely didn’t really work for us.” I hear this from prospective clients on a regular basis.
And I get it. Business owners are skeptical of creating an investment that may not pan out, so that they get cautious and are able to pull the plug at the primary sign that they’re wasting money.
Truthfully, they probably are wasting money. There’s an epidemic of half-hearted content marketing on the market that’s giving the entire inbound philosophy a foul name.
So after I hear potential clients say that they tried content marketing but didn’t see results, that is how I respond.
Why Your Content Marketing Efforts Might Be Missing the Mark
Content marketing shouldn’t be latest. The ideas have been around for a long time. At this point, no business skilled is unfamiliar with a blog, search engine traffic, or social media.
The issue, it seems to me, is that too many individuals have misunderstood the true purpose of content marketing — and so have missed the mark on their past efforts.
Go to most firms’ blogs and also you’ll find fluffy, self-serving content: Pictures from their clean-up day on the local park, press release-style articles about promotions and employee-of-the-month winners.
Or, it’s stuffed with content that feels derivative and an identical to a thousand other articles on the web.
It is not any surprise to me that this sort of content has failed to usher in customers.
Unremarkable Effort, Unremarkable Results
With most things in life, your results match your efforts. Because the saying goes, “You get out of it what you place into it.” Same thing here.
When firms tell me about their forays into content marketing up to now, I’m not surprised it didn’t work for them.
“We tried content marketing…”
If you happen to’re one among those businesses that “tried” content marketing, only to see sub-par results — I’ll bet you bought out of it what you place into it.
This happens for just a few all too common reasons, and I’ve seen dozens of firms fail due to these same few mistakes.
1. There was no clear owner of your content marketing. If content marketing is something that gets tacked onto other responsibilities, it’s going to fall by the wayside. You may’t ask someone who already has a full-time job to also produce and implement a full content marketing strategy. That in itself is a full-time job. Heck, it may be greater than a full-time job.
2. You played it protected. To me, content marketing is about educating your customer. It’s about constructing trust and being transparent in order that your potential buyers can access the data they should grow to be customers. This implies you have to address thorny subjects. This implies you might have to supply honesty as an alternative of a sales pitch. Once we tell businesses they should tell their buyers the specific drawbacks and shortcomings of their products, some blink and judge to play it protected, undercutting the entire effort.
3. You had no framework. If you happen to don’t have a plan, you’re not going to get very far. A framework gives you structure and benchmarks. Without it, you’ve got guesswork and inconsistency — which might quickly result in frustration.
4. You hired a sub-par agency to supply your content for you. The explanation I’ve seen most content marketing initiatives fail is that companies hire ill-prepared agencies or freelancers to do it for them. This appears like a great idea at first, but the outcomes are almost at all times underwhelming. These outsiders sometimes produce the identical bland, derivative content that appears like everyone else in your industry — but it surely doesn’t sound such as you. The content just doesn’t resonate with buyers, and business leaders are left scratching their heads and wondering how they paid a lot and got so little.
“… But it surely didn’t work for us.”
There’s something to unpack here, too. What do you mean it didn’t give you the results you want? How did you propose on measuring success?
Any marketing initiative must be measured to be evaluated, and people measurements need context to have meaning.
Which is why I find myself helping our clients unlearn what they thought they knew about inbound marketing.
Mistakes Business Leaders’ Make In Their Content Marketing Strategies
Mistake One: Specializing in the Fallacious Metrics
The inbound funnel is a compelling idea: If you happen to get enough traffic to your site, a percentage of that traffic will turn into leads, and a percentage of those leads will turn into sales.
So people assume more traffic will equal more sales.
Not necessarily. While organic traffic is essential, it could even be a conceit metric that distracts you from a very powerful goals.
- Article A gets 10,000 views every month and brings in 10 customers.
- Article B gets 2,000 views every month and brings in 20 customers.
- Article C gets 500 views monthly and brings in 50 customers.
Too often, firms chase Article A, putting their effort into high-trafficked content that doesn’t find yourself converting visitors into customers.
Which leads us to our second mistake.
Mistake Two: Not Getting Sales Involved
The inbound approach shouldn’t be only a marketing one. Actually, if you happen to limit it to only marketing, you undercut your results. Inbound is as much about sales because it is about marketing.
You see, if you happen to don’t get your sales team involved along with your content marketing, you usually tend to produce a library of Article A-type content. Marketers like to brag about reach, and what’s more encouraging than hundreds of site visitors?
The sales team will bring your marketing team back all the way down to earth. Because your sales reps hear from actual customers every day, they know the questions your prospects are literally asking. They know why Article C is the higher investment of your team’s time.
The Promise of Content Marketing
Look, I understand that firms start in content marketing for a wide range of reasons. But typically, the goal is to drive revenue. Brand recognition is great, but for many of the businesses I work with, it only matters if it translates into sales at the opposite end of the funnel.
Once I hear business leaders tell me that content marketing didn’t work for them, it’s often as a result of the incontrovertible fact that they were chasing the metrics of name recognition (organic traffic, social media engagement, etc.) — and so they were likely working with a substandard agency or putting in inconsistent effort themselves.
It’s no surprise the outcomes didn’t materialize.
To be able to get content marketing right, we’d like to re-acquaint ourselves with the real objectives that matter, train our employees for excellence — and be ready for a long-term commitment.
Anything less will yield sub-par results.