Bad Content Marketing Characteristics
Content marketing has been consistently referred to as the be-all-end-all of digital marketing practices.
But, there is still a wide variety of instances in which poor content marketing strategies can be doing more harm than good in regards to your brand image and consumer identity.
It’s easy to reason that no marketing should be put into place that HARMS our business, no matter what it is!
But how can you tell when that is the case? How can you determine whether your content marketing practices are doing more good than bad?
This is the difficulty that many businesses face, and as content saturates more and more of the internet, and permeates the lives of consumers, it is becoming more necessary to employ the best practices of content marketing to establish a loyal following.
In all honesty, one of the main reasons that failed content marketing strategies occur is due to the long-cycle of ROI that content marketing provides.
There is a long period of time between when you begin content marketing, and when you determine whether it has benefitted you and can adjust your efforts.
This is often why people quit, however, with some of the best practices I discuss today, you can make the most of your time and diagnose a bad content marketing strategy NOW to determine how you can improve and see quicker results!
After all, when you produce content all the time, you want to know you are on track to getting good results!
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the most common issues around failing content marketing strategies, and what you can do to fix them!
1. Blogging is ALL your Site Has
The single most common mistake I see many businesses and content marketers make is believing that a blog is sustainable enough as it is.
Although blogs are definitely important, they CANNOT be your only content marketing format.
I want to clarify, blogs are awesome pieces of mid-to-long form content! The issue is when people think that blogs are the ONLY pieces of content that they should employ.
Here’s the issue: Blogs are beneficial once a consumer has already begun the conversion process and is in the learning phase of that process.
There needs to be something more than a large wall of text to jumpstart that process in the first place, otherwise, nobody will consider consuming your content at all.
And they certainly won’t consider buying from you.
It’s beneficial to create short-form pieces of content to jumpstart the interest and relate the need for your product or service to begin the formal sales-funnel or conversion process.
Consider images, checklists, or short videos that are made to relate directly to the needs of your consumer in an easily engage-able and consumable way to increase immediate interest in your offer.
This respects the time commitment of your audience, as well as jumpstarts the buying process as I mentioned earlier.
Here are a variety of formats, other than blogs, that you can use to leverage extra content!
– and more…
Ultimately, blogging shouldn’t be your one and only style of content creation.
Employ others that play a part in the conversion process.
At the beginning of the conversion process (the top of the funnel) should be the short-form content that draws interest and points out the “pain-points” of your audience.
In the middle should be the mid-form informative content that further illustrates your brand as the guide to help the consumers through that pain.
At the end should be more mid-to-long form content that informs, entertains, and calls to action!
2. You Don’t Know Your Buyer
How did you decide who your buyer was going to be, and how you are going to reach them?
Or have you?
Oftentimes, one of the most simple, yet underrated, aspect of creating a buyer persona is detailing exactly the lives and the self-perspective of the people who engage with your brand or make purchases.
Think about a product or service this way…
No product or service exists to do anything other than benefit and increase the livelihood of your audience.
If any product or service DIDN’T do those things, it would fail, inevitably.
All your audience wants to know is how THEIR lives are BETTER after utilizing your product or service. That’s it.
That’s the reason we make buying decisions in the first place.
Without accurately accounting for WHO finds the most value in your product or service, you won’t ever be able to target the people who will buy from you.
In that way, your buyer personas (also called target markets) should be more than a mere gathering of thoughts and ideas that you create when idealizing your product.
Instead, your product should be an amalgamation of the thoughts and ideas that idealize the LIVES of your consumers.
Here are a few ways that you can use to determine who your consumers actually are and what causes them to purchase from you.
– Phone Interviews
– Customer Surveys
– LinkedIn Data Research
– Individual Consumer Interactions
These methods allow you to more personally relate your products or services to the intended audience.
By doing so, you allow yourself the perspective to see connections between thoughts, needs, and the marketplace, thereby reinforcing your marketing efforts with new and relevant knowledge.
And all of it is relatively inexpensive!
The main question here is: Without further considering who your customer is, how do you intend to create content to their interests, needs, or locations?
3. Content Promotion Is Last in Line
If you happen to enjoy the slowest content marketing strategies that grow about as fast as snails move, then DON’T promote your content.
This point always eludes me whenever I see it in action.
You spend a lot of time (or money) to create excellent content, you’re proud of your work, and you can’t wait to publish it.
Then, when you DO publish it, nobody pays attention to it.
You wait a little longer…and still…nobody.
This is one of the main reasons that people quit their content marketing strategies. They fail to actively promote their content on a regular basis.
The truth is, publishing content may help you grow SEO over time, but it really does take TIME to see the effects of SEO.
SEM, on the other hand, is a more proactive approach to content marketing.
If SEO is like Pull-marketing (being that it attracts consumers) then SEM is like Push-marketing (because it is more disruptive).
If you don’t have the time to wait to see benefits from your content, then you NEED to employ some kind of SEM strategy.
This means you HAVE to promote your content actively through either PPC or social media or more.
Yes, it costs a little bit, but as long as your content is optimized for SEO and converts well enough to justify the cost, there should be no issue.
That’s the part most businesses have difficulty with, being able to justify the cost of content promotion due to poor conversion rates. (which is how I’ve helped many businesses)
The point is, waiting for content to bring the “magic” in the way that many people say content marketing will is a lost cause unless you can leverage your time by promoting that content to gather consumers, awareness, and/or a following.
4. “SEO” Is Gibberish To You
Alright look, if you run a website or any kind of online presence and you DON’T know what SEO is, that’s where you should start.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and directly relates to your ability to be “found” by searchers on the web.
Think about how much interest, engagement, and customers or clients you would receive if you were at the top of google search results!
In fact, people pay A LOT of money every month to be promoted (through SEM) to be at the top of search results.
In fact, there have been full books written and updated every year on SEO, stating everything that I know here in this one article would blow your mind.
So, here’s an article on my PERSONAL website (austindenison.com) where I explain the factors of SEO and how you can make them work for you!
5. Your Expectations Aren’t Realistic
Whether it comes to personal development, self-help, or bad content marketing, unrealistic expectations are the mediums through which disappointment can seep into your mindset.
Think about it, having some expectations is a good thing, but like many things in life, unrealistic expectations are almost always a BAD thing.
Especially in my experience with content marketing.
Most people want quick fixes to their every problem. Especially if they are paying for it.
The issue here is that content marketing, almost by definition, is NOT a quick strategy. It’s almost always a NECESSARY strategy, but NOT a quick one.
Believing that the first video you post will go viral, or that the first blog post is going to get thousands of likes, or that your podcast will be #1 in a few weeks or months (or even years!) is going to be unrealistic and detrimental to your continued motivations.
Chances are, it’s going to take you a minimum of 6 to 8 months to see a good return on content marketing, and that is ONLY if you keep all of these points in mind and subscribe to some best practices.
But, in the end, content marketing compounds upon itself much like high-yield investments, and you’ll be glad you spent the time earlier to find greater rewards in the future!
Bonus Tip 6: Your Content is “Sales-y”
Here is the last tip I have for you and your Content Strategy.
Never, ever, EVER post content that is a sales pitch in disguise.
Yes, it’s necessary to make it known that you have an offer, but consider this…
Gone are the days when brands can forcibly interact with consumers.
In today’s day and age, CONSUMERS choose when to consume the BRAND’S content.
I can guarantee you the easiest way to ensure that you put people off your brand is to make every piece of content you produce a giant sales pitch.
All that is going to accomplish is push your consumers away.
Instead, consider giving them REAL VALUE, then add a call to action or something that gives them an action to take to do business with you and solve their problem with no pressure added.
Over time, this helps your consumer build trust with your brand and confidence in your ability to help them!
This also builds reciprocity, a necessary characteristic in mutually beneficial relationships.
All in all, I’ll list the five steps below one last time to give you something to ponder as you create your awesome content!
1: Give More Than Blogs.
2: Know Your Buyer.
3: Promote Your Content.
4: Learn the Fundamentals of Good SEO.
5: Manage Your Expectations
6: Don’t Be Sales-y.
Either way, if you’re curious about more pieces of content that you can produce and how to make killer content, consider downloading the FREE content marketing checklist HERE.
Also, I’ll be releasing my personal book called Kick-*ss Content Marketing sometime in the coming months so look forward to it!
Here’s another awesome article that you can use to develop a dedicated content marketing strategy!
If you’re curious about what I can do to help your brand or business, don’t be afraid to schedule a call with me so we can create a plan based on your business objectives!
Thanks again for reading and Go HERE to schedule a call!