It’s hard to accept failure in any setting. A college philosophy exam. Your adored, but disappointing, NFL team. Perhaps even a relationship. All devastating for different reasons of course, but painful to bear nonetheless.
When it comes to the professional world, failure can be just as discouraging, and content marketing is no exception. Just as any strategy or business can go awry, so too can a promising content marketing plan collapse.
And no, it’s not just bad luck; there’s often a common thread or four among those plagued by a flopped content strategy. Here’s a look at some of those reasons, as well as ways to get on the right track:
Content is unorganized.
There’s an easy way to avoid the last-minute scramble for a story: plan ahead. An editorial calendar, which we’ve previously praised the effectiveness of here and here, allows you to gather content ideas and schedule release dates for at least three months out. This will also help you become consistent, which is a great way to build audience loyalty and keep them engaged. For example, we all expect Apple to make a new product update or release during the summer or fall months. Likewise, your audience should have an idea of how much content and what types of content they can expect to see you publish on any given day or week.
You also need a clear execution strategy. Chances are your consumers don’t exclusively use Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest; some may use one and not the other. Be omnipresent, and you’ll create plenty of touch-points to reach your consumers.
Content is self-promotional.
In unsuccessful plans, content becomes the awkward first date of the Internet. If your brand only talks about your brand, people are going to lose interest faster than you can say, “check, please.” If you’re hosting a consumer-friendly event, sure, go ahead and post it. But the majority of the content you create should benefit those reading it.
Content strategy is too ROI-focused.
Just as John Miller recently wrote, you can’t neglect the needs of the audience you’re reaching out to. These are people, not just a bunch of walking dollar signs. A true content marketing plan focuses on capturing the interest of the consumer, which brings us to our next characteristic…
Content is boring or low quality.
Sorry to say, but if your content isn’t compelling, not many will stick around to read or watch it. Be engaging, interesting, funny, outspoken, tongue-in-cheek (if appropriate), angry—anything so your audience can feel some connection too.
You may also need to accept that not everyone’s cut out to create content. Know your strengths and weaknesses, as well as when it’s time to hire extra help. Whether you need additional talent or a person whose sole job is to commit to content, you must ensure quality control.
Your content creators are not embracing a newsroom mentality.
While this encompasses being audience-centric, it also emphasizes the importance of timeliness. Not staying up to date on your industry is a missed opportunity. Be ready to share or speak to a story that’s relevant to your brand, but also avoid forcing a superficial connection, like these brands did.
No change is made.
Many are already well aware that one or more of the above hits the nail on the head. But not everyone is willing to make these necessary changes. If you’re going to embrace content marketing, your behaviors and beliefs about marketing need to co-align. So get moving!