Is Your Content Marketing Failing?

I recently had the pleasure of attending TrackMaven‘s webinar on “Creating Scaleable Content Marketing,” and although there were a number of interesting stats throughout the hour-long presentation, one stat in particular jumped out at me:

Only 9% of B2B marketers believe their organization’s use of content marketing is very effective.

As someone who’s very well aware of how much time and effort goes into creating a piece of content, this hit home.

Online marketers are constantly engaged in an ‘attention war’ (as noted by Allen Gannett, presenter of the webinar and founder of TrackMaven). Consumers are hit with a barrage of advertising and content (both good and bad) every day, and we are constantly tasked with the challenge of persuading our audience that our ad is worthy of their click and our content is worthy of their time.

If 42% of B2B marketers don’t think their organization’s use of content marketing is very effective, how on earth do they expect to persuade readers of this fact? And if they’re executing an ineffective content marketing strategy… well then they’re investing a significant amount of time and resources into fighting a losing battle.

Let’s take a look at a few questions that can help you diagnose your content marketing issues, as well as a few resources that can help you overcome them.

Does Your Content Answer the Right Questions?

It’s the simplest explanation for a failing content strategy: you’re creating ineffective content. Before you even sit down to write another piece of content, ask yourself:

  • Does your content convey the information that your readers are looking for?
  • Is it helpful and instructive?
  • Well-written and easily-consumable?
  • And finally, are you using data to guide your content creation, or still building ‘gut-driven campaigns?’

The first step towards creating better content is understanding the needs of your buyers, and organizing your strategy around meeting these needs. Don’t think you know what your buyer wants, look at the data. Then define goals and messaging around this data, and revisit them each time you sit down to create content to keep your strategy focused.

Is Your Distribution Plan Failing You?

Can good content overcome a bad distribution plan? Maybe, if the right people stumble upon it and decide to share. But there’s nothing quite like the frustration of seeing a great, thoroughly-researched blog post fall flat on it’s face while a worthless infographic (bad design, pointless and questionable statisitics) blows up Twitter. And consider this scary statistic from the TrackMaven webinar: across 1,774,915 brand blog posts, 23.2% had 0 shares.

The point is, creating solid content is only half the battle — you have to make sure it’s seen. If you’re creating valuable content but achieving very little reach with it, ask yourself:

  • Have I distributed my content across social channels (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+)?
  • Am I working content into my email strategy, finding every opportunity to reach both prospects and clients?
  • Am I enabling my readers to share my content with social sharing functionality?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, revisit (or formulate) your distribution plan and get organized. The checklists in our Content Creation Guide can add structure to your process and help you ensure you’re covering all your bases.

Have You Built a Community Around Your Brand?

Distributing valuable content across multiple channels but still not seeing the results you want? Your content strategy could still be failing for one major reason: consumers don’t trust you. Hey, it may not be your fault, and you’re certainly not alone (see chart below if you doubt me on this), but often pushing even the most effective marketing messages through channels repeatedly is not enough to resonate with your audience.

What you need is advocacy, a community — other people to spread your message for you. Third-party distributors of your content give your content something you can’t: social proof. By building a community around your brand, you can rest assured that you have a solid group of credible advocates that will regularly help your content get seen. But although 74% of marketers say creating a community around their brand is a social media business objective, only 18% of marketers say their company has one (Lithium, 2012). If you’re among the other 82%, ask yourself:

  • Have I enabled other people in my company to share my content regularly?
  • Are partners and satisfied customers aware of the content I’m creating, and are they finding it helpful?
  • Am I sharing valuable content from other organizations across my social channels? Don’t forget that they’ll often return the favor.

Ready to get started putting a more effective content marketing strategy into place? Download our free Content Creation Guide for best practices, worksheets, and tip sheets that can help you organize your strategy and put it into effect.