In his famous essay from 1996, Bill Gates declared that “content is king”. While the phrase has become an overused cliché by this point, it still holds true. Two decades later, content marketing has become an integral part of marketing strategies for business of all sizes – in fact, 94% of SMBs and 93% of B2Bs are using CM. The problem is, just because everyone is doing CM, it does not mean that they are doing it right.

According to a 2016 CMI report, only 30% of marketers believe that their organization is effective at CM. Many companies are getting their content strategy horribly wrong, and you can find abandoned business blogs all over the internet. Why is this happening? If this is such an important and proven method, why do so many companies feel like their strategy is ineffective?

Content marketing can be frustrating – you create, publish and promote your material, but still nothing happens; you do not see a surge of traffic or revenue. So, what is the problem? Here are some of the common fatal mistakes that are probably killing off your business content strategy.

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Image source: 2016 B2B Content Marketing Trends—North America: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs

1. You are afraid to invest in your marketing

One of the most common complaints about CM is that it is too expensive, as a matter of fact, 65% of the companies believe that they are spending too much money on it. In reality, while CM may cost you a pretty penny, you get what you pay for. Generating a lead through traditional marketing will cost you $373 on average, but using content marketing techniques, it will cost you less than $150. However, you cannot just start throwing money and expect to be successful; you have to start spending smart.

2. You are not promoting your content

Content marketing is not just about producing – the fastest way to kill your campaign is to do nothing after you create your content. It does not matter how good of a writer you are, if no one reads your posts or links to them, there is no point of putting it out there. Balancing promotion and creation is key. And how do you promote your material? You simply pitch your content to bloggers in your industry and ask them to share it; you post it on Twitter and Facebook regularly and do not forget about the power of emails – email marketing has a return on investment of over 4,000%.

3. You do not think SEO is still important

Like with every other marketing channel, it seems that not a day goes by without some article stating that SEO is dead. While social media marketing is becoming more and more popular, SEO is still the most important marketing channel. The numbers do not lie – there are almost 6 billion Google searches every day. Therefore, if you are doing CM and have a weak SEO strategy, chances are no one is going to find your material. However, if you have little to no experience with search engine optimization, you should consider hiring an SEO consultant or an agency like the Online Marketing Gurus to conduct a detailed examination on the status of your optimization. There is a ton of good content that remains hidden on the final frontier of SERP, so do not take SEO for granted.

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Image source: 2016 B2B Content Marketing Trends—North America: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs

4. You have not perfected your strategy

Compared to last year, fewer marketers have a documented CM strategy (32% vs. 35%), according to recent CMI study. This basically means that most of the content marketers do not have a clear strategy at all. If you do not have a definite plan, you should start by defining your key performance indicators (KPIs) – identify what numbers are vital for your campaign (traffic, shares, views, etc.) and keep track of them. Furthermore, your strategy should evolve through time – when you feel something is not effective as it could be, you should modify your strategy.

Conclusion

There are hundreds of reasons of why your CM may not be working for you, but chances are that you are somewhere in the vicinity of these four reasons. The main problem with many marketers is that they look for the simplest and quickest way possible to market their content. While that is somewhat understandable, you have to realize that long-term success usually comes from long and hard work.