Wondering why your content marketing isn’t producing results?

Are you concerned all your investment in content is going down the drain?

Well, you are not alone.

Numbers show a whopping 96% of businesses say their content marketing isn’t very effective. To put it bluntly, they aren’t making money. Nothing’s happening despite loads of content being published regularly.

No newsletter sign-ups.

No free trial registrations.

No consistent quality leads.

No animated comments.

No bucket load of shares.

And, because your content isn’t mesmerizing enough to draw prospects into your funnel, there’s no money at the end of it all.

No wonder you’re concerned.

What could be the problem? Where are you missing it?

Glad you asked.

Here are 8 reasons your content isn’t taking off and what to do to fix it.

#1. You are winging it all the way

Imagine a pilot flying a massive jetliner without a flight plan.

Unthinkable, right?!

And yet most brands engage in content marketing without a solid master plan. No wonder they don’t reach their business goals. If all you do is the rush to meet your publishing quota, you don’t have a strategy.

You are feeding the beast… producing content for the sake of content.

Studies show that’s what most businesses are doing. Plowing along without a strategy.

Another B2C content marketing research by the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs by confirms these findings. It revealed only 18% of the least successful brands have a documented strategy. On the flip side, 59% of the most successful companies have a documented content marketing strategy.

Here’s why having a laid out strategy works:

  • It makes better use of your team and resources… you know what to prioritize and focus your energies and funds on.
  • It helps you outmaneuver the competition since you are making calculated moves.
  • It makes it easy to identify and measure your KPIs.
  • It makes it easy to get buy-in from senior management.

Having a content grand design is foundational to your success — it guides all you do and ultimately helps you achieve a positive ROI.

Action step: Bring your team together and draft a content strategy document or fine-tune the one you already have so it’s more effective.

#2. You sound like an unanimated robot

If you’ve been in marketing circles long enough, you’ve probably heard the phrase ‘writing for SEO’.

For the uninitiated, SEO stands for search engine optimization.

So writing for SEO means writing content with the goal of attracting the elusive search engines to your site using specific targeted keywords.

In an effort woo the Google gods don’t go over the top. This happens when you cram keyword phrases into your content at every turn. Plus, if you insist on sounding businesslike (whatever that means!) you’ll also use a lot of gobbledygook — complicated jargon, high-sounding nothing nobody gets.

The end product is lousy bone-dry content presented in a stilted style.

The result?

Nobody touches your content.

There’s an easy fix for this.

Write like a human to fellow humans — and then — tweak for search engines. Focus on people, not machines. Write with oomph. Decide the voice and style you want to display as a brand and stick with it. People will gobble up your content.

Here’s a brand voice chart to help you prime the pump as you think about the personality you want to project.

Once you’ve established your brand personality, it’s easy to onboard content vendors. All your content becomes consistent across channels.

Action step: Craft a detailed leave-no-stone-unturned brand voice and style guide that captures your brand personality.

#3. You are flying blind

Gone are the days of relying on gut feeling in marketing.

Guesswork isn’t a clever nor reliable strategy.

If instinct guides you, your content will bomb.

We live in a data-driven marketing world.

Without testing and measurement, you won’t stand a chance. You will grope around in darkness and go around in circles without achieving much.

Measure the impact of your content from the top to the bottom of your funnel. Here are 8 KPIs your content marketing measurement should include:

  1. Click-through rates to see if prospects are going deeper into your funnel.
  2. Article views to determine how many people viewed your content.
  3. Conversions to see if leads became buying customers.
  4. Social shares to see if your content is spreading to new audiences.
  5. Comments to get feedback and find out if your readers are engaged.
  6. Dwell time to confirm if your content is engaging enough and is being fully consumed.
  7. Geography to understand where your content is being read.
  8. Devices to know which gadgets people used to consume content.

Through observing these metrics over time, you’ll spot trends, adjust your tactics, and improve your content performance.

Action step: Determine your content key performance indicators KPIs and identify the best analytics tools you’ll use to measure them.

#4. You are barking up the wrong tree

Sometimes you are dead sure your audience loves your content.

And yet you aren’t getting results.

Know why?

You are pushing content people love on a communication channel they hate.

So nobody’s seeing your stellar stuff. Ugh. Investing in the wrong communication channel hurts, doesn’t it?

You must verify if you are publishing on the right channel. The one your ideal audience digs.

How do they like to consume content? Is it through…

  • A blog?
  • A podcast?
  • A video?
  • Email newsletter?

Once you establish the right channel, people will hear your message.

Action step: Survey your audience to find out what their favorite marketing communication channel is and switch to it immediately or intensify your efforts there.

#5. You are giving Google the cold shoulder

Warning: if you’re into content marketing ignore Google at your own peril.

The reason is simple.

Google dominates the search engine market share.

Image via Net Marketshare

Google owns 74,8% of the search engine traffic pie.

Baidu, the second-placed search engine has a mere 11,3%.

No doubt who bosses the market is there? :)

Either you learn how to please Google or close shop because no one will discover your content no matter how amazing it is. By optimizing your content for search engines you boost your chances of driving organic traffic to your site.

A few quick tips on how to optimize your content for Google:

  • Keywords– keywords and phrases are the exact words people use to search for content related to your product or service. Use a free tool like Ubersuggest to come up with the keywords you want to target in your post. Include your keywords in your title, the first 100 words, the body of the post, and in some subheads if naturally possible. However, don’t stuff keywords into your content until it sounds artificial. Besides, keyword stuffing will also attract a Google penalty.
  • Title tag– the title tag is the big and bold headline on the search engine results page (SERP). It is the second most important on-page SEO factor after the content itself. The title tag tells people (and search engines) what the content is about. A good title tag leads with the keyword. It should be simple, clear, and compelling. Keep your tags under 60 characters so they display fully.
  • Meta description– meta description is the snippet of text of up to 160 characters long that appears under the title tag. It gives further insight into what your content is about. The meta description is an advertisement for your content. It should persuade people to click on the link and check out your content. A good meta description summarizes the message of a post memorably. Like a good ad, it should be punchy, powerful and persuasive.
  • Alt text– is the copy that appears in place of an image when the image cannot be displayed. Alt text, also known as alt descriptions/attribute is important because it helps search engines understand what a web page is about. Your alt text should include your focus keyword and match with the title tag and on-page content.

Use these basic tips to make Google fall in love with your content.

Action step: Download a detailed on-page SEO checklist like this one and use it to optimize your current key (or next) posts for search engines.

#6. You keep waving the promotion wand

If you consistently publish superb content, your audience will flock to it, right?


Content doesn’t magically spread itself.

If you wait for your content to go viral on its own, all you’ll hear on your site are crickets, not clicks.

Come up with a solid promotion and distribution strategy.

To increase content reach and brand awareness, use a three-legged approach to promote your content: owned media, paid media, and earned media.

Image via Buzzstream

Let’s unpack what each media type involves.

Owned Media– is any channel owned and controlled by your brand. It includes your website, blog, social media profiles and email list. Every time you publish content, publicize it on your channels. Your biggest customers and fans are on your owned media, your own turf. These are the best brand evangelists thrilled to spread the word about who you are and what you do.

Paid Media– is any channel you pay for. Examples include Facebook and Twitter ads, banner ads, Pay Per Click (PPC) and more. Paid media is costly. Target wisely so you drive the right traffic to your content. Paid media targets strangers who will eventually become customers. A new audience will see your content.

Earned Media– any publicity you get that doesn’t come through owned media or paid media falls under earned media. Organic shares, mentions, reviews, and reposts are examples of earned media. It’s when people rave about your brand with no effort on your part. Your content to spread like wildfire.

Here are some popular content promotion tools to consider:

  1. Sumo
  2. Optin Monster
  3. Viral Content Bee
  4. Quuu Promote
  5. Triberr
  6. Meet Edgar
  7. IFTTT
  8. Outbrain
  9. Buzzsumo
  10. Sniply

Only through an aggressive and unified promotion strategy will your precious content gain traction.

Action step: Develop a balanced and effective content promotion strategy.

#7. You are wearing too many hats

If you are a small or midsize business, it’s likely you have a small or no team to help you propel your business forward.

According to a recent report by Get Response, 65% of SMBs don’t have a marketing team. If they have one it’s small — fewer than five employees.

If you’re in the same boat, you lack bandwidth in two areas:

  • Skill-bandwidth– because you have limited human resources, it forces you to become a jack of all trades. Trying to do it all can work for a while but eventually, it’ll hurt the quality of your content.
  • Time-bandwidth– when you have too much to do time becomes scarce. Because you can only do so much in a day you leave important things undone or half-baked because of time constraints. Bland me-too content is the inevitable outcome.

To save time (and your sanity) delegate crucial content marketing chores like writing to pros and focus on selling to your customers. You’ll see a hike in your content marketing returns.

Action step: Assess your skill-set and delegate everything you are not good at or don’t have time for.

#8. You don’t get social media espionage

What if I told you there’s content that’s guaranteed to succeed?


Yes, there is.

Instead of producing content you think your audience will like, find out what they already enjoy and give it to them.

How you are asking?

By doing social media espionage. Become a social media James Bond. Go on an undercover operation to discover all your audience’s content needs secrets.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Comments– scour the comment section of popular posts on top niche sites and identify the gaps not covered by the piece.
  • FAQs– check feedback from your list and sales team and hear the burning questions people have.
  • Forums- join a niche forum where your target audience hangs out and note their frustrations, dreams and desires.
  • Quora– glean cool content ideas from people’s questions on Quora. Folk who fit your audience profile.
  • Survey– do a short survey where you ask your audience what they are struggling with or what they are dying to know.
  • Social sites– go to your audience’s favorite social media platform and listen in as they share and interact. You’ll pick golden content nuggets.

Do this right and you’ll find your content instantly resonates with your readers

Action step: Dig into your analytics and see where your audience spends most of their time and follow them there.

Reap the rich rewards of content marketing today!

Content marketing works, if and it’s a big if, you do it right.

Whether you are a B2B or B2C brand if you put in the hard yards and avoid the above booby traps you will reap handsome rewards. Your funnel will be crammed with quality leads. People that trust your word unreservedly and are eager to buy from you again and again.

That’s the ultimate dream, right?