The way I see it, content marketers are too hard on themselves. When communication isn’t working, they can be quick to blame their own work—but in reality, it might not be their fault at all. Does this describe you? Do you ever feel like people are tuning out your message and wonder what you’ve done wrong? Take heart, because here’s the truth: many times, communication breakdowns happen because of circumstances and situations totally beyond our control.

So rather than feeling defeated, feel hopeful—because recognizing the reality of what’s happening could be the first step in overcoming it.

Take a look at some of the leading reasons why people may be tuning out your message, all of which have nothing to do with your writing! Could these factors be affecting you?

Wrong Audience

Just like showing an ad for mobile credit and debit card processing wouldn’t make sense for an audience of elementary school kids, so too your content marketing could be falling on the wrong ears. Rather than blaming your content, look at who’s interacting with it—are they your target audience? Would they have any interest in your product to begin with? If not, your work is bound to yield spotty responses. To achieve the best results from your content marketing, target it to the demographic you’re looking to reach.

Content Overload

When I work with a client on content about GPS tracking vehicles, we both have to recognize that our message will be sent out in a sea filled with other voices. Between today’s popup ads and television commercials and magazines with more full-page glossy ads than written content, there’s no denying it: our society is noisy. And for many consumers, the effect of this noise has made them wary of all messages, whether about a local restaurant or a way to track their trucks better. That means before someone even considers our content marketing, there’s a battle going on that has nothing to do with you and more to do with the need of customers to be won over into hearing.

Public Skepticism

With such a deluge of marketing and advertising assaulting people every day, it’s no wonder the world has grown skeptical—skeptical of company claims, skeptical of brand promises, skeptical of anything that seems like it’s ‘marketing.’ This means content marketers have double the job to do, not only in selling a product or brand but also in overcoming common prejudices. For this reason, many companies are revolutionizing content marketing campaigns by thinking outside the box with other content sources: new media, amateur media and more—and for you, that could be a better approach than assuming your content itself is to blame.

Constant Multitasking

Today’s reader is rarely looking at your content in isolation. She’s simultaneously on her phone and checking email and talking to the person sitting next to her—and when your content only gets this kind of secondary attention, it’s much easier for it to be missed. Skimming your site, a potential client might get caught up with something he’s hearing in the office or at his home and unconsciously tune out the very words he’s looking at. This isn’t your fault; it’s just the way our society works.

So what do you think? Could these external factors be affecting your content responses more than your content itself? And if so, how would that change the way you approach your marketing plan?