Ten Reasons Why Your Content Strategy Fails

TopTen This is another post that is back by popular demand, with several changes and additions. In the last two years, content marketing has matured, and many more voices have joined the conversation.

There are a content marketing institute, an Alltop category, and now a content strategy conference, Confab2011. Why is everyone all of a sudden talking and writing about content?

First the definitioncontent marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience — with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

Many more interactions with products and services take place online today. Individual and social search are both becoming an important way of finding and filtering relevant information.

When you create content, you need to keep in mind what attracts customers and prospects, and their friends. Educating, informing, and creating with them are all ways to engage people in a conversation with you. 

It should therefore not be surprising that the Top Ten reasons why your content marketing strategy fails are:

(1.) You don't have one — you think fulfillment just means you stick all you've got on that landing page, mini site, or newsletter, and pray something will stick. 

(2.) You don't understand the difference between interruption and content marketing — you think that because you have something to sell, you can push it out there and get people to but it because you say so.

(3.) Your content does not provide value — the worst offenders will ask for information on customers and prospects to give them something that doesn't really tell them anything new, just to get people's email address.

(4.) Your in-house experts think it's marketing's job to write it — while we agree that marketing professionals need to be in the content business, it's a very bad idea to assume that they need to be proficient in every kind of conversation, even those where they'd be clearly not the experts.

(5.) You think that changing the title to last month's paper will work — this is akin to starting a brand new relationship on the wrong foot. Will your customers believe you next time, after experiencing this kind of stunt?

(6.) You invite people in for one topic, then you give them something else entirely — another dangerous assumption is that people don't pay attention. They won't if this is the kind of treatment you reserve for them. It's like starting a conversation with a great opening, and then putting absolutely no substance behind it.

(7.) Your call to action is not clear, or you have multiple ones — the main reason why you don't want to do this, of course, is that you won't know what works among the many messages you put out there. When you're focused, things have a way of working out much better for all involved.

(8.) You want too much, too soon — there's no relationship and you're already asking your customers and prospects to give you something substantial.

(9.) You don't get the anticipated and relevant part of it — you think integrated and all matching means you're not interrupting. You missed the the opportunity to write custom content specifically to address the needs of the audience you are hoping to engage.

(10.) Your content is all about you, not your customer — the surest way to bore someone or to become irrelevant quickly is by not being relevant to them.

Your goal is to reach the people who will buy your products and services. Whether your content marketing strategy is fulfilled through marketing or public relations activities, you should think about providing value and worry less about measuring clicks and hits.

Will your customers and prospects find you on the Web when they're looking for what you provide? Will your articles, bylines, white papers, eBooks, blog posts convey that you understand the issues — from their pain points — like no one else in the market?

Does your newsletter provide timely, relevant tips, commentary, and information that reveal industry or industry vertical knowledge? Do analysts and third parties pick up your thought leadership in their articles and amplify what you know?

If the answer is no, those are still great places for you to start.


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