As marketers, we spend an incredible amount of time, effort, energy and resources creating content and lead-generation campaigns. But sometimes, our efforts fall short of delivering the brand awareness, leads and conversions we need. But why?
If your content marketing program isn’t working or you’re struggling to experience the results and leads you anticipated, here are a few elements that may be slowing your lead-generation machine down.
You Don’t Have a Content Strategy
The foundation of every successful content marketing program lies in one essential element: the content marketing strategy. Your content marketing strategy should focus on the planning, creation, delivery and governance of the content you create. In addition, it helps you to evaluate the content that already exists, what content should be created and, most important, why you should create it.
Though having a documented strategy in place has been proven to boost overall success, as well as a content marketing team’s efficiency and productivity, according to a recent study from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, only 37% of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy. The most common reasons for not having a documented content marketing strategy in place include not receiving buy-in from key executives, along with a lack of cohesion and coordination among departments.
If your organization is one of the 63% that doesn’t currently have a documented content marketing strategy and you’re unsure where to begin, we suggest starting with a content strategy statement for each one of your audiences and personas. As a roadmap for the who, what, when, where, why and how for all of your company’s content, content strategy statements are flexible and meant to evolve with your organization, providing insight on where you’re content marketing program is going and how you plan to get there.
Your Content Isn’t Right for Your Audience or Where They’re At in the Buyer’s Journey
Fully understanding your audience and the journey they take when making purchase decisions is critical to creating content that not only meets their specific needs but generates new leads and conversions for your business.
In order to create content that is relevant to your audience, consider the following questions:
- Does this content address key problems or pain points your customers experience?
- Will this content assist your customers in achieving their goals?
- Is this content available where your customers go to find answers or solutions to their problems online?
- Is your content presented in a format that your customers engage with frequently?
- Does your content meet the needs of your customer’s role within their organization or household?
- Does your content assist your customers through their purchase decision making process?
If you’re not sure who your audience is, if your content isn’t meeting your customers’ needs or where they go for information, it’s time to back up and get to know your audience.
Your Content Lacks Value
Unfortunately, many content marketing teams create content that is uninteresting, self-serving, overtly sales-y and simply doesn’t meet the needs of their customers. When it comes to a successful content marketing program, the customer is the hero, not the organization.
The best way to ensure that you’re making your customer the hero is to provide your customers and prospects with high-value content that communicates your understanding of them, answers their specific questions, walks them through the buyer’s journey (from their point of view) and guides them to making the right decision (which hopefully means that they choose you). By creating content that delivers value, you’re doing more than creating brand awareness, you’re building a relationship.
All of Your Content Is Gated
While withholding some of your most valuable pieces of content is a great way to generate leads, if every piece of content your organization generates requires a visitor to fill out a form, you’re likely driving prospects away entirely.
According to HubSpot, infographics and blog posts are best left ungated, giving visitors to your website the opportunity to learn about and engage with your brand. However, how to guides, ebooks, white papers and webinars – high-value content that answers an important industry question, provides insight into a major topic, or gives viewers a solution to a problem – are perfect and appropriate for you to gate.
If you’re looking to drive leads with high-value content, one of our trusted strategies includes allowing viewers to access a piece or snipped of the content and then gating the rest as a means to drive interest and form fills.
You’re Not Promoting Your Content
Finding success with your content marketing program includes planning and budget not only for content creation, but promoting your content as well. According to a 2018 survey from Content Marketing Institute, the average top-performing B2C company allocated 38% of their overall marketing budget to content promotion, and top-performing B2B companies allocated an average of 40%. Conversely, the least-successful B2B companies spent only 14% of their budgets on promotion.
The key to successful content promotion is to accurately identify your target audiences and leverage tools to target them. For example, social media platforms allow you to create and serve “sponsored” or “promoted” posts within news feeds to specific audiences that you select. All the more reason to know exactly where your ideal customers go online to find the answers and information they need.
Your Content Doesn’t Align With Your Brand
If the content you are creating doesn’t serve the larger purpose of strengthening and furthering your brand, you run the risk of not only diluting but damaging your brand overall.
To prevent this, make sure that your content aligns to your core brand identity. That it supports who you are as an organization, what you’re about, and what you believe. Since people want to support brands that share their values, your content marketing program helps you to communicate these values – directly and indirectly – so it’s important to use this power wisely.
We understand that taking time to evaluate and optimize your content marketing program involves time, energy and resources, but the leads and increased revenue your business stands to earn as a result of your efforts are almost always worth it.
If you’re wondering where to begin to evaluate your current content marketing program or you’re not sure which KPIs are most important to demonstrate your program’s ROI, we can help.