3 Reasons Why Your Content Marketing Campaign is Failing

In the midst of the current content deluge, an ongoing conversation circles around what makes a campaign successful. Innumerable blog posts talk about the many facets of content, but there’s little discussion about the foundational reasons for the abysmal failure of certain marketing campaigns. The common rebuttal to such a failure is the concept of “quality”- that if the content is good enough it will be shared organically and speak for itself.

3-reasons-content-marketing-campaign-failingThe problem with this idea is the aforementioned data deluge. Over 347 new posts get published in WordPress and over 100,000 tweets are share every minute. This fact, partnered with the ongoing discussion about how to make substantive content, shows that more people are interested in adding to the discussion rather than actually finding the answer. Below are three reasons why a campaign may be failing. There are more, but for the sake of not adding more pulp to a conceptual conversation where nothing gets done, I’ll be brief.

You Market to No One

Create art. Conceptualize greatness. Tell a story. All true. The problem for those that employ such concepts as a primary motivation lose sight of the fact that these should be part of a larger plan. Many believe that the creative mind is akin to the bird that flies into the horizon of the abstract, looking broadly over the horizon of idea in order to find that one, beautiful place to land.

So many times in content marketing a conceptual conversation happens, bound by the interests of the marketer or writer, that is based on what is thought to be popular. When it fails, another post is written about why and the conversation continues. The question we need to ask at the onset of any content marketing campaign is, “Who is the customer?” Without this question, the campaign will be undirected and the proverbial “free bird” will be just another speck in the sky with no beautiful place to land.

Solution: Create buyer personas…and USE them. Marketers often create a persona based on analysis of a certain group (usually segmented by age) and turn such analysis into a figure that represents real people. These summarize the buying behaviors of customers and should provide a guiding light for any marketing campaign (especially content). The problem is this: in the midst of characterizing the persona (what dog they own, what jeans they wear, etc.) the real purpose falls to the wayside, and is never used. When everyone is targeted, no one is targeted. The role of conceptualization should naturally give way to execution…so, execute. Write for your customer and use the brand to solve their problem.

You Do Not Promote

After the content is created for the buyer, it goes nowhere. How is the buyer supposed to read content that is made for them if it is never promoted to them? In his article, Content is King but Distribution is Queen and She Wears the Pants, Chad Pollitt explains why only 36 percent of marketers in 2013 felt their content was effective. Content that is created with the buyer in mind is again, only one part of the overall equation. Content that is not promoted to the right audience is useless and forgotten, like tears in rain.

Solution: In your analysis, learn the browsing habits of the buyer and meet them where they’re already hanging out. Promote with the customer (persona) in mind. Place the content where the buyers already congregates.

You Believe in the Silver Bullet

A prevalent theme in most of my posts is that the belief in one silver solution for reaching the customer is ridiculous. Reaching the customer is about the content and the quality and the promotion. Content that is created with the persona in mind is only as effective as its promotion. One truth that should be continually verified in your research is the idea that people are multi-faceted. Social media, blogs, and all the other forms of content are evidence that people consume many kinds of content many different ways.

Solution: Pay attention to your research. Content should be created to serve the persona. It should then be promoted to that persona. Expand your strategy past this simple strategy, and create one within the context of your campaign. Never lose sight of the buyer in the process.

This is still an evolving industry. It changes all the time. There is a role for creative conceptualization, but it should only happen with the customer in mind. Creating content that serves the customer, uses the brand to solve their problem, and causes a change is the key in developing recall and appealing to real people. Such an objective should be a cornerstone of any content marketing campaign and an integral part to its success.

Image Source: Hans Gerwitz

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