Why Content Marketing isn’t Working for You

The Problem

Part of the problem is that you, along with many others, have the perception that doing some form of this will somehow bring you more customers or revenue:

The 2nd issue is a by-product of the first one. If this is my perception of content marketing, well that seems pretty simple, right? I’m an expert in my field, I can write content or hire writers to create it. Add in a social media manager and I should be all set…

The 2nd issue is a by-product of the first one. If this is my perception of content marketing, well that seems pretty simple, right? I’m an expert in my field, I can write content or hire writers to create it. Add in a social media manager and I should be all set…

Sounds pretty easy.  Which is exactly why it’s not working for you.

On-page vs Off-page Content

There are two types of content, on-page and off-page, and both are critical. What everyone is doing in the example above is on-page content. And while it has tremendous value, off-page content is the one that drives web traffic. So you can have the best writers, a ton of content and a great looking site, but the reality is you’re in a knife fight with one hand tied behind your back.

On-page Content

To keep it simple, on-page content is content posted directly on you domain or website. This includes blog posts, web pages, landing pages, product descriptions, keyword tags, navigation, menus, images, linking strategies and more…

Off-page Content

Unlike on-page content, off-page depends on 3rd-party web pages to improve your site or blog. Off-page optimization is where content marketing really comes into play.  This includes earned and paid distribution, guest posts, blog syndication, paid promotions and link building.

George Zlatin from DigitalThirdCoast has this nice graphic showing the value across the board

So while you’re producing on-page content with various degrees of success…here is what you’re up against:

Clearly define your digital vision

  • What is the overall objective?
  • What defines success?
  • How will it be measured?
  • Which touch-points will be used?
  • Who will manage them?

Defining the Content Roadmap

Which content types to use

  • Content style vs. audience
  • Content volume vs objectives
  • Content schedule vs resources


  • Must be high quality
  • Must be high volume
  • Must be timely (schedule)
  • 7-10 different content types
  • 4-5 different skill sets required


  • On-page publishing (your own website)
  • Repurposing for Social Media
  • Earned media distribution
  • Paid inclusion distribution
  • Repurposing high-value content
  • Distribution via Email

Social Media

  • Automatic Publishing (new content)
  • Rehashing high-value content
  • Extending your brand voice
  • Developing new mini-content
  • Engage with your audience
  • Build authority


  • on-page link building
  • off-page link building
  • social media link building
  • forum marketing


  • Data for every aspect of Digital
  • Data consolidation
  • Data analysis
  • Understanding the metrics
  • Applying the metrics


  • Managing Strategy
  • Managing Creative
  • Managing Production
  • Managing Marketing
  • Managing Data
  • Managing Budget

    Content Planning

    Mistake 1: Not determining your purpose

    What exactly do you plan to achieve through content marketing? How does that tie into your overall business objectives? Establish the purpose in your planning stage so you avoid wasting resources on content which has zero value to you and your audience.

    Mistake 2: Great content, wrong audience

    When planning your content strategy, use any data and insights you have available to pin-point exactly the type of content that’s going to hit home with your target audience. Unless it addresses the pain point or interest of your intended reader, you’re not going to have results to write home about.

    Mistake 3: Overlooking powerful content formats

    You may be great at writing blog posts, but what about videos, podcast, infographics or slideshows? There are a number of formats you could be taking advantage, each with amazing statistics behind why they work. When planning your strategy be sure to incorporate a nice blend of content formats.

    Mistake 4: Lacking research

    Have you done all your keyword research? Do you know which keywords you’re targeting and why? Do you know which ones your competitors are targeting? Have you collected sample articles within your industry that have been impactful? Researching your competition is important. Using a service like BuzzSumo will uncover the best performing content items which you can take into account when planning your strategy.

    Mistake 5: Not paying attention to data & metrics

    It’s important to surround your content goals with metrics.  What’s going to determine success for each content items and for your overall campaign? Making sure you identify that goal and have a concrete method of tracking and analyzing it is vital when it comes time to review your efforts.

    Content Production

    Mistake 1: Your content just isn’t that good

    Poor content is not going to cut it.  Not when you have 74% of companies out there expecting to increase marketing budgets for content in 2017. That’s a lot of competition.  You need GREAT content if you want the eyeballs.

    Better content leads to better results.

    Mistake 2: You’re not delivering a message with absolute authority

    If you’re going to take the time to write about something, publish it on your website and socialize it to all mankind, you must at least LOOK like you know what you’re talking about. Content coming from a subject matter expert has authority.  And that authority leads to actions, conversions, and sales.

    Mistake 3: You lack a clear objective for each piece of content you publish

    Content marketing is not something you can fix with volume.  A lot of content is great, but unless if comes with a clear objective and a method to measure it, you’re doing yourself a dis-service. Keep the end goal in mind before creating new content.  No content should be created without first determining “why” am I creating it in the first place.

    Mistake 4: Putting the focus on yourself instead of your audience

    Great content marketing is about educating your audience. Education through information you have that they may be interested in. Too many blogs out there scream advertising or brag about corporate achievements. Your content shouldn’t be solely oriented around your company or products. There’s plenty of time to introduce those later in the sales cycle. dd

    Mistake 5: Lacking consistency

    Building a consistent message is important. It builds your brand, authority and following. Gaps and inconsistency is only going to make your job more difficult. Keep a consistent message.  Create a plan, put it into action with a content schedule and stick to it!

    Content Distribution

    Mistake 1: For many of you, you lack a distribution plan

    Before the content creation process begins, have a plan designed for promotion. That plan should account for your audience, where and how to reach them, and which format and message is best suited for them.

    Mistake 2: Not investing in paid campaigns

    Yes, content marketing is great becuase it’s free, right? But I can also make the argument that if you’ve invested the time and money to create a valuable piece of content, why not try to reach as many eyeballs as possible? If my content has a clear goal, a clear target and a clear conversion strategy, at the very least I’m going to test some paid promotion. A service like Outbrain can boost your content placement instantly, just be sure to keep an eye out on your ROI.

    Mistake 3: Ignoring “Earned Distribution”

    Earned distribution (e.g., coverage in mainstream media; guest posts on others’ blogs) tends to cross over to the PR world in the eyes of many so its left out of their internal plans.  While earned distribution is the most difficult, it is also the most valuable. Make sure you have a solid plan on how to push valuable content consistently to the leading voices in your industry.

    Mistake 4: Not taking advantage of amplification channels

    You want your content to be where the traffic is, right? Make sure to incorporate syndicating out to sites like reddit, medium, List.ly and others like them. It will take some time to test and see which ones work best for you, but that exercise will narrow your focus and allow you to build a process around it.

    Mistake 5: The biggest mistake of all, ignoring Email

    You’re investing in content marketing but you don’t have a consistent email newsletter?  You’re joking right? Email remains one of the most powerful digital marketing tools one the planet. You’re already investing in the creation of content for your blog and social media.  Get that content into a newsletter and get it out to everyone you know!

    Content Measurement

    Mistake 1: No call to Action

    People want content marketing to work for them so they write content but don’t ask readers to do anything after reading it. 70% of SMBs don’t have a call-to-action…please explain to me how that will ever magically become successful? What do you want your audience to do after they read your content? Do you want them to make a purchase? Do you want them to share your post or join your newsletter?  What’s the plan?

    Mistake 2: No Method of Measuring Success

    It’s impossible to find content marketing success or failure if you don’t measure it. Measuring content effectiveness is near the top of the list of biggest challenges for B2B content marketers. 52% face challenges in measuring the ROI of their content marketing program.

    Mistake 3: Measuring too Much

    This is common and often frustrating when a marketing professional finds himself in a room with the CFO, demanding ROI’s on a content marketing campaign weeks or even months old.  Content marketing takes time. And in some cases, tracking too many measures is as almost as bad as not tracking at all. You risk making decisions based on in-complete data and never giving your content a chance in the long-run.

    Mistake 4: Getting too excited about impressions

    Overall impressions are not as reliable and important as the number of click-through’s and conversions. Measure your content success on overall financial success – are you producing leads or sales, how much is that worth…compare that to how much your content marketing expenses are.  Is it working or not?

    Mistake 5: Not using data to improve future results

    Content marketing comes with a wealth of data. Using that to determine ROI success is important. But to get to a positive ROI, it may be a process of analyzing what is working and what’s not. Dig deep and analyze your data, generate insights you can use to make your future content better. Make fewer assumptions and let the numbers guide your decisions. All the tracking in the world isn’t going to help you if you aren’t taking the steps to analyze, implement and track again…

    When properly executed, content marketing is one of the most effective methods of marketing. If you’re interested in learning how it should be applied to your business, sign up for our free Content Marketing Strategy Session.

Content Production Solutions

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