Content marketing – everyone is doing it.

From small businesses to large corporations, in both B2B and B2C markets, content is being created and pumped out daily. The problem? Going through the motions doesn’t necessarily mean you’re having success.

In fact, the Content Marketing Institute’s study revealed that 55% of B2B marketers are unclear on what effective content marketing looks like. When evaluating their own content marketing programs, 30% rated their programs as effective, and 26% as ineffective. The remaining 44% could not say whether it was effective or ineffective.

Are you unsure about your content marketing program? Here is a list of six reasons why your content marketing flops:

1. You don’t understand your audience.

Understanding your audience is a fundamental element of content marketing. If our content is going to resonate with viewers, we need to understand who they are, what they want, what challenges they have, and how they consume content.

Without a solid understanding of who you want consuming your content, it is difficult to create content that caters to them.

Remember: the purpose of content marketing is to deliver valuable and relevant content to a targeted audience. If you don’t know who they are, you can’t deliver value.

2. You are not measuring the ROI of your content.

It’s hard to measure success if you haven’t set any goals.

What do you want to achieve with content marketing? Is it to increase brand awareness, drive more website traffic, generate more leads, or convert more leads into customers?

Use key performance indicators (KPIs) to inform how your content is performing.

  • Brand Awareness: monitor the number of social shares.
  • Website Traffic: focus on the number of website visitors per month, the percentage of returning reads, and the amount time spent on content pages.
  • Lead Generation: assess your landing page conversion rate.
  • New Customers: evaluate your nurture campaigns open- and click-through rates, as well as your lead-to-customer conversion rate.

Rely on analytics throughout the process. Evaluate and compare your performance to know exactly if you are seeing an ROI on the time you’ve invested in creating and publishing content.

3. Your publishing frequency is inconsistent (or non-existent).

A successful content marketing program doesn’t require daily publishing. However, a consistent and fairly regular publishing frequency is recommended.

According to HubSpot research, companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5x more traffic than companies that published between 0-4 monthly posts.

Regularly published content keeps you top of mind and gives your audience something to look forward to. The worst thing you can do is start strong and then fall behind.

Create an editorial calendar to keep you on track. It will serve as your road map for the months and year ahead. It is also your commitment to execute on your content marketing strategy.

Not sure how to create a schedule for your content? Get started on your editorial calendar now.

4. Your headlines suck.

Your headline is the first line of content your audience reads. If it isn’t attention-grabbing or compelling, forget about people reading the rest of your copy (or even the first sentence).

Follow the “Four U’s” of headline writing. Your headline should:

  • Be useful.
  • Be unique.
  • Convey a sense of urgency.
  • Be ultra-specific.

Overall, your headline is a promise that your content is going to fulfill. Tell the reader exactly what the content is going to provide, and do it in a way that is unique, useful, and conveys urgency.

Test your headlines. Use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to score your headline’s quality and ability to result in social shares, increased traffic and SEO value.

5. You’re not adequately promoting your content.

Don’t spend more time writing content than promoting it. If no one sees your content, what was the point of spending all that time crafting the perfect post?

Give your content maximum visibility by utilizing social channels for distribution.

  • Don’t be worried about re-posting content across your social channels multiple times. More than likely, not all followers saw the content the first time.
  • Share your content in newsletters using your email list.
  • Ask your sales team to share a link to your gated content in their email signatures.
  • Reach out to employees, partners and industry influencers with content that is relevant to their interests.

6. You aren’t including a call-to-action (CTA).

Every piece of content you write needs a relevant and click-worthy CTA.

What’s the purpose of your content? Or, in other words, what do you want the reader to do at the end? If you aren’t explicit, your reader isn’t going to know what action you want them to take. So ask them.

  • Do you want to start a conversation? Ask them to comment and share their thoughts on the blog post.
  • Do you want them to fill out a form? Provide a form to fill out and explain why it is worth their while to do so.
  • Do you want them to read a related piece of content? Link them to that content.

Lead your readers where you want them to go!

There is no perfect formula for effective content marketing – otherwise, we’d all be doing it and doing it well. What’s important is to learn from our failures, as well as our successes. Take the time to document your content marketing program and set measurable goals.

You’ll quickly discover what’s working and what’s not. Take those lessons and apply them to each campaign you pursue. Start seeing your content marketing pay off.

Discover how one Mercer-MacKay client is having content marketing success

In the first 3 months of an eBook campaign MediaValet received 300+ qualified leads with over a million dollars in pipeline opportunities.