We’ve all been there – you produce and post some content, but you still fail to see any measurable effects on your metrics. Chances are, it was because you weren’t working to a meaningful strategy; a problem because all content needs to be grounded in strategy.
Without it, your activity will be random, unfocused and ultimately ineffective – 2014 stats from the Content Marketing Institute showed that among B2B marketers, 66% of successful marketers had a documented strategy, while just 11% of unsuccessful marketers did.
So, you create a strategy. You do your research, try to get to know your customers and channels, and get writing, designing, coding, filming – whatever creative flights take your fancy. A few weeks pass, you check the results, and… yeah, it flopped anyway.
Here’s why that might be.
Your content strategy is too project-focused
Potential problem #1 is that you’re not actually writing to a strategy. Instead, you’re creating lots of project-focused content that’s gleaned from one-on-one requests – whether that’s within your organisation or from a client.
Your ‘strategy’ probably accounts for this – something like “topical thought leadership articles sourced from internal tastemakers” – but if the topics you’re writing about aren’t being informed by anything other than the fact that people have a hunch their topics might be interesting, you shouldn’t be surprised if the content falls flat on its face.
You’re producing for the wrong audience
The first thing you should do when creating a content strategy is understand your audience. By understanding who they are, what they’re looking for and what they find interesting, you can fulfil their needs and make sure they keep coming back for more. How, I hear you clamour?
- Use analytics tools to better understand your audience.
- Check out a wide range of competitors and see what they’re creating, and what’s going down a storm.
- Conduct customer research and produce personas.
- Understand your various customer journeys.
You’re on the wrong channels
A 1000-word blog post will never make a good Facebook advert (but will be great for blog-based cluster content). Light-hearted, company lyf posts aren’t well-suited to LinkedIn (but are a nice fit for your Instagram feed). People don’t want to receive emailers about your new blog (but are more likely to swoon if you send them a slick, helpful white paper).
Content won’t succeed if it’s not posted or promoted on the right channels, and your content strategy needs to account for this. You should already have an understanding of which will work from your audience and competitor research, but if not, the answer is usually pretty straightforward – dwell on what the tone and content of the piece will be and how it will look on different channels, and continually put yourself in the shoes of your reader: what sort of experience do they want?
You’re creating the wrong type of content
What do you want from your content? Do you want it to drive traffic to your site? Promote social engagement? Educate your customers so they trust and value you more? Sell your products by unabashedly promoting their benefits? There’s regularly some overlap, sure, but certain types of content are made to achieve specific goals.
Take using keyword-orientated landing pages and blogs to improve a site’s performance on search engine results pages.
This activity usually won’t work for small businesses with poor link profiles and tiny domain authorities (unless they’re going for low-competition terms and topics).
But by instead creating original, interesting link building content – say, formed on surveys and featuring plenty of data and storytelling – as long as this is properly promoted via outreach, you can be quite sure you’ll improve SERP performance, as well as improving brand recognition and a whole host of other metrics.
You’re not being confident (or different) enough
Producing humdrum content can still afford results when your competitors’ is poor or simply doesn’t exist. But by doing so, you’re just increasing the chances someone else’s work will overtake yours, and if you’re going up against awesome, authoritative content, your results won’t materialise.
Instead, be confident in doing things differently. A sales-focused ad will never succeed in building your site’s link profile, but don’t be afraid to add a crazy idea to your content strategy every now and again that utilises a platform innovatively or is based on a fresh idea. With so much content out there, it can be a great way to distinguish yourself.
Your content simply needs improving
At the end of the day, your content might just not be very good. It might not feature the right keywords to catch the attention of crawlers and algorithms. The user experience might be god-awful, with huge tracts of text, few subheaders and no bullet points or lists. Maybe there’s no design to liven things up, or perhaps the underlying code is simply broken. The main idea might even be bad – it might have been done to death or simply not make much sense.
The solution to this? Know your stuff, make sure you check through your work plenty of times and get lots of input from others to ensure the project is properly sense-checked.
Or, just get in touch. Fox Agency’s digital team are seasoned content connoisseurs – contact us and we’ll see how we can craft you a powerful content strategy.