What to Do When Your Content Marketing Falls Flat

“Create awesome online content.”

“WOW your users.”

“Provide value to customers before asking them to buy.”

“Tell your story through the content you produce.”

“Customers will find your content online when searching.”

We’ve all heard it — and it all sounds so exciting.

It seems like it’s being shouted from the rooftops, we often hear “Brands today need to act like publishers” — And we eat it up.

The harsh reality is this: Even for big brands, producing quality content with consistency is a seemingly near-impossible task.

So when someone tells you to “create more content,” what you might be hearing is “You should continue to throw away resources that could be better spent elsewhere,”. At least, for most of us, that is.

And the worst part of all this is that brands will see their failure at content marketing not as a problem of execution, but of content marketing itself.

Why is this our reality?

You’re a company who publishes content, not a publishing company

Let’s look at an example. The Washington Post now spits out about 1,200 posts every day. And its working– they’ve grown their monthly readers by almost 30%. They’re a living, breathing, content production machine with that singular purpose.

In stark contrast, most brands that throw money at content marketing use junior writers, content mills that write low-quality posts for a few bucks, or an outsourced writer that’s totally separate from their business.

It’s very unlikely that trying to put out a huge number of posts like Wash Post does would provide you with any return — your business simply isn’t built for it.

Consider this: Find the tempo at which your company can produce valuable & unique content. The way to win at this is to produce content that considered by many as best of the best in its class/niche.
 
Quality and quantity usually move in opposing directions

Most brands have ultra-thin content production teams, meaning that more production almost always mean less quality. An additional side-effect to this is that a rise in quantity also means a rise in overall spend to hire new team members to fill this demand.

The standard expectation brands have, is that if costs rise, so do their rankings and traffic — which is unfortunately not the case. And when spend doesn’t increase profits, the budget is slashed… often completely.

Consider this: Draw up a goal for your content that shares your brand goals, then let marketing team get the posting schedule down. You might find (as we have) higher quality along with more meat work best.

While on your content creation journey, you should always be putting yourself in your reader’s shoes. That will naturally allow you to answer these questions:

  • Who needs to hear this information the most?
  • What needs and I fulfilling with this post?
  • Why can my brand help to solve those needs?
  • What’s the best medium to communicate this message?
  • When can this best be shared and where should it be shared?

Remember: Your content should be as long as your audience wants it to be, i.e. you’ve got to find out what they need.

Consider this: It’s okay to stop thinking you’re a media company. It’s also okay to increase the frequency of your content production, but that strategy must align with your brand’s goals, not vice-versa.

If you think we missed something on why branded content production fails let us know here on our Facebook page.


Originally published at www.digitalsuccess.us on October 19, 2016.