3 Reasons Content Marketing Is Killing You [and How to Fix Them]
It’s hard to succeed without content marketing, but getting there can be exhausting.
If I had a penny for every marketer who told me: “I can’t go on, this is too much,” Jeff Bezos would be asking me to help him achieve #lifestylegoals.
But here’s the thing: content marketing is still one of the best ways to kill two birds with one stone: make your prospects aware of your business, and convert them as you go along.
So today, I’m going to take a look at the most pressing content marketing challenges you might be experiencing, and show you how to overcome them.
Then, go through top results. What do they have in common? Some of the things you might see include:
- Content and topics they cover
- Content tone and style
- Content format
For example, our topic has a lot of listicles.
Once you’ve opened quite a few new tabs, it’s time to identify gaps in your competitors’ content; what topics and questions are they failing to cover?
Bonus points if you also turn to Reddit, Quora, and social media to find questions your readers have.
Put your P.I. hat on, and get to snooping!
1.2. Improve your content quality with creativity
- Use a unique tone of voice
- Use interactive content like quizzes
- Add more visuals and gifs to your content
- Reference your own or your company’s experience
Depending on your budget, you might experiment with different content types:
- Case studies
- Interactive content like integrated quizzes and infographics
But even if your budget is reaaly tight, just changing the way you talk to your audience and referencing personal anecdotes goes a long way.
1.3. Improve your content quality with outsourcing
Do this if: you don’t have time to improve your content writing skills.
If you’re not a professional content writer, you’re bound to come across an obstacle or two when creating your content. Still, your budget might be too tight to hire an in-house writer.
At the same time, you’re definitely feeling the pain of low content ROI.
You’ll get content written by professional writers with experience in your niche.
All you have to do is submit the content brief (with all the specifics such as tone of voice, target audience, topics, and so on), and you’ll get your content within a few days.
2. Content Marketing Challenge: Measuring Content ROI
The general rule of DIY is: measure twice, cut once.
This approach will take you far both when making your own furniture and when crafting your content strategy.
However, a lot of content marketers struggle with measuring content ROI. Since content affects your sales funnel in many ways, it can be hard to pinpoint the right metrics.
2.1. How to calculate your content marketing ROI
First, add up all the costs of producing your content (time, money, resources). Make sure you also include the costs of promoting and distributing your content (ads, SEO, tools).
Then, it’s time to take a deep dive into your metrics:
- Direct sales generated from content
- Indirect sales generated from content
- Lead generation and lead quality
- Website traffic
You’ll need an analytics tracking software to understand these. Google Analytics, at the very least. Make sure you also use URL tracking mechanisms to see how someone landed on your landing page.
You should also understand your customer journey.
If you can implement tracking mechanisms that show you how your customers use your website, and at which point they convert, do it right now.
Content often influences your sales in indirect ways, so it’s important to assess your lead quality:
- Do your leads understand what your product is all about?
- Do they understand the benefits of using it?
This will show you whether your content is doing what it should be: educating and convincing.
You can spot problematic areas where readers drop off, or sections they’re particularly interested in.
2.2. Wait, is my ROI okay?
Good question! As a general rule of thumb, if your ROI is positive, you don’t have to despair.
However, content marketing ROI should be pretty high. If it’s not, check out the first section of this article to improve your content quality.
If you don’t like your ROI, you can improve it by:
- Assessing your content promotion channels – Which ones are working? Which ones meet that sweet spot between being low-cost and effective?
- Assessing your content quality – Are you getting all the conversions you could be getting? What can you do to improve it?
- Establishing benchmarks – Give the future you a hand by establishing content marketing ROI benchmarks and goals.
- Assess your conversion approach – Are you directing viewers to the right landing pages and asking them to take reasonable target actions?
It’s worth noting that sometimes your conversion approach might be the problem.
Let’s say someone lands on your top-of-the-funnel content page, something like: “What is content marketing?” and then you ask them to hire you for content marketing services.
That’s not going to work.
They’re not sufficiently “warmed up.”
It’d be much better if you asked them to download a lead magnet, i.e. sign up for your mailing list so you can explain how your services play into their goals.
Make sure you’re asking the leads to take reasonable actions.
If someone lands on your services page, then by all means – ask them to jump on a call with you. But if someone is visiting your website for the first time, gently introduce them to your sales funnel.
3. Content Marketing Challenge: No One Is Reading My Content!
So you’ve created amazing content! How many cups of coffee did that take? Two, five, twenty eight and a jog?
But now that it’s time for clicks and views to pour in, all you hear are crickets.
Often, you might be biting off more than you can chew: you have a new site and you target popular keywords with high search volume.
This has twofold benefits: it’ll be easier for you to stand out in search results, and you’ll be targeting specific interests and audiences.
3.2. How are you promoting your content?
Search engines might be really powerful in driving traffic to your site, but they’re not the only content promotion channel out there.
First, visit your analytics dashboard and check the “Referrals” and “Traffic Source” sections.
Where are you getting your traffic from?
You can take it a step further by cross-comparing your sales and traffic sources to see which traffic channels drive the best acquisitions.
If none of your channels are working for you, you need to step up your game:
- Encourage word-of-mouth with referral programs and retention programs
- Implement employee advocacy
- Implement social advocacy
Your content marketing work doesn’t stop when you hit “Publish.” You should actively promote, cross-promote, and repurpose your content to get the maximum amount of conversions.
Use social media, message boards, and every other place where your target audience hangs out. Then insert your content and your company into the conversation.
3.3. Are you even writing for the right audience?
One of the most common fallacies in marketing is that you should cast a wide net so you catch as many fish as possible. But a swordfish will cut through a regular net, and a net too wide will let small fish shimmy right on out.
So when they got to work, they didn’t stop at saying: “Our target audience are tech companies.”
No, they narrowed it down.
Before, they just generally addressed their content to startup founders, small businesses, mid-market businesses, and enterprises.
(Can you spot the problem with this approach?)
However, those weren’t their ideal, best customers. If you spotted the problem, it’s the fact that by writing for everyone, they weren’t writing for anyone in particular.
Very few audience members could relate to these generalized problems. The pain points were not painful enough.
So they dug deeper and realized that their best customers, the customers they would be addressing content to from now on, were technology execs within enterprises.
So if your content isn’t performing, try taking an in-depth look at your audience.
Narrow it all down.
Understand who your customers are, what their specific problems are, and how you can help them.
And then, when you put your pen to paper, keep the clear image of a single person in mind.
3.4. Hire a helping hand
Finally, sometimes you just need a helping hand from someone who’s gotten used to writing for specific audiences, in a specific way.
You need someone to help you communicate your value and knowledge to the people who need it.