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December 5, 2014

How to Tell if Your Content Marketing is an Epic Failure

Everyone has jumped on the content marketing wagon. Whether it was a marketing forte or not, most businesses have now realized that content marketing is an essential component to healthy outreach.

Why? Two reasons, though they are intimately intertwined:

1) People love content. Not just any content; pieces that educate, amuse, enlighten, and excite. Notice that companies that clutter the web with the same old same old aren’t front runners. Those that continue to redefine the genre are.

2) Google loves content.
But of course, Google loves it because people love it, and Google loves people. That’s basic math.

While it took Google some years to create search algorithms sophisticated enough to weed out the good and the bad, the eagle has landed.

But how do you appropriately measure success with the somewhat intangible world of content?

You’ll never really know without a strategy. A content marketing strategy is the single most important factor in the campaign; even more so than the content itself.

Why? Let us count the ways.

Proof that Strategy is the Key to Content Marketing Success

Consider it this way: Does it make sense that you can write content about any topic at any time for any social network or website, share at will, and people will magically appear? Of course it doesn’t. And as much as the word “strategy” strikes fear in the right-brained creative’s mind, it’s truly a marketer’s best friend.

If you don’t have a strategy for all the fabulous content you create, here is your reality:

  • Your demographic will be confused and disloyal, with no solid reason to seek out your content
  • Content has zero perceived value
  • Your time and resources spent to create each piece is essentially wasted
  • The Internet becomes an even more cluttered and noisy space
  • Your brand’s image gets muddled, or worse

How to Tell if Your Content Marketing Has no “There There”

So are you lost in a sea of content with no road map to success? Here’s how to tell: Answer the following questions honestly and you’ll become clear on how strategic your efforts have been thus

1) Are your topics cohesive?

Content that is all over the place with regards to categories and focus indicates zero consideration to consistency. Without a clear voice and a common theme (or themes), your audience won’t have a clue what you, and your business, is really about. And you’ll fail to provide consistent value, or amass an audience that wants to keep coming back for more.

2) Do you know who you’re creating content for?

Knowing your audience is so important I just can’t emphasize it enough. And by knowing, I mean really knowing; not guessing. Do customer surveys. Ask your customers questions about who they are. Analyze demographics. Go deep with this; the more you know about who they are, the more you know about what they want. And your content can target this precisely, making for a glorious win-win.

3) How consistent are you releasing your content?

A haphazard content publishing plan is also a major no-no. Create an editorial schedule that has some cohesion and stick to it religiously. Update your blogs the same time each day / week / month. Keep websites fresh and current; the same is true for social media channels.

4) Have you mastered a distinctive voice for your brand?

Brand identity is also core to your marketing efforts. If you publish social media blasts in one voice, blogs in another, and external marketing pieces in yet another voice, you’re back to confusing your target customers. Know who you are as a brand, what you stand for, and how to convey that throughout each medium.

5) Do you have a rock-solid distribution plan?

Be honest now; have you really plotted out how you’re going to release all that great content? You obviously know it takes more than just a single brilliant blog to woo the masses; create a road map of what content you’ll need, when it will be released, and where you will showcase each piece, and you are literally light years ahead of most of your competition. This is absolutely the recipe for your content success.

See, this isn’t too scary no, is it? All it takes is a little planning and creativity; a nice balance of logic and artistic flair. In other words, you need to put as much thought and effort into your content plan as you do the content itself. We live in a world where most content marketing is reactionary. One-off content pieces splash into the scene every day; sometimes they reach a chosen audience, but even if they garner some eyeballs, without follow-up it’s an utter waste. Don’t let your next viral eBook fall into an abyss of poor planning and execution.

What other content marketing strategies do you employ for success?

How do you measure the results?


Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

18 Responses to “How to Tell if Your Content Marketing is an Epic Failure

    avatar Greg says:

    People love content good and fresh

    avatar Ch Zain says:

    Awesome AWesome aWesome

    avatar Aventura12 says:

    Yes your are right Tina. Every body loves useful or easy understandable content. Google also loves unique and fresh content. So we have to use always unique and fresh content. SO that people will love your content.
    Thanks for sharing great article.

    avatar Vikas Sharan says:

    Hi Tina,
    I agree with most of the points that you have mentioned here. In particular, point.2 “Do you know who you’re creating content for?” and point.5 “Do you have a rock-solid distribution plan?” are most important since these two are the areas where most content marketing strategies fail.

    avatar Rod Collins says:

    They say content is king and I agree with that to some extent of the article, however there are still way to many sites that rank very well without good quality or engaging content, I personally believe any website with a mix of content to feed the search engines along with some decent quality content can rank pretty well, as far as fresh content it all depends I have some sites that I update once a month while others require more frequent updates to maintain their rankings.

    You may be right Rod, but Google is on a mission to weed out the low quality sites and only reward those doing it the “right” way. While there’s still an imbalance, expect this to continue to shift in the coming months.

    Most of Search Engine also loves fresh contents and clearly explanation too.. It will help our promotion in online area. I like ur article, it also open my mind for content marketing point of view.

    avatar Lindsey says:

    I get the whole content thing. What’s hard for me is always trying to come up with something fresh and new.
    I also need to stay consistent like you mentioned, even if it’s just a once a week article.
    Thanks for sharing!

    avatar meghana says:

    Search engines + Users both need new content. if you need your customers and user coming back refresh your content, which will also bring the search bots to your site. both are interlinked.
    Thankyou for sharing the in depths of content marketing

    Thanks for these valuable tips, I don’t do most of them but will try to apply them in the future.
    Thanks again for sharing.

    Thanks for the insight. Yes content needs to have a sense of order on a site.

    avatar E-Fumadores says:

    Thanks for rhe article. As a newcomer in the internet business it’s hard to stay focused. The time it takes to set up content and the endless waiting for response and on top of that the loads of BS you are walking into make it easy to lose track. An article like this keeps me on track.


    avatar Tino Berita says:

    Thanks for sharing this informations

    Cool Article. Very Helpful I Recommended your Blog as a Blogger. Wish you will share more effective article for us. Thanks.

    Thanks for sharing this informations

    avatar Ritesh Reet says:

    That’s right, write content for the peoples not for the spiders, if your content is liked by the peoples chances are high that they will share it others as well.

    Great Piece of article.

    avatar Ch Zain says:

    Keep it up …. (Y)

    Great share. Content is important from a few angles we find. 1) Pin a company as a thought-leader. 2) Build for SEO, quantity and persistence of fresh content is as important as quality. 3) Training for our staff, forces them to read and get knowledge on a new topic and share with staff. Thanks for sharing this again, enjoyed the read.


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