July 13, 2017
Content marketing in general, and blogging, in particular, has now become one of the top digital marketing techniques used by both businesses and marketers.
Fifty-three percent of marketers have made blogging their top inbound marketing priority. B2B companies with a regular blog generate 67 percent more sales leads. Seventy percent of consumers prefer learning about companies from articles, rather through adverts. Put simply, the consensus is quite clear: blogging works. If your content isn’t performing though, the question is – where are you going wrong?
In this blog post, I’m going to share the top five most common reasons why your content marketing isn’t performing.
First things first: do you know what you should be measuring?
1. You’re not creating a blogging strategy
Many marketers/businesses are neglecting to create a strategy for their blogging; in fact, studies have shown that 63 percent of B2B marketers and 60 percent of B2C marketers do not have a documented content marketing strategy.
Why do you even need a strategy? For a multitude of reasons. For one, every marketing technique you use should have a strategy – if you’re going to invest in content marketing, it will help control your spending, it will help put into perspective the work that needs to be done and, ultimately, it will help you improve your content marketing.
When you set clear goals and measure them, you can gain a better understanding of the type of content that performs best, which content doesn’t work, which strategies are most effective and so on.
So, before starting to write any more content, try to create a content marketing strategy. Start by establishing your goals, such as improving website traffic, gaining more subscribers for your e-mail list or improving your conversion rate, for example.
Once you know what your goals are, you can create a strategy that supports these goals; furthermore, you’ll be able to plan the type of content that will help you reach your goals.
When it comes to blogging, create an editorial calendar where you plan all of your blogging schedule in advance – at least a couple of weeks before.
2. You’re not setting a clear keyword strategy for each of your blog posts
Are you writing your blog content around specific keywords? Many marketers/businesses start by writing the content first, but this can be a big mistake that could affect your search engine traffic. Instead, you should first establish what keywords you want to target and then write your content around them.
Plus, the benefit of working this way is that it will be that much easier to come up with article ideas for your blog, since you’ll have a list of keywords ready.
The first step is to try to think like your target audience; what would they search for? What keywords would they use? What interests them? What is their intent?
Once you know the answers to these questions, you can start researching keywords and long-tail keywords. You can use Google’s Keyword Planner to search for keywords for free, see search volumes for each and get ideas for related keywords.
Next, once your list is ready, it’s time to fill up your editorial calendar with content ideas. Each post should center around a specific long-tail keyword, which means using it in your headline (preferably as the first few words of your headline), as well as using it in sub-headlines and a few times throughout your article.
3. You’re not measuring your results – and learning from your mistakes
How can measuring your results help you improve your content marketing? It’s quite simple, really: it helps you understand how different types of content are performing, what types of content you need to create in order to reach your goals, what type of content your audience prefers and so on.
It can be of massive help with your future content, so it’s best to measure your content marketing ROI regularly.
Depending on what your goals are, you will need to measure different metrics – but some of the most common metrics to measure are:
• Traffic: Use Google Analytics to determine which pieces of content have received the most traffic. Then, look beyond overall traffic numbers to really understand the quality of that traffic: how long are the visitors staying on the page or on your website? What is the bounce rate like? What percentage of visitors took some sort of action? How many pages on your website did they see in one session?
• Lead generation: How is your content affecting your lead generation? Which content downloads generated the most leads? You can find out this information by setting goals in Google Analytics and by checking your lead generation tools’ analytics.
• Social media success: How is your content performing on social media? Which of your blog posts generated the most social media shares and engagement? How many clicks are your links for content getting?
Once you start measuring your content marketing success, try to use the knowledge in your future content marketing strategies. For example, find out which pieces of content generated the most leads, the most traffic and so on, and it will help give you a much better idea of the type of content your audience wants from you so that you can create better-suited content in the future.
4. You’re not making full use of the power of social media marketing
Long gone are the days when social media was considered a fad – now, it’s one of the top sources of referral traffic. It’s an amazing platform for content amplification, for increased reach, for more engagement and traffic and so on. But, are you doing the bare minimum, or are you making full use of the power of social media marketing?
For starters, you should always promote your content on your social profiles — as soon as it’s published and then continue promoting regularly over time, so long as the piece of content is still relevant. Many stop here with social media — but there is so much more that can be done to promote your content and boost its results.
For example, are you making use of your social media brand ambassadors, or of influencers? You can use a social media tool like Agorapulse to check whether you have any brand ambassadors or social influencers following you. Once you’ve identified them, start engaging and building up your connection – this will lead to more shares and retweets from them, which will increase your reach, your clicks, and your traffic.
You can also search for more influencers to connect with using tools like Buzzsumo or Ninja Outreach. Once you find them, start engaging – share their content, leave comments on their blog, ask them questions, answer their questions and so on.
Other useful tools for promoting your content on social media and getting more shares and traffic are blogging communities, like Triberr and Viral Content Bee. All you have to do is share other people’s content, submit your own and wait for the shares to pile up.
5. You’re not diversifying your content enough
Another common problem is when there is not enough diversity among your content offering; it’s the same type of content, over and over again – and it might be your readers/viewers/visitors are getting bored.
But that’s not the only reason why you should diversify your content – some types of content simply tend to attract more traffic, more clicks, more engagement. For example:
• Create videos: Video is one of the biggest buzzwords this year (you’re probably tired already of hearing about it!) but it’s with good reason – it works. People watch a lot of videos; in fact, for this year, online video is expected to account for 74 percent of all online traffic. Not to mention, it also tends to have a higher conversion rate – up to 80 percent if you add it to your landing page, for example.
• Create images – Images are very popular on social media in particular and tend to attract more engagement. You can use a tool like Canva to create your own images and add your URL and logo.
• Interactive content – Quizzes, interactive maps, contests, interactive infographics and so on are very popular, as they allow audiences to get involved. In a nutshell, they’re fun and they make people want to click on that share button.
• Different types of blog posts: Are you only writing one type of post on your blog? It’s best to diversify the types of posts you share and offer a selection of: how-to guides, short-form posts of less than 1,000 words, infographics, videos, interactive content, tutorials, reviews and so on.
Content marketing is a very complex technique and it requires a lot of work and attention, so you’re bound to make some mistakes along the way. The important thing here is to acknowledge these mistakes, and to learn from them so that you can apply this knowledge to future content marketing campaigns.
What are your biggest struggles with content marketing?
Highly regarded on the world speaker circuit, Lilach Bullock has graced Forbes and No. 10 Downing Street. She is listed in Forbes as one of top 20 women social media power influencers and was crowned Social Influencer of Europe by Oracle.