Everyone in B2B marketing says content marketing is important. Everyone is increasing content marketing’s share of the budget. And yet most B2B marketers don’t feel like their content marketing is effective. (Stats available from CMI’s benchmark report).
The outlook seems grim. Marketers are pouring more and more into something they aren’t confident in. These aren’t just small test budgets, content represents a big portion of overall marketing budgets as well. Yet confidence in the effectiveness of their content programs remains low.
So why do programs fail? Time and time again, B2B marketers keep making the same mistakes. Here are the top three reasons, based on my observations and conversations with other marketers, why content marketing initiatives fail.
1. You Quit
When you launch a content marketing initiative, you are launching your own ongoing media venture. You need to meet an information or entertainment desire of your audience and you have to become recognized for it.
Creating the content, and even promoting it, isn’t enough. It takes time for enough people to change their patterns, to recognize your name, to add it to their very short list of must read or watch sources.
You need to be prepared to give your content marketing program time to mature. It is a long-term commitment.
2. Your Content Sucks
Your content doesn’t just need to be valuable to your audience, it needs to be more valuable than all of the other similar content competing for their attention! If it doesn’t meet this bar, it sucks.
But that’s not even half your challenge. The web is flooded by new content every day. With new, improved content competing for your audience’s attention, the bar is raised every single day. Sorry.
It is useful to understand how successful publishers are adapting. In many instances, their practices represent the future for media companies and the marketers who aspire to be media companies. These two articles from Nieman Journalism Lab were particularly eye-opening for me.
- What does the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel know that your newsroom doesn’t?
- The newsonomics of “Little Data,” data scientists, and conversion specialists
Related: Why Your B2B Marketing Content Sucks
You Didn’t Focus on Audience Development
Even the best content isn’t automatically discovered and appreciated on its own, but you act like if you publish it, blast it and Tweet it, then Poof! Your audience will magically appear and instantly become rabid fans of all your content.
More likely, it will take far longer than you are willing to wait. Consider J. S. Bach. Quoting from Wikipedia “he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century.” That’s right, one of the greatest classical composers wasn’t widely recognized for his work until more than 50 years after his death.
It takes time and effort to have your content discovered and to develop an audience. If you skip this step, your content initiative will slowly devolve into a supporting element for your outbound marketing efforts. Sadly, this is the real role content plays today for many B2B marketers.
What are the top reasons you see content marketing programs fail or what are your solutions to these problems? Add your perspective in the comments below or share it with me on Twitter (@wittlake)!
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