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The myth of earned media: 5 reasons why content marketing fails

by | Sep 27, 2022 | Public Relations

Content marketing is a critical tool in your marketing arsenal. And the numbers don’t lie.

The 2022 State of Content Marketing report shows that 97 percent of businesses already incorporate content marketing into their marketing strategy.

Therefore, the internet is filled with a black hole of content. More than we can ever hope to consume in a lifetime. But not all content is created equal. How do you stand out from the masses?

In this post, we break down the top reasons content marketing fails and how to avoid them.

Let’s dive in.

Elements of good content marketing

Content marketing is one of the best ways to connect with customers, establish credibility and authority, and build relationships with potential clients.

More than ever, people are looking for information online, and businesses are searching for ways to reach them in the right way at the right time.

Good content marketing adheres to these factors:

  • Target market: Your target market is a group of people with similar needs, interests, and aspirations. Make them feel at ease by addressing their concerns and encouraging them to act and make a purchase.
  • Reputation: All content marketing campaigns should reflect your company’s unique brand reputation. They should highlight your company’s mission, vision, and core values to help you stand out as the go-to choice in your industry.
  • Online presence: The key is knowing which digital channels will work best for your brand and how to use them to reach your audience in a way that’s authentic to your company’s values and mission.

Why content marketing fails

Content marketing is a powerful tool for building your brand and growing your business. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can be an expensive waste of time. That’s why so many businesses try to outsource their content creation in the first place.

So with all this uncertainty around creating great content, here are some common reasons content marketing fails.

1. You don’t have a strategy

There’s no magic eight ball for content marketing.

You can’t just throw up a blog post and expect people to flock to your website. Or post about your new product on Twitter and expect people to run out and buy it. That’s not how content marketing works.

To succeed at content marketing, you must have the right strategy. You need to know who you’re targeting, what they want from your brand, what kind of language they use, and how they’ll react to different types of content.

Content marketing usually fails because brands are strictly looking to convert customers on the 1st or 2nd visit. But companies like American Trucks understand that content marketing is a long-term play about trust and earning familiarity.

With a solid content plan to focus on educational content like podcasts and blog posts, American Trucks bring genuine value to their audience by sharing details about the best pickup parts on the market and everything you need to know about truck accessories. This simple yet effective strategy created an audience that seeks them out for their content and not just for their automotive parts.

The myth of earned media: 5 reasons why content marketing fails

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A study by Semrush shows that 57 percent of businesses have a documented content marketing strategy, while only 19 percent of companies have an advanced strategy.

Investing in an advanced marketing strategy is an easy way to stand out from your competition. And if your goal is to accelerate your revenue, double-check that your marketing efforts are also aligned with the goals of the departments involved in the company’s growth, like your sales and customer service teams.

Here are some tips for creating an effective content marketing strategy:

  • Define who your audience is
  • Create a persona for that audience
  • Map out what kinds of posts would be relevant for them
  • Consider what platforms you’ll use to publish these posts

2. You don’t understand your audience

How can you write something engaging and relevant to your audience if you don’t know who they are? You need to know their needs, the problems they face, their pain points, and interests.

Content marketing doesn’t work when you fail to cater to the right target audience. For example, if your product is a kid’s debit card, you may feel you should be pushing out content strictly geared toward children. However, who is the one signing up for the product? The parents.

Content geared toward parents looks a lot different than content geared toward children. Parents want security, reliability, and excellent customer service, whereas children want something fun. If the content strictly focuses on fun content marketing plays, parents won’t be influenced to sign up their child for this product because it lacks the information they seek.

The best way to avoid this problem is by segmenting your target audience into buyer personas so that you can provide the information to the right demographic. This simple step will save you time and money down the road.

The myth of earned media: 5 reasons why content marketing fails

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3. Your consistency is off

Consistency is key to building trust, authority, and community associated with your brand.

If you’re not consistent with your content creation, you might appear as an untrustworthy source. When you read a company blog, you hope to see new articles published weekly or monthly.

If you know that they haven’t published any new content in the past two years, that’s a red flag. The next thing you know, you’ll lose credibility with your audience and they’re more likely to bounce.

Consistent publishing can help boost your brand awareness and build trust with your audience. Unfortunately, content creation is both time-consuming and expensive.

Thankfully, there are various solutions available to fix this very issue. You can outsource to the experts at a content marketing agency. If you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, an AI writing tool can significantly cut down on the time it takes to write a 2,000-word blog post and improve the quality of your writing.

Regardless of your choice, the key here’s creating high-quality content that you can publish consistently.

The myth of earned media: 5 reasons why content marketing fails

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4. Your content doesn’t align with the buyer’s journey

The buyer’s journey describes how people search for products or services and decide which ones to buy.

The stages of the buyer’s journey include:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Decision

The myth of earned media: 5 reasons why content marketing fails

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The key thing to know about your buyer’s journey is that content marketing should align with these stages at every step.

For example, if you want prospects in the awareness stage to become aware of your product or service and start thinking about buying from you, then publish educational content or research reports on relevant topics. This type of content will help them learn more about who you are and what you offer.

If someone is in the consideration phase and thinking about using you or one of your vendors, create videos or expert guides to help them make an informed decision.

If someone has decided they want your product or service, but hasn’t decided on the specific option, you can share product comparisons or case studies to help make the final purchase decision. Failing to showcase your product or service to its full potential can give competitors an advantage in pinpointing your weak spots on their competitive battlecards.

5. You’re creating low-quality content

Low-quality content is a significant problem for many businesses. It’s challenging to rank well on search engine results pages from low-quality content.

It’s even harder to recover from the damage of using such low-quality materials. If people see your content as low in quality, they’ll lose trust in you and stop following you. Or worse, stop buying your products or services altogether.

But how do you know whether your content is good enough? If people aren’t sharing your content on social media or it lacks engagement, it may indicate that it needs tweaking. Or, if your website traffic drops, it’s time to reevaluate your content.

If your content is low quality, it’ll undoubtedly fail. Make sure all of your content, from blogs to images and video, is of the highest quality and resolution. For video, convert WebM to MP4 format, and use a high-quality camera and an image editing API for photos.

Research shows that 62 percent of consumers will negatively perceive your brand if you publish a poor-quality video, and 60 percent won’t engage with your brand entirely. It isn’t about what you’re selling, but how you present it.

Quality over quantity is the name of the game in content marketing.

Wrapping up

Content marketing is a powerful tool for brands to reach new audiences and engage their existing ones. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can be disastrous and lead to more problems than it solves.

In fact, most of the time, when content marketing fails, it’s because you’re making simple mistakes. You can’t just throw content out there and hope your audience will magically find it.

Content marketing only works if you have a plan that includes how you’ll create, distribute and track your content so that it’s relevant to your audience; otherwise, you’re left with a bunch of stuff nobody cares about.

Avoid these common content marketing fails by taking charge of your content marketing strategy today.

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Kelly Moser
Kelly Moser is the co-founder and editor at Home & Jet, a digital magazine for the modern era. She's also an expert in freelance writing and content marketing for SaaS, Fintech, and ecommerce startups.

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