The definition - content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience - with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
It's the opposite of interruption marketing. You create great content that attracts customers and prospects, educates them, and potentially engages them in a conversation with you.
With that in mind, here are Top Ten reasons why your content marketing strategy fails:
(1) You don't have one - you think fulfillment just means you stick all you've got on that landing page, mini site, or newsletter, and pray something will stick.
(2) You don't understand the difference between interruption and content marketing - you think that because you have something to sell, you can push it out there and get people to but it because you say so.
(3) Your content does not provide value - the worst offenders will ask for information on customers and prospects to give them something that doesn't really tell them anything new - just to get people in a contact database.
(4) Your in-house experts think it's marketing's job to write it - while we agree that in this day and age marketing professionals need to be in the content business, it's a very bad idea to assume that they need to be proficient in having every kind of conversation, even those where they'd be clearly not the experts.
(5) You think that changing the title to last month's paper will work - this is akin to starting a brand new relationship on the wrong foot. Will your customers believe you next time, after experiencing this kind of stunt?
(6) You invite people in for one topic, then you give them something else entirely - another dangerous assumption is that people don't pay attention. They won't if this is the kind of treatment you reserve for them. It's like starting a conversation with a great opening, and then putting absolutely no substance behind it.
(7) Your call to action is not clear, or you have multiple ones - the main reason why you don't want to do this, of course, is that you won't know what works among the many messages you put out there. When you're focused, things have a way of working out much better for all involved.
(8) You want too much, too soon - there's no relationship and you're already asking your customers and prospects to give you something substantial.
(9) You don't get the whole anticipated and relevant part of it - you think integrated and all matching means you're not interrupting. In other words you missed the whole idea of custom content written specifically to address the needs of the audience you are hoping to engage.
(10) Your content is all about you, not your customer - the surest way to bore someone or to become irrelevant quickly is by not even trying to relate to them.
At the end of the day, you want to reach the people who will buy your products and services. Whether your content marketing strategy is fulfilled through marketing or public relations activities, you should think about providing value and worry less about measuring clicks and hits.
Will your customers and prospects find you on the Web when they're looking for the resources you provide? Will your articles, bylines, white papers, eBooks, blog posts convey that you understand the issues - their issues - at play in the marketplace?
Does your newsletter provide timely, relevant tips, commentary, and information that reveals industry or industry vertical knowledge? Do analysts and third parties crowd around your thought leadership to help amplify what you know?
If the answer is no, those are great places for you to start.
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