7-reasons your content marketing sucks big time! And how to fix them!

Content is king. Content is a currency. Content is everything.

1 content marketing imageBlah. Blah. Blah.

We are living in exciting times. Digital content consumption is showing upward growth trajectory like never before. As consumers are spending over a quarter of the day consuming, engaging and interacting with the digital content, the content curators and marketers are having a field day, every day. Even though,

The content remains elusive.

Many start-ups and businesses are trying to find the pulse of a consumer and understand what makes them tick. Why there are page views but no interaction with the content? Why people just leave the page all so sudden? Why people don’t read through? Why the bounce rate for your content is too high?

If you are also looking for answers, read through and find what’s stopping your content from making a difference and causing an impact that it is intended to.

Keyword:100. Information: zero

It is not about ranking. It never was. Digital marketing might look like an elaborate plan to lure search engines but honestly, it isn’t. The idea is to fish for customers. Your keywords-stuffed and SEO-carved content website may tempt the algorithms but it is going to drive away fromthe customers for its slow speed, useless information and heavy pages.

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So, work towards finding the Zen between content that can attract both the machines and minds. The content has to be the combination of keyword and information. If you have a blog or a website, you need to make it information-rich with the right content as well as keywords. Informative content can also help your brand or website to establish as a knowledge repository or a subject matter expert. If you are a start-up launching new products almost on a daily basis, it might be difficult to keep track but it is important that they are updated with relevant information such as the details about the products, relevant features, minimum purchase value and so on. The information breaks or makes the deal. Customers make their buying decision based on the information you provide, so, don’t sideline it!

Mind the Content Gap

One of the major reasons many companies fail to gather traction on their content is due to a deep, widening gap between their offline and online marketing that confusesthe audience and as a result, they can’t identify with the brand. Ideally, content across the platforms and channels should be fully integrated and complementary. They should work parallel but simultaneously. If you are coming across as a professional, sombre and ‘nothing else but the business’ offline, you can’t have your online persona as a fun-loving, laidback and ‘Netflix-and-chill’ type. You need to work out on content that corroborates and resonates with your brand image, be it online or offline.

Besides, there shouldn’t be a gap between your customer journeys. It should be smooth, streamlined and synced. If your customer leaves the journey in the middle, there should be an exit plan ready to go that reminds her of the same without being too intrusive. Keep your notifications, reminders and e-mailers pretty –a right mix-and-match of content and visuals.  Send it out on a regular interval, without being too nosy. Keep the CTA (call to action) clear and concise. Landing page content should be to-the-point and easy to understand. You may find some good digital marketing training in your  region to learn more about content based skills.

3 content marketing imageLeaving other platforms behind

Even today, businesses undermine the importance of social media to a great extent. Scroll their Facebook or Instagram page, and you can find tons of queries for products, complaints and what not.  You might think that a negative review or two once in a while can’t ruin your image in the market but in reality, customers can sense a pattern here. This is why you need to keep an eye on what your customers are saying about you, keep the timeline engaging with regular posts/contests and try to address their queries/concerns as quickly as possible.

Often brands tend to forget about the religious, ethical and environmental sensibilities. And not just small business or start-ups, established brands (Levi’s incredibly stupid misogynistic campaign of ‘Hotness comes in all shapes and sizes’ or DiGiorno using a hashtag for domestic violence to sell its pizzas) have had their share of ‘carelessness’ on their part when it comes to executing a social media campaign.

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Make it ‘Viral’

That must be the pet peeve of every other content marketer out there- companies or brands that want to go ‘viral.; Nothing against them, but there are many factors that contribute to the ‘virility’ of the content. A brand has to be credible; the content has to be excellent, the design should be brilliant and in a shareable format. It has to be distributed across the right platforms and should be in a ‘story’ form. The audience has to feel the connection and the brand has to strike a chord with them – the intangible aspect of a ‘viral’ content post that you can’t much about except hoping to get it right! Moreover, besides the ‘buzz’ it generates, the viral content doesn’t do much for a brand. Creating engaging content and interacting with the users on a daily basis is far better than having a viral campaign that doesn’t go viral or having an influencer plugging your product mindlessly that ends up becoming the butt of all jokes.

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Missing the target audience

And you thought, you had it all figured out, eh? You will be surprised to learn how many times, the bigwigs like Amazon, Starbucks and Pepsi has failed to understand the sentiments and speak the language of their customers, often experiencing a backlash. For instance, Starbucks’ ‘Race Together’ campaign that fell flat due to its sheer apathy. Discussing human rights over a cup of coffee, when everybody is in a rush is rather impossible.  As if, being a barista isn’t difficult already! Besides, as some netizens pointed out that it is difficult to strike a conversation with a ‘white’ billionaire; trying to talk about citizens of colour when he hasn’t addressed the diversity issues back at his work turf.

Similarly, ‘the Kendall Jenner Pepsi Ad’ ridiculed the social and political unrest and tried to solve it all using the magical potion made with part Pepsi and part Jenner’s charm. That’s completely another story how it turned into a gooey ‘mock’ tail in the end. So, pan your keywords, language and devices used by your customers to access the content, their interests and trigger behaviour before you even proceed with a strategy.

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Wait, what? Content strategy? Are you $$%@$@$ kidding me?

Arrgh! There we go! There are thousands of companies with razor-sharp focus, an insane amount of resources and assets creating content too. The digital world might be ever-evolving but it is getting saturated minute-by-minute. Everybody is creating content and if you don’t have a content calendar and marketing strategy, you aren’t going to cut it, let alone leave a mark. Before you even think about writing content for a brand, you need to understand the business, its offline and online competitors and the work they are doing. You need to know what works for them. Fact is, if it is working for them, it might work for you. Don’t be too ambitious.  You just have to decode the formula and find out what else you can do on the same line but without being just another brick in the wall. You need to chalk out a calendar for social media posts, guest blogs, the PR posts, e-mailers, app notifications, manuals, support document -their frequency and design- well out in advance!  Ask these questions:

  • Why do I need content?
  • Who is the content for?
  • What should the language, tone and feel of the content be?
  • What are the key metrics to assess the performance of content?
  • Where should the content go?

If your content strategy can answer the questions above, you are good to go! Esther Honig, an artist, had her photograph photoshopped to question the widely- used perception of beauty across the world. The campaign was supported by Superdrug to raise awareness for its original study pertaining to body issues among women. It was placed in magazines, social media sites and content platforms like Huffington Post and Buzzfeed.  Result? More than 700,000-page views within five days and 3 million views of the study!  Not to forget, international coverage and celebrity endorsement!

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Face it, you can’t write content

One thing for all- creating content isn’t easy. Your content writer/ marketer might not be a superhero, who can miraculously drive traffic and get ‘likes’ overnight, she can still weave the magic with her words. But if you also call your content writer at the last minute into the meeting to take down the requirement and think that anybody can write content, sorry, not happening! A content writer doesn’t have to be graduated with summa cum laude but should have excellent command over the language and should be able to write engaging content for various platforms. Otherwise, you could end up making a lot of silly mistakes and leaving a bad impression on your readers.

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Hope this helps you to find out the cracks and loops in your content strategy! Have questions, queries or concerns? Head to the comment section and let us know!

Most of the content of this article is part of online marketing (digital marketing or Internet marketing).