10 Reasons Your Content Creation Efforts Might Fail
When it comes to effective content marketing, it's great knowing what types of content to create and things you should do to maximize the impact of your efforts. However, it's also important to understand what not to do and what to avoid.
Having the right ingredients can spur experimentation, but without knowing what you should avoid as well, you might make mistakes.
Want to listen? There's an audio version below
So, to guide you through the pitfalls of content marketing and to help you minimize your mistakes, let's look at ten things that might cause your content marketing efforts to fall flat.
1: Your Audience is Too Broad
As the saying goes, “the riches are in the niches.” But, to help you understand what I mean, let me offer a few examples based on the businesses of some of my clients.
If you're are copywriter, instead of marketing your services as “copywriting for businesses,” narrow your messaging to a specific industry. Focus on being the best copywriter for pool companies or for local restaurants with fewer than five locations.
If you don't yet know where your expertise lies, niche down to something you're interested in or passionate about. If you're unable to narrow your focus to where you can have the most impact, be specific to the industry where you'll at least have the most fun and evolve from there.
2: Wrong Product Offerings
When coming up with your product or service offerings, it's key to sell what your customers want, not what you want. If you worked with the hearing impaired, you probably shouldn't start a podcast. I know that's an extreme example, but extreme examples often most clearly prove a point.
Remember, you are not your customer. Sell what they need at a price point they can afford, not just what you want at a cost you'd be willing to pay.
3: Weak or Unclear Branding
In my earlier days, I struggled with weak and unclear branding. It wasn't until I had a conversation with Mark Mason in mid-2014 that I realized I needed to clarify my message and focus on people who were like me.
As a result of that fateful chat, I began to tweak my branding to focus on people who were miserable at work, who felt undervalued by their company, and who wanted to turn their talents into a business.
Instead of trying to reach all aspiring entrepreneurs with a weak message, I began to speak directly to people who were going through what I'd gone through, and who could relate really well to my story. If you can make the necessary changes to clarify your message to a targeted audience, I promise you'll begin to get improved results.
4: Slow Production Timelines
When you come across a need in the marketplace, how long does it take for you to create a solution?
One of the subscribers to Catalyst Monthly owns several pieces of real estate. If she's at capacity, meaning all of her properties are rented, how quickly could she turn around a new product? In this scenario, her new product might be a new home to rent.
Another subscriber creates email marketing sales funnels. For his business, a new product could be a new type of funnel that specifically targets who've visited a landing page or added a product to a shopping cart.
In business, it's important to be able to react quickly to the changing needs of our customers. If people keep asking for a product you don't have in stock, the faster you can get that product into the hands of the people who would buy it, the faster you'll make money.
We live in an on-demand world – thank you, Amazon Prime – and if you can reduce the amount of time someone has to wait for a solution, you can win.
5: Uninteresting Content
As we've established, you should be creating content to market your products, services, and business. With that said, don't make the mistake I made early on.
I was boring.
Ya, I was boring. I made the error of thinking that in order to be authoritative and to have an impact, that I also had to be aloof and detached from my writing. My writing had no emotion, and because of that, I failed to connect with my readers, listeners, and viewers.
As a result, my blog struggled to take off, and my business faired no better.
Reality television is captivating because people are interesting. On past surveys, responders from my community asked for more personal stories. Your stories and experiences, like the stories and experiences shared on reality shows, will make your content more engaging.
Don't be afraid to take a stand, cause controversy, or take an unpopular viewpoint on current events. Interesting content is shared content.
6: Inefficient Processes
While I was bootstrapping my business in the early years, I was terribly inefficient. Few things were automatic, and none of my software talked to the other pieces of software I used.
When you're starting out, it's important to get everything up and running before you prioritize efficiency. However, as you grow, you'll want to reduce the number of tasks that take longer than they should and eliminate all of the systems that hinder your growth.
If you're looking for a full list of hardware and software that I use, I recommend you check out my tech stack – i.e. the hardware and software that powers my business.
Regardless of what stage of business you're in, to get to the next level, you'll have to become more efficient. You'll have to organize, streamline, and remove any and all snags.
Success at the highest levels usually isn't about who's the best; it's about who makes the least number of mistakes. And, as a side note, the more efficient you are, the faster you're likely to also be at producing things of value.
7: Lack of Partners and Brand Advocates
Yes, you need to be your own customer, and you absolutely MUST be your own cheerleader.
Everything is easier with a team. And, in the world of content marketing, that means people sharing your stuff on social media, affiliates promoting your products, and people with platforms (i.e. blogs, podcasts, etc.) talking about what you're doing.
When your business is small, you're forced to be your own cheerleader. As you grow, hopefully, you'll be interesting, entertaining, and informative enough so that other people will share your content too. These partners and brand advocates can give your content a viral effect.
A tactic you can use to recruit partners and advocates is to interview them on your blog or feature them on your podcast or YouTube channel. Not only will this tactic boost your authority with your audience, but it will bring that person onto your team of people who are willing to share your content.
The more people are talking about you and your business, the faster you'll grow!
8: Limited Distribution
Similar to having partners and advocates, distribution allows you to get your brand and message in front of more people.
Where the tactic above works from you outward, distribution works from the outside in. What I mean is that with great distribution, there are more ways people can discover you (outside-in), while advocates share your content to their networks (inside out).
The power of distribution really hit me when I was on Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn. After my episode went live, over the next month, I received nearly three dozen notifications from different websites, podcast networks, and other areas where Pat's show was syndicated or distributed.
Related: Beginner's Guide to Twitter
Great marketing won't save your product; it will only make it fail faster. And, distribution works much in the same way. A bad product with great distribution is still a bad product.
However, a great product without great distribution will ultimately only serve a very limited number of people.
9: Outdated or Insufficient Technology
As we get toward the end of our list here, I'm a little embarrassed about how many of these things to avoid start out with, “when I used to do it that way…” I guess it just goes to show that I've been there, done it one way, then learned a better way.
When I first started, I used the cheapest web hosting I could get, a free theme for WordPress, and invested almost nothing in my website. In short, I used (somewhat) outdated (if not poorly maintained) hardware to host my website, and insufficient software (in the form of outdated and free themes) to power my business.
It was nearly three years before I made any significant investment in the technology that powered my business. Now, although I'm smart about it, I don't hesitate to purchase upgrades that will make me more efficient or that will help me to deliver my products faster.
On one hand, “bootstrapping” your business is admirable. On the other, that scrappiness could be hindering your growth and professionalism. At some point, every business has to outgrow the garage.
If you're interested in learning more about the software I use to power my business from anywhere, click here.
Here's the bottom line:
It doesn't matter what YOU like or what YOU want; what matters is what your CUSTOMERS like and what THEY want. I don't care if you don't like technology and refuse to use Facebook or think that the internet is evil. If your customers are there, YOU need to be there.
If you need assistance getting your business online and up to date, I recommend these guys.
10: Lack of Influence
Finally, your content creation business could fail because you lack influence. Perhaps your visitors aren't yet sure if they like you. They may be uncertain whether or not you can solve their problem.
Influence comes from many sources, but the bottom line is that without influence, you won't be able to convince anyone to do anything. Without influence, you won't get people to take action.
One way you can boost your influence is to talk directly to your ideal avatar and speak specifically about a real problem.
Sometimes building influence is pointing out someone's pain and bringing it to the forefront of their mind. Like salty snacks at the bar influence drinkers to buy another round, thoughtful messaging can influence your visitors to buy your products.
While missing any one of these won't cause your content marketing efforts to fail, miss too many and you'll struggle unnecessarily.
Don't Ignore This!
The easy thing to do would be to ignore this or write these tips off as “only for Millenials.” Or, “only for online businesses.” Or to say, “I don't do social media.”
But that would be a mistake. Every business is in business to do more business. If you've got a million-dollar advertising budget, you might be able to skip out on content marketing. But, I doubt you do.
Content marketing is the most effective way to grow your business and to get visitors, whether they come to your website or the walk through your door.
If this helps you improve or helps you avoid content marketing fails, drop me a comment below and let me know!