Some companies have resources to produce large amounts of diverse content but often lack content marketing strategy. Poorly conducted content marketing doesn’t bring tangible results such as high quality leads. In many case it doesn’t even generate increased traffic or user engagement on the company’s website. This means that the time devoted to creating lead magnets and blog posts goes to waste and doesn’t meet target audience’s needs and pain points.
So what makes your content marketing ineffective? Let’s see.
You don’t produce valuable content regularly
The lack of regularity in content production is one of the most common mistakes in B2B content marketing. If the texts appear irregularly, you can’t expect to build a group of loyal fans — it doesn’t matter what content format you choose. Often the problem results from not meeting the deadlines by employees who hide behind other “more urgent” tasks or find other excuses. (I wrote more about this in the article: How to motivate employees to create content?)
If this scenario applies to your business, make sure to produce enough content in advance that can be published regardless of random situations. That way you’ll protect your regularity against the lack of materials for your readers.
On the other hand, the problem with regularity is often due to the lack of the content strategy:
no content creation calendar and no relevant content to publish for a few weeks ahead
no content owner — having a person responsible for the process and keeping deadlines is crucial
In the companies that I worked with, there were often just no resources to conduct content marketing. If this is the situation in which you find yourself, you should probably also read this article: No time for content marketing?
Another solution would be recruiting a content marketer responsible for lead generation.
Your content doesn’t fit your target group
You don’t generate leads because you write to people who will never buy from you – this is where many marketers fail. Working with tech companies, I sometimes see specialists write about technologies, delving into the meanders of systems, solutions or industry news, forgetting that their target audiences are non-technical people whose goal is not to find out how well the application code was written, but to obtain a solution to the problem they’re facing. In this case, the code will be only an insignificant part of the solution they want.
Even if your decision-maker in 100% cases is someone who has domain knowledge (e.g. marketing director for a marketing agency) very often in the purchasing process on the client’s side there are people who are deprived of this knowledge such as lawyers, CFO or CEO.
If you have a developed buyer persona and defined target audience, make sure that the content your team creates is attractive to potential customers. If you don’t have the persona ready — it’s probably time to develop it. And while you’re on this task, it might be worth trying to define the stakeholders (so-called decision influencers) who are next to your main decision maker in the purchasing process.
I noticed that in many B2B companies, buyer personas are well established in the minds of founders and managers, but not necessarily in the minds of lower-level employees. You should check that and make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to defining what qualified leads are.
Your content doesn’t fit the user’s intentions
Creating a buyer persona is just the beginning. It is worth remembering that even if your high quality content reaches your target group, each of these people may be at a different stage of the customer journey. One person can only be thinking about a way to solve they problem, while at the same time the other one has already decided on a specific solution and looks for the best cooperation partner. You must address different messages to both of them. If one of them is missing, you automatically reduce your chances of conversion.
Each of your content pieces should be tailored to the stage of the conversion funnel it is in. To achieve that and, over time, “draw” the user closer to the decision to submit the form, you should:
design a conversion funnel for your content…
and check if the content you already have addresses needs of every user in a given area (e.g. problem presentation, solution presentation and information on how your company deals with given problems. Ideally, this should also be supported with case studies).
design links between your content
it relates to both – content pieces that corelate at the same funnel level, as well as the content that’s in the next step. Difficult? Not necessarily. All you have to do is to diagnose which piece of content is at a certain stage of the conversion funnel.
Example: you have a software house that creates mobile applications. Among your materials you have:
several blog posts about why one should use the services of a software house in a certain case,
a video with an employee who explains what your work looks while creating such implementations
and a case study in which you show off the results of the implementation.
Between the articles that address the same user need, it’s worth adding internal linking, and at the end of the article a call to action button (so-called CTA) leading to the next material from the next stage of the funnel. Potential leads interested in the topic will have and easy route to follow while looking for more information thus staying longer on your website.
You don’t encourage direct and indirect conversions
Another mistake that is closely related to the effectiveness of content marketing is the lack of encouragement for direct and indirect conversions. An indirect conversion can be subscribing to a newsletter, downloading premium material (e.g. an e-book) or downloading an offer. The direct conversion will then be submitting the form vis web pages.
Check if you have a clearly defined Call-To-Action in all your content and links between different forms of content. When it comes to increasing the potential customer engagement it is important to display popups and exit popups on a website, so that you can convince the user to stay on the page longer or encourage them to e.g. to download an e-book in exchange for their email address (which you will later use for targeting ads on social media or in newsletter campaigns).
Your content should also be supported by launching remarketing camapigns and, depending on the audience you will be targeting — presenting ads encouraging direct or indirect conversions that will ulimately result in gaining more leads.
You don’t diversify the types of content to attract leads
It’s good to start creating content by developing touchpoints between your content and your potential customers. It may turn out that you rely on video content distributed on YouTube, while your target group may not use this medium at all, but e.g. listen to podcasts. In this case, no matter how valuable your content is, it won’t lead to an increase in the number of new leads. Do an in depth market research to get to know your potential customers and adjust social media marketing efforts.
The same applies to focusing your content marketing activities on one channel only. It is rare in B2B that a user chooses to contact you after seeing your content for the first time. Most often, to attract such a user you have to catch their attention in different places and different formats. However, this doesn’t mean that each of your materials must be unique. Use a content distribution model and recycle the same content in different ways doing a recurrent content upgrade.
You can find more about the above content production model in this article.
You don’t distribute your content
Just like in the case of a mismatch of content to the target group, it is a mistake to create content that won’t ultimately reach the people interested in your product or service. You can create the best content in the world, but if only your employees and friends read it, you won’t capture leads.
When it comes to content marketing, you should primarily take care of:
optimizing content for search engines (in the case of blog entries that will be: internal linking, keyword density, alt, title and meta attributes, or enriching the content with additional formats, e.g. graphics or video)
external linking to selected articles from more popular industry domains and guest blogging
publication in places that your potential customers visit (and therefore not only your social media profiles, but also e.g. dedicated groups, Quora or industry publications),
paid content promotion, targeting people who have already bought from you in common points (e.g. demographics, industries, positions, interests, target places)
regular send-outs of the newsletter and collecting a database of contacts interested in your industry
You don’t know what works and what doesn’t
The lack of content marketing analytics is a big mistake. You’d be surprised how many companies don’t measure the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. If you don’t measure the results of the content you create in any way — how will you know if it brings the intended results?
The main factors determining whether content marketing works are the number of conversions and the conversion rate. First of all, check what the users’ behavior on the site looks like (how much time they spend there, how many and what subpages they view and on what elements they focus their attention). This basic analysis will give you a clear picture of the statistical user of your website.
In addition, it’s important to check the influence of your content marketing on the conversion funnel. In many cases it doesn’t generate direct lead conversions, but if it (a certain blog post for example) wasn’t on the customer joruney of your lead, they would never reach you and believe that your company is the right business partner to solve their problem.
If you’ve been investing in content marketing as a strategy for lead generation, but it hasn’t brought the expected results, you probably make one or more of the above mistakes. Thanks to the fact that you have reached the end of this text, you have the opportunity to stop that and start making other, new mistakes on the road to effective content marketing.