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Why Your Content Marketing Strategy Isn’t Working (and How to Fix That)

content marketing strategy

Is your content marketing strategy failing?

If I had a dollar for every time I heard “content is king,” I could retire.

Content marketing works, but it doesn’t work for everyone. The same can be said for SEO, pay per click advertising, and social media marketing.

Marketing channels work, but you have to make them work. It’s easy to throw money at something like PPC ads, but it’s hard to figure out how to get ROI from them.

Marketing isn’t a magic potion. It’s a tool to help you grow your business.

The good news? You can always fix your content marketing strategy and sometimes it doesn’t take an overhaul — a few simple changes can make all the difference.

Let’s dive into the tips.

The #1 Content Marketing Strategy Mistake 99 Percent of Business Owners Make

Here’s what will happen when you start a content marketing campaign (or hire someone to do it).

You’ll get excited to see all the new content published on your blog.

You’ll anxiously check your analytics and Google the keywords you targeted with your content.

A little time will pass without any major movement. No worries, things will pick up soon. But they don’t.

You’re a few weeks (or months) in and your rankings haven’t budged.

Your traffic is stagnant.

Then you start to worry.

You spent a ton of time working on the content.

Or you spent a lot of money for an agency to do it.

Either way, you’re worried about your return on investment.

Do you wait it out and give your strategy time to work, or do you bail?

The answer to that question makes or breaks your content marketing strategy.

Google is slow 🙁

It can take months, a year, or even multiple years for your strategy to truly take off:

average age of page one rankings chart

Source: Ahrefs

You have to think like an investor.

Content Marketing Creates Exponential Results

Investors know compound interest will make their money grow faster over time.

If you think like an investor and use a lot of resources up front, you’ll reap rewards later.

This means:

At first, your traffic and rankings won’t move much, but after time, they’ll rise up the rankings. Higher rankings mean more traffic and more authority for your website.

When some of your pages start to rank high, they’ll attract backlinks and gain authority on their own.

Why? Because people often Google information to use in their own content and tend to cite results that show up on page 1.

If you write evergreen, in-depth, and useful content, people will link to you naturally, which gives your entire site more authority.

When a single page ranks for one keyword, it will start to rank for other related keywords — these are called LSI keywords. 

A single page can rank for dozens, hundreds, or thousands of keywords.

You can go back in and sprinkle these LSI keywords into your content, which will help it rank better overall.

Stop Doing This Immediately

Marketing experts are aplenty in 2019.

They’re all giving the same advice.

People who take that advice give the same advice so on and so forth.

This becomes a content marketing pyramid scheme.

Everyone copies each other, meaning no one is original or has anything truly useful to share.

Did you develop a strategy based on copying your competitors? It’s time to rethink that.

How? Figure out ways to differentiate yourself from the competition.

One Strategy No One Can Copy

Ayetkin Tank, founder of Jotform, writes a blog on Medium.com

What separates him from other people in the space? He tells personal stories. Look at the story he used to open a blog post about the taste of customers:

storytelling in your content

You can’t replicate someone else’s personal experience. Stories shape the world and humans love learning through stories.

Try to think of ways to inject more narrative into your content strategy.

Do you have unique testimonials and case studies from people who’ve bought your products or services? Use them.

Do you have industry insights you gained from unique experiences? Sprinkle these stories into your content.

Zig When They Zag

Is everyone in your niche writing blog posts? Do more videos.

Are all your competitors on Facebook? Try LinkedIn.

An innovator is simply someone who has tried something other people haven’t.

Always think…what’s the opposite of what your competition is doing. Do that.

It won’t always work, but it helps you think outside the box. With so many businesses creating content, creativity is at a premium.

Kill the Sacred Cows

Fun fact: a lot of conventional wisdom is completely wrong.

People just repeat mantras over and over again until they become accepted.

If you can discredit the “sacred cows” in your industry and provide better solutions, you’ll stand out.

Nat Eliason is a great example of this. In his post about the Wiki Strategy — which includes creating a ton of content with a heavy internal link structure like Wikipedia –, he called out the sacred cow.

He said backlinks and typical SEO optimization aren’t all that important.

According to Nat, as long as you write the best content possible and cite credible sources, you can rank your posts without any backlinks. 

Not only does this fly in the face of typical SEO advice. It’s useful and it works.

You Chose the Wrong Partner

You can work with an agency who can create content for you.

Here’s the problem, though: some of them just aren’t that good.

The marketing waters are…murky to say the least.

Some agencies have good intentions but can’t execute.

Some are flat out incompetent.

Agencies who can help you create stellar content are the exception, not the rule.

Business owners know this, as many of them have been burned by shoddy SEO and content marketing companies.

Fortunately, there are a few simple ways to find out if you’re working with the right agency.

Check Their Own Content Marketing Skills

We kid you not, there are some content marketing companies who don’t do it very well, or often, for themselves. 

Would you take workout advice from someone who is out of shape?

Here are a few tells the agency you’re working with isn’t cut out for the job:

  • Thin content – content length is a ranking factor. If the company you want to work with doesn’t write 1800+ word long guides and posts, run.
  • Unoriginal content – read and analyze the style and voice of the content on agency websites. If theirs is dry and drab, why would yours be different?
  • No proof – if you don’t see reviews, testimonials, and case studies, there’s a good chance there aren’t any

Choosing an agency to help with content marketing is a big decision, don’t make it lightly.

Want to ‘feel us out’? Fill out the form below and get one of our marketing proposals, 100% free:




 

Your Content Marketing Strategy is Off Target

Everything in your content campaign should strive toward an ultimate goal.

This could be traffic.

Or leads.

Or sales.

Figure out the metrics that make sense and measure the success of your campaign by them.

If you notice the strategy is working, consider this: you’re targeting the wrong people, writing the wrong content, or sending out content at the wrong time.

Targeting the Wrong People

We’re an SEO company.

Naturally, we’d love to rank on the first page of Google for the phrase “SEO.”

But if we did, would it be worth the effort to get there?

Someone searching the phrase “SEO” could be doing so for a number of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with becoming a lead or a sale for you (not that this always matters, but still).

Instead of trying to rank for broad keywords with many different types of search intent, we focus on keywords that complement broader topics like SEO and content marketing.

Long-tail keywords are more targeted and have a narrower audience, meaning you can create content that better matches what searchers are looking for.

Writing the Wrong Content

Each industry has its own standards for content marketing.

If you’re running a Pizza shop in Boise Idaho, you don’t need to write a 3,000-word treatise on pizza toppings to rank well.

If you’re in a competitive and information heavy industry like we are, you’ll have to write 10x content to rank.

Either way – the lesson is the same. See what content is already doing well, emulate what works, and add more to make yours stand out.

Sending Out Content at the Wrong Time

An awareness funnel shows the process people go through before they trust you enough to become a lead or buy your product/service:

inbound marketing funnel

If you sent the right content at the wrong stage, it won’t have the effect you want it to have.

This is why it’s important to create a digital marketing strategy from start to finish before you start creating content.

You need each stage of the funnel ready to go when the time comes with the right content for each stage.

Your 1 Track Mind Gets You in Trouble

Creating more content isn’t the solution to all your woes.

Some people think creating a bunch of content will magically make their site explode with traffic and get more sales and customers.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Content marketing isn’t just about writing content. It’s about experimenting with different strategies and iterating over time.

Too many marketers and business owners are running on the content treadmill.

It’s time to step away and analyze your results.

Here are some useful tips.

Use This Technique Improve Your Rankings Fast

The easiest way to get more out of your content marketing strategy?

Improve the content you already have.

If you’ve been creating content for a while, odds are you have pages that are ranking well.

Why not just make those pages better?

“Because marketers keep yelling at me to create more content!”

Ok, don’t listen to them. Listen to me.

Make Your Content Visually Stunning and 10x Your UX

Design and user experience play a huge role in SEO and content marketing.

Make sure your website loads lighting fast, has interesting media and use different techniques to make your content appealing.

Look at this example by Ramit Sethi at I Will Teach You to be Rich.

His personal finance ultimate guide goes from bland and boring to exciting, not just with content, but design:

content marketing example

Notice the unique way he breaks up with words with design and adds calls to actions:

content marketing calls to action

 

If you can think of ways to go above and beyond with design, you can outshine the competition.

Harness the Power of LSI Keywords

Remember earlier when we told you that your blog posts and content pages can rank for more than one keyword at once?

You can take those secondary – LSI Keywords – and add them back into your content.

If you use a tool like Ahrefs, the process is simple.

Enter the URL for a piece of content into the Ahrefs dashboard and click on organic keywords:

LSI keyword examples

Then, find the keywords ranking from positions 4-20 for that keyword (keywords on page 1 and 2 excluding the top 3 positions):

organic keyword finderUse the keywords you see and:

  • Add them to your body content
  • Add them to headings
  • Create entire new sections based off of LSI keywords

Remix, Rematch, Combine, Create

You can get a lot more mileage from your content by simply…being more creative.

Content marketing is frustrating when you continue to use the same tired strategies and content over and over again.

The good news? There are plenty of ways to reinvent your content marketing strategy, techniques, and the content itself.

Combine Content

Often, you have too many pieces of content competing for attention because they’re too similar.

Better to just combine them. Nathan Gotch with Gotch SEO calls this The Cake Technique:

  • Find similar content assets
  • Choose the most authoritative one
  • Combine the content and 301 redirect the old URLs to the new, monster-sized content asset

Recycle Content

There’s no rule saying you only have to publish content on your own website.

There are other websites who will let you republish your work on their platform.

Medium is an example of this. It has an important tool that lets you publish your content on Medium without suffering a duplicate content penalty.

The import feature automatically adds a “rel canonical” tag to the republished version of your post, which lets the search engines know which piece of content to rank.

Remix Content

A single blog post can be turned into…

A video:

 

Several visuals for social media:

social media content recyle

An infographic:

content marketing infographic

And more.

You can use one single piece of content in a variety of ways.

Conclusion

Content marketing is a long game.

You need patience, skills, and lots effort to succeed.

But it can be done. Make these fixes to your content and watch the ranking and traffic roll in over time.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to creating content for your business?

About The Author

Ayodeji is the Digital Marketing Director at MLT Group. His favorite hobbies are reading and eating copious amounts of food in one sitting including dishes like nachos, Buffalo wings, and greasy sandwiches.

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