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Why Content Marketing Fails…and How It Can Succeed

If you believe your content marketing works well, you’re in the minority.

A recent study showed only 38 percent of B2Bs rated their content marketing as effective or really effective.

How did content marketing get to this point and what can we do to fix it?

At his recent Vocus webinar, Arik Hanson showed why content falls short and shared pragmatic content production tips that generates steady results. See some of the highlights below:

Want to the full story from Arik? Listen to his on-demand webinar now!

Who’s to Blame?

Blame - Pragmatic Content Marketing

Blame influencers

When pointing fingers at how content marketing strategies have fallen out of whack, Arik pointed one directly at himself.

He says influencers and thought leaders often preach about creating compelling content and provide some ideas. However, more specific recommendations and pragmatic recommendations that position brands for long-term success get left out.

Blame Oreo

Oreo’s Super Bowl tweet, and its real-time prowess in general, has become the envy of brands everywhere and inspired many to try to mimic them. Some have even been successful.

“The issue is not every brand is going to be able to catch lightning in a bottle,” Arik says.

Too often brands try to force a real-time moment when one doesn’t exist or they try to capitalize on something that isn’t there.

Blame laziness

Sometimes, Arik says, poor content marketing showings relate back to a lack of effort. It’s not just creating content. You need to create great content, especially in this content-rich world.

What Do We Do Now?

Question Mark - Pragmatic Content Marketing

Balance promotion

Yes, brands are in the business of selling products and services, and content can help do that. However, Arik advises creating content that engages people. Google Analytics and other data will help determine that.

The strategy may not produce sales in the short term, but once you get their attention it could lead to sales later on.

Feed off feedback

It’s not just hard data that will inform your content strategy. Anecdotal feedback from customers and fans, comments on social and your blog and insights from employees and leadership can all shape the direction of your content.

Look at competitors

Do you have competitors that you admire? It’s okay to admit it. Every brand has their strengths, and your competitors’ strengths can become your strengths.

Pick three to four competitors and occasionally do an audit of their content just like you should be doing for your own content.

Doing this analysis will help show you what is working, what isn’t and where your brand or client has an opportunity to succeed.

Clean the attic

Do you have content that already exists that you aren’t leveraging to the fullest? Probably, Arik says.

Your internal communications department likely has compelling stories that can easily be modified to become customer-facing content.

What about white papers or slide decks that your executives and other thought leaders have created for webinars and presentations?  You can repurpose those large pieces of content into smaller pieces or even turn one statistic or fact into a compelling infographic, video or other image.

Focus on headlines

Arik reminisced about the days he spent as a copywriter when he created 50 headlines, had them all rejected and wrote 50 more.

With so much content available to people, content creators should spend more time creating a headline. You don’t need to write 100 of them. Start by writing three or four and choose the best one.

Amplify customer content

Nature Valley regularly posts images on Instagram that supports the outdoorsy brand they have created. The best part? It takes only a small investment from them.

They monitor social media to find compelling images that their fans create and simply repost them to their own account.

Believe it or not, those were only some of the tips that Arik packed into his webinar. Want the rest of his advice? Register for the on-demand webinar now!

About Brian Conlin

Brian Conlin is a content marketing manager for Cision. A former journalist, he enjoys researching and developing accessible content. When not writing, you will find him watching baseball and college basketball, sampling craft beer and enjoying Baltimore. Find him on Twitter @BrianConlin13.

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