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6 Reasons Your Content Strategy Will Fail (And How You Can Fix Them)

Inbound marketing is all the rage in the business world. Almost everybody is desperate to get their feet in because it has suddenly gained the impression of being a magic solution, that will generate leads, increase conversion rates and dramatically increase the number of customers.

If only everything in life was that simple.

Inbound marketing is quite straightforward in its methodology and approach.

However, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution in any way. In this blog post, I want to quickly outline the main pitfalls that most businesses fall into when attempting to go “inbound.”

Here are six ways inbound marketing fails, along with ways to fix each.

Jumping into inbound marketing right away without having a strategy in place:

Many companies execute inbound marketing strategies without taking the time to develop and document a content strategy. They assume that producing lots of content and pushing it out onto the web will automatically lead people to click their links and generate leads for the business.

However, for an inbound marketing strategy to deliver results, there are several aspects to consider – content type, promotion channels, typical conversion paths, and so on.  

How to fix this:

Having a strategy right from the outset is critical because it helps you understand what challenges your prospects are facing, what your goals are in terms of solving those challenges, and how your team can help achieve those goals.

Once a strategy is devised, it is important that every member of the team knows the game plan.

Most importantly, this strategy should be revised every quarter (or monthly, whichever is more suited to your business) to see what kind of results it is getting for you.

Inbound marketing isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. It is important to understand how your audience is engaging with your content and your brand, by studying analytics closely and then making the necessary adjustments to your strategy.

You are publishing irrelevant content

Content is the cornerstone of inbound marketing.

However, the biggest challenge businesses face is going beyond facing promotional content, that only talks about how great the business is and how wonderful their products are.

I have personally seen companies write entire blogs devoted to singing their own praises. This is quite the anti-thesis of inbound marketing.

How to fix this:

When you want people to come of their own accord and read your content and subscribe to your blogs, it is imperative that you are providing them with content they are interested in reading!

In fact, this content should be so valuable and useful for their day-to-day business life, that you are able to build a relationship of trust with them.

Inbound marketing isn’t about selling, it’s about genuinely helping your prospects and customers do better in their business and life.

You are publishing useful content, but have built no community!

It is a myth that great content will become viral, based solely on its quality. Just because you have created good, useful, and even highly valuable content does not guarantee that it will spread “virally”.

For instance, you can write outstanding blog posts that address all the challenges faced by your target persona.

However, if you haven’t built a community of subscribers, the reach for your blog, will be dismal.

How to fix this:

Take the time to build an audience for your content who will then support and extend the reach for your content.

There are several ways to do this such as engaging on social media, crafting email campaigns, and strategic CTAs throughout the website encouraging people to sign up as subscribers.

Once you’ve built a good community, as soon as you publish a blog, you can email them first, thus creating a ready audience to consume and share your content.

You are publishing useful content, but you don’t promote it

This point ties in a little with the last one. Publishing great content doesn’t automatically guarantee viewership or virality.

To gain any form of success with content marketing, it is imperative that your content actually reaches as many people from your target audience as possible.

How to fix this:

There are several methods of content amplification such as social media channels, offline media, blogger outreach, email newsletters, engaging in forums, and so on.

While producing top-notch content is key, you should also ensure that you have conducted extensive research to understand your person’s favorite “hangouts” on the web, to be able to reach them where they are.

Then you can implement both paid and organic strategies to promote your content in their circles.

You are publishing useful content, but you are not optimizing them for search engines

Fact: Content’s most powerful channel is SEO. What is the point of all the incredible content you are writing, if nobody ever gets to read it? It might as well be non-existent.

How to fix this:

The best way to ensure that your content will appear in search engines is to base your content on long-tail keyword topics and optimize it both for on-page as well as off-page SEO.

Several companies have also seen immense success with SEO site pages – pages that are developed and promoted with a keen intention to get them to perform well in search.

They are essentially extremely comprehensive guides on a very specific subject (what most businesses brand as an ebook and gate it behind a lead generation form).

Updating your content this way allows Google to read all of your content, thereby increasing your chances of being found via search. You can always include a CTA within the page, such as a subscription form, to convert your visitors to contacts.

Generating inbound links for this page through blogger outreach and other organic methods will further help improve both the optimization of that page as well as other pages on that domain!

Making only the marketing team responsible for content

Most companies tend to assume that it is solely the marketing team’s responsibility to aggregate topics based on arbitrary research on the internet. The result of this is writing content that may not even make sense for your personas.

It may be well-written, entertaining, and perhaps even useful for your audience.

However, it does nothing for quality conversions. This means, you may have several subscribers and leads, but no customers in the end.

How to fix this:

In order to write content that does reach people that can someday be your customer, your best strategy is to look in-house and drive the content strategy from the front-ending departments within your organization. Your most important inputs can actually be derived from the sales team because they have exact knowledge of the challenges being faced by the prospect, and these can become topics for your content. You can also request feedback from the sales team about topics that you do intend to write to understand how they would resonate with the prospects. Talking to people who are already engaging with prospects and customers, will provide amazing insights into your content strategy.

In addition to the sales team, you should also gain inputs from other customer-facing departments such as customer support, HR, product, and the senior management teams.

Make content everybody’s responsibility in the organization!

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