The success or failure of your content strategy is very subjective.

It can be nuanced and multifaceted due to many factors – varied objectives, long-term impact, changing goals, complex data interpretation, content attribution, and many other external factors.

But then I’ve heard many business owners and marketing managers complaining about not seeing results despite publishing 12-20 blogs a month, aggressive social media promotions, and segmented email drip campaigns.

It could be because the content strategy itself is flawed, which can cause it to fail in achieving its intended results.

And because there can be many flaws in a content strategy, I would like to highlight the critical ones that most commonly cause your strategy to fail.

1. Not Sticking To Your Target Audience

The most common yet highly critical reason behind the failed content strategy is deviating from your target audience.

While we have worked with many IT companies, we have seen this as a major issue. They usually have some of these target audiences:

  • Tech Business Owners.
  • Non-tech Business Owners.
  • CTO or Project Managers.
  • Developers.

But most IT companies follow the trends their competitors have chosen, irrespective of what their sales team wants.

  • They want to sell Flutter development if their competitors start delivering that.
  • If their competitors have started doing it, they want to shift to staff augmentation from custom end-to-end development.
  • They want to start writing technical blogs if their competitors have written them.

It’s not their fault because they are trying to follow trends in the IT industry. But in following the trend, they unknowingly mix up all their audiences.

Deviating from your target audience can happen unintentionally due to shifts in business goals or strategies, inadequate or outdated audience research, customer base expansion, data misinterpretation, changes in industry dynamics, and more.

However, this is problematic for content strategy, because it results in content that is misaligned, inefficient, and ineffective in reaching and engaging the right people.

Why? Because:

  • You create irrelevant content for other sets of audiences.
  • You waste time, effort, and budget.
  • This results in inconsistent brand messaging.
  • You may attract the wrong type of leads or lower conversion rates.
  • With all these, you cannot measure the effectiveness.
  • And hence, the ROI is never justified.

A successful content strategy should be laser-focused on addressing the intended audience’s needs, building a strong connection with them, and ultimately driving meaningful outcomes for the business.

2. Missing Out On The Purpose Of Creating The Content

When planning content topics, you must know why you want to create this content. Because until you know the purpose, you can’t define its success metrics.

And when you don’t know the success metrics, your content remains orphan, cannibalized, or unhelpful.

With more such content, you only keep investing where there are no returns.

And never stick to the below as the only purpose of your content:

  • Because competitors have written them.
  • Because we want rankings.
  • Because we want all of our blogs to generate sales qualified leads (SQLs).
  • Because we think such topics would be helpful to our audience.
  • Because our product team wants to focus on that
  • Because our sales team wants to target this list of features to be promoted across a particular geography.

Where are the audience’s needs here?

Consider what the audience wants to read or consume while buying your products or services.

Your purpose should be divided into two:

  • What do readers expect out of this content?
  • What will we achieve when the user consumes this content and is happy about it?

I hope that’s clear to ensure your content strategy doesn’t fail.

3. Not Setting Up Each Content’s KPIs And Its Timeline

We know the purpose of creating content, but what if we don’t know how to measure whether the purpose was fulfilled?

That also will lead to the failure.

Most content calendars include the following basic things:

  • Content topics.
  • Content types.
  • Target audience.
  • Team involved.
  • Publication timelines.
  • Keywords data.
  • Word count.
  • Graphics requirements.
  • References.

But people don’t talk enough about what each piece of content has to deliver. We never used to add any content metrics in our SEO content strategy.

Content KPIs can vary depending on the content’s purpose and your overall content strategy.

Image created by author, November 2023

But just defining the KPIs is not enough; setting up their timelines ensures they are achieved.

Let me share what happens to your content strategy if you haven’t set the content KPIs and their timelines to achieve:

  • Directionless content creation – You publish a blog post without clear KPIs or timelines. The content covers a general industry topic but doesn’t tie into specific business goals. As a result, it doesn’t drive relevant traffic or contribute to lead generation.
  • Ineffective resource allocation – You invest significant resources in creating a series of YouTube videos without defining KPIs. The videos receive views, but without KPIs, it’s unclear whether they contribute to brand awareness, customer engagement, or sales growth.
  • Measurement challenges – You regularly publish email newsletters to a subscriber list without establishing KPIs and timelines. You observe that the open rates and click-through rates vary across different newsletters. Still, without predefined KPIs, you are uncertain whether the content needs improvement or the variance is within the normal range.
  • Missed opportunities – If you’re into the ecommerce or D2C segment and fail to define the KPIs and the timeline for your holiday-themed content, you miss out on capitalizing on the season for maximum visibility or sales. After all, there’s no point in me sharing Black Friday marketing hacks for marketers when Black Friday has already been and gone.
  • Inconsistent performance – When you’re writing different types of blogs without the defined KPIs and timelines, some pieces might perform well. In contrast, others underperform, and there’s no basis for comparison or improvement. This inconsistency makes it challenging to identify what types of content work best.
  • Difficulty in adaptation – While creating a content strategy for a software review site doesn’t have a timeline for updating the articles during significant software releases, it can drastically lose rankings and website traffic. Without defined KPIs and timelines, it’s harder to identify when adjustments are needed. You may not notice content that’s not meeting expectations until much later.
  • ROI uncertainty – The absence of KPIs and timelines makes it challenging to calculate the return on investment (ROI) for your content efforts. You won’t know if the resources invested in content creation yield the desired results.
  • Demotivation for teams – Content creators and marketers may become demotivated when they don’t see clear objectives or results associated with their work. This can lead to a lack of enthusiasm and dedication to following the content strategy.
  • Inability to learn and improve – The lack of defined KPIs and timelines makes it challenging to learn which of your blogs are supposed to drive marketing qualified leads (MQLs), newsletter sign-ups, embedded video clicks, move to landing pages, SQLs, and more. So, you won’t have data-driven insights to make informed decisions and refine your strategy over time.

To avoid all the above pitfalls, let’s have a structured approach so that your content efforts are purposeful, measurable, and adaptable, leading to a more effective and results-driven content strategy.

4. Measuring Leads/Conversions As The Only KPI

We just finished discussing that KPIs are important – but all KPIs are important, not just lead generation or conversions.

However, because the top management of startups and ecommerce business owners have strict timelines for reaching the goals of specific annual recurring revenue (ARR) and turnovers, they ask their marketing teams to focus on strategizing content for generating leads or business.

But here are a few very critical reasons why your content strategy fails if you only focus on leads or conversions:

Narrowed Focus

Relying solely on leads or conversions as KPIs can create a narrow focus on the end of the sales funnel.

While these metrics are important, they don’t account for the full customer journey.

Content should address various stages of the customer lifecycle, from awareness to consideration and retention.

We got an inquiry last month from someone who was into the home lifestyle industry in the US, and they were just starting in this highly competitive market.

We took days to build a strategy for them on how to showcase them as one of the emerging brands, and they just wanted to focus on whether our strategy would sell out their extensive inventory before a year.

Being in a B2C industry, one must know that 66% of consumers are now allocating additional time to research and validate their purchases due to the cost-of-living crisis, as per the report by Akeneo.

So, if you’re not present at every stage of their research, you’ll lose them forever.

Misalignment With Content Types

Different types of content serve various purposes within the marketing funnel.

For instance, blog posts are typically better suited for creating awareness, while in-depth whitepapers may be more effective for B2B lead generation.

If lead generation is the sole KPI, the strategy may not leverage the full potential of diverse content types.

This means that even if your sole focus is driving more whitepaper downloads, you would need the below content types to support:

  • Landing page content to encourage visitors to download.
  • Blog posts to introduce the topics covered in the whitepapers and links to the respective landing pages.
  • Email content to promote your whitepapers to your subscriber list and guide them to the landing pages.
  • Social media posts to highlight the whitepapers’ benefits and encourage followers to access them.
  • Guest posts or articles in industry publications to reach a broader audience and direct readers to your whitepaper downloads.
  • Compelling ad copy for paid campaigns, such as pay-per-click (PPC) or social media ads, to drive traffic to the whitepaper landing pages.

No matter what content type you choose to drive conversions, you need support of other kinds for maximized output.

Higher Customer Acquisition Costs

Not all visitors arriving at your site are ready to purchase or provide their contact information.

Many are in the early stages of the buying process, gathering information and evaluating their options.

But when the sole purpose is to drive conversions, the content strategy must consider paid advertising and email outreach. Paid advertising may directly bring you instant conversions but may be more costly in the long run.

Similarly, suppose you’re in the early stages of your business.

In that case, email outreach doesn’t always bring faster results, as your prospects might feel a lack of brand authority due to the lack of other content types on different channels for their research.

This ultimately results in higher customer acquisition rates, which cannot help you sustain for long.

A successful content strategy should not focus solely on immediate lead generation.

It should be balanced with content designed for brand awareness and consideration, essential for attracting organic, social, and referral traffic, building trust, and nurturing long-term customer relationships.

5. Not Emphasizing The User And Their Content Experience

User experience – we know that it matters for your marketing success.

But what’s content experience?

Content experience refers to how users interact with and perceive content on various digital platforms, such as websites, mobile apps, social media, and other digital channels.

It encompasses the overall impression, engagement, and satisfaction that content creates for the user.

Various elements, including design, usability, interactivity, and the quality of the content itself, shape the content experience.

In short, content experience is nothing but all about fulfilling the user’s expectations from content, such as:

  • Relevance – Your users interact or engage with your content only if they find it relevant to their needs and interests.
  • Quality – Your…

Con información de Search Engine Journal.

Leer la nota Completa > When Does a Content Strategy Fail? 11 Factors to Blame


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