A whole host of elements are required to create a marketing automation system that fires on all cylinders. Perhaps one of the most important is content: the fuel for the fire. Without regular and varied content, a marketing automation programme simply isn’t going to get off the ground.
In the early stages of marketing automation adoption, the sheer volume of content required can seem daunting (although you may already have more than you think – check out our link at the bottom of this post for more on this). The danger here is thinking that you need to churn out any old content just to get things up and running. By not taking the time to think carefully about this process, you’re likely to encounter problems further down the line when the content doesn’t perform as well as it should.
Here we’ve outlined four common reasons for content failure, so you know what to avoid in the future:
1. The content is isolated
You’re not just producing content for the sake of it (or at least, you shouldn’t be). Having content that exists on its own may give visitors to your site something to look at, but if there is no strategy around it, it’s highly unlikely to produce any positive results.
Every piece of content needs to match up to one of your pre-defined buyer personas. If you’ve taken the time to create accurate personas, you should know what they are searching for, what their pain points are and therefore the type of content they would be interested in. You’ll also need to consider what stage they are at in the buying cycle. Your ‘CEO Charlie’ persona, for example, will be interested in different content when he is at the top of the funnel compared to when he’s further along in the process.
2. SEO? What’s SEO?
It’s no surprise that unless people can find your content, it’s not going to produce the expected results. Search engine optimisation (SEO), therefore, is crucial for every piece of content you produce.
As stated in the previous point, you should know the kinds of things that your personas are searching for. These are the keywords (or key phrases) that your content should be focusing on. While in-depth SEO work is often still left to the specialists, optimising a paper, blog post or other content is actually relatively straight forward: it all comes down to making sure your keywords are used in the title, meta description, body text and headers so that search engines know exactly what your piece of content is about. (If this makes your head spin, there are lots of introductory SEO blog posts available online, so invest a bit of time in getting your head around how this works.)
3. It’s all about you
Let’s face it, we all love writing about our own business. We want to share what we do with the world and make them understand how great we are. This is fine, but this isn’t content. Or at least, this isn’t content that will produce conversions.
Is there a ‘News’ section on your website? Great! This is where to shout about all the exciting things that are happening in the business. But for your personas, you need to be producing content that they will find useful – advice on how they can tackle their pain points, top tips and guides for improving certain aspects of their business, or case studies that address the challenges they themselves are facing. Give them what they need – not what you want to say!
4. The content is way out of your comfort zone
Your personas will naturally be searching for other things that aren’t necessarily your bag. It would be great to target all the keywords they search for, but the danger here is producing content that focuses on topics that you and your business have very little knowledge of. You may get the traffic, but very quickly they’ll see straight through what you are trying to achieve.
There are ways around this of course, such as investing in research, outsourcing the content production or partnering with an organisation that’s more comfortable in this area.
It’s important to stress that you shouldn’t expect every piece of content to produce great results. There are so many variables, so it’s natural for some areas to outperform others. The important thing is that you regularly assess performance, so you know the types of content you should continue producing in the future.