Why Do Content Strategies Fail? 8 Challenges in Content Marketing

Content marketing expert Josefa Niedermaier explains to you what mistakes you should avoid in content marketing.

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Table of contents
  1. 1. Wrong notions of content strategy
  2. 2. Rushing in without a content strategy
  3. 3. Impatience in Content Marketing
  4. 4. Too little budget for Content Marketing
  5. 5. Too much self-confidence
  6. 6. Too little self-confidence
  7. 7. Copied content
  8. 8. Sit back and wait
  9. Conclusion

For years, Content Marketing has been buzzing as one of THE buzzwords in the industry. Although the majority of marketers have now understood that it takes more than just publishing a few texts and pictures, many still find it difficult to develop a clear strategy. Content marketing expert Josefa Niedermaier explains in a guest post how you can set up your Content Marketing successfully.

Content marketing initially sounds like a simple thing. A bit of texting, a few nice pictures, post and done, right? If you are reading this post, you already know: Nothing is simple here, and without a strategy you can forget it.

The question remains, why so many companies fail mercilessly at the Content Marketing Strategy - even though they know it is an important topic. You will find a few possible answers below. This way, you can avoid the classic mistakes - danger recognised, danger averted!

1. Wrong notions of content strategy

Many companies approach the topic of content as if it were a kind of hobby. An activity that runs along casually and conveniently boosts sales numbers. Unfortunately, this approach leads to false assumptions such as...

  • "A blog post a week is easy, right?"
  • "Anna and Tobi are really good with people, let them handle the socials."
  • "Wait and see, in a month the leads will go through the roof."

Under such conditions, no meaningful strategy is created. A social media editorial plan or a blog post "whenever there is time" is not a content strategy. Which brings us to the next point...

2. Rushing in without a content strategy

Brainstorming meetings, motivated high fives and off you go? Better not. Before the first text is written, the first podcast recorded and the first Facebook ad campaign launched, the long-term plan must be established. After all, that's what a strategy is.

This includes the choice of topics and timing (among other things), as well as the brand voice. If you don't know internally exactly how you want to communicate and what you want to stand for - how should that be reflected in the content? The content is there to represent your brand. So before everyone cooks their own soup, develop a picture of the brand together that you can consistently carry to the outside.

Don't forget: You should definitely document the Content Strategy! In the report of the Content Marketing Institute (2020), 69% of respondents said they have a documented strategy - and these companies were also among the most successful.

So keep u. a. hold on to,

  • what your concrete goals are
  • how you want to measure them
  • who is responsible for what
  • at what intervals you want to analyse the content
  • how you will promote the content

Now give a review!

3. Impatience in Content Marketing

Content strategies require plenty of perseverance. The real success in the form of significantly more traffic or a strengthened brand image only comes after months, perhaps even years.

So don't be frustrated if, despite all your efforts, the results are initially only moderate. That's normal! Think carefully about how you want to measure success. Are the goals perhaps set too high and unattainable from the start?

Impatience only causes one to throw in the towel too quickly. And once that happens, that's it for the consistent long-term strategy. The lost time cannot be given back to you. Better to stick with it - after all, you don't win a marathon by training for half an hour just once!

4. Too little budget for Content Marketing

As said, the content strategy is not a hobby. It requires a lot of resources, because the strategy includes various areas:

  • pre-planning
  • create content
  • content design
  • actively promoting content
  • updating existing content
  • maintain social media channels

This requires many man-hours, not to mention the costs for picture/video material, tools etc. Those who put content under "just advertising" and distribute budgets stepmotherly can't expect big leaps.

But what to do if the superiors just don't want to see it? Do you know the feeling that the (content) marketing department always seems to get the short end of the stick? Then try to show the traffic value of high-quality website content.

You can find this value in many tools. The screenshot is an example from :

Screenshot of the tool Ahrefs

The figures refer to an extensive guide text that took about 100 hours. That's a lot of working time, but the traffic value is impressive. The actual value is usually much higher than the number the tools indicate.

In plain language:

  • Be ready to roll up your sleeves and invest time in the individual content assets.
  • Budgeting high budgets for content in the long term is a very good investment, because...
  • ...today only the best content is good enough and is rewarded by search engine algorithms.

But before we get too excited about the dollar signs, let's move on to the next common mistake...

5. Too much self-confidence

In a meaningful content strategy, conversion is not the focus. Yes, you read that right.

Of course, it has to pay off, and it goes without saying that you are fully convinced of your offer. But anyone who only has sales figures and the bottom of the funnel in mind is nothing more than a marketeer. This doesn't work in times of inbound marketing. Pure push advertising gives the impression that the company has nothing else to offer.

Today, the content strategy must above all be focused on: brand building. For the content, this means: less "we" messages and buzzwords. Don't tell what you can do and do, but put the target group in the centre. Each of your content must primarily benefit the person who reads it - not the company.

Look around at what your target group is talking about. What concerns, worries and wishes do they have? Where have they had bad experiences? You can read all this from forums and comments, among others on

  • YouTube
  • Amazon
  • good question.net
  • Reddit
  • Google reviews

For example, in the screenshot you can see the answers to a question from a Reddit user about what she should look out for in a legal protection insurance. The thread gives us a good overview of where consumers are still uncertain and what information they would like to have.

Source: Reddit

Conclusion: Self-made buyer personas are fine and good. Still, always make sure they match up with what real people feel and need.

6. Too little self-confidence

In content marketing, in addition to many good theories, there is also a lot of hot air. Seemingly every day, a new approach comes up that will supposedly revolutionize everything. "If you don't do XY now, you might as well pack up!" - this undertone often resonates. It's understandable that this can be unsettling.

But the best approach is: stay calm. Think carefully about whether it really makes sense to implement all the clever advice from content marketing theory.

Starting with a classic tip: "Do what the competition does!" This is only useful to a certain extent. Yes, you should orient yourself towards what works. But if everyone implements what the others are already doing - where does the individual character stay?

Instead, dare to do your own experiments. What speaks against showing edge and not taking the same line as the rest? Nothing, as long as you stand behind your opinions - and have thought thoroughly about how a statement or campaign might come across. Because with idiosyncratic "opinions" and lack of insight, you can get yourself into deep water.

7. Copied content

Google search results for the search term "Social Media Strategy"

Content marketing has a problem: pretty much everything has already been said a thousand times. Finding a unique spin on many topics has almost become impossible.

For example, take a look at the SERPs (Search Engine Result Page) for any marketing topic. Is it likely that you will learn something completely new here?

Simply rewriting what's already there, plus a bit more, so it becomes "Skyscraper Content"? That's how every content strategy hits the wall.

So, what to do if you have no idea for your own approach?

Look out for your "yes, but" moments in the competition posts. Where do you find the information too superficial? Where would you have much rather had a practical example? In short, where do you think: "Yes, but what good does this do me now?" You are certainly not the only ones who feel this way.

For example, look at the comments under the posts. This only takes a few minutes and may reveal important points of criticism. Also, the search refinements in keyword research are telling.

Let's come back to the keyword "legal protection insurance" as an example. In your choice of Keyword Research Tool it will show that the topic of retrospective insurance is in demand, among other things. The screenshot is from the Keyword Magic Tool from :

Screenshot of the tool SEMrush

However, the aspect of "retrospective insurance" or waiting times is only mentioned in passing in the top Google posts (as of 30.3.2021). This would be an opportunity for you to improve on this in your content and provide new information.

8. Sit back and wait

Part of the content strategy is also to beat the drum for new content. In fact, distribution is almost as important as content creation itself. Therefore: Don't wait for people to come to your content all by themselves. That's like buying all the cooking ingredients, putting them on the table and waiting for the food to cook itself.

Make an active effort to get mentions, share your content and interact with the people who view the content. The content does not exist in a vacuum, and the content strategy is a cycle - not a rigid step-by-step guide.

Conclusion

Content strategies fail when they are seen merely as a creative form of advertising. Because a strategy for content requires not only creativity but also analytical thinking, foresight and patience. Before implementation begins, it must be clear what brand image the content should portray and what means are best suited for it.

You can find helpful Content Marketing Tools on OMR Reviews, including verified user reviews.

All of this is a matter of course for you? Then off you go - good luck with your content strategy!

Josefa Niedermaier
Author
Josefa Niedermaier

Seit 2017 ist Josefa Niedermaier als Senior Copywriter & Content Writer bei der SEO-Agentur Evergreen Media® im Einsatz und bastelt dort täglich an eigenen und anderen Texten, bis wirklich alles sitzt. Manchmal zum Leidwesen ihrer Kolleg*innen – die haben nämlich (fast) alle schon gehört: „Da ist noch ein Fehler…“

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