So, you've finally convinced your boss to switch some of your focus from outbound to inbound channels, you've been given the go ahead and created some sweet content and made a good sounding plan. The only problem is, that results just aren't there.
After the initial screaming and holding your head in your hands part, you're likely next thought is "what the heck do I do now?" What do you do when content marketing doesn't work? Here's our 3 point, no-panic action plan....
Much like great cooking, much of great content marketing is about accurate measurement. And we'd assume that if you're reading this you have some sort of analytics in place in order to have reached your conclusion that your content marketing doesn't work. If you don't, this might be part of the problem.
Assuming that you do have the measurement tools, you should be in a good place to work through the action plan below:
1) Check the expectations you've set
The first thing you need to do is check whether you're actually failing or whether you just think you are. Now, before you howl "of course I am!" at me, hear me out... There are two parts to this that a lot of B2B marketers, particularly those who're making the change from outbound to inbound, tend to get confused.
- Timing: Have you looked for too much too soon? Content marketing is not direct selling. It takes time to work. Like months, and it requires the necessary amplification in some cases PPC would also be required. You have to build a relationship with people and have them come to trust you. It's not a "put a blog out this morning, get sales this afternoon" type of game. If you're looking for instant growth to your bottom line the minute you start creating content, your expectations are at fault, not your content strategy.
Give yourself at least 2-3 months to properly assess the success or failure of a content marketing campaign.
- Metrics: Are you measuring the right thing? Before panicking because your sales are just not there, you need to look for evidence that your content is having the desired effect, that it is deepening the relationship you have with key prospects. Look at how many visits you are getting to your content, look at how many people move from your blog to download value add content on that page or subsequent pages. Normally only between 20%-30% of the leads you generate will be qualified to take the next desired stages within your sales cycle
2) Back the winners, kill the sinners
So, you've checked your stats and your timing, and you've found out your content plan is not performing as you expect. Darn. When you're floundering, you need to be able to quickly analyse your project and figure out whether it's all bad or just some bits aren't working so you know what action to take.
From there you can take a decision as to whether you cut your losses by killing the project entirely, keep the good bits or work to revamp the salvageable elements. Providing you haven't made a complete and total Horlicks of the content creation, you should be able to do a combination of the last two to good effect.
3) Rethink, reboot and refine
Once you've decided that there's something salvageable in your current content marketing effort, it's just a matter of keeping the good bits and trying to replicate them.
- Look at what's working and figure out why
- See if you can apply the same traits or principles to the rest of your content or promotion
- Devise new content ideas, repurpose existing content or replicate promotional activities that share these successful properties
- Adjust timeframes and metrics where necessary
- Don't be scared to stay small until you've got a better grip on what works
- Do stay consistent, don't develop the marketing equivalent of multiple personality disorder in your panic to find something that works.
Hopefully this has calmed your nerves, given you some new ammunition and provided an easy to do action plan to put your content marketing efforts back on track.
If you think that your content might not be performing as you've expected, lets us have a look under the bonnett and give you a free content marketing assessment. More often than not it can be salvaged and redirected accordingly to achieve the goals you've set out to achieve.