Content marketing can be a fickle thing. One day a strategy works, the next, it doesn’t. Just when you think you’ve cracked the code, you realize you’re right back at square one, looking at a computer screen, wanting to scream into a pillow. So, if you’re knee-deep in content marketing but it just doesn’t seem to be working, here are the top reasons I see campaigns fail. Hopefully you can use this as a diagnostic tool for your marketing and give it the shot in the arm it requires.

1. You’re selling too much.No one wants to read your brochure. I mean, when was the last time you had a hankering for someone to interrupt you and sell you something? That’s what I thought. Fact of the matter is, most people are more interested in their own problems and would rather you help them solve those. So, if you can read through your content and it sounds a little “salesy” then it’s time to recreate it with your customer in mind. Start with their problems and teach them how to solve them. Once you’ve done that, you will have created a relationship of trust. And building a relationship between you and the customer is really what your campaign’s goal should be.

2. You have no idea who you’re talking to.Sure, you might think you know who you’re targeting. But do you really know who they are? Do you know their fears, their hopes, their problems, and the way they enjoy consuming content? Or do you just think that they’re a stick figure person with a sign that reads, “40-year-old male” hanging from their neck?

To really understand your customers and clients, you have to build out extensive buyer personas that don’t just touch on their demographics, but also their psychographics. Learn as much about them as possible. Once you understand who they really are, now you can speak to them and really engage with them.

3. You have no idea where they are in their journey.Whether you call it a funnel or a customer journey, what you’re describing is the steps your customers take in order to discover your company, decide whether they want to use your services or products, and then ultimately become a customer. Now, at different points along the journey the customers will have different questions they need answered. But if you’re constantly just giving them the same content that says the same thing over and over again, how are they going to get answers to their varied questions?

Instead, you need to craft content that addresses each concern they’ll encounter while they’re deciding whether to patronize your business or not. You can identify these by going through the journey and putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. Ask the questions they would ask and see if you’re adequately answering them. If you’re not, it’s time for new content. ...

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