11 Reasons Small Businesses Fail at Content Marketing

Content marketing is a powerful and widely adopted strategy that can have many positive effects on building your small business’s brand. Benefits include; growing website traffic from local SEO rankings; increasing sales; and earning high-quality links to help you get top google rankings.

Sadly, many small businesses face challenges when trying to execute a content marketing strategy, damaging their brand and website’s value – thus failing.

Below you will find 11 reasons why small businesses fail at the content marketing game – these can be taken as lessons or insights into what it takes to be successful with content marketing.

Foundational Elements

Don’t know your audience

One of the biggest challenges that small business owners have is knowing who their audience is. They usually fail because of a misinterpretation of who their audience actually is, and subsequently what they find valuable.

Defining your business’s users is key to defining strategies that your best prospects will respond to. To learn how to define your users you can follow this guide to creating personas.

Lack of a Strategy

The strategy is the cornerstone of the campaign and is driven by the insights gained from understanding who your users are, and what they want or will find valuable.

Lack of Goals

This is a foundational aspect of any marketing campaign. Aligning a goal to each piece of content you create can help provide insights into; what is working, which you should focus on; and what is not working, which you should either revise or stop creating.

Lack of Ideas

This can sometimes be a difficult aspect of content creation for small businesses. There are many tools that you can use to help generate ideas – as well as just running some basic analysis on your competition to find out what’s performing well for them.

Lack of a Publishing Schedule

A publishing schedule, also known as a content or editorial calendar helps organize your posts and thoughts into a consistent publishing mantra.

Content Creation Issues

Content Quality

This might be one of the biggest issues. Most small businesses are still in the mindset that they can just pump out 500-word generic articles and people will find them authoritative – this is just not true.

Lack of Diversity

This goes along with the content quality aspect of content marketing. Pumping out the same stuff over and over is probably not valuable. Mix in some diversity in what you post.

  • Make sure you vary the post length of each article – it’s not natural to have all your content be within 50 words of one another.
  • Also, vary the content type – mix in infographics, guides, and even some curated lists.

Missing the Basics of SEO

If you plan on driving traffic from the search engines, you’ll need to at least have the basics of SEO built into every piece of content you create. Below are a couple articles that outline the basics of on-site SEO that include; keywords, title tags, content hierarchy, internal links, and other things you need to focus on.

What nobody tells you about optimizing content for SEO

The SEO basics and best practices for on-page SEO

You’re always selling – Glengarry Glen Ross Syndrome

Yes, the title references the ABC’s of selling – Always Be Closing, from the 80’s movie- Glengarry Glen Ross, let me explain. With content marketing the always be closing/selling mentality can kill your strategy before you ever get started.

When users go to an article that they think will help them solve a problem, and instead they feel like they are reading a sales pitch, it can cause trust issues with your business – nobody likes a car salesman.

Now, selling does fit into your content strategy, but the sales strategy for content is based on proving value through knowledge, which in turn, will build trust, and attract business.

After It’s Published

Lack of a Promotion Strategy

Unfortunately many small businesses simply think if you create a piece of content, that it will automatically be picked up on social media, and a ton of people will like it so much they will share it and link to it.

Every minute there are 211,000,000 pieces of content created, and you think that your piece will be so amazing that it will stand out among that many other pieces of content. You’re going to need to market it through social media outreach, basic PR, and even through paid channels.

The higher the value of your content the less promotion will be needed for it.

Lack of Consistent Analysis – The Ron Popeil Syndrome

Content marketing is not a “set it and forget it” strategy. It requires ongoing analysis and updates to content you have published.

Ongoing analysis of content that you’ve created will help provide insights into future creation. Doing a ROT analysis on a quarterly basis will help keep your best content in front of your users.