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If Your Content Marketing Isn't Working This Is Probably Why Successful content marketing requires cold analysis of data and intuition about your audience.

By Mike Templeman Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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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.

Related: The 4 Laws of Content Marketing

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.

Related: 5 Startups That Are Killing It With Content Marketing

4. They can't find your content.

Remember when Kevin Costner stood in a field in the movie "Field of Dreams" and a voice told him, "If you build it, they will come." Well, unfortunately this doesn't hold true for your content. In fact, if you build it, they probably won't have any idea that it's been built. So, if you've created a masterpiece of content marketing that just needs to see the light of day, then shine some light on it. Promote it on social media, pitch it to editors to get picked up on third-party sites, email it to your database of contacts, ask friends and family to share it. Heck, you can even pay some guy to wear it as a sandwich board outside your office if you think that will help. Regardless of how you get it out into the wild, just make sure it gets out. Because if you're expecting the customers to find you, you're going to be waiting for a long while.

Related: Content Marketing Isn't Really About Your Content

5. You're not saying anything new.

Wait a minute… You're telling me that your customers aren't devouring your recent blog post titled, "Five Reasons to Visit Your Chiropractor." That's probably because that article has been written 2,000,000 times… this week. And let's be honest, your customers aren't robots. So why should they be happy to read the same thing over and over again? Instead of creating what you think you're supposed to be creating, create what you want to create. I guarantee it will be more authentic and engaging than the processed content that I see on every single website on the internet. When your content is raw and has a bit of your personality mixed into it, it will stand out as something new and refreshing. And your customers will reward you for it.

So, spend a little time auditing your campaigns and have some self-awareness when it comes to its weaknesses. Once you've identified why things aren't working out, take the proper steps to get the campaign into shape and you'll be happily surprised with the results.

Mike Templeman

Writer and Entrepreneur

Mike Templeman is the CEO of Foxtail Marketing, a digital-content marketing firm specializing in B2B SaaS. He is passionate about tech, marketing and small business.  When not tapping away at his keyboard, he can be found spending time with his kids.
 

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