Content Strategy

Want to Know the Number One Reason Content Marketing Efforts Die?

November 9, 2022 - By Dave Clarke

Content marketing works.

It can help your business generate brand awareness, scale traffic, establish authority, build trust, inform audiences, raise money, facilitate self-education… its applications are just about (but not quite) endless.

But lots of content marketing efforts die. They lose steam; they go dormant.

They’re abandoned.

There are a number of reasons why this happens. More often than not, though, a lack of organizational commitment is what kills a content marketing strategy.

Let’s unpack that

Content marketing is usually led by… content marketers. They develop the strategy, defining audiences, objectives, KPIs, distribution frameworks and everything else that goes with standing up the machine. That is what they are good at. They’re also good at operationalizing: scheduling, editing, publishing, measuring, reporting.

This is their domain. This is their expertise.

And thats OK. In fact, it’s good. In the same way that a dentist is not the ideal candidate to blog about content marketing, a content marketer probably (hopefully?) doesn’t have a whole lot of authority on dentistry.

It is the content marketer’s job to get organizational buy-in on content marketing. They need to secure commitments from the subject matter experts. They need them to play an active role in supporting (not running) content marketing.

Without that commitment, the whole thing is DOA.

So how do you, content marketer, get that commitment? How do you get folks from within your organization to participate in a workstream that they are (likely) not super passionate about, nor measured against or compensated for?

Start with the bigger picture

Ask a non-marketer to blog or otherwise create something and they’ll wonder why they would ever bother to do it. It’s not pertinent to their work. It doesn’t fit into their day-to-day. They’ve got better things to do.

All valid reactions. It’s up to the content marketer to explain why the company is pursing content marketing and what the expected results are. It’s the difference between “we’d like you to write some articles for us” and “by sharing your insights and ideas with our audiences, we’ll gain mindshare with our clients…. we’ll have fodder for demand gen campaigns… we’ll arm our salespeople with value-add materials… we’ll be able to upsell and cross-sell our customers… we’ll increase recurring revenue…” You get the idea.

Make it easy for them

When standing up a content strategy with a client, we always say that part of our job is to make the whole process as effortless as desired for our subject matter experts. Offer weekly calls to bat around ideas. (Limit those calls to 15 minutes.) Offer to record brainstorm conversations. Offer to draft outlines. Offer to edit. Suggest ideas that might spark new ones. Accomodate their schedules. Work how they work (even if that means emailing an attached Word doc back and forth. *shudders*)

Bottom line: address and eliminate your subject matter expert’s concern that you’re just adding work to their plate.

Treat your content effort like an editorial operation

Be clear about roles and responsibilities. Issue and adhere to deadlines. Provide feedback to improve processes. Use a management tool. (We love Trello for this.) When you make edits or changes, explain why you made them.

Keep your subject matter experts informed

Beyond sending a link or forwarding an email, report to your subject matter experts how their content is doing. Impressions. Clicks. Opens. Shares. Feedback. Comments. Show them that the time and effort they spent on your content marketing initiative is having an impact.

Get execs involved

Everyone else on a team is a lot more likely to participate in a content marketing effort when they know that their bosses are.

Are these suggestions silver bullets?

Of course not. Every organization is different. But if a content marketing effort is to survive and sustain and ultimately impact a business, everyone—not just marketing—has to buy in.