The whole “if you build it, they will come” principle doesn't really apply to content marketing. If you've invested in a content marketing strategy just to see it fall flat -- or consulted businesses excited about content only to give up shortly thereafter -- you know what I mean.

But you might not know why failure happens. It's not that content marketing itself is destined to fail you; it's just that there are some dangerous assumptions about what content marketing can do and how content marketing works that can end up sabotaging your success.

 Free training lesson: Understanding Content Marketing

Fortunately, Moz's Rand Fishkin has taken the time to identify five reasons that your content marketing is likely to fail -- so you can turn it around before it becomes an issue. Check out this outstanding deck, and keep the conversation going in the comments.

The 5 Reasons Content Marketing Fails

1) You Believed the Biggest Myth Content Marketing Ever Told the World 

Many companies invest in content marketing on the assumption that if they simply publish content, people will click on their links and buy from them. In reality, the paths we expect people to take interacting with out content marketing isn't completely predictable. It's important to offer content and conversion opportunities, but just as important to know the path to conversion could be reached in a lot of different ways (even ones we didn't anticipate!)

2) You Made Content Without a Community

Just because you create "good" content does not mean that it will spread "virally." In most cases, content that performs well already has a community behind it. Rather than expecting your content to go viral, focus on creating content for the specific audience that you believe will support and amplify your content.

3) You Invested in Content Creation, But Not in its Amplification 

How to best promote your content depends on your audience. Therefore, you should invest in researching and identifying how your audience discovers, accesses, and interacts with content online and make sure you are promoting your content accordingly.

4) You Ignored Content's Most Powerful Channel: SEO

The easier it is for people to find you via a search engine, the more likely you'll get people to engage with your content. In addition, as content on a site earns links, it helps every other page on that domain rank better in search engines, too. 

5) You Gave Up Way Too Soon

Content marketing is a long term investment. It is very rare that a single post will provide immediate returns. It takes time to grow your online community and for your content to appear in the top page in SERPs. The key is to not give up before you content has had time to mature. 

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Originally published May 20, 2014 6:00:00 PM, updated November 22 2017


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