Content marketing is holding tight to the role of shining star in the digital landscape. And it’s no secret that here at Stryde, we believe traditional methods of sales and marketing are essentially dead.
However, that’s not to say that content marketing is the duct tape of the marketing landscape (i.e. it fixes everything). Your business goals, capacities, and capabilities will determine if content marketing is the right strategy to utilize. As with so many things in life, content marketing is not “one size fits all” nor is it the most advantageous strategy to employ in every single situation.
So, instead of our typical communications dripping with content marketing praise, today we’re going to explore instances when you should absolutely, positively NOT use content marketing.
Absolutely, Positively Do NOT Use Content Marketing When…
… Short-Term Impact Is Paramount
If your goal is to drive immediate sales, then content marketing is not for you. The overarching goal of all content marketing initiatives is to create brand advocates. Then, these advocates provide your brand with search, referral, social, and word of mouth traffic for years to come. Which then translates into long-term, sustainable profits.
In fact, we penned an entire post about how short-term content marketing campaigns are in actuality a paradox. It takes time to build loyal brand advocates. It does not take time to generate a brief jump in sales. There is a place for both content marketing and advertising within organizations, but you need to understand how the outcome of each differs and match that to your own goals.
What To Do Instead: Advertising campaign
Why? With an advertising campaign, the goal is to instantly impact sales and/or leads. Effectively executing this campaign should produce the short-term impact that is desired.
… Your Goal Is To Persuade Customers
When you want to persuade consumers to take action or to feel a desired opinion towards a product, don’t use content marketing. Persuasion is not included anywhere in the definition of content marketing. Instead, the definition includes only the term “valuable.” Instead of the purpose of persuasion, the focus is on holistic understanding and relevant information.
We encounter this problem in content marketing initiatives quite frequently, and understandably so. It’s difficult to break from the traditional marketing mindset of clear calls-to-action and promotional copy. But, if you want to succeed in content marketing, you MUST break those tendencies. Content performs best when it’s authentic, comprehensive, and helpful.
What To Do Instead: Advertising campaign
Why? Closely tied with the previous point on short-term impact, persuading consumers to take immediate action is a core purpose of advertising. Consumers know the difference between promotional and non-promotional copy, and they’ll show that knowledge through their buying habits.
… You’re Not Willing To Invest In Content Distribution And Amplification
Creating an amazing piece of content is only half the battle. In order to enjoy the successes of content marketing, you need to have a plan, the time, and the budget available to distribute and amplify the content you create. Whether it’s through your own social media profiles, email marketing, strategic outreach, or paid promotions, content marketing fails when it’s missing this part of the puzzle.
The time spent cultivating and nurturing relationships with industry influencers, high-profile bloggers, and journalist pays off in the visibility your content gains. Not only visibility, but in links to your content, too. When respected individuals or corporations reference your content, it sends you pre-qualified referral traffic while sending the search engines strong SEO signals.
What To Do Instead: Educate yourself!
Why? There really is no comparable alternative to a thoughtful distribution and amplification plan. Without it, content marketing does not exist and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a comparable alternative.
If you want to begin a content marketing initiative and you harbor any of the three elements detailed above, do yourself a favor and don’t even start. If you’ve already ventured into the land of content marketing while harboring any of the three inclinations, it’s safe to say you probably considered it a big stinking failure. Which is okay! Now you know when to NOT use content marketing and you’ll save yourself from further failed attempts.
Have you experienced any other instances where content marketing has been a gigantic dud? What would you adjust in your approach, or would you abandon it all together? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!