34 reasons content marketing campaigns fail

Content marketing can do wonders for your brand, but a whole lot can go wrong if you’re not prepared.


Content marketing is all the rage these days. Alas, so many companies fail miserably at it and end up flushing mucho dinero down the toilet.

This risk gives content marketing a bad name.

Here, in no particular order, are 34 reasons content marketing campaigns fail:

1. Content is designed without specific buyer personas in mind.

2. Someone underestimates the resources needed to create the content.

3. No one gives enough thought to the architecture—a.k.a. “the system”—that will be built to create, harvest, disseminate, measure, and analyze the content.

4. Content is produced without an eye toward where it fits in the buying process.

5. Not enough content is created.

6. The campaign launches without a listening strategy or listening post.

7. The target market finds the content overly self-promotional.

8. Originality leaves the building.

9. The content creators don’t know/care about/understand the target buyer persona(s).

10. Content is produced for only one stage of the sales funnel.

11. Dissemination of the content happens at the wrong time.

12. Shareability is a problem.

13. Content built for one medium/platform/place is taken to another without any adjustments and is expected to kick ass.

14. Top of funnel content does not contain well-built/appealing calls to action and offers.

15. There’s no keyword (or longtail keyword) strategy.

16. Landing pages are poorly done, and they do not ask prospects valuable questions.

17. Lead generation and cost of customer acquisition are not included in the campaign metrics.

18. There’s a mismatch between the voice of the content, the target customer, and the organization.

19. A/B testing is ignored entirely.

20. Data and hard conversations take a backseat to harmony and people’s egos.

21. “Art” comes before business fundamentals. (This happens a lot, especially when teams are heavily populated by a certain type of creative.)

22. Unrealistic time expectations are placed upon a campaign.

23. The desire to be on all platforms and media trumps doing just a few well.

24. The C-suite doesn’t get content marketing or buy in to a campaign (bonne chance on this one).

25. The content marketing team falls in love with perfection and stops shipping.

26. The content marketing team is composed of inexperienced young people and/or talentless hacks. (Obvious, I know, but don’t discount how much this can screw things up.)

27. Killer content is created, but a brand lacks a big community or audience and refuses to spend money to amplify things.

28. Content is offensive to elements of the target market and wider public.

29. Content is plagiarized.

30. There are no clear goals.

31. The whole damn thing happens too fast.

32. After a campaign begins no one makes any adjustments based on data that’s been harvested.

33. The content produced does not educate, delight, fascinate, amuse, or help the target market.

34. No one considers optimizing the content for search engines.

We’ve all failed before; let’s learn from it. Please leave a comment if you have anything to add.

By the way, if you’re into blogging/content marketing, this editorial calendar template may help.

A version of this story originally appeared on Proper Propaganda’s blog.

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