According to a recent report by the Content Marketing Institute, 90 percent of surveyed business-to-consumer (B2C) organizations use content marketing.
Yet only 34 percent of these B2C marketers consider themselves effective.
A 66 percent failure rate might work in baseball batting averages, but boardrooms won't tolerate this level of performance for very long.
I've had many opportunities to speak with quite a few B2C content marketers over the past year, and the stories of success and failure share a few common trends.
Here's what I have observed:
1. Distribution is key to success. There's a host of causes when it comes to why B2C marketers fail, but the lack of meaningful organic content distribution is a part of every conversation about content marketing failures. Content distribution is as fundamental to success as the content asset itself.
No B2C marketer has ever told me, "Our content asset got all of this coverage in my marketplace and we failed." That almost never happens, since the market won't cover or talk about something that has the potential to fail.
Content marketers should view the content asset as a means to getting market coverage. This is a major shift in thinking from the "build it and they will come" mindset.
2. Trust research instead of intuition. The other main content marketing failure trend is a lack of research. You might be surprised by how many organizations, even in the Fortune 500, rely on ideas from the gut rather than basing decisions on research.
I get it--you're an enterprise marketing manager who's getting paid very well, and you need to show the executives that you're worth your salary and rock star reputation. This mindset has led more than a few enterprise content marketers to make from-the-gut decisions on the direction of the content asset, a common and unfortunate trend among content marketing failures.
On the other hand, content marketing successes are based on very deep market research--which in many cases even includes user interviews and conversations with industry influencers. Let the research set the rules of the game, and you'll be the player who leads your team to victory!
Here's the most effective content marketing mindset: "Research it, build it, distribute it, and they will come." Content distribution should be at the core of your content marketing strategy, rather than an afterthought when things aren't going so well.
You should also craft a deep research process to set the campaign up to win. Then, you can go to your executives with a win built on excellent decisions made on deep market research. These two elements can give your content the chance at success that it deserves.