Why Isnt My Content Working
We have come across many business owners and entrepreneurs that make or have made content and they share with us that their content is not working!
It did not increase traffic to their website.
It did not build their email or database.
It did not create new leads.
So, they have come to this conclusion, to create more content is not the answer. I think fair, and yet I now want to look at their content and see what they have created.
I do not disagree with them; I seek to understand.
Does Content Marketing Still Work?
Understand what kind of content they are or have created and compare it to a formula for creating content that does do all things they wanted it to do, yet theirs did not.
Now because this example will be broad-based, and I do not know exactly what kind of content you have made, that may not be working, I am going to cite a few common and recurring themes we have seen over the past decade. And with a few tweaks, even to some of the existing content, it can begin performing.
Imagine you are attempting to coax a puppy you have seen running loose in your neighborhood. And as you begin to approach it, what typically will happen?
The puppy runs away…but why?
(make sure to see the examples I share at the end of the article)
Aha # 1 – Do you have the right content?
It does not know you or trust you, so it is very careful as to not let you get too close, for fear of the “what’s this human trying to do?”
Content can elicit the exact reaction to your most ideal customer. You ask how?
The approach you took with the puppy was what? Direct, too direct. And because the puppy did not know you, even though your intention was to help, it retreated.
When we put out content that is direct, we may put off our best potential new customers.
So, what is too direct?
It is presenting to your ideal customer only the things that make you great. I will often refer to this as “Business Chest Beating” – we tell our ideal customers we are the best; we are #1, we have the best this or that….
Let us go back to the puppy.
We say or shout out to the puppy what?
“Come on, I’m not gonna hurt you, just come here, here boy…”
Our puppy and prospects have a different set of references and when a human says” I’m not gonna hurt you,” or “You should buy from me because I am the best” – the BS meter goes on and the needle gets pegged in the red – DANGER ZONE!
If your content is all about you, you might want to consider taking a different approach, because rarely does the direct approach work long term. Yes, you may get a few customers from this method, but I can almost with complete confidence tell you there are not enough of those people out there to create or sustain a growing business.
Let us go back to our puppy.
How do you know if your marketing is working?
The puppy runs away with the direct method. What would you naturally do?
You may begin to offer it treats. And often the puppy, in its curiosity, will come closer and then again, retreat.
Imagine now, you’re ideal customers have begun to research, about the product or service, which now it’s reported 82% of us, will do all of our research before we ever reach out to a salesperson, and they will do some casual content nibbling…then put the iPad down and get back to Netflix.
I will refer to this as gateway content.
It is the first piece of research your ideal customers will seek out, and they will begin by searching for what?
No, they are NOT putting your website in the search bar…I can guarantee you they may not even know who you are, much less the name of your website. (clue – this is why your website may get very little or poor traffic – you think people are going to search for your company name…please hit delete on this thought as it is a false reality…almost. The exception might be if you are major brands like NIKE, AT&T, or so on)
Aha #2 – What type of content is the best for driving leads?
Gateway content is the first (and there may be several pieces) question, from the ideal customer perspective, that you provide an answer.
Now what do I mean by this?
Back to our puppy.
If the little guy has been out running around for a few days, what does it need?
Water and food…
So, what would you provide? A guide on how to hunt down rabbits? Or maybe how to extract moisture from cactus?
…ok, so I know you were automatically saying in your mind or even out loud, a bowl of water. And you would do what with it?
Yes, you would place it in an obvious location, where you know the lost puppy could easily find it. And what would you do?
You would probably then walk away, giving it some space to feel safe to consume the water.
Now a note of clarity here:
You gave the puppy what?
Water and water only.
You did not give it everything you knew about saving a lost puppy, only water. Why?
Because you knew instinctually that if you gave it all you had, it would retreat because once again, it would be suspicious of the intent. (clue – one thing at a time!)
At this point, giving the water, in a safe place, allows the puppy to do its own recon mission, test the water, and decide if you are worth trusting.
You might have noticed the puppy had a cut…but you stayed focused on just providing it’s first and most in demand need – water.
Naturally, you would move to then maybe refilling the bowl, and beside the bowl, you place a few pieces of food…
Why only a few?
We don’t want to overwhelm its digestive system…and with our prospects, we don’t want to overwhelm their nervous system.
Aha # 3 – How do you decide what content to create?
You get more leads (and more saved puppies with water and patience) by listening and providing answers, “One at a Time”, than you do by giving someone a 9-piece tasting meal, all at once.
As I close out Why is My Content Not Working, I want to share a bit of a ninja hack…
It is this – often the first piece of content you create may have very little and often nothing to do with your product or service. 99 out of 100 content creators will make this misstep.
We have heard it a thousand times – If Henry Ford asked his customers what they thought they wanted, they would have said faster horses…Steve Jobs did the same thing.
They both began at a much different starting point.
The starting point may look something like this:
Business – Law Firm focusing on estate planning for small business owners
Reality: Most Small business owners do not even think of estate planning as they create and run their businesses.
This means you, if you are creating your gateway content, you cannot begin talking about estate planning for business owners…why?
Because they do not even know what they don’t know.
You must begin, in a different place. One they are familiar with. Or like the puppy, they will just run away.
As a small business owner;
- How do I find the ideal accountant, to help me pay the right amount in taxes?
- When should I begin the loan process for growing my business?
- 4 Key Elements Necessary when growing staff and making sure your policies keep you out of court.
If you noticed, none of these had anything to do with Estate Planning for small business owners…or did it?
Was it the water they needed right now before you applied the bandages to the open wound?
As I said earlier, 99 out of 100 content creators, especially entrepreneurs and small business owners will miss this. And it may be the reason no one is reading your carefully crafted blog posts or watching your amazing videos…you may just need to “add water.”
This works across every industry, bar none.
So my challenge to you is to take a look at your content…is it water, and then maybe some more water, then a few bits of kibble, and then next thing you know one morning you open your gate…and whose waiting for you?
A puppy, who knows loves and trusts you…and you can now take care of its true needs with your bandage and disinfectant.
Do this for your business, and when you hear the phone ring or the door knock, it will be your ideal customer, who has consumed your gateway content, and realized you, yes you are the authority and the one they want to do business with.
My name is Jeff Harrison. I am the Founder and President of a digital media company, SwingPointMedia and I want to thank you today for spending some time with me and discovering not only why your content isn’t yielding the results you desire, but how to fix it.