Why Content Marketing is Starting to Suck

April 24, 2018   /   by  Diane Callihan

And How to Make the Most of It Anyway

As a content marketer with a life-long love of writing, it pains me to say this: Content marketing is not working like it used to.

The reasons are plentiful. We are inundated with content – drowning in it. It seems almost impossible to focus on any single news story, for example, because thousands of other stories about other events are coming out every minute, all demanding our attention.

Site visitors on average spend less than 15 seconds on any given webpage, and that’s assuming people click to go to your site at all.

The Washington Post recently wrote about this issue. According to a study by computer scientists at Columbia University and the French National Institute, 59 percent of links shared on social media have never actually been clicked: people are sharing news they haven’t even read.

“People are more willing to share an article than read it,” study co-author Arnaud Legout said in a statement. “This is typical of modern information consumption. People form an opinion based on a summary, or a summary of summaries, without making the effort to go deeper.”

Most people read headlines and not much else. Which may be why the web is now full of outrageous, click-bait headlines that claim, “You won’t believe what happens next!”

For example, the Science Post, a satirical news site, published a block of “lorem ipsum” or placeholder text under the headline: “Study: 70% of Facebook users only read the headline of science stories before commenting.”

Nearly 46,000 people shared the post, despite the fact the article had no content whatsoever.

We are a distracted people. And all that time your marketing department is spending on creating well-researched, long-form, informative articles may sadly be a waste of time.

A Buzzsumo study of a million social posts showed that 50% of posts received 8 shares or less. And, according to Social Media Today, engagement is steadily dropping.

Worse, most companies don't even know if their content marketing is working or not. Only 35% of B2B content marketers say they can measure ROI from their content marketing programs. That means a lot of marketers keep churning out new content regardless of performance.

So, what happens now? Do we just scrap our content marketing efforts, or resign ourselves to mediocre results? No.

There are several things we can do.

  1. Worry more about quality than quantity. Work on creating truly exceptional content that will stand out above the rest. Don’t just add to the noise.
  2. Don’t put all your eggs in the content marketing basket. Use email marketing, SEO, PPC, retargeting, programmatic ads and other tactics to help drive traffic and generate leads.
  3. Repurpose existing content. If you’ve had high performing posts, update them, edit them and reuse them where you can. This saves you time and effort and lets you use something with proven results.
  4. Study your most popular content and figure out what topics are resonating most with your target audience, so you can plan accordingly going forward.
  5. Consider putting your content into a different format. Video, for example, is still out-performing other content delivery methods and may get you a bigger bang for your buck.

Need help getting great ROI on your marketing efforts? That’s what we do. Let’s Talk.

Diane Callihan

Diane Callihan

With more than 20 years of experience writing for some of the country’s top brands, Diane helped to shape Roger West’s content strategy, lead generation, and PR efforts as Director of Marketing. She currently serves as President of Callihan Content Creation.