Content marketing is one of the most practical ways to increase the authority of the site over the long term, and it is certainly one of the most used tactics: according to some research, over 69 percent of companies actively invest in this strategy, that for 86 percent of professionals concretely serves to increase brand awareness, one of the levers to achieve lasting success over time. However, there are often problems or errors that compromise the end result, so it is important to learn to analyze the critical areas and solve them in the shortest time possible.

Recognizing and analyzing errors with content marketing

There are countless guides on how to create and apply a content marketing strategy, but inevitably they discount the problem of being generic, while business needs are very concrete. Often, when you put in place an intervention in this sector, you risk having to wait several months before a concrete return – if, of course, you know how to measure the content marketing ROI, as we were saying in another insight! – and that means a waste of time and investments.

So we need to be able to understand why your strategy did not work even though we followed all the directions, and then be able to improve it – maybe without looking for another guide – knowing what didn’t work in our effort.

So here are four areas, highlighted by an article by Michael Doer on Search Engine Watch, where we usually find the biggest obstacles in content marketing campaigns and the indications to analyze the weak and critical points and overcome them.

  1. Problems with workflow structure
  2. Problems of content quality
  3. Problems of content distribution
  4. Problems with content conversion

Issues with the content marketing workflow

One of the most common problems in beginners’ content marketing efforts is inconsistency: we have “set the right targets, started measuring Kpis, but the team seems unable to manage the load, often deadlines are not met, the quality of content is poor and you get little feedbacks“.

To improve, it is not enough just to get the content team back on track: it is more useful to understand what went wrong and why it happened, so you can really solve the problem.

The advice is to examine the content marketing workflow through value stream management or workflow mapping, the value flow management strategy originally developed by Toyota engineers to make car production more effective and then applied in every other industry.

How to create a workflow mapping

To create a workflow map you need to follow a few steps:

  • Get your content marketing team together.
  • Select a target, such as creating a single article.
  • Understand who is involved in the process.
  • Gather feedbacks on all steps of the process.
  • Display it in a map (in the image, from Tallify, the example of a workflow for the management of a support ticket).

Esempio di workflow mapping

It is not that important how to draw the map – there are several specially designed softwares, but you can also do a simple hand diagram – but be able to locate and really insert what happens in the workflow, not what should be in theory.

Once you get the map, you have to look for the inefficiency points: it is possible that copywriters do not get the tasks in advance or that there is no quality control in the content pipeline. Whatever the reason for the criticality, the workflow mapping allows you to understand what is going wrong and, after identifying the reason, you can test different ways to solve the problem and then measure the result and the effects of this kind of work.

Overcoming criticalities with content quality

According to Worldometers.com, every day more than five million blog posts are published: to overcome all this noise, you need a quality post.

As we know, however, judging the quality of writing is highly subjective, but we can use some metrics to reduce the inevitable bias, as James Parsons, founder of Content Powered, suggests, which invites to examine four statistics which might indicate that a poor quality of content.

  • Average time on the page.
  • Social sharings (provided there are easy ways to share).
  • Click percentage for other blog articles.
  • Average time on the site.

If one of these metrics does not show any sign of increase, it is an indicative sign that readers are not finding the content good enough.

Analyzing and improving the content

Once the problem is identified, it is time to understand how to intervene, first of all trying to analyze the content to assess whether it is informative and readable. Again, there are various tools that verify the readability of a text, but these are always mechanical evaluations that may not have concrete evidence in reality. The same complexities are found to judge whether a content is informative, because one returns to the field of subjectivity.

One solution would be to make an analysis of the competition that is getting the best results to find out what kind of narrative elements it uses in its strategy – e.g., infographics, statistics, interviews with industry influencers, quotes – and try to insert them within their content, obviously adapting them to their communicative style.

Obstacles in content distribution

A frequent mistake, especially for beginners in the field, is to focus only on content creation and neglect the other key aspect of this work, marketing: even the best of the texts is likely to remain without readers and not produce the desired effect, if it is not properly promoted and distributed.

It is therefore important to work to attract readers and make effective the efforts made so far, starting by understanding whether there is actually a problem with the distribution of texts that blocks its spreading.

How to detect content distribution issues

The main statistic that can serve as a compass is the number of backlinks and their growth, but it can also be useful to monitor the location of content in Serps and the organic growth of site traffic from target pages. However, to get a “complete picture, you should also consider keyword coverage”, all kind of activities you can do with our SEOZoom tools.

How to overcome this criticality

If the content is not getting enough backlinks, you need to reset the outreach activity and try to make the email copy better or find websites that might be more interested in the proposed content. It’s important to get measurable results, so remember to do a split test of the email awareness campaign.

If organic traffic growth is poor, there are several ways to improve the content: try to better focus on search intent, update the content to make it more current and incisive, optimize the title and the meta description (which can play a crucial role in attracting visitors to the site from organic search results), add related keywords and so on. One method of saving time and effort is to try to improve just one aspect of those listed on a content that does not work, and verify which surgery produces the best effects.

Content and conversions, optimization tips

Once understood how to identify the issues related to problems with site traffic, backlinks and the quality of content, we must finally focus on a KPI decisive for content marketing campaigns, the conversions, identifying any blocks and working to remove them.

Identifying content conversion issues

As in previous cases, the first step is to understand where the problem is and then to intervene to solve it, analyzing everything that is not related to the content.

For example, writes Michael Doer, “suppose you aim to make soft conversions such as subscribing users to a subscriber list or downloading a white paper leaving an email address”: if they do not work, it might be useful to do an A/B test to check if the change of CTA affects the conversion rate.

If this does not happen, some qualitative analysis must be done, because the problem could be elsewhere: for example, the content and the conversion target may have a different intent. Or, the lead-generation article attracts an audience that is at the top levels in the conversion funnel, and therefore it is difficult or almost impossible to achieve the sales goal.

Applying the customer journey mapping

Assessing how content contributes to actual sales is a very difficult task and, to begin with, we can analyze metrics related to lead generation, such as the growth of organic traffic and the time spent on the website. There are also more direct approaches, using multi-channel attribution reports and customer journey mapping.

In the first case, you use Google Analytics and the Indirect Conversions tool, which shows the contribution made by each marketing channel in a conversion. For the second aspect, we must first analyze two crucial relationships, the Flow of Behavior and Reverse Goal Path.

The Behavior Stream shows how users interact with the site and tracks their navigation and exit points (with the ability to see how different types of traffic behave)while the other report indicates the most common paths to a set goal.

We can use these tools to create a customer journey map, a flow chart that shows how a customer moves through a website, from the first interaction to the conversion (in the example in the picture, the model set by the United States Government), to find out how they interact with content and look for exit points.

La customer journey map degli USA

Overcoming errors and obstacles with content conversion

If the problem of strategy lurks in this area, it will be inevitable to make profound structural changes to the approach itself to content marketing: the article suggests to try to incorporate the following steps in the strategy to get better lead generation rates.

  • Lead-magnet content.
  • Focus on high-intent keywords.
  • Better entertainment of the reader.
  • Moving readers along the content pipeline.

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