content marketing ideas

When your content marketing fails to deliver – try this

leonie waldron
Leonie Waldron
Head Strategist


  • If your content marketing has failed to deliver in the past, it may be down to these 4 common issues:
    • Not being transparent and creating lacklustre/generic content 
    • Taking a ‘post & pray’ approach
    • Setting expectations that don’t match the purpose of content marketing
    • Capacity to deliver doesn’t match what they are trying to do 
  • This article contains our tips to fix each of these issues, and keep your content plan affordable, achievable and consistent.

Also – not every problem is a content problem – if you’re not seeing results, it could be possible that you’re trying to fix something with content that requires a totally different approach. 

If your content marketing hasn’t given you the results you wanted, there could be a few reasons why:

Common content problems (and how to fix them)

1. Not taking a stand

Content marketing is about educating your potential customer, building trust, and being transparent.

Everyone wants to make the right decision that is fit for purpose, saves their company money/time, and makes them look good in front of their boss and their workmates.

When you fail to honestly address these underlying, unspoken concerns, you could be leaving money on the table. Avoiding conversations around the drawbacks of your product/service or being cagey about price can erode trust in your brand.

Try this instead:

Be bold. Be the first one in your industry to address the things that your competitors are too scared to talk about: ‘how much will this cost me?’, ‘how does this compare to the alternative?’, ‘is this company/brand/product the right fit for me?’.

Help your potential buyers make good decisions

Marcus Sheridan’s They Ask You Answer framework is a great place to start. Be confident and take a stand with your content to really build trust with potential buyers.

content marketing plans

2. You took a ‘post & pray’ approach

‘Build it and they will come’ might have worked in Field of Dreams, but in the noisy, crowded online space you need to work hard to get your content seen.

Posting an article to your blog and expecting traffic or leads to magically appear is a sure-fire road to disappointment.

Try this instead:

Get a framework together to help you promote, distribute and repurpose your content far and wide. Post that article, and then:

  • Chop it into 5 social posts
  • Share it in your newsletter
  • Turn the key points into a graphic or carousel
  • Add a banner to your email signature
  • Turn it into a quick video script
  • Cut quotes out of it and share these on your social media
  • Share it within your industry networks or communities
  • Post a concise version of it as a LinkedIn article (different to a post)
  • Is it part of a bigger topic? Package several articles together as a big guide or ebook

One piece of content = many uses, and many channels for distribution.

3. Expectation didn’t meet reality

Did you expect too much from your content marketing?

Content isn’t a silver bullet. And in the industrial/manufacturing sectors, it’s rare that a piece of content can be definitively tied to a sale.

Try this instead:

Remember that content is all about building trust, building a picture of your brand in your customer’s minds, and helping them – BEFORE they are ready to buy.

So, when your sales cycle is 6-12 months, your potential customer could be consuming 10, 20, 100 articles/videos/reports/case studies over many months, with no purchase order in sight – yet.

Keep chipping away, and remember that content is a slow burn.

team engagement

4. You didn’t factor in your capacity to deliver

A content marketing strategy, properly prepared and executed, is easily a full time job.

An ambitious social media posting schedule is a full time job.

Distributing content effectively is a full time job.

Tacking on content production/management as an afterthought will not give you the results you want. Quality content marketing is definitely not free – it takes substantial time and resources to do it well.

Try this instead:

Scope out what you need to do in detail to get a clear picture of the time/money involved. Factor in your internal/external resources, your team’s workload, your budget, and whether your sales and engineering teams are ‘on the bus’.

If you as the marketing manager are trying to mobilise a whole bunch of people that simply don’t care or don’t have the time to help, you will be in for a challenge.

Know your limitations based on your team’s willingness and ability to be involved and the time/money you have to make things happen.

THIS is what will create the guide rails that will keep your content plans achievable, affordable and consistent.

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