Why You (Probably) Hate Your Content Marketing Strategy

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If you are a marketing expert and understand the full capacity of content marketing, you probably don’t need to read this. If something’s wrong with your content marketing strategy, it’s probably for a reason more analytical or strategic than what I’m about to say.

But if you’re reading this blog post, chances are you have no clue why it’s not working. Wherever you are in your content marketing strategy, this is a good refresher course.

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Sit down class. It’s time to get schooled.

Before I tell you why you probably hate your content marketing strategy, I want to make sure we’re all on the same page. Let’s look at the Content Marketing Institute’s definition of content marketing:

“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

In other words, a content marketing strategy is about creating content that enriches the experience your target audience has in using your product or service in order to develop and maintain a customer relationship.

Sounds great, right? Companies can build customer relationships based on trust simply by giving away their expertise in the industry for free to the potential consumer.

Andrew Davis Quote on Content Marketing

And this is what companies see: That producing content is free.

But that’s not really true. The writers are paid to create the content. Inbound marketing software is purchased in order to distribute the content. And sometimes content marketing gets some of that social media or digital ad spend.

While that’s probably why many companies launch a content marketing strategy, it’s not why they abandon it just as quickly.

Why You Probably Hate Your Content Marketing Strategy

When we think content, we think of anything and everything that’s amassed millions of views and even sparked social media hashtags or celebrity commentary.

I know what you’re thinking: Wouldn’t it be great if your company could get those results with your content—and for free???

(Extra question marks ironically intentional)

And that’s why you hate your content marketing strategy: You think content marketing = viral marketing.

Aiming for viral results from your content marketing is like backstabbing your most loyal friends so that you can become prom queen (or king).

Prom Queen Miss Piggy Muppets

Sure, content marketing does go viral from time to time. No company in their right mind would turn away that kind of publicity.

But that’s not the purpose of content marketing.

See, viral marketing is really a branding strategy that targets the general public. But chances are, your target audience isn’t the general public. If you’ve done your buyer persona homework, you know that your target customer is someone more specific with even more specific needs.

Your content marketing should be viral within your target audience, not viral with the world. If you create content that’s most useful to your customers, then you can create an audience large enough to make your content resonate within your industry.

At the end of the day, you’re running a business. Not a popularity contest.

That doesn’t mean your content marketing should ignore what trends. If you can make recipe videos, behind-the-scenes snapshots, TV show GIFs and, well, cats work for your target audience, I say try it out.

Just never forget what content marketing or who your target audience really is.

Class dismissed.

What do you think is the reason companies hate their content marketing strategy? Share your insights below.


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