How to diagnose bad content marketing

Although content marketing (usually) helps a business, there are instances in which a business’s content strategy may be harming its image, engagement, or ability to convert. This is a bad content strategy.

As we all know, no marketing strategy of any kind should be in place to harm our businesses. That defeats the point. But there’s a tricky part of this equation that many people do not realize.

Content marketing strategies take a minimum of 6 months to produce tangible results that can be attributed to certain marketing channels or content endeavors.

Think about this for a moment, in the beginning of your content marketing strategy, that’s 6 months of work before you know that it works.

This is why most people quit, but understandably so. We all want immediate results on our efforts, but content marketing is a long-game strategy.

In fact, I often say that the content marketers dilemma is this: How do you know if your content works, when it takes so long to work?

When you produce content all the time, this is an issue. You want to KNOW you are on the right track.

So, I thought that today’s article should help you focus on diagnosing a content marketing strategy that WON’T work before you go all-in to produce one or continue one!

Bad Content Marketing Characteristics

Bad content marketing strategies.

Without further ado, let’s dive into some of the things you will begin to notice in a badly-managed content marketing strategy.

1. You Only Write Blogs

Now, don’t get me wrong. Blogs are awesome pieces of content! The only issue here is when people think blogging is the ONLY style of content that they should employ.

That should be a content marketing sin.

Although a good blogging setup is necessary, it is far from the ONLY necessary content format that you should employ.

Things like whitepapers, ebooks, videos, podcasts, webinars, checklists, memes, infographics, case studies, and more are all good forms of content marketing that can help your business make a difference.

I know that this list may sound overwhelming, and trust me, I know exactly how hard maintaining a blog can be! That being said, many of these other content formats can be created and distributed in much less frequency.

The point here is the diversity of content, people get bored with blogs and text fairly easily. Employing video, podcasts, and other forms of engaging content that allow people of different visual or auditory learning opportunities is a great way to become more engaging with your audience!

2. Buyer Personas that Aren’t Fact-Based

Where do you come up with the characteristics of your buyer persona? If you merely wrote down the first things that popped into your head when you thought of it, then I’m sorry to say you might be struggling to put an effective content marketing strategy in place.

Your buyer personas should be an amalgamation of facts, surveys, and data as opposed to who you’re “hoping” to do business with.

This is often why business change over time, they realize that their actual buyers aren’t represented through their marketing practices.

Consider the following ways to gather more personal data about who your true customers really are!

– Phone Interviews
– Customer Surveys
– Use LinkedIn for data research and Ideas.
– One on One Consumer Interactions

Without first considering who your customer truly is, how do you plan on effectively targeting them and their interests with a content marketing strategy?

3. You Don’t Promote Your Content

In the words of Seth Godin, “Content published is NOT content promoted.”

Think about this. It’s understandable to think that, due to the nature of content marketing itself, once a piece is published then it is technically “promoted” right?


Unfortunately, if you publish kick-*ss content, you need to actively promote that content to further leverage and gain you a following. This makes the process way faster and more efficient than it otherwise would be.

Promote can mean many things. It means sharing your content among social media channels, buying ad space, making calls, sending emails, anything you can do to get your content in front of the relevant audience without them having to search for it is promoting.

Essentially, without promoting your content in some way, you are minimizing your impact and reach.

4. SEO Is No longer a “Search” Game

Seo used to dominate the field of online marketing based solely on search engines and their search criteria. This became an issue for them rather quick.

People started posting awful content, but maximizing it for SEO so that the search engines would promote it, even though it was awful.

This is when the search engines got wise and began to filter out content based more heavily on the people it reaches, and how those people react to it.

this is why backlinks are now the king of SEO statistics because it obviously shows a dominant and quality article to be shared by dominant and quality authorities in the online space.

Put simply, SEO is no longer relevant to search engines looking for keyword usage but is now more tethered to public interest and quality of your content. This is why “keyword-stuffing” is considered a negative offense to your SEO.

The goal of content is to make something that speaks to your audience in the first place. You can’t do that by focusing solely on the keywords, and SEO metrics that may cause you to rank higher, but also could lose you favor in your niche.

Focus solely on providing quality content based on your audience’s needs and wants and your SEO will follow with backlinks, shares, and more!

5. Bad Expectations

Do you expect your content marketing strategy to give you instant results? If so, I’m sorry to say that it won’t.

Not everybody can go viral so easily, and not every business can witness surges of revenue and clientele as easily also.

Bad expectations have to be the number one cause of failed content marketing strategies, not because they didn’t work, but because they were forgone long before they could provide some real results!

This is why I stated that managing expectations is so important to the health and longevity of a content marketing strategy. Unrealistic expectations provide very real disappointment.

Keeping your expectations in check and continuing to produce quality content, even when it is hard, is the best way to ensure that you stick around long enough to actually earn a return on your efforts.

Bonus Tip 6: You SELL To Much

You sell too much in your content.

Yes, I know that the overarching goal of any marketing strategy is to earn more clients/sales and eventually increase revenue.

Here’s the problem, content is naturally engaging based on the interest someone shows in your brand.

That interest quickly goes away when all the brand wants to do is sell and sell and sell.

What’s the sound you make when you hear a telemarketer on the phone? If you’re anything like me, it’s a long *sigh*.

IN the content marketing sphere, people engage with you because they CHOOSE TO. Not because you placed an ad in front of them that they can’t avoid.

To get your audience to continue choosing you and your brand, you must keep producing content with little sales pressure, and a good amount of value.

That’s the only way they will consider coming back.


Ultimately, here are 5 good ways to diagnose a bad content marketing strategy.

1. You Only Write Blogs
2. Your Buyer-Persona Aren’t Based in Fact
3. You Don’t Promote your Content
4. You Only Plan for SEO
5. You Have Unrealistic Expectations
6. You SELL To Much

With these things in mind you can become a marketing force the world has never seen!

If you like these tips, consider subscribing to the blog for more, and /or contact me to learn more about what I can offer to you and your brand!

Best wishes on your content marketing journey!

Consider some of these relevant posts!

Content Marketing: The Hub and Spoke Model
5 Keys for Better Copywriting
How to Create Excellent Video Content

Thanks for reading!
Work With Austin

-Austin Denison is a management consultant and coach from Southern California and founder/CEO of Denison Success Systems LLC. He is the author of The Essential Change Management Guidebook: Master The Art of Organizational Change as well as The Potential Dichotomy: The Philosophy of a Fulfilling Life, and, coming soon: KICK*SS Content Marketing, How to Boost Your Brand and Gather a Following.

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