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12+ Content Marketing Failures Your Business Can Avoid

Why doesn't Content Marketing Work

Updated Sept 2018

So you've been content marketing before it was called content marketing.

Or maybe you hopped on the bandwagon 5 or so years ago when study after study proved not only did that content marketing works, but that it was the way customers want you to reach them as opposed to more expensive, less effective commercials, ads, cold calls, etc.

The SEO content marketing ideas of yourself or your content marketer were always a hit. You saw a great content marketing ROI. You'd just buy blogs, tell your blog writer what words you were targeting, and presto: Content Magic.

Content Magic

But you may have noticed that something's changed toward the end of last year?

Search engines are getting smarter and humans are too. The same old key-word stuffed, empty SEO content no longer gains leads. That "SEO Friendly Content" is neither SEO nor friendly. And they may have even been using the best SEO at the time. But times changed and that "SEO content writer" didn't change with it.

All of that poorly written content that you either wrote yourself -- even though you've never claimed to be a writer -- or farmed out to the lowest bidding SEO blog writer on sites like and Upwork is a little more than useless.

And if you're still doing this, your content strategy won't last long.

What you need to know about SEO blog writing

Did you know that over 3 Million blogs were added to the Internet every day in 2016. 81% of companies are now SEO blogging, which means the vast majority of this is content that businesses paid for either through:

  • salaries to a person in the office who has another job or

  • out-sourcing, usually to lowest bidder

  • salaries to someone who is actually a Professional SEO writer (the minority)

These SEO writers typically:

  1. re-wrote an article that they found on the Internet

  2. used an A.I. program to change the words out for synonyms that sort of make sense and submitted it to you as an article they wrote

  3. honestly tried, but just didn't know what they were doing

  4. wrote content for search engines instead of humans, which worked for a while OR

  5. just stole someone else's blog off the internet and made you pay them for it.

I'm in no way suggesting that this is always the case. But this is the norm.

It's Alive!!!

All of this content is still out there. It continues to grow and grow. Many businesses are still trying to use these ineffective content marketing tactics even though they don't work.

But that's not all. Many businesses are getting wise to this. They are upping their game. So you're not only competing with poorly constructed content. You're competing with content that's actually good.

With this much content out there, if you're not blogging at at least a medium-high level, you are becoming invisible to customers, drowned out by other mediocre content.

If you're not at a high level, people may see you, but you're not getting the ROI that you could be.

There are times in the business cycle when something can make or break your business. Unfortunately, just like it took some time for your content to start working for you, you are likely dying a slow death and may not even know it yet.

The only way to know, is to consider the source of your content and watch your leads and engagement declining. It's not temporary. Something must be done.

What can you do to make content marketing work again

It's time to re-think your custom content creation. If you've found a diamond in the rough, keep him or her. And pay them accordingly. You may think what they do is not rocket science. But you may rethink it after you read what an epic blogger actually does to make content work for you.

Here's the honest truth. You can't compete if you're depending on part-time, random want-to-be-writers to produce your content. You need to work with a Professional SEO Blogger for several very important reasons.

Professional Bloggers Understand:

On and Off Page SEO

They may not be your end all if you can afford a separate off-page SEO Professional, often a Programmer. But they are informed about SEO strategy. They understand that it's more than just plugging in a bunch of key words and thinking the traffic will magically come to your website.

They also have some understanding about how to choose the right words to target. If a professional blogger informs you nicely that you may be targeting the wrong words, at least hear them out.

They will definitely know how to apply on-page (what's on the screen) and they will be familiar with and may even be able to help you with off-page (the behind the scenes stuff that allows search engines to find you). They probably know some HTML coding. It's always helpful.

Natural, Semantic Language

Content is for humans, not search engines, ultimately. A professional can make sure you rank high for the key words you are targeting without sounding like you are targeting them because they understand the flow of what your customers will consider natural language whether they are in Spain, Japan, UK or Canada.

What is readable

They know who your target audience is and how to structure content so that it's readable and enjoyable for that customer persona.

How to connect with your customer avatar

A content marketing blogger is a marketer. They know how to market. And this means that they understand the importance of knowing who your target customer is and how to reach them.


They understand how to turn words into "magic". They know that writing is an art and a science. They apply both to give you quality content. They know it when they see it and they can produce it consistently.

Creativity is the key to success

They know that they can't just read an article they like and then re-write it or write something that's been done a million times. They understand that to stand out, the content must:

  • be unique

  • make connections that others aren't making

  • have a great hook to get attention

  • have an angle

  • provide value to your customers

  • be creative

The Power of Influencers

They know how to speak with people, earn trust and loyalty. This is the power of an influencer, a leader. They may even be representing you or your "boss" if they are writing SEO content for your business.

A call to action means nothing if the blog has not cultivated trust first. They understand the how, when and where to pitch a product or service. And they know that sometimes their work is about pulling the customer in for a big pay off later.

The Power of Visuals

Whether it's emojis, gifs, pics, graphs or pie charts, they understand how to make content visual and enjoyable. That 1000 words on a page can seem very daunting to some readers. It needs balance with visuals that match the message and your brand.

How to research

They know that a blog is not just their personal opinion. They have to be able to back it up. The difference between and authority site and a random opinion blog is very clear to them. They can't just pull a stat off a blog and use it. They are going to find its official source and provide you with an authority link. They know how to get information from multiple quality sources and write a well rounded blog based upon their research. They are basically writing research papers for a living.

The value of trending topics

Regardless of your industry, there are topics that people talk about and want to know about. A professional SEO blogger follows your industry and knows what topics will be spuds (sprout roots and grow) and which will be duds.


Mechanics of Blogging

Ideally, you want your blogger to upload blogs for you onto your preferred site, schedule it, hyperlink, add pics, gifs, basic HTML and so on. They should understand the tools necessary to make the blog pop. Deadlines are an important mechanism of blogging. Content has to stay fresh and new content is needed. Your professional gets this.

Mechanics of Content Marketing

Your blogger may also be your content marketer. If so, this is an absolute must for obvious reasons. If they are not, they still have to be extremely familiar with how content marketing works. If they "don't get it", they will not be able to work with your marketing team to meet measurable objectives. They should be very current on changing trends and know what works and what doesn't.

If your blogger is also your content marketer, they must understand how to get your content seen in the months before your SEO efforts are truly realized (typically 3-5 months). They live and breath:

  • Social Media platforms

  • Social media tools of the trade

  • Analytics

  • Setting Goals

  • Measuring results

  • Connecting with people

  • Collaborating on content

  • Curating the right content

  • Revising, Revising, Remeasuring

They know how to get the attention of not only your customers but also other people in your industry who will want to share your content on their sites through a process called Content Curation. This is a win-win -win for you, the one sharing and potential customers who more easily find you.

Epic content must be seen before it can be shared and make a difference for your business. This is why you need a professional blogger. If you are looking for epic content that provides measurable results, I hope you'll reach out. I'd love to talk to you.

Before you go, I hope you'll leave a thought or two below.


How do you think Content marketing has changed over the past year or two?

Do you feel like you are getting the right Return on Investment?

Do you plan to continue content marketing in the future?


Leigh Clayborne is a Hubspot certified freelance content marketing / SEO content writer & strategist with 10 years of healthcare management experience on 15+ years of creating content. She is a strong proponent of creating the right customer experience to meet business goals.

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