I once worked with a multinational business that would happily invest millions in new products, IT and television adverts. In fact, they were really open to experimenting with new opportunities to grow the business forward.
They also knew all about SEO and the importance of appearing highly in search rankings. As such, they would focus a lot of their energy on trying to do so.
They invested regularly in marketing agencies to help them rebrand and better connect with their audience.
In many ways they were a dream company to work with. However, they had one major flaw: They never really invested in a content marketing strategy.
To them, they saw creating content as risky.
Creating content meant having an opinion. It meant thinking outside the box. And it meant exposing their brand. Only to wait patiently for months in order to see if it had any pay off.
Instead of taking risks, their plan to rank better on SEO was reduced to on-page changes and speed improvements. All of course are hugely important, but none of which were likely to move the needle.
And what happened to their SEO in the end? Nothing.
Their competitors – who took risks – slowly overtook them. And the company grumbled as their rankings dropped slowly over time.
Eventually, organic ranking became a nice thing to have, rather than a goal for them.
And, even discussion about content marketing failed to move on. Getting higher rankings on Google was constantly raised as a priority. And this risk aversion is key when it comes to understanding why large companies fail at content marketing.
Content Marketing = Risk
The above example plays out the same for so many large businesses and corporations. They start out with good intentions. They do the necessary on and off-page optimisation for their pages to be easily read by the search engine bots.
But they don’t keep up with the demands of searchers. They forget that for their site to grow, their site itself needs to grow. A key way to do this is by offering a bank of valuable content that’s relevant to their visitor’s search queries.
However, SEO isn’t as simple as ticking a few boxes and claiming the top spot in Google searches. There’s no one quick route to winning the race.
To create long-term results that impact your business, you need to focus on a clear and actionable content marketing strategy. You need to be prepared to think differently, test new ideas and, most importantly, have patience.
It’s only when you start to put your customers’ needs and wants at the heart of your strategy that you’ll be able to reach those individuals. More specifically, the ones who are going to make the all-important purchases that make that growth happen.
If you don’t, your content marketing efforts will be pointless. You’ll soon find your rankings are being overtaken by the smaller, growth-hungry brands. Other companies who are willing to try anything to cut through the noise and create an impact.
This is why large companies fail at content marketing. In this article we’re going to look at the three main reasons why this is so often the case.
3 Reasons Why Large Companies Fail at Content Marketing
1. No appetite for risk
Risk is attached to everything. But in terms of content marketing, it can be a huge leap to take, with no guaranteed return.
In fact, the bigger the business is, the riskier content marketing can look as a strategy. This is because it’s hard to control and harder to manage.
Once you’re a larger corporation with multiple teams working self-sufficiently, you need to be able to take a step back. Trust that your team can implement a plan which aligns with your business goals and brand’s messaging.
This is something which many CEOs and marketing directors fail to do.
They want to sign off on every piece of content to ensure it aligns with their brand’s image. But ultimately, the speed at which content needs to be produced, edited and published doesn’t allow for that.
Content marketing is all about being relevant, on-topic and consistent.
Otherwise brands can get lost in the noise of their competitors.
There’s no time to send content over to the senior teams. Content already needs to be read, proofed, edited (to remove anything that might cause an issue) and then signed off. Adding an extra step makes no sense.
Content marketing comes with an element of risk...
Every day, marketers are looking for new audiences to reach, new topics to talk about and even more ways to increase their page views.
But this is not without risk.
For example, it is easier than ever for a piece of your content to say something which isn’t quite on brand or needs to be changed.
But it’s also easy to put something out which is so safe that it’s completely devoid of character.
I have seen companies edit articles, making them so safe that they aren’t saying anything. As such, they have no use to the reader.
The art of content marketing for big business lies in trying to achieve an equal balance of security and safety. Whilst, also offering something unique in comparison to your competitors.
And it’s this appetite for risk which makes content marketing hard.
You need to place your stake in the sand, have an opinion and expose your business to your audience. If you don’t, why would you expect them to read your content? Large companies fail at content marketing because they struggle with giving up control.
For many businesses who try to command their environment, this release of control is a bitter pill to swallow. But you need to be willing to give up control to allow your content to flourish. Otherwise, your business will struggle to grow.
2. Refusal to invest in the upfront costs
Lack of investment is one of the main problems when attempting to make content marketing successful. This is often a huge reason as to why large companies fail at content marketing.
A failure to launch with the right resources will only hold your content back.
It’s challenging to persuade your senior management team to get behind content marketing when there’s no guaranteed return. This means it’s difficult to obtain the resources you need to recruit the right team and set up the strategy.
In fact, most senior marketing professionals don’t know a huge amount about content marketing.
And, those that do know something about it are hesitant to experiment. So they base their decisions on past successes. They opt to focus on that one thing that worked previously. As such, they never expand into different areas of content marketing.
This makes promoting content marketing really hard. Senior management often don’t understand enough about it. They prefer to focus their attention (and money) on things that can be done in the short-term. They want results that they can measure now.
After all, why focus time on something which takes a lot of resources and won’t provide immediate results when you can focus on things which can help hit today’s targets.
This makes it near impossible to recruit extra resources, such as copywriters or web designers, to make the strategy a success.
Instead, many marketers try to launch a strategy on their own. They juggle their time with multiple channels and campaigns.
As a result, these marketers take shortcuts in their keyword research, or the content production itself. The result of which never equates to much success.
3. Modern marketing is about cutting through the noise
More and more searchers are using content marketing to guide their decisions.
In fact, 51% of internet searchers say that they now use Google to find out further information about a product or service before deciding whether to make a purchase.
And with more brands choosing content marketing as one of their main growth strategies (64% of companies are now actively investing in search engine optimisation), it’s never been more difficult to cut through the noise and make your brand stand out to consumers.
This means finding new and unique ways to connect to your audience and entice them to your site. And with so much content around, it’s getting harder to leave a great lasting impression on them.
In fact, if you look at most modern marketing campaigns that do well, you’ll realise that they all involve risk. These brands took necessary risks in order to find a new way to reach their audiences and create an impact.
Why were these campaigns so successful, when so many other large companies fail at content marketing? Well, it comes down to being open to do things differently. These successful companies weren’t afraid to take a new angle or speak about something taboo. They spent the time to really understand how their audiences want to be spoken to. Then created content that adds value to their target audiences online experience.
This also means their senior management were likely comfortable doing something that exposed them organically. Thus, highlighting a more human side to their brand.
The relationship between brands and consumers is changing
The relationship between people and companies is changing rapidly. Consumers are increasingly savvy and want to know exactly who they are spending their money with.
So, the more we as a society shift online, the more this relationship between consumer and brand is pronounced. And it’s this transition where companies need to decide their future growth. They need to choose to change with the times or learn to accept that they will stagnate.
Most large companies who started out at the top of the ranks will continue to be effective operators. However, they will slowly decline as newer companies work out innovative ways to break-through.
They will fight over doing what they currently do better; but this won’t get them to a position where they can leapfrog their competition. As for becoming thought leaders or changing the way the game is played, they have no chance.
Instead, they will need to adopt a customer-centric approach. To create content that exposes their brand and offers material which resonates with their audience’s search demands.
For those who have this new way of thinking, a huge opportunity lies ahead. And, for the smaller players, it makes getting ahead easier. Mainly because they don’t have such entrenched positions and are open to trying different things.
Fundamentally, to succeed in content marketing is to work out how to build deep connections with your audience. You want to move past simply being a faceless logo that sells a product or service.
For large corporations to continue to dominate the market, they need to make experimentation a part of their mission statement. And, incorporate it into everything they do – by taking a leap of faith and trusting the power of content marketing.
Making Content Marketing a Success for Large Companies
Over the past few years, content marketing has grown insurmountably. As more and more consumers turn to search engines to research and guide their purchasing decisions, brands are cottoning onto new ways of trying to reach these audiences through the content they publish.
Larger brands may have reached initial success by optimising the more technical aspects of SEO. This means they now need to invest in a content strategy. One focused on creating purposeful, relevant and entertaining content which really draws new audiences in.
If they don’t, many smaller companies who are open to trying new tactics will overtake them in their rankings. Larger companies will be left to fall into the murky backlog of pages which exist on Google.
Without a large following, these smaller companies have more opportunity to test new waters, find a voice and image for their brand which forges strong connections with their audiences.
And it’s these strong connections which will ultimately drive the results needed to take them from a start-up to a market leader.
Ultimately, if large brands don’t adopt this start-up mentality and are afraid to invest in a risky but necessary content marketing campaign, they’ll soon fall behind the times. They’ll lose their site visitors to the competitors who are willing to experiment with new ideas.
Outsourcing Content Marketing to a Marketing Consultant
In this article we’ve examined some of the reasons why large companies fail at content marketing. We’ve also established that in today’s online marketplace, brands need a content marketing strategy. They need to keep up with the demands of the consumer and experiment with new content ideas. If they don’t, they’ll fail to maintain their positions online. They need to be prepared to invest their resources and a large chunk of their time.
Content marketing is a hugely time-consuming process. To plan, research and create is demanding enough. Let alone giving yourself the time to stretch your creative fingers in order to experiment and see new ideas through.
We’ve worked with hundreds of companies to establish and implement a successful content marketing strategy. So my team and I know exactly what it takes. We can help you to increase website traffic, forge connections with new audiences and ultimately, drive conversions in the long-term.
If you’d like to chat about how we can work together to grow your business online, why not schedule a call with me? I’d be more than happy to walk you through some of our previous work and discuss your website’s potential.