7 Ways to Fail at Content Marketing

I promise this is not a feel-good post, there will be no pictures of kittens (hang on this is the internet, after all, I better check, nope, no kittens). This certainly isn't a post on how wonderfully easy content marketing is and how it will write you cheques for 7 figures and allow you to retire early in the Bahamas.

This is a post about failure, dun, dun, derrrrr!

You may be asking yourself why I'd write a post about failing at content marketing?

Nobody wants to read about failure, do they? Failing's no fun, in fact, it sucks big time. However, failing is an incredibly useful way to learn and it's a way to get experienced at whatever you do as long as you learn. But what makes it a really good tool is when you learn from someone else's mistakes.

The truth is a failure is very real, very possible and very probable if you are just starting out. The biggest and best marketers out there will tell you to "prepare to fail". Content marketing isn't easy and it is certainly not a game. But done correctly it works and it doesn't matter what industry you work in, what business you have done right it will work every time.

Okay, Here are 7 ways you can fail at content marketing.

1). You don't take the work seriously

Content marketing is an incredibly effective and powerful way of growing your audience and inevitably your business.

Did I mention that it is also a lot of work?

The businesses that fail are the ones who really don't take it seriously. They throw up some poorly written content in the hopes someone will like it, then they sit back and pray for visitors. For these businesses, content marketing is a side project, a second thought. Sometimes they ask someone to do it for them and expect it to be created for peanuts.

In order for content marketing to work, you must invest, prioritise and then execute. Once you have done that research and analysis are crucial then we head back to the beginning and rinse and repeat.

If you really want to achieve serious results, the whole concept must be taken seriously.

2). You don't build relationships first

Interruption selling as a system doesn't work (well not efficiently) like it used to. We both know this.

Long-term content marketing is no longer down to the size of your email list, it's now reliant on the size of your audience.

So, build your relationships first. Those relationships you build will turn into your audience. Your audience becomes a value and just one form of that value will be your revenue.

3). You always sell

If you've ever worked in sales you'll probably have heard the term ABC selling...ALWAYS BE CLOSING...it doesn't work today.

Many old ways of selling no longer work, why? Well, once upon a time consumers had limited options for obtaining the products and services they needed and wanted. However, today consumers have so many options that are widespread and instantly available.

No internet, 4 TV channels and a handful of publications. People had to endure the endless selling.

4). You try to be a generalist

Google has killed off the generalist they are almost extinct. People don't go to the internet looking for a company that's pretty good at a lot of stuff. Take insurance, for example, do you search for just insurance or do you search for car insurance or house insurance? Even those terms today are getting pretty general but you get the idea.

Your business can sell anything and everything you like. But when you present your business online, it behoves you and your potential marketing success to focus on the things that differentiate you and your business from all the other competition.

From a brand building and search engine point of view specialising is a cornerstone of your content marketing success.

5). You don't invest

I have seen this time and time again. If I had a pound yadda yadda yadda. No business is going to sell, sell, sell, keep just taking and expect to find success content marketing. As I've already mentioned, in order to be successful you're going to have to take this work very seriously. A huge part of that is investing in your web, tools, people and most importantly yourself.

You will need a high-quality website, staff, email marketing, consultants, good content generation etc.

All these things take investment both in time and money. An investment you have to make in order to succeed.

6). You try to be perfect

My darling wife is always telling me I try to hard at making everything perfect to the point sometimes it's almost an obsession.

Stop planning, don't keep waiting for the perfect time, stop waiting period. There is no perfect moment other than right now, the perfect opportunity will only come if you search and work for it and the perfect audience is a myth.

If you try to be perfect you'll never get to grips with the work necessary to understand what really works.

Try, try, try, succeed.

That's it. If at first you don't succeed keep trying until you make it work. Waiting for perfection is a very long wait indeed.

7). You wait for permission

Much like waiting for perfection, waiting for permission will just be detrimental to your overall success.

Who are you waiting for permission from anyway?

No one is going to give you permission, you just need to get out there and try. Even if you're not the boss just get on it and keep at it that's how to become successful at content marketing.

Only you can give yourself permission to get started.

For those of you waiting for permission you just missed the opportunities that could have come from you actually just doing the work.


Businesses fail at content marketing all the time. Most of these failures are due to misunderstandings or misinterpretations of what good marketing is all about and how we succeed.

Go over the 7 points again, drum them in and make sure you, your business, your brand isn't falling foul of these reasons to be a victim instead of a winner.

What are you doing still reading? Get to work!

Thanks for your time and good luck.

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