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Updated by Mitchell Beer on Aug 04, 2014
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Breaks in the Chain

Breaks in the Chain That Will Wreck Your Content Marketing Campaign

Management expects a social media silver bullet. Disappointment ensues.

Decision-makers who commit to their first content marketing campaign might not be completely sold on social media. Sometimes, they compensate by setting high expectations--so high that they're unrealistic. Nothing succeeds like success, but it's tough to define success when an organization is still learning what's realistic.

Once is never enough.

Once you've gone to the trouble of researching, producing, and publishing a piece of online content, it's a tragic waste to only use it once. Our Content Marketing Specialist Jenise Fryatt talks about using your blog as the fulcrum of an integrated social media strategy. It's the fresh content that you get to signpost on external channels like Twitter and Google+. And it's the gateway to a more detailed product--an e-book, case study, white paper, or illustrated audio production--that gives your most interested readers a deeper dive.

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Death by a Million Delays.

Death by a Million Delays.

The decision-makers are sold. The campaign is urgent. It's time to get rolling. And the unexpected delays start to pile up. The blog isn't connected to the website. The web platform won't even accommodate a blog. The outsourced content manager can't get access to the site, and the in-house authority doesn't have time to help. (This portrait is a composite.) Days turn into weeks, frustration builds, and in the end, the organization loses confidence in a strategy that could and should have helped them meet their goals.

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Content With No Strategy.

Content With No Strategy.

The message has to get out. NOW. There's no time to think about who we're trying to reach, why we want to reach them, or what we want them to do with the information we're sharing. The blog ends up sounding generic, because we don't have an audience persona in mind when we sit down to write it. And engagement falls far short of expectations.

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Social media can upend an organization's power dynamics. Resistance may be futile, but it's intense.

Social media can upend an organization's power dynamics. Resistance may be futile, but it's intense.

Content marketing works best when marketers listen closely to their audiences' needs and wants through online networks. Associations that depend on active, engaged communities could take that transformation one step farther, using social media to share ideas, knowledge, resources, and authority. But if organizations are used to being in control, the old structures can be tough to give up.

Marketers treat "inbound" social media as a traditional "push" marketing channel.

Our strategic partner Doreen Ashton Wagner at Greenfield Services Inc. urges clients to use magnets instead of darts. Rather than using social media like a bullhorn, content marketing is about distributing useful, compelling content that will leave the audience wanting more. When your content pulls them to your website, they get to choose their own adventure through your products, services, samples, and testimonials--and when they ask you for details, it's because they want to have the conversation.

Clear Strategy, Lousy (or Dishonest) Content

The best strategy (and certainly a mediocre strategy) is easily defeated by content that is superficial, poorly researched, inaccurate, blatantly promotional, untrue to the brand, or misleading to audiences. Here's a story of one U.S. brand that went after “customer bases they have no business winning over.”

Misaligned Priorities Among In-House Teams

A content marketing campaign has to align with an organization's broader objectives. But sometimes, different in-house departments have conflicting priorities that can undermine a campaign's effectiveness. The Content Marketing Institute's Joe Pulizzi explains how Facebook solved the problem.

The Wrong Resources to Get the Job Done.

It takes time and skill to run a content campaign. But in many organizations, especially the smaller ones, the available resources are stretched and over-committed. Thankfully, associations are getting out of the habit of assigning social media management to the nearest intern, and expecting them to get the job done on their lunch hour. Forbes takes the prize for a stunning example of poor advice: expecting someone who's brand new in the work force to deliver on “social media strategization”, mobile device deployment, and data management sets up the intern for failure and the organization for disaster.