If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’re not quite where you want to be with your content marketing efforts. Or maybe you’re unsure whether you’re starting to flounder, or if you’re just being a little impatient?

Waiting

Content marketing can be a frustrating old ‘game’, but we partake it in because of rewards it promises: higher visibility in search engines, higher domain authority, greater leverage on social media, improved brand reputation etc.

However, those benefits can feel like a long time coming. They’re not going to come overnight, but at the same time, you should be seeing some gains fairly quickly.

Writing for Forbes, marketing guru Jayson DeMers has identified five signs that indicate your content marketing strategy is failing:

1. You’re not attracting any new followers

We’ve always said that it’s best to have 1,000 engaged followers, than 10,000 uninterested followers, and while we still believe this, the aim should always be to increase your follower numbers over time.

An increasing audience size is evidence that you’re sufficiently engaging your followers and syndicating your content to them effectively. If you’re not attracting any new followers, it suggests that you’re content is not generating the retweets and shares that you thought it would.

2. You’re not seeing your traffic numbers rise

As we hinted at the start of the piece, content marketing should result in an increase in the amount of traffic going to your website. With the more relevant and helpful content that you post, you should increase your search rankings along with organic search traffic, while your efforts on social media should help in getting both new and loyal visitors to your website.

So, if you don’t see your traffic numbers swelling within a few months of you putting into practice your content marketing strategy, something is clearly amiss somewhere.

3. Your visitors are not sticking around

When composing content, the aim should be to create something that the reader will feel that they need to read in its entirety – even if that just means skimming it. In an ideal world, having read the content, they would then go on to read some more of your blog posts, or watch one of your videos.

However, if the titles of your content don’t live up to their billing, or the content is largely disengaging, visitors won’t hang around for longer than a couple of minutes; maybe even a couple of seconds. Head to Google Analytics to see how your content is faring.

4. You don’t have any standout hits

Not every piece of content you create is going to generate tons of engagement. We’re fine with that, as long as one or two pieces go on to generate decent numbers, in terms of shares, comments, likes, etc.

Obviously, you create every piece of content with the hope of it being a raging success, but it doesn’t tend to work out like that. For us in the last month, our round-up of top content marketing ideas from the world’s best brands and our piece on Pokémon Go have proved the standout hits.

Knowing that allows us to shape our content plan going forward – so you’ll be seeing more ‘Things we can learn’ pieces!

5. Your engagement rates are poor

Aim for engagement and the rest will follow; that’s the motto I’ve adopted. If you create content that is highly engaging, you’ll see more traffic going to your website, higher visibility in search engines and start to get a reputation for creating great content.

So, if your engagement rates are low – next-to-no likes, shares and comments – it’s a clear indication that your content strategy is in need of a re-think.

It’s not easy to write engaging copy – that’s why many brands outsource their content marketing – but you won’t increase your engagement rates without it.

If the signs are bad and you think your content marketing strategy is indeed failing, based on what you’ve read today, it’s time to go back to the drawing board to discuss how you can create more engaging content that will boost both your follower numbers and your website traffic. Alternatively, drop us a line here at M2 Bespoke.

Ben Hollom

August 23, 2016