Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Here’s the real reason why content marketing fails in large organizations 

Disclaimers: The information provided is for informational purposes only and not personalized advice. It's accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time it's published. Links in articles maybe affiliate links.

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You might be interested in this article if you are a:

  • Chief marketing officer
  • Digital marketing leader 
  • Chief Content Officer 
  • Digital analyst
  • Content marketer 

Content marketing works! How do you think you ended up here? 😱😂 But yet, many organizations are struggling with it. 

When I ask them why, the list people present to me is long:

  • Resources 
  • Don’t know what we should write about 
  • The technology 
  • Don’t have the right skills
  • We are fine
  • Not sure we want to
  • We are not even trying to be here long-term
  • Etc. etc.

Interestingly, the people who approach me for help are often market or industry leaders. They actually are doing fine but they are looking for differentiators long-term – down the road. That kind of attitude is exactly why they are current market leaders. They look for differentiator – long and short term. 

Many are considering it and many are trying it, but often we use old school systems and try to make this new thing fit into them. 

And all these excuses up above and more sound reasonable and common. But here’s the real reason why content marketing fails – especially in large organizations or organizations that behave like them:

The work put in is proportionally not equivalent to the outcome of that particular piece of content.

Here’s how that looks: 

  • Hours put into content creation: 77
  • People reading: 122 – if we are lucky and depending on the size of our target audience
  • Leads: Maybe 1. I’m being optimistic here.

That would feel like failure to me as well. But it’s the wrong metric. It’s like keeping track of your body weight after every workout! Did I lose 10 pounds after this 30-minute run? Nope. 

Around 35,000 people read this blog per month. Few blog posts go anything close to viral. Hardly any do really. And I filled over 700. Few go over 100 views in the first day of publication. The ones that take off are:

  • Highly unique 
  • Solve somebody’s problem 
  • Topics that people search for on Google

As much as I love social media, but four years into this blog’s existence social media does not drive the majority of traffic. It drives some but over 70 percent of traffic comes from search engines. 

People are searching for;

  • Me
  • My blog 
  • A topic on the blog 

Some topics take off quickly if they are highly timely – if I’m adding more context to a breaking news situation, for example. But many take off slowly. I hardly ever spend money to promote a post on social media. I never run ads for them. 

If I’d look at only post-by-post metrics, this blog would be considered a failure. But it’s not. At all! I’m glad I stuck with it!

But I also have the effort level mostly figured out. I’m literally writing this entire post while riding a stationary bike at the gym for 45 minutes. Blogging burns calories. Ha!

But see my effort level is low – other than coming up with the topics and writing them. But blogging or not, I would be riding  this bike right now anyway. Might as well blog and not watch Netflix.

Will it ever be this easy in a corporate environment? Nope, but it can be a lot easier than it is now.

When people spend hours rewriting, fiddling and sending content through 43 stages of Approvel Hell, I – as the CEO or CMO – would also expect results.

Did it work?”

“That one article? No. And I didn’t expect it to save the company.”

Related: Content marketing is more about hitting singles than homeruns 

Content marketing and digital marketing – like careers, business and life – are long games. Overnight successes are rare or take years. Shortcuts work but only when implemented constantly with an ongoing strategy. 

Don’t stop the marathon after 100 meters. 

Set up 15 minutes with me here to see how we can get your strategy going. 


Christoph Trappe

Hello and thanks for stopping by. I'm Christoph Trappe and I'm the Vice President of Content Marketing Strategy, Americas, at ScribbleLive, which is based in Toronto and is a global content marketing software company. Before I started at ScribbleLive I was VP of Content Marketing and Conversion at MedTouch, a Boston-based company that helps healthcare organizations with digital marketing. I've written two books, speak at conferences around the globe and blog frequently on here. I love sharing my stories and helping organizations share theirs. If you need help, just visit the Contact Me page in the navigation and drop me a note. I'm always happy to chat! Thanks for reading! - Christoph ctrappe@christophtrappe.com 319-389-9853

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