3 Reasons You’re Not Getting the Results You Want From Your Content

by | Tech Marketing

Enterprise technology companies pay a lot of attention to metrics — like click-through rates, downloads and demo sign-ups — and that’s a good thing. But when things go wrong, numbers alone won’t give you a clear picture of where things went off the rails (and how to fix the problems that are affecting your results).

You have to look beyond the numbers to find out what’s really going on.

In my decades helping technology companies improve the results of their marketing programs, these are the three most common reasons I’ve found for low-performing content marketing …

1. You Wrote the Content for the Wrong Audience (or Wrote It for “Everyone”)

Creating content for a wide audience like “technology leaders” isn’t enough. For optimal results, you need to segment your audience on vertical and role levels and create content that uniquely addresses those segments’ needs and desires.

For example, how a CTO of a manufacturing company talks about their challenges is going to be significantly different from how a CTO of a software company does. These two individuals will not only use different language, but they’ll also have vastly different ways of framing a problem and looking for solutions. If you create the same campaign for both of these individuals, and try to address both people’s needs with the same content, you’re not going to reach your goals, because your message won’t connect.

Segment your audience according to vertical and role at minimum (though further segmentation by activity would be ideal), then decide what content you’ll create by identifying the needs of each specific segment.

With all the noise out there, you often only have one shot to connect with your audience. If your content doesn’t connect, they could tune you out for good.

In larger organizations, the marketing ops (MOPs) team is responsible for segmentation of the lead database, and sometimes there’s pushback from that team because it does take time and effort. But it’s a critical exercise — so if that’s the case in your organization, explain to your MOPs team that it’s important to segment your audience so you can speak to people in very targeted ways. Otherwise you’re wasting marketing dollars sending your campaigns to your entire audience. Once you burn out our audience’s attention because you haven’t given them value or made an emotional connection, you won’t be able to get them back. Segmentation is one of the best tools in your toolbox for launching successful campaigns.

2. You Prioritized Algorithms Over Customer Experience

Many companies are putting a huge percentage of their marketing budget behind creating massive amounts of SEO-optimized content. That can be great from a website traffic perspective, improving your ranking and potentially bringing more visitors to your site. But if you’re only thinking about search engine algorithms when you’re creating your content, that could be a huge problem.

Consider the experience your reader has when they consume your content (a concept we refer to at Horizon Peak Consulting as “Content UX”). 

You can’t expect content that is so stuffed with keywords that it’s practically unreadable to provide a good experience for your reader. Remember that you’re not just writing for Google — you’re writing for the human beings you’re trying to serve with your solutions.

Getting someone to your website is only the first step. To get people to take action (download an asset, book a call, sign up for a demo … ), make sure you’re providing real value and a good reader experience with every piece of content you publish. And huge bonus points if the value stands the test of time, and is not just quick-hit, “here’s what’s popular today” value.

Build a positive experience with the content you’re writing by considering:

  • How the content is structured
  • The flow of information within the piece
  • The formatting of the text and placement of the images

Find out more about how you can create a better content experience by reading our blog post on Content UX.

3. Your Content Is Missing the Human Touch

When assessing your content, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your content human, or is it robotic?
  • Is it full of jargon or “ad speak”?
  • Is it entirely product-focused?

To get results, your content must make a human connection and facilitate a two-way dialogue between your company and your customers. Be aware of the audience you’re engaging with, and make every effort to understand who the reader is and the problems they’re facing.

Without this type of thoughtful engagement and awareness, the result is artificial marketing that doesn’t connect and actually puts a barrier between you and your reader.

Instead, strive for human-to-human marketing — the kind of one-on-one connection that allows you to build deep relationships with prospects and clients.

I’ve developed the CAN framework to help companies do this:

  • Connection: To initiate a two-way dialogue and create an emotional connection, your content needs to address the reader’s state of mind directly and in the language they’re using to communicate their problem.
  • Awareness: Be aware of who you’re talking to with your content, so you can engage with thoughtfulness and empathy. (i.e., Be aware of who you’re marketing to before you expect them to be aware of your brand!)
  • Narrative: Use narrative to communicate complex experiences and feelings.

Getting narrative right when you’re creating content is particularly important — and an absence of narrative is how we immediately know a piece of content was written by a robot. There are plenty of conversations right now about how artificial intelligence engines can create online content — but remember that bots are not capable of weaving the narratives that truly connect with readers.

Without narrative, your content will sound robotic and disconnected, and your message will get lost. You can potentially use AI to speed up your research process or check your grammar, but a human content writer is necessary for deep-level content that connects.

Use a Problem-Solving Approach to Improve Your Results

Wondering why you’re not getting the results you want with your latest campaign? Assess your content with the three lenses in this article.

If you’ve written your content for the wrong audience, prioritized algorithms over reader experience, or neglected to make a human connection, it could be dragging down your metrics and burning out your audience.

But with these guidelines, you can create powerful content that converts ​​— and build strong relationships with your audience in the process.


Connect with Jessica Mehring on LinkedIn to find out how you can get better results from your content marketing campaigns.