Are you realistic about what content marketing can achieve? It’s a simple question, yet not one most business leaders consider. Even brands with consistent output, big budgets and ample leadership can self-sabotage with impractical ideas of what content marketing efficiency, progress and success look like.

How do you know if you’re self-sabotaging? Ask yourself:

  • Are you expecting blogs to reach page one of Google within the first month of distribution?
  • Are you expecting to triple your number of qualified leads within weeks of releasing a new gated asset?
  • Are you never satisfied with the performance of your content, always thinking you should be seeing stronger results faster?

Yes? Then you’re being impractical, and chances are your strategy is suffering as a result. This is exactly why only 41 percent of today’s least successful brands agree they are realistic about what content marketing can achieve, compared to 91 percent of the most successful.

Here are six ways to tell if you’re being unrealistic with your strategy:

  1. You don’t have a realistic content marketing budget

There’s no way around it: you get what you pay for. If you’re looking to do and achieve more, you’ve got to spend more. For example, if you want to better measure content ROI. If you’re looking to better understand how people are consuming your content. If you’d like to see how and where your content is being shared. If you need better insight into how content is supporting lead gen and nurturing initiatives. It all comes down to dollars spent.

The most successful organizations spend around 40 percent of their overall marketing budget on content marketing. Meanwhile, the least successful spend only 22 percent. Use this as a benchmark for your own program.

  1. You don’t measure content ROI

How are you working to effectively measure the impact of content on your bottom line? If you’re not, then you’re being unrealistic with what your content can achieve. Check out this crash course to learn more about the importance of measuring content ROI, and how to effectively do so.

  1. You’re either too focused on SEO, or not enough

Some brands will go so far as to compromise content quality to strategically place keywords in titles, introductions and body copy. Meanwhile, others will completely ignore the role that meta descriptions, imagery and keyword optimization play in content performance. Somewhere in-between keyword stuffing and SEO blindness is a sweet spot, and every high-performer knows how to strike it.

  1. You’re not focusing enough on your target audience

None of the content you create matters if it’s not being produced with a target audience in mind. If you’re not getting your content in front of the right people, your goals will forever be unrealistic. Today, companies use up to eight different tactics to learn about audiences for content marketing: analytics tools, keyword searches, employee feedback, competitive analyses, social listening, customer feedback/panels, A/B testing and secondary data analysis. Consider this for your own program.

  1. You don’t communicate enough

Communication is key for content marketing success. Research shows that 36 percent of companies communicate weekly about content marketing, 16 percent communicate monthly, and 14 percent communicate only when necessary. Where does your organization fall into this ranking?

  1. You consider content marketing a campaign vs. an ongoing business process

Perhaps most unrealistic of all is thinking you’ll achieve goals with a fleeting strategy. Content marketing has no end; it’s a journey rather than a destination. This is exactly why 72 percent of companies are focused more on building long-term relationships than on getting quick (campaign-like) results from content marketing.

Not sure how to achieve your goals as a one-person content marketing team? There are still plenty of opportunities available to you. Check this out.

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