Why Content Marketing Doesn’t Work (And Why It’s Not the Fault of Content Marketing)

It’s true. Sometimes content marketing just won’t work.

Content marketing is not the miracle drug. However, the problem does not lie with content marketing, per se. That’s because content marketing is merely a tool no more effective than the skill level of the one that wields it.

So to be more specific, what are the reasons why content marketing won’t work in spite how much money and hard work you put into it?

1. Content Marketing Will Never Replace Sales.

The reality is that content marketing and sales are two different things. While they should complement each other, neither one will replace the other completely.

That being said, content marketing is best employed once your business has already made some sales. This gives you information that is crucial to be able to market with content to your ideal customers.


Content Marketing Cannot Make Up for Bad Sales Technique.

And we should clarify what healthy sales is before we go any further, because to allow your sales staff to continue in their bad sales habits is to discredit your brand before you’ve even tried hard to build one.

Healthy sales is simply explaining your products/services to customers and then helping them integrate your products/services into their lives for the first time.

In contrast, an unhealthy sales approach shoves products/services down the throats of customers. They will still buy when forced, but they will feel violated after the sale is complete. And when your customers feel violated, they think twice before buying from you again. Oh, and they will probably also tell their friends about what happened.

Content Marketing Can’t Be Your Excuse to Avoid Cold Calling.

Business owners that are more laid back and scared to cold call customers see inbound marketing techniques as saving their skin. According their faulty logic, if they will simply “content market the heck out of” their products and services, customers will come knocking on their doors.

Sorry. Content marketing won’t work if you are lazy and scared of rejection. According to Gary Vaynerchuk,

Marketing and branding is only one part of the equation. Ultimately you need to facilitate transactions if you want to stay in the game.  Numbers don’t lie and sales is absolutely the foundation of your business. There is simply no other way.

I 100% agree with this, even though content marketing is my business.

On the flip side, content marketing does wonders for the business that hustles to introduce prospects to their products/services while pointing customers to helpful, informational content online. If you put in place good content marketing, you won’t have to cold call forever.

Solution When Going After Sales

  1. Know your products/services how they work, and how they solve your customers’ problems. Be prepared to handle hard questions from your customers who are genuinely trying to wrap their minds around who you are and how you can help them.

  2. If you have a sales staff, train them inside and out on the products/services. Don’t leave your sales team guessing, because when customers ask them hard questions, they will risk misleading the customer so as to save face for your company’s brand. It’s in their blood to uplift your brand at all costs. So help them out.

  3. Use content marketing to spread information to your ideal customers. As your sales team reports back their interactions with prospects, you will begin to know what kind of informational content to put out there to help your target audience. There’s no need to hire a content marketer just yet. Simply publish informational content in a blog on your website, a video on your Youtube channel, and in social media posts. This is content marketing, and you don’t need to hire anyone until you have a budget for it and are ready to grow your brand in a more significant way.

2. Content Marketing Won’t Work if You Don’t Know Who Your Customers Are.

You can’t serve everyone. What’s more, there are only a few specific groups of people that desperately need what you can give them. The businesses that focus their efforts to find those customers are the businesses that flourish. As a result, their sales staff is top notch, and their content marketing efforts drastically compound sales.

Get to Know Your Customers

I have talked with many businesses that wanted to spend thousands of dollars on content marketing that simply wouldn’t work. And the reason that it would not work for them was because they insisted that everyone was their customer.

We need to be honest about this approach: it is simply greedy and unrealistic.


Instead, think back to the day when you knew you were going to be an entrepreneur. What set of human problems struck you to your core so that you knew you were the one to solve those problems?

Now think about the specifics of that individual that has those problems that you know how to solve. HubSpot has a great tool known as Buyer Personas that can help you clarify the answer to this question.

Putting work into creating Buyer Personas will open your eyes to the specific kind of person that you should target with your products/services. Once you’ve successfully delighted these customers with your products/services, start building content specifically for them and others like them. That kind of content marketing will work, and you will find that your sales efforts are so much more effective at that!

Stop Changing Your Mind and Adding to Your Target Audience.

When I sit and have a beer with other content marketers, the number one heartache that they have is that the client changes their mind about their audience or adds more target audiences too soon. Thankfully, changing your mind about your target audience will not necessarily kill your content marketing efforts, but it will make your marketer’s job harder and is likely costing you more man hours.

There’s a better way. Simply be patient. Take your marketing efforts one step at a time.

First, find the main ideal customer that your products/services solve problems for. Second, find two or three additional ideal customers that your products/services solve problems for in a slightly different way.

After you’ve mastered selling and marketing to these three people groups, slowly begin expanding your market. Don’t rush it. It may seem like you can grow your sales faster by expanding your audience right away, but all it will do is water down your marketing and sales message. Fight the urge and remain disciplined in your content marketing approach.

3. Content Marketing is Hard Work.

Done well, content marketing is a heck of a lot of work on the front end and a powerful source of residual income on the back end. That’s why the best content marketers focus hard on building a strong website and posting regular content. Content marketing won’t work unless you are willing to put work into it.

Thankfully, you can (and should) eventually hire someone to do your content marketing for you. But you needn’t necessarily do it right away if you’re willing to work hard and maintain your content yourself.


4. Content Marketing is About Brand Sustainability.

If you got excited about content marketing hoping for thousands of website views and warm leads right away, then you are likely feeling very disillusioned. Most content marketing doesn’t begin showing great results until you’ve consistently stuck with a content marketing plan for a minimum of 6 months.

That’s why generating cash flow through cold calling and sales is critical. Content marketing needs a running start, and the information you glean from your first several months of sales will be critical to making your content marketing great.

There’s no denying that content marketing is the present and future of effective marketing.  Without it, your brand will only last as long as you have no competition.

Therefore, the reason that content marketing is as powerful as it is is because it infuses your brand with longterm sustainability.

The alternative to content marketing is cold calling until you are blue in the face without ever being allowed to take a break. You will never be able to sit back and watch the warm leads start coming in organically after you’ve done the hard work on the front end. This is the secret of inbound and content marketing. You dig in and move that massive boulder, and the longer you push, eventually the boulder will begin generating its own momentum.

Good business is always a marathon rather than a sprint, and content marketing is the key to winning that marathon in the 21st Century.

Content Marketing is the fastest, long-term approach to making one’s business more profitable than anyone ever imagined.