Your Content Marketing Will Fail without These 10 Features

content marketing

I’m thrilled when I see companies launching a content marketing campaign. But I cringe when I see their content marketing fail. Sometimes, the failure sets in before anyone writes a line of content. But the thing is content marketing doesn’t have to fail.

I’ve written this article because it could save you thousands of wasted hours and buckets of wasted money. Is your content marketing campaign cruising toward failure? Have you left anything out? Or are you on track for success?

I’ve identified the main missing elements of failed content marketing campaigns and sketched out a solution for each one. Leave out one of these features, and you could doom your content marketing campaign to fail.

Are you doing content marketing? Then don’t avoid these 10 features.

Content marketing is still the number one way to improve traffic, gain leads, and drive sales. But it’s not as if you can flip the content marketing switch to “on” and expect everything to fall into place somehow.

You’ve got to execute it strategically. Here’s how:

Tip #1: Know your purpose

Once upon a time, an online business wanted to become more profitable. An idea was born — content marketing!

“Hey, everybody! Start doing content marketing!” shouted the CMO.

The obedient lackeys flipped open their Macbooks and busily started writing articles.

And so, it began: Content marketing without a purpose, plan, or goal.

Months later, they realized it was a freaking waste of time, and everyone stopped.

The end.

Moral of the story: just because content marketing is the new black doesn’t mean you should heedlessly plunge headlong into it with reckless abandon. You need to have a purpose.

When the failure happens

This problem occurs either during the launch of a campaign or in the very early stages of it. Sometimes, a company can define its purpose as it goes, but this is risky and unnecessary.

Why failure happens

If you don’t have a clear purpose in content marketing, then everything goes awry. You’ll have no audience, no message, no goal, no persona, and no direction. Period.

Content marketing with no purpose is just activity with no result. It’s a glorified waste of everything.


All this talk of “purpose” sounds frustratingly vague, ethereal, and pointless. Let’s get practical.

“Having a purpose” means that you will answer these questions.

  • How does content marketing fit into the broad marketing plan of the company?
  • How will content marketing grow the business?
  • What are the specific business objectives of content marketing?
  • How will content marketing drive sales?

In my Advanced Guide to Content Marketing, I’ve provided the information that will help you build the foundation. I strongly encourage you to read it before you continue with content marketing.

Tip #2: Know your audience: Who is this for?

If you don’t know for whom you’re writing, you’re going to end up writing pointless content. Failure to know your audience is a failure to execute a successful content marketing campaign.

When the failure happens

This failure can take place either prior to launch or during the early stages of a content marketing plan.

Why failure happens

Content is for an audience, not just for your brand. The only way you’re going to survive is if people are actually reading and interacting with the content.

If you don’t have a target audience, then you won’t know what to write, how to write, or how to address the vague and disembodied entity of a “non-audience.”


Create a user persona. Don’t try to wrap your mind around an audience consisting of thousands of people. That doesn’t work. Instead, just think about the one person that is your customer.

Here’s an example persona that I sketched out:


She has a name, an age, and a location. She has likes and dislikes. (Jen has a nephew named Jackson, who is three years old. She bought him a Despicable Me toy off Amazon for his last birthday.) We have detail, understanding, and the power to write directly to Jen.

Now, we’re going to write content with Jen in mind. Jen is going to type in search queries that direct her to our content. Jen is going to love our content.

What’s more, she’s going to convert — she and about 291,658 other people in your target audience.

Tip #3: Know your message: What are you saying?

Content, by its very definition, says something. What is your content saying? Do you even know?

When the failure happens

This takes place early on in a content marketing campaign. When the hey-let’s-do-content-marketing bug strikes randomly, it causes people to rush into the project without even knowing what their message is.

Why failure happens

Content is meaningless unless it has a message. The message is the one thing that your content all boils down to. You should be able to sum it up in a phrase or a sentence.

If you don’t have a message, you’re going to be producing meaningless words on a screen. Sooner or later, you’ll lose motivation for content because it has no driving force.


The solution is both simple and relatively easy. You have to understand the purpose of your entire business. Content marketing should serve that purpose by communicating a specific message.

Here’s the three-step process for developing your message:

  1. Get a hold of your mission statement. If you don’t have one, make one. Example from Crazy Egg: to provide affordable, effective heat-mapping technology that helps people improve on-page conversion.
  2. Write down your core message. This is the benefit for your customer. Crazy Egg’s core message: you can boost your website’s profit within 30 days.
  3. Write down your secondary messages. What are the various things that are related to your core message? Crazy Egg’s secondary messages: web design, conversion optimization, blogging for business, conversion, copywriting, scrambled eggs, analytics.

There are a lot of possibilities for content. In the subtext of every blog post, webinar, and YouTube video is this message: We can boost your website’s profits in 30 days.

Not only is the targeted traffic going to rush in, but you’re also going to be delivering a message that hits your customer where it counts.

Tip #4: Produce consistent content

It’s amazing how many people go “rah-rah, content marketing” but then don’t even have a plan for creating it! The quickest way to kill a content marketing campaign is to have zero content. Or to start to produce content and then stop. I’ve seen this happen way too many times.

When the failure happens

Failure strikes some time after the launch of content marketing. The excitement that initially fueled content marketing gives way to the weariness of producing it. It could be a couple weeks. It could be a few months.

Why failure happens

Content marketing demands consistency. You can’t just throw a bunch of content on the web and expect it to generate traffic for the long haul.

Search engines prefer to rank sites that show signs of life. You’ll reap maximum SEO benefit if you produce fresh content consistently.

When search engines rank results, they tend to prefer pages that have historic authority and fresh content. You can get an idea of how this works by looking at the SERP screenshot below. Notice that the second position result was published just a few weeks ago. The next result down is from two years ago. The fourth result is from several weeks ago. The fifth result is from a couple of months ago.

All of that fresh content is stacking the SERPs with a lot of value. If I wasn’t producing content on a regular basis, I would be losing serious traffic potential.


Once you turn off the faucet of content, you turn off a major SEO channel.


There are a number of reasons why content marketing drops off after a while, but I’ve discovered three main reasons. Here are those reasons and their respective solutions:

  • You run out of ideas: go back to your company message (see the point above). Flesh out your mission statement, core message, and secondary messages. When you do, you should have a list of potential blog topics. Those are your ideas.
  • You don’t have a plan: though an “editorial calendar” may not be your thing, you do need some sort of a plan for producing content. Who’s going to produce what? When will it be published? It helps to create a schedule for this.
  • It takes too much time: if necessary, hire help. There is an army of freelance writers and content creators who will be more than happy to help you develop content. You can find them through Craigslist ads, Textbroker, or ODesk.

Tip #5: Build internal links

Internal linking is about SEO. Each piece of content you create should be integrated with the rest of your site. This happens through internal linking.

When the failure happens

Some content marketing plans have no internal linking strategy. It’s possible that they have a legitimate content plan in place, but they don’t understand the power and potential of internal linking.

Why failure happens

When neglected, internal linking produces a website whose SEO is not as strong as it could be.


Although it’s considered “one of the most complex topics in SEO,” internal linking is not hard to do. Internal link building simply involves creating links from one page of your website to another. The deeper within your navigation these links spread, the better. For every piece of content you create, add a link or two to some other content that you’ve created that is relevant for your readers.

Tip #6: Use images

Words without pictures are boring. If you are doing content marketing through a blog or other written content, you need to use images.

When the failure happens

A good content marketing strategy keeps images in mind from the very start. A bound-to-fail content strategy forgets about them. Creating image-rich content often gets forgotten in the crazy race of trying to get content out on time.

Why failure happens

There are a few problems with not using images.

  • First, it’s a UI thing. Like I said, words without pictures are boring. When you bore your readers, they’re going to bid adieu to your endless pages of words and find a place where their eyes can gaze at pictures.
  • Second, using images reduces bounce rate. When you have images on your page, they cause people to look (and stay) rather than click away (and leave.)
  • Finally, images improve SEO as long as you’re optimizing them correctly.


If you’re not using images, it’s time to get started. Here are my suggestions:

  • Use stock photos. Don’t let the perfect (custom photography) be the enemy of the good (stock photos). A few dollars from your content marketing budget is all it takes to get an account with Shutterstock or istockphoto. If you’re budget-strapped, you can use free images from
  • Use screenshots. I make generous use of screenshots in my articles because I like to show you things. Screenshots are images too, and they provide the same user and SEO benefit as stock photos do.

Tip #7: Use keywords

Every content marketer knows about keywords, right?

Of course. 

I’ve been surprised, however, at the misguided ideas that surround this “keyword” thing.

There are three main categories of problems:

  1. The keyword stuffing problem – cramming content full of keywords, hoping to trick the search engine into propelling you into the top position results. This is not going to happen.
  2. The generic keyword problem – thinking that somehow you’ll get the top spot for “iPad” or “sweater” just by targeting these keywords.
  3. The no-keyword-strategy problem – thinking that “if we just produce content,” then the keyword magic will happen on its own.

When the failure happens

Keyword use strategy is woven into the fabric of a content marketing strategy. If you believe the wrong information about keywords, then the problem begins at the very get-go of your content marketing.

Why failure happens

SEO is built, in part, on the science of keywords. If you fail to understand this science, you’ll fail to win the content game.

  1. The keyword stuffing problem – Google penalizes sites with too many keywords.
  2. The generic keyword problem – you’re wasting time trying to rank for head terms. If you sell “software,” that’s awesome. But don’t expect to gain first-page ranking for “software” unless you’re Wikipedia. But if you sell “property management software and CRM for real estate investors,” now you’re getting somewhere. Your goal is to get conversion-ready visitors from long tail terms.
  3. The no-keyword-strategy problem – you’re not thinking about keywords at all. If you aim at nothing, you’ll definitely hit it.


Keyword strategy is a crucial part of a content marketing strategy. Start with keyword research, and begin nailing the best keywords for your business.

Tip #8: Actively promote your content

Once you hit “publish” on your content, you’re off to a great start. The search engines are crawling; the users are querying; and the birds are tweeting.

Speaking of tweeting. You need to start promoting your content.

Content is social, at least it should be. It’s meant for people to tweet, share, post, and comment on. So, if you want to keep the content in front of your audience, you need to promote it to them.

When the failure happens

A failure to promote stems from a misunderstanding of holistic content marketing. By “holistic” I simply mean content marketing that’s more than just a blog. Content marketing can involve many components — email marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization, and even YouTube optimization.

Too often, we tend to compartmentalize content marketing. “There’s the blog. Then there’s Twitter. Then there’s our Vimeo channel.” But content marketing takes all of these elements and creates a beautiful mashup of promotion and excitement.

Why failure happens

Content doesn’t get recognized unless it gets shared. You’re unlikely to have a long-lived content strategy if there’s no buzz. You need to actively promote your content through whatever channels are at your disposal.


Creating content is the first step. Next, you need to promote it. You’re familiar with the most popular channels for promotion — Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, mailing lists, etc. The point is: spread the news about your content as far and as wide as possible.

Tip #9: Diversify your content

Content is not just a blog. Please, please think of content in its much more glorious and broad sense. Content is everything that you publish on the web — videos, tweets, webinars, ebooks, podcasts, interviews, infographics, rants…it’s all content.

And it can all be used to leverage your brand’s power and presence on the web.

When the failure happens

When you’re in the thick of a content marketing strategy, you tend to develop tunnel vision. All you can think about is, “Blog….Next topic…Write…Title.” Sometimes you need a wake up call to remind you that there’s a whole world of content out there that you should start using.

Why failure happens

You may not fail if you just produce a single type of content, but if you diversify your content, you could do a whole lot better. Variety, even in content marketing, is a good thing.


All you need to do is try other forms of content. Start adding to your YouTube account or creating some videos. If you haven’t started a company Instagram account, give it a shot. These are all different forms of content that add diversity, depth, and interest to your business.

Through research and testing, I’ve determined that infographics and long-form blogs have the greatest ROI. But that doesn’t keep me from using other forms of content. The more variety, the better.

Tip #10: Monetize your content

Content is not an end in itself. It serves a purpose: sales. If your content isn’t driving sales, it may look good, but it’s not doing good.

When the failure happens

A company can produce content for a long time without connecting it to its core message and end goal. Content can and should drive conversions.

Why failure happens

The fail point is obvious. If your business isn’t getting conversions from your content, then your content is useless. The entire purpose of content marketing is to drive more sales to your business.


Don’t be scared of calls to action. This is the only way to get sales.

Look at what I’m doing with my site. I’m producing awesome content because I really do care about you and the success of your online business. But I also have my own business to care for and grow.

So, I use a number of calls to a variety of actions. They’re not annoying, odious, intrusive, obnoxious, or troubling. And they get me results.

First off, every visitor is going to see my first call to action, which is a tool on my homepage.


Then, from my blog main page, he or she is going to see some more calls to action.


When you scroll down, you’ll see two more:


Click on any blog article, and I still have calls to action.

They are on my persistent header, on the sidebar, and at the end of articles. They are in strategic and optimized spots.

I’m connecting my content to conversions. The solution to conversionless content marketing is simply to use calls to action, to run A/B tests on your calls to action, and to invite users to do the next logical thing…to buy your product.


Although I strongly champion content marketing, I also realize that it’s not going to succeed automatically.

You need to have each of these features firmly implemented in order to see the success you want.

So, how else can you ensure the success of your content marketing?


  1. Hi Neil,

    Great write and again, you nailed it. I really dig into the part where you share what happens when it fails.

    Is like you provided how-to PLUS what to do when fails.

    Excellent and sharing it right now on Inbound!

  2. Fakharuddin :

    Hello Sir, Thanks for sharing this clean-cut idea about content marketing strategy.

  3. Mark @ Think Traffic :

    Great tips, thanks. We have been doing a lot more content marketing lately and I think a lot of businesses sort of assume that content marketing just means “writing content”.

    In particular we have found that Twitter is hugely helpful for promoting content, but only if the content is well targeted to your Twitter audience (and I’m sure the same is true however you plan to push your content out).

    We’ve actually found lately that guest posting less and content marketing more yields better results (which is in contrast to what we found a few years ago).

    Anyway, just my thoughts, great post!

    • Mark, you bring up a great point. Content marketing means so much more than just writing content. It’s all about writing content that converts. Thanks for the great feedback 🙂

  4. Scott Ayres :

    Spot on Neil! Content marketing has taken Post Planner to a whole new level!

  5. Umair Qureshi :

    Neil! You never disappoint landing on your website. Amazing insights.. Thank you so much for sharing these tips. 🙂

  6. Rob McNelis :

    Love this post. But I would challenge your statement about images.

    How do you determine if they are just distracting from your content, or making it seem longer?

  7. Great article on content marketing!

  8. Parmveer Singh :

    Great Writing Again!!

    The most challenge when struggling for Quality Content is being consistent simultaneously.

    In my case, it is the toughest job ever. I even tried for freelance help but did not work in first chance, but now I’ll take another and let you know the results.

    Thanks for the great guidance and actionable advices.

    • Parmveer, glad I could help. Thanks for the kind words of support. Looking forward to hearing more from you 🙂

  9. Pratik Unadkat :

    Great article Neil!

    Btw, I think this is a typo probably – “You’ll rip”. I think you meant “reap” there.

    Keep doing what you’re doing!



  10. Emil Isanov :

    Content Marketing is essential to any online marketing campaign. However if you fail to plan properly, you may not realize the returns on your investment. Neil, I think you addressed some major pain points for many content marketing campaigns and provided some great advice. I would like to add that its also very important to create content that addresses each stage of the buying cycle. Your content should resonate with your target audience for their current mindset and you should have well placed calls to action that can help you move the visitor along the buying process.

    For example:
    Top of the funnel visitor – is usually browsing and learning and is usually not ready to buy. Comes to your website via a google search or from an article you shared on a social media account. Free information and expert advice is the key to get this visitor interested in what you have to say. Reads you blog article and then clicks on a call to action on the bottom of your blog to get a free guide or ebook. You can then nurture this lead via follow up emails that illustrate the benefits of your product or service.

    Middle of the funnel visitor – is interested in what you have to offer but still needs more information to buy. Has already been to your site and is looking for trust signals, social proof, and more great advice to more convinced that he is about to make the right choice. Show this visitor that you can be trusted and have produced results for others. You can use testimonials and case studies to help convert this visitor into a customer.

    Bottom of the funnel visitor – has made a decision to purchase from you and just needs a checkout page. Has read your content, seen your results, trusts you to provide results and wants to make the purchase. You need to have a call to action that clearly helps this visitor navigate to your checkout page to convert this visitor into a customer. This is where all your work pays off and you just need to keep this visitor interested by reinforcing your core message and reassuring the visitor that he has made the correct choice.

    • Emil, thanks for this in-depth analysis. You could make a blog post out of this 🙂
      I like how you broke down the funnels. This will definitely be helpful to all the readers!

  11. Great post Neil. I appreciate you taking all of these parts and summarizing them into one.

    Maybe one more addition to your article would be referring to out reach link building for your content marketing, I guess you brushed on it in #8 Actively Promote your Content. I thought I might add an article of yours that was very helpful to our team for content marketing.

  12. Nice Post Neil. Every section in this post helps me directly. Thank you.

  13. Shilpi Agarwal :

    Nice post, Neil! Yes, we’ve tripled our traffic with a clear visual content strategy in the past couple of months and Twitter has definitely helped the most in driving this traffic among all other social networks.

  14. Arun Kallarackal :

    Hi Neil,

    Again an informative and awesome post from you! I really enjoyed reading it. Hopefully, I’ll also manage to implement the methods you described in it!

    Internal linking is something that I haven’t really cared about. I mean, I manage to write up good content consistently. But I must admit that I haven’t given internal linking the important that it deserves. Thanks for pointing out its importance here. Will keep it in mind!

    And promoting the content is also something that I need to work upon and improve! Sure thing that I learnt some valuable lessons and tips here. Now, the main challenge is to implement these things religiously and that too on a consistent basis.

    Thanks for sharing such awesome posts Neil!


    • Arun, glad you like the post. Thanks for the feedback. I truly believe consistency is key. Keep doing the right things all the time and you’ll see great results.

  15. Junaid Raza :

    Neil, your sharings are always amazing. You find something extra ordinary. Whenever I talk to my friends. I share your ideas. Infact I believe your sharings are always nearly perfect.
    That’s why I love to ask questions from you. I have noticed that you have not pointed backlinks in your post. I was wondering about it.
    Infact I was looking for a question. Will you please tell me, if I should have backlinks other than my Niche’s blogs?
    If I am sharing softwares and games, should I get links from softwares and games blogs only for good SEO?

    • Yes link out to other sites when relevant and get other sites to link back to you. This post has no backlinks as it is brand new… but that will change over time.

      The more backlinks you get, usually the higher your rankings will be.

      • You mean to say I should get links from relevant sites only? If I am offering softwares, Is it necessary to get links from a site that is offering softwares. Am I right?

  16. Adesh Saxena :

    HI Neil,

    Thanks for again nice post. In point no 7 you have mentioned about keyword that content should be high quality and less use of keywords. I do agree but what about those SEO agency who are taking high amount and promising to rank that particular keyword in some sort of time.

    Each and every tips is very clear and meaningful but when it comes to writing a content for a eCommerce website or any niche related website how high quality content will work (using less keywords)

    Thanks for your great tips. I will share your tips to my student. 🙂

  17. suri sodadiya :

    Great ..!! Neil, awesome post again !! really loved it.

    Content Marketing is very essential for any online marketing campaigns and delivering a Quality content is challenge for every one.

    Thank you for Sharing 🙂

  18. content marketing is one of the hot business in the current online world,seo companies are recruiting people for it and many upcoming entrepreneurs are taking interest in it as well.This is indeed helpful for all of them.Me too concentrating in it recently so thanks for this Neil sir.

  19. Chris Nadeau :

    Awesome article once again Neil!

    Do you think using a platform like Hubspot is the best way to go for businesses that do not have the technology expertise and then outsource the content creation component while they build their brand via content marketing?

    This would be one way I would recommend to ensure some success with your content marketing efforts. Thoughts?

    • Chris, I think that is a great resource. They have a ton of tutorials and other resources to help you get started.

      • Chris Nadeau :

        Agreed they have tons of information on there, but is their software something you think would help those that struggle with content marketing?

  20. Thanks once again Neil, I love that you don’t only say what you should do to improve your website. But you also explain why you should do it.

    I still have a lot to do on mine, thanks again.

  21. Typo in the first paragraph of tip #3: “Or to start to produce content and then stop.”

    Should be “producing” there I think.

  22. Michael Bely :

    Hey, Neil.

    I liked the post.

    Some thoughts to share:

    Content is for a target audience (the one imaginary person), but replying to comments is individually for each commenter (but keeping in mind the target audience).

    In addition to mission, core message and secondary messages there is a mantra. Guy Kawasaki recommends using it instead of mission in presentations – several catchy easy-to-remember non-corporation-style words that are more like an inspirational motto.

    Federal Express: “Peace of mind”
    Nike: “Authentic athletic performance”
    Target: “Democratize design”
    Mary Kay “Enriching women’s lives”

    As regards free images to make content more engaging, here is another resource I love:

    Thanks for your post!

  23. Thanks Nell for your brilliant post.You just make it easier for me you know. Now i think i will get my desire result from content marketing.Thanks again.

  24. Thank you on the excellent insights and advices. Good as always.

  25. Jake Jordan :


    I like the Problem/Answer format on this particualr blog – which brings me to a problem.

    Do you have any great resources for creating quality personas? I’ve read surveying is the best way to get what you need, but what if you don’t have access to survey data right away?


  26. Neil, I love how you approached this post – looking at failures and what the solutions are to those failures.

    I especially like your point about content promotion. While I always tweet and post my latest blog posts to Facebook, I sometimes forget to share them with my email list which is the most important step! Thanks for reminder 😉

    • Galen, glad I could help. Your list, as you will find, is the most important resource you have for networking 🙂

  27. Steve Sharp :

    Good article about content marketing with some interesting points.

    Content marketing use to be the basis of my SEO business before the Google changes. Now you have to have some seriously good content that engages people. We use to be able to do the keyword stuffing spin articles and syndicate them on various sites and create backlinks which will now get you a penalty.

    Content creation and marketing the content can be a slow laborious process.

    That’s why I put my focus on AdWords PPC now.

    • Steve, great insights. Thanks for sharing. I think it’s all about creating quality content that has great internal and outbound links. It’s important to focus on content with all the algorithm updates.

  28. Naomi@business start ups :

    Hi Neil,

    Another amazing, useful post.

    In regards to the layout – I really like it. It make absorbing the information even more simpler and straight to the point.


  29. Neil,
    You are a content beast! You are raising the bar on quality. I signed up the quicksprout U. Learning a lot.
    thanks for great content.

  30. loved it = ). thankyou for posting this.

  31. manujeevanprakash :

    Hi Neil ,
    Awesome post. I would always prefer to differnetiate my content , because there are thousands of blogs out there .so you should differentiate inorder to survive . Next is promoting the blog , Twitter is an awesome platform for bloggers for promotion. Email potential bloggers and influencers after your post goes live . I would advice all of them on quicksprout community to read this blog post for effectively contacting influencers (


  32. Ankit Pandya :

    Beautiful Article Neil. You cover each and every topic in depth. Content writing is an art. Though your Article is too long but still interesting. You are a true online marketer as well as a fabulous Artist too.

  33. Ryan Biddulph :

    Creating persistently stands out to me Neil. If you create content regularly you can build your campaign on a strong foundation. Never rush though; trying to do too much in a short amount of time reduces the quality of your work. Focus instead on creating pillar style posts – like yours 😉 – and publish as frequently as you can using this approach.

    I publish 1, 2000 word post daily to one of my blogs and 1-2 short and punchy videos to a sales-based blog daily, which links in to my pillar post style blog. The meld between the 2 works for me, with my travel time constraints. If you spot these red flags early you can save yourself time and energy trying to rebuild your content marketing campaign from scratch. Honesty is key. Honestly assess what mistakes you’re making then take the steps necessary to address these errors.

    Tweeted Neil!

  34. Junaid Raza :

    Hello Neil,
    I have noticed that you have not replied my question yet.
    May I ask you, if we should get backlinks from irrelevant sites? Is is helpful for SEO?

    • Junaid, apologies the comment may have gone to the spam folder.
      It definitely is not helpful. You should get backlinks from sites that are related to your product or niche, ideally.

  35. This is indeed nice post. I have been using content marketing for one year and didn’t get much success. I will check all the points above and hope will get a solution.

  36. Chris @ Write House :

    Great, comprehensive read. The editorial calendar is such an impotent cog – I think you play it down too much. IT forces you to generate ideas which in itself is a great process and allows you to delegate ahead of time.

  37. Those are great tips ! Love it.
    I personally struggle a little with the promotion part. I know I need to think strategically about this and to provide at least the same amount of time crafting the content to its promotion… But it’s sometime tricky.
    Thanks for the cool advices. 🙂

  38. Nice long informative article Neil…
    That point of Writing a content keeping a specific person in mind really is impressive..

    But what’s the deal with the number 291,658 in the sentence “she and about 291,658 other people in your target audience” ?

    I think you forgot to link that sentence to some article. Is that so?

    • Yep, I forgot the link… it was supposed to be a Quick Sprout article that showed the traffic numbers that I published a long time ago.

  39. Hi Neil,
    Yet again another great article.
    Its so easy for people to keep saying you need content, content, content without mentioning a strategy or more importantly what happens when it goes wrong.

  40. Neil,
    This is truly awesome & helpful content. There a lot of bloggers who make their living sharing probably half of these tips into e-books/courses. Thanks for keeping it sane!

  41. Content marketing, content marketing everywhere 🙂
    But for serious its really good post. Thanks 😛

  42. Barbara McKinney :

    Thanks for sharing these very useful tips Neil!As content marketing continues to become increasingly popular, more and more Internet Marketing companies and In-house teams will be attempting to execute successful campaigns.Unfortunately, if done incorrectly, these campaigns can easily fall flat.

  43. Fantastic article. Really, really useful. It’s given me some pretty clear ideas on where I need to improve with my content marketing. Thanks for sharing!

  44. Content Marketing is a way to increase and improve website traffic, gain lists and drive sales.

    So, it is important that we always keep an eye for our content marketing and I found this article so helpful, not just for myself but for content marketers too. The fact that you write the details of when and why failure happens, adds value to your content. Also, writing solutions is a big help.

    Thanks for providing such useful tips on how to avoid failures in content marketing.

    By the way, I found this post shared on


  45. Hey Neil, you are really showing me some new light. I have started a new blog where I plan to share some Photoshop tutorials, software reviews and some tips and tricks on various topic, actually all the type of stuff that I personally like. Let’s say I am my own customer (at least according to your point number 2). Am I bringing too much variation in my blog? Can you tell me how to improvise?


    • Yes you have a lot of variation… you should focus on just one of those topics to improve the value you provide to your customers.

  46. Hey Neil,

    You explained each and every point so nicely.Though I have one doubt, recently Matt Cutts claimed that guest posting will be considered as blackhat way for link building. So we consider this content marketing thing? Positive or negative for link building?

    • Ryan, as long as your guest posts aren’t spammy and aren’t intended just for link building purposes you will be fine.

  47. Content marketing is good thing for affiliate marketing also. I’ll surely improve my mistakes of content marketing Neil.


  48. This is really helpful! Even though those are mostly things that are well known to most of us, we tend to forget to use them so thanks for great reminder:)

  49. Nailed it, again! Thank you Neil for the great post. Content marketing is a powerful “tool” to achieve your business goals, but it’s much more than blogging on a regular basis, sitting back and waiting for results. Based on my experience, I think 99% of campaigns fail because they don’t promote their content, not at all. (guide, blog post, video, ebook etc). Take more time and start promoting your great content.

  50. Hi Neil, This is a great article, and very timely since I was just re-evaluating my content marketing strategy. I want to print it out, but the techcrunch ad appears on every page of the print out. Any way to print this out without the ad so I can read and highlight the article?

  51. This is so comprehensive, I don’t think I’ll ever need to read anything else on content marketing;) It’s really helpful, thank you.

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  54. Neil,

    You wrote “I use a number of calls to a variety of actions. They’re not annoying, odious, intrusive, obnoxious, or troubling. And they get me results.”

    Are the pop-ups that keep popping up whenever I visit your site a call to action? I do find it annoying because it keeps popping up each time. I am not sure why it does that. It actually makes me want to avoid returning to your site because I know a pop up will appear somewhere.

    The only times I do return is when I get an email about your latest post because by clicking on that, I no longer get a pop-up.

    I am curious to hear what your success rate with these pop-ups are. They seem to be the latest rage and annoy the hell out of me because I want to read the content first before I even consider subscribing. It’s just me.

    I don’t know if others share it but the one feature I did appreciate is how one of your pop-ups only popped up after I finished reading the entire content. I would think the readers are savvy enough to know to subscribe if they like the content or not.

    • Yea, I don’t consider the popup the call to actions but they do work. They are the number one reason for traffic growth as emails are one of the biggest traffic generators.

      I know they are irritating and I am working on slowly fixing when they show up…

  55. Eugene Hennie :

    Thanks Neil!

    The part about driving sales is gold. I think most people are afraid to ask for the sale.

    When did you start asking for the sale?

  56. Thanks Neil for sharing these great points!

  57. Jill Richards :

    Oh my – I LOVE this post. Agree…Agree…Agree! All of these are so crucial to content marketing which is not a once and done event. Thank you for your really well done post! It’s great to you evangelizing sound marketing practices.

  58. Thank you for sharing, as always great content.

  59. Hi Neil, as always, thanks for this helpful post. I have a question though, and would like to see your opinion on it.

    So I’m preparing to blog (I’m a webdesigner/developer) and I’m having trouble with choosing my audience. There are three options – write for customers, who will employ my services, write for fellow designers and webdevelopers, or write for both. I know that my customer is not going to be a fellow webdesigner (tutorials, freebies), but I have a problem thinking up a year’s worth of blog posts only for my customers (I intend to start blogging weekly at first). Is blogging for multiple audience personas harmful in any way for my business?

    I guess it’s a bit harder since I’m on my own for everything, so I have to think about marketing myself. (I’m not really that finacially secure to get a marketing specialist) Your posts really help a lot get my information sorted! 🙂

    Thank you for your time! 🙂

    • Neil Patel :

      Blog for your customers first and if you have to expand your audience later on to people in your industry. But of course start with your customers as that will provide the biggest revenue lift.

  60. I’m planning to create my own blog, and a question comes up to my mind..

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