We’ve all been there.
You’ve spent hours researching, crafting and shamelessly plugging a piece of content which drives little to no results.
Your traffic is trickling in and your links are hard to come by. Not to mention your click-through rate is as stale as week-old loaf of bread.
Could it be down to time? Do you need to sit there patiently and hope for your traffic to somehow snowball?
Or is it time to admit that your content may possibly suck?
It can be a hard thing to say, and definitely much harder to admit.
Nobody thinks their content sucks – after all, why would you intentionally create something that’s below par?
And yet, a lot of the content out there really does suck.
It’s not a bad thing to come to terms with. In fact, the first step in improving your content is to admit that you’re not quite getting it right. And how can you ever improve if you never accept that you need to change?
Below, you’ll find six reasons why your content probably isn’t hitting the mark. Take the time to evaluate them against your own work. That way, you’ll know what to change in the future to make your content as impactful as it can be.
Your Content Isn’t New
One of the biggest reasons why your content lacks success is because it doesn’t bring anything new to the table.
So much of the content out there online is simply a repetition of what someone else has already written.
You may dress it up with glossy images or switch the way in which it’s presented to your readers. But, unless it’s offering a completely different viewpoint or offers new information, it is effectively low-quality content.
In fact, Dew Smith, managing editor at Vendasta sums it up much better:
“Blog posts that just sum up what you can find through Google searches. Regurgitation of basic information that’s reformatted on a company blog with a lot of injected ads, unnecessary links, and keyword stuffing in hopes of achieving a high SERP rank. If all your blog post does is tell me the same information I can find through a simple Google search, then it’s (weak).”
You’re not going to rank highly simply by copying what someone else is doing. You need to have a reason to draw new audiences in.
Perhaps it’s because you offer a controversial opinion? Maybe you have more accurate and up-to-date information than the data which is already out there? Or could you offer a completely different angle which transforms the whole premise of the piece?
This isn’t to say that you need to start flipping the opinion on every single piece of content that’s out there. Chances are, that would be going against your actual beliefs on a topic. But it does mean that you should take a curious approach to everything you do read.
As you scan through new material online, ask yourself questions such as:
- Do I trust that all the information in this article is accurate?
- Is this really the only way people should look at this topic?
- Are all the links and snippets of research as up-to-date as possible?
- Could I present a new angle to the reader which may offer a new perspective?
- Is this the best format with which to present this information?
Don’t be afraid to go against the grain if you think you can present something new for your reader. It’s the only way you’re going to capture their attention and entice new audiences to your site.
Sometimes marketers can become so blindsided by high search volumes and potential content opportunities that we forget what it really takes to create great content.
Don’t waste your time creating something that already exists; you won’t rank well. Plus, it’ll offer nothing of value to your online presence. Instead, always look at how you can bring something new to the table and remain the most relevant brand.
Your Content is Self-Indulgent
Taking content marketing back to its basics, it’s all about creating and distributing valuable content to attract and engage audiences.
Though the ultimate goal is to drive profitable customer action, the core of its success comes down to how much value your content adds to your audiences’ searches.
And yet so many marketers overlook the importance of taking this customer-centric approach.
The long-term goals often blur the purpose of their content marketing strategy. And so many brands find that they end up putting their company and their own needs ahead of the customer.
But no matter the content type, this type of self-indulgence is weak.
There are a few ways you can check whether your company looks at content through the customers’ eyes, including:
- Do the titles of your content typically convey customers’ concerns? Or do they call attention to the things you sell?
- Are the call-to-actions beneficial to the reader? Or do they try to drive them closer to a sale?
- Does your content read naturally? Or is it stuffed with keywords and popular search terms?
- Are the words ‘we’ and ‘us’ used more than ‘you?’
- Is the information presented in a visually-appealing way and is easy to read?
If you find that your brand and its products or service are taking over the spotlight, then it’s likely you’re missing opportunities to build those all-important customer relationships that drive real growth for your brand.
If this is the case, go back to the drawing board. See how you can adapt the content you already have to better suit your audience. Create a framework that focuses on your audiences challenges and search queries, and then target them accordingly.
This will help you to gauge a clear path for your content strategy. You’ll know which content to retire, which to repurpose, and which – moving forward – should and shouldn’t be created.
Your Content Is Missing a Voice
Imagine you go to a conference and attend a panel talk with speakers you don’t know.
Though all of the panellists have a great range of opinions, one of them captures your attention because they’re a great storyteller. Their use of words, shining personality and flow of words all combine for a memorable, engaging experience.
Subsequently, when you look back at that conference in years to come, you’re always reminded of that one individual who stood out to you.
Now extrapolate that to your own brand. What is your brand’s voice like? How does it speak to audiences? And most importantly, how does it stand out amongst your competitors?
When it comes to content, your brand’s voice is hugely important. In fact, recent research by Sprout Social found that 33% of consumers believe that a distinct personality helped brands to stand out to them.
And you can’t have a distinct personality without a distinct voice.
Having a voice helps you to stand out from the crowd. It can help you to capture the attention of new audiences, and keep them engaged with everything you share. It’s what puts a personality behind your logo. Forging lasting connections with the readers who will convert into paying customers in the future.
There’s no tick-box way to create your own tone and style of voice. It’s something you’ll develop the more you learn about your audience as you create content. However, there are a few tips you can follow to help ensure yours is consistent:
- Define your brand’s mission statement – this is the first step to creating a voice for your brand. It should highlight some defining personality traits which you can carry forward in all your produced content
- Audit your current tone – Keep track of all the content you share and examine what your current voice is like. Is it quite jovial? Do you speak in first person? Whatever it is, define your most consistent traits and carry them through everything you publish
- Refine your audience – The more you get to know your audience, the easier it will be to adopt a style of language that resonates with them. List out the traits and common vocabulary that’s relevant to them. But ensure it also aligns with your brand’s beliefs
Developing a voice for your brand is not a one-time effort. It should be regularly reviewed and refined to ensure it’s consistently engaging. Language evolves and the words and phrases that are relevant to your audience and industry will change over time.
Without consistent reviews on your brand’s tone and style of voice, you risk being out of touch with your audience. Therefore, you risk not being relevant to the conversations that are taking place.
Ensure your brand remains relevant, entertaining and informed. If it is, then your content should have no trouble resonating with your audiences.
Your Content Fails to Establish Credibility
In order to be one of the market leaders, your brand needs to be a credible, trusted and reliable source of information. And that means being confident in your tone and using reputable sources with which to quote your data or information.
You’ll often hear about research skills being one of the defining characteristics for marketers to be successful with content marketing.
Research allows you to review content which is already out there. In addition, it allows you to analyse and obtain data from neutral sources. Subsequently, this will help you to produce the most informed, accurate and relevant material possible.
All these traits are of course essential if you want to be a market leader. With 80% of consumers placing authentic content as the number one reason why they become a follower of a brand, it’s more important than ever to be transparent and accurate with your content.
Authoritative sources build credibility for your brand. Credibility builds trust. And it’s this trust which drives revenue in the long-term.
Credibility is essential in developing strong customer relations. Use your platform as a way to build a bank of trusted knowledge that’s accurate has been sourced correctly.
Your Content Lacks Quality
In recent years, marketers have seen a real shift in the way search engines perceive quality content.
Where before, Google would deem quality simply by the number of keyword instances which existed on a page. Today it’s much more complex than that.
At the heart of search engines like Google is a desire to connect searchers to the most relevant material possible.
And at the heart of relevance lies quality. If you’ve taken the time to research, create and optimise material that focuses around your customer’s needs, it’s going to be high quality and purposeful.
All too often brands get wrapped up in wanting to produce content quickly. This is because they’re driven by new industry developments and large search volumes. As a result, quality can be a secondary focus. Some brands will seek to churn out content quickly to remain ‘on the pulse.’
Of course, quality is subjective and what works for one type of reader may not work for another. However, there are some universal practices you can implement to ensure your content remains quality.
- Keep your content customer-centric
- Avoid sales talk
- Review, edit and refine
- Triple check for spelling and grammatical errors
- Refine your audience
Always remember, even if you’re not sure what ‘quality’ means for your brand, the most important thing you can do is to offer as much value as possible.
Building a rapport with your audience is key to driving long-term results for your brand. If you’re consistently posting quality, purposeful and accurate content, you’ll soon reap the rewards of increased site traffic. Traffic that returns time and time again.
You’re Not Creating Enough Content
Sometimes, it’s not the quality of your content which has an impact on its success. It’s the quantity and the consistency at which you’re creating it.
As well as being of a consistently high quality and written in a recognisable tone of voice your content should also be produced and distributed regularly on the appropriate channels. So your audience can come to rely on your as a source of insight and information.
Often, this falls down to not have an established strategy or plan in place. One which covers all your different marketing channels; from social media to email.
You’ll need to spend time at the start of your strategy working to develop a content calendar. This will ensure you’re posting consistent messaging on a regular basis.
In addition, it will help you to remain relevant to your reader too. You’ll be regularly updating them with helpful, insightful content which suits their interests. As such, they’ll always return to you as a source of information when looking for knowledge on your particular niche.
Creating a content calendar will also make reviewing your strategy much easier in the future. Knowing that you were consistent in the messaging you put out each week can help you evaluate the content’s success. You’ll know which topics and types of information did and did not resonate with your audience.
By being consistent in your content creation, you’ll be committing time, resource and strategic thinking to your strategy. Which in turn, will become an integrated part of your business.
The more consistent you are, the better your content will become, and the more efficient your process will be.
Making your Content Marketing a Success
In this article, we’ve established six main reasons why your content probably isn’t driving the results you were hoping for.
Ultimately, it comes down to creating material that’s relevant and personal to your audience and their search demands. It’s all well and good creating a killer piece of content. But unless you’ve got an audience that’s interested in reading it, it’s going to have no impact on your business.
This also means keeping up with your audience’s demands. If you really want to create a loyal and regular return of site visitors, you need to consistently produce high quality content that suits their interests.
It can be difficult to get into the rhythm of. However, eventually you’ll get into a habit of properly researching, brainstorming and producing content guided by your audience’s needs. Do this well and you’ll be on the way to creating long-term growth for your business.
Outsourcing your Content Marketing
We’ve established how difficult content marketing can be to get right. You need to dedicate a serious amount of time and energy to it. And that’s before you even start to see its effects.
Many small businesses struggle to find the time that’s needed to really make it impactful. So, they often look to outsource their work to a marketing consultant, such as myself.
Having worked with hundreds of companies across all sectors, my team and I know exactly what it takes to improve your rankings for the long-term. And we can drive high-converting traffic to your website.
Whether you need advice on how to improve your current strategy, or are looking for a friendly team to create and implement your entire strategy then please, get in touch. We’d be more than happy to have an obligation-free chat, getting to know you and your brand in more detail.