Ten Reasons Why Your Content Is Yet to Catch Fire
Is your content promotion as strong as it could be? Check our our 10 reasons why your content may not be performing as well as it could.
Content marketing must be entertaining, but it must also increase user engagement and, of course, sales. Indeed, you undertake content marketing precisely because of these proven positive effects. However, whether you use graphics, video, or text, there is often plenty of room for improvement in a company’s published content. Do your achievements seem a little below par? That may be due to one of the following issues.
1. Your content is too promotional
If the primary focus of your content is a product or brand, this may attract the attention of your CEO, but it will rarely interest your customers – and certainly won’t attract your potential customers. Content marketing is simply not a substitute for advertisements.
Clumsy advertising messages just don’t belong in your content activities. Unlike many advertising campaigns, content marketing is not about rushing in like a bull at a gate. Obviously, your content should have an impact, and will, of course, influence sales over the longer term.
You just have to be more patient and remember the customer journey often has many phases. The content marketing process requires a lot of patience and finesse – it has no push effects, but it does create pull.
First, your content creates visibility, then interest, and then increased traffic, and so more users and thus ultimately more conversions. This strategy will pay off in the long term.
Instead of producing a text only about yourself (or your company), you should come up with some possible solutions for your target group’s problems. Rather than boasting about your wonderful product range, you can develop more engaging content around such topics. Instead of writing editorial articles about Herbal Essences or some other latest hairspray, you should discuss beautiful hairstyles. Don’t create a video clip showing the Craftsman range of handy tools, make explanatory videos on how to renovate a kitchen or build a garden fence instead. And in place of advertising promoting your Four Seasons hotel, provide some useful insider tips for travel destinations.
Providing really interesting, relevant and useful content that authoritatively conveys know-how is the only way to gain credibility and build your status as an expert.
2. You publish too little or too sporadically
A HubSpot survey of 13,500 participants showed that publishing more blog entries per month creates more leads. The ideal number of blog entries depends on your industry and the size of your company, but according to the study, significant leads can develop from six blog articles per month.
In order to achieve a certain visibility with your users and with search engines – an essential prerequisite for more traffic and leads – it’s important that your blogging should have continuity and a certain monthly frequency. In addition, you should remember that the effect of purely short-term measures quickly fades, so therefore you should publish content regularly and with a consistent frequency for a period of 3-6 months until some measurable success is achieved.
How much content you should publish depends on your goals, the type of content, and the channel you propose to use. For example, a frequent post rate is common on social media channels such as Twitter, whereas you should only submit press releases if you have something to say.
To ensure a regular publication frequency, you should use an editorial calendar to plan your content. And, of course, you need to have sufficient internal and external resources available to create and maintain your content schedule. In general, it is more sensible to publish good content over a longer period of time rather than over a very short timescale.
3. You have the wrong content strategy – or no strategy at all
Trial and error measures rarely lead to content marketing success. You should therefore develop your strategy before you begin to post content regularly. To do this, you should first define the goals you want your content to achieve.
And before starting your content activities, you should also carefully decide who your target group are and what particular topics concern and motivate them. This will allow you to develop content all along the customer journey that will meet the needs of this target group. You should also plan what formats you need, how often you want to publish, and on which channels.
A Content Marketing Institute study has shown that it is not enough just to have a content strategy – it should be a written document. It is also important to regularly monitor the results of your content activities and make ongoing improvements. Only then will you be able to produce content that will secure your objectives and achieve the customer influence you seek in the longer term.
4. You don’t learn from your content experience
Only those who test can gain valuable feedback, and only those who are prepared to analyze can optimize.
You should monitor your content regularly, using a web analytics tool such as Google Analytics to check how many users viewed which content and what channels they employed to do so. Metrics such as the length of stay and bounce rate will also indicate how long users engage with your content, and thus how interesting they found it to be. Depending on your type of content, elements such as the number of downloads, newsletter subscriptions, or comments can act as relevant content KPIs.
Furthermore, you should also study the social media user engagement and what users say about your brand or products. Only those who are aware of how their content is received can improve it, develop good thematic ideas, and ensure the success of their future content marketing.
5. You neglect the technical basics
Anyone who publishes online content should be aware of a number of technical issues. A SEMrush investigation has found that some of the most common failings occur in the area of onpage optimization. According to this survey, every second website still contains duplicate content – which will never please Google. Another common error is missing title tags, meta descriptions, and specified alt attributes for images. Furthermore, there are also problems with the usage of H1 heading – for example, it is very important that each respective page should always carry just one H1 heading.
In addition to the results of the SEMrush study, some further important points must be considered. For instance, you should definitely employ social sharing buttons on your website because this makes it easier for users to share your texts, infographics, and videos across the social web.
One possible reason for a lack of performance success with infographics occurs if they are not allocated an embed code. This coding ensures that infographics will display correctly when shared externally on other sites. A further advantage of embed codes is that you can include backlinks to your page as well as a brief description or logo. Free tools such as embed.ly can help you to create an embed code.
6. You place too much emphasis on SEO – or do not consider SEO at all
Successful content must always be written for the user, not for the search engine. Nevertheless, it is important to meet a few SEO basics, because after all, Google still determines what content is displayed (and thus consumed) on the web.
To help impatient users and search engines identify exactly what is going on, you should place the most important keywords and topic terms in the most important parts of your text:
- In headings (especially the H1 heading)
- In the meta description and metatags
- In the page title
- At the beginning of paragraphs and sentences
Use only one H1 headline which contains the most important keyword and, depending on the structure of your text, provide all subtitles with H2 or H3 tags.
However, you should also bear in mind that Google now penalizes the too-frequent placing of certain keywords on a website text (keyword stuffing). You can avoid this if you use high-quality, relevant, and well-written content that satisfies the interests of your users.
7. You address the wrong topics
Do you know what your target group is really interested in? Do you share your expertise and position yourself as the leader of your niche area? It’s only by doing this that you can create unique content which stands out from what others offer.
As a first step to finding some appropriate topics, create ‘personas’ – idealized types of visitors to your website. Your content should then be tailored to their specific goals and needs. And to find meaningful ideas for topics, it is important to analyze what your target group often searches for. You should also determine which content is particularly popular on social media channels – a task which can be achieved with tools such as BuzzSumo.
In addition, you should also talk to your sales and customer service teams, look over what your rivals are publishing, and establish which of your own themes your users have found most interesting in the past. Try to use your content to provide the best solutions for your target audience – employing topics where you are an expert.
8. Your content is poorly distributed
It is not enough to put content on your online website and hope the right people will somehow find it. You must distribute your content in a targeted way – on the channels where your target group is active. That, of course, means knowing precisely where and how to locate them online.
In addition to distributing content on your own channels such as your company website and social media presence, a paid media strategy makes sense because it will increase your reach. And, of course, such paid-for content promotion must also address channels where your target audience is active.
Furthermore, it has now become a standard approach to send your customers a newsletter incorporating new content. Thus, your website should provide a prominent means of subscribing to your newsletter.
The current trend is also to publish content directly on to platforms (e.g. LinkedIn Pulse, Facebook Instant Articles) so the user does not have to leave in order to find it. A content distribution strategy which employs both your own and external channels is the most promising option.
To gain your content even more attention, you should also employ content seeding methods via influencers. You will need to keep influencers, bloggers, and similar classic media informed about your content.
9. You don’t produce high-quality content
Careless, wasteful text, confused designs: There is plenty of boring, generic, and unappealing content to be found on the Internet. This won’t appeal to readers, nor to Google, so you should always rely on high-quality, original content. Try your best to convey your message with accuracy and clarity. Your content should be fresh, useful and interesting, and the following criteria apply to any good webtext:
- unique quality
- relevant for the target group
- coherent and intelligible
- clearly structured
- attractive style and good expression.
10. The origin of your content is not clear
Do you remember the hype surrounding the Moorhuhn computer game? It was only afterwards that many users learned who was responsible for the launch: The Johnnie Walker whiskey brand.
Even though the game was a technical success, the brand effects were rather weak. It’s far better for consumers to instantly recognise where a content piece originates because then the respective content measure supports your goals, and users will also be able to make the important link to your company. This approach should also include a logo and clear branding information on your e-books and videos.
There are many issues which can affect your content performance. Keep in mind the ten points mentioned above, so your content can be as effective as possible and thus ignite interest and attract attention whenever and wherever it is consumed.
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