Unfortunately, many companies continue to crank out content that sucks. Poorly crafted content represents a time suck and a money suck you really can’t afford. If your content isn’t delivering measurable and meaningful results, you may want to reevaluate your content marketing strategy.
Why Content Deserves Your Attention
Marketers rarely know which piece of content will serve as a reader’s gateway to their brands. Some consumers discover preferred brands through social media networks while others value the quintessential Google search. Still more find brand mentions by happenstance through blogs, articles, and advertisements.
Each interaction can encourage or detract from future brand interactions. Content has largely taken the place of conventional lead generation and nurturing activities. Every piece of content needs to represent the voice, personality, and style of a brand to make a personal and memorable connection with potential customers.
The good news is that digital content is ephemeral. No one will remember your crappy content tomorrow if you take steps to improve it today. Few pieces of content enjoy sustained activity over a period of months or years. You can optimize your existing content, create a winning strategy, and realize measurable results.
6 Big Mistakes You’re Making With Content Marketing
Would you read your content if you were a member of your target market? If the answer is no, then you may want to look out for some of the biggest reasons why your content sucks:
- Your content isn’t relevant. Relevancy is a critical component of content marketing. Google’s crawlers look specifically for content that most accurately matches search terms, and the search engine grows smarter each year. Brands need content that not only matches frequently used search terms, but also aligns with a target market.
A shoe store may dominate the search engine for a phrase such as, “how to make the perfect shoe,” but paying customers aren’t likely to use that phrase when searching. Focus on creating content your ideal customers can use and then optimizing content for relevant search phrases.
In addition to a spot on the first page of mobile and desktop searches, companies that want to earn a place in the digital spotlight should focus on crafting concise and helpful answers to the most popular searches. Brands that do so can earn a premier spot in Google’s Knowledge Graph.
- Your older content languishes online. Too many brands focus heavily on content creation and not enough on content maintenance. Older content can perform well under the right circumstances. You can optimize old blog posts for better SEO performance, to correct inaccuracies, improve your blog index for better searchability, or post an update to a hot topic, and get more from each publication. A piece of content may have a limited average life expectancy, but you can breathe new life into it. All you need is for one influencer to pick up your piece to earn maximum exposure.
- Your headlines are a dime a dozen. Headlines are the first and most read lines of any content piece. In a competitive online world, a generic headline simply won’t make the cut. A great headline is accurate, but interesting. Avoid generic phrases in favor of action-oriented, list-based, unique titles. Jot down several possible titles and choose a winner based on fit. Key search terms can also boost the performance of a headline, but only if they truly fit the nature of the content.
- You haven’t evaluated your content’s performance. Small and large brands can use analytics platforms to evaluate the performance of blogs, social media posts, third-party articles, and other pieces of content. Choose your brand’s key performance indicators and allow them to guide your content marketing strategy. Consider creating KPIs for every stage of the sales cycle. Views, shares, and conversions can all indicate success. Use your chosen metrics to plan new content, optimize existing content, and reward small successes.
- Your content is dry as toast. Let’s say you’ve taken every one of these tips to heart and your content still fails to perform; you may need to reevaluate the voice and style of the articles you write. Successful content is diverse, funny, emotionally appealing, informative, and relatable. Whether you’re writing a professional analysis of an industrial automation solution or a product release for your new clothing line, the content should easily connect with your readership. The diction and tone should match your audience’s.
- You don’t have a review process in place. A minor typo is one thing; an egregious grammatical error is another. Many consumers will write off a brand that doesn’t carefully edit and proof its content for syntax and semantics. A review process may delay publication, but it can also catch costly mistakes.
Content sets brands apart. It creates credibility, authority, and personal connections. As such, it should never waste your time or your money. Make your content work for you. Understand your audience, measure your results, and make changes along the way.
Content marketing success takes time and effort, but the potential success is worth it. The moment your subscription rates increase, your rankings improve, and your competitors fall behind, you’ll understand why successful marketers push the value of content. No content marketing strategy is set in stone. If your content sucks, change it.