5 indicators that your content sucks

Sep 25, 2015 by
5 indicators that your content sucks

Almost everyone sees content marketing as a great low-cost opportunity for boosting brand awareness and generating more conversions.

Perhaps you’ve even had a brainstorming session and have come up with a handful of catchy headlines for blog titles or have decided to turn your latest customer survey into a flashy infographic.

It sounds wonderful, right? That is until you get to the difficult part: putting in the legwork and executing effectively. If you aren’t getting the results you had originally anticipated with your content marketing strategy, here are some of the possible culprits.

1 – Your blog posts look like walls of text

Incase you didn’t already know, people have very short attention spans when it comes to surfing the internet. Because of this, blog posts should always be optimised for scannability. If someone clicks through to your blog post and can’t get the jist of what the post is about in a couple of seconds, it’s likely that they will be gone in a flash. The best way to do this is to structure your blog post as a list post, or at least break it up with some succinct subtitles or bullet points. Images are another way to break down the dreaded wall of text and entice people to keep reading.

2 – You don’t communicate with your readers

If you’re not actively requesting feedback from the people who read your blog, how can you create content which will truly resonate with them? While metrics such as page hits and social media shares are an important indicator of what topics are the most popular, you can get a far greater depth of understanding of how effective your posts are by actually talking to people. It sounds mind-blowingly simple but in the digital era, it’s so easy to neglect human interaction and produce content that you think people will want, unsupported by real conversations with real human beings. This leads me onto my next point…

3 – You have no idea what problems your readers are experiencing

How can you write engaging content if you have no idea what problems your customers are experiencing?

How can you write engaging content if you have no idea what problems your customers are experiencing?

It’s important to understand the desires, aspirations and, most importantly, problems of your core audience, or you won’t be able to help them with your content (yes, free content is supposed to help people!) If you don’t know what’s keeping your readers up at night, you need to discover this before you think about rolling out yet another insipid blog post. It might be the case that some market research is required – this can be as simple as investigating online forums within your niche or checking out reviews for your competitor’s products. Either way, once you actually understand your audience, your content will improve exponentially as a result.

In the words of content strategist Gregory Ciotti:

“Can direct outreach really be beneficial in getting feedback from customers?

Absolutely—especially when you conduct it the right way. Truly understanding your customers is often as easy as talking to them directly.
 This direct outreach can also help fill in the gaps that less personal forms of feedback tend to create.”

He goes on to state: “Since you can get face-to-face online with programs like Skype and even share screens during an online meeting with tools like Join.me, don’t let distance stop you from having one-on-one interviews with customers.

4 – You are frustrated at the lack of engagement you’re getting

As Neil Patel eloquently stated in a recent blog post – have you ever considered that your content doesn’t actually deserve to rank highly in Google’s rankings? If you want the best rankings, you need to produce the best article on a subject. You can’t simply copy other people, churn out generic articles and expect to get engagement. The hard truth is, if you aren’t getting the engagement you think you deserve, you are not creating content which is engagement-worthy. Not to worry – just check back to points 1, 2 and 3. If this fails, it might be time to brush up on your copywriting skills.

5 – You’re saving your best content for paying customers

While it can be tempting to withhold your best content because you know it has superb value, this is a tremendously shortsighted strategy. Instead, it’s better to ditch the scarcity-based thinking and give away your best stuff free of charge. The positive ripples that you can create by showcasing your expertise free will far outweigh any manipulative marketing tactics which encourage people to part with their money before they receive the goods. It sounds counterintuitive, but the entire premise of content marketing is that the more you give unselfishly, the more you receive as a consequence.

To quote legendary marketing guru Seth Godin:

“Our job is to connect to people, to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more able to get where they’d like to go. Every time we waste that opportunity, every page or sentence that doesn’t do enough to advance the cause is waste.”