You’ve been chugging along with content marketing for the past few months, only you’re not seeing much, if any, progress. What’s up, is it you or them (your audience)? Could it be that your content marketing sucks?
Odds are, it’s you, or more likely, your content or approach to content marketing. Here’s why your content marketing sucks and what you can do to make it better.
1) You’re All “Me, Me, Me!”
One of the first things you should do when you make a content marketing strategy is identify your audience or customer, then create content that meets their needs or that’s useful for them.
Content marketing isn’t self-promotion. If you’re making blog posts that show off how great your brand is or that show off your products, but do little else, well– no one’s going to care.
Think of a problem your customers or audience has, then find a way to solve it.
2) You Never Set a Goal
What are you trying to do with your content marketing? If you don’t know the answer to that, no one else does, either.
Before you make another move or another blog post, go back and set a goal. What do you want to get from your content marketing? Knowing that will let you know what else you need to do.
3) You Last Updated Your Website in 2005
Your content marketing could suck because you’re using outdated technology. If your website has that vintage early 2000s feel (or worse, looks like its from the 1990s), you’re not doing anyone any favors.
Give your website and other tech an update, so that you can actually connect with today’s users (who are most likely looking at your content on a mobile device, btw).
4) You Copy Everyone
Look, we can all tell when your content creators just scraped a few articles or videos from Google and repurposed them into your brand’s own “special content.”
If you want your content to stand out, you need to stop copying everyone else.
How to do that? Step away from Google and look to your audience. Ask them what they want or need, ask them to contribute content to your blog or video channels. Ask influencers to create content for you. You can also take trending topics and put your brand’s unique perspective on them.
5) You’re Boring
You gotta give people a reason to care about your content. If your content marketing sucks, it’s probably because your content bores people to tears.
How not to be boring? Give your content some personality. You might be afraid to have a voice or opinion, because you don’t want to alienate customers or lose your audience. But guess what? By coming across as that boring friend no one really wants at the party but who shows up anyway, you’re alienating people. Better to be entertaining and risk scaring people away than be boring and have people run from you.
6) You Don’t Switch Things Up
Blog posts seem to work for your brand. You love listicles. You’ve notice some traffic from video, so video it is. While you do want to keep using what works, you don’t want to become Johnny One Note.
All listicles all the time gets a little stale. Try switching it up and make a video instead. If you’re all about videos, try some written content. You might find that you’ve been ignoring a huge section of your audience because you haven’t made content that speaks to them.
7) You Use Attention-Grabbing, Stupid Headlines
You know your headlines have to grab people’s attention and convince them to read the article or blog post.
A lot of content marketers have gotten that message. The trouble is, they haven’t gotten the memo that the headline has to have something to do with what the blog post or articles about. Nothing annoys a reader more than coming across “5 Ways to Style a T-Shirt” only to end up reading an article about buying secondhand clothing instead.
Go on, make your catchy headlines. Just make sure they aren’t misleading.
8) You Let Your Content Rot
Hey! My content marketing doesn’t suck, you’re thinking. We have this one blog post from 2010 that’s still going strong.
OK, then, great. But when’s the last time anyone from your team looked at that blog post? It might still rank high in the search results and get some traffic, but is it still relevant?
It’s worth it to go back every now and then and check in on your content, whether popular or not. Updating a stale blog post can give it new life (and new visitors). Meanwhile, updating a popular post can help extend its life and usefulness.
9) No One Knows Who You Are
Look, everyone’s got to start somewhere. But if you’re starting somewhere and aren’t letting people know who you are, why you matter, and why they should listen to you, well, you won’t get much attention.
Haul in the experts and the studies to verify what you say. Give people a little round up of your history, letting them know who you are and where you’re coming from. This is the era of fake news. The more stats you have to back yourself and your content up, the better.
10) Your Grammar’s No Good
We’re not talking about the Oxford comma or the correct usage of the subjunctive here. We’re not going to get on your case about a comma splice or a typo.
When we say your grammar’s no good, we mean that you’re making your audience leap through hoops trying to break down your syntax. Your sentences give Faulkner a run for his money. James Joyce would tip his hat to you if he were still alive.
No one likes a show-off. Keep the sentences short and the vocabulary clear. Whatever you do, don’t try and use a fancy word if you’re not 100 percent sure of its meaning. Showing off is bad, showing off and being wrong is worse.