Creating content is a time-consuming task that requires a lot of effort, for what may sometimes feel like little return. In fact, a recent study by Moz showed that 75% of all content produced by brands fails to receive a single link or share!
Such a stark finding suggests that either there is a lot of poor content being produced, or that brands are failing to put their content in front of its target audience.
Some of the challenges faced by marketers are indicated in the graph below which, even though it focuses on the B2B sector, will resonate across all industries:
Clearly, content production is taking place against a backdrop of time pressure and restricted budgets. Worse still, in a world where your post can be seen by everyone immediately, your content is either a success or a failure in a matter of seconds. By learning why content fails, you can work on your own content creation and create regular content that performs well and is a credit to your business.
Having a consistent flow of content drawing new customers in and educating existing customers is vital for any organisation. Successful content showcases your expertise, builds trust, and establishes your brand as a ‘thought leader’., These benefits are much harder to come by without a reliable stream of high quality, thoroughly researched, content.
8 reasons why your content is failing
So what do we do about the failure/success ratio? We know that saying “1 in 4 pieces of content succeeds” isn’t going to help improve your opinion, so we’ve delved a little deeper and figured out why the majority of content fails. Is it the quality of the content, is it your audience or is it the subject matter you’re choosing to write about?
Here are 8 reasons why your content isn’t having the impact you need:
1. Have we heard it all before?
It’s not enough to have content that is ‘not awful’, your content has to have genuine insight and value to out-perform the thousands of pieces that have already been published on the same topic. It takes time to come up with these original ideas, time that lots of content marketers do not have, but without an innovative angle or new perspective, your piece will be shunted to the back of the queue.
Google can now determine whether or not your content has value thanks to its Hummingbird algorithm, so the more value it deems you to have, the higher up the search engine results pages you’ll go. Research backed content and opinion forming journalism have a strong positive correlation of being shared and linked to as well as being pushed up the Google rankings, so try including some of those in your content strategy to spice things up!
2. SEO woes
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is an integral part of making your content a success. You will need to make sure your content uses a good range of keywords and semantically-related terms. Online tools, such as Yoast for WordPress can help you to tweak your content for SEO in a natural, user-friendly way. Not using SEO correctly, could be one of the main reasons your content fails to hit the mark.
3. Me, me, me? Fail, fail, fail!
No-one likes the person who just talks about themselves, and the same goes for business. You want to provide value for your audience, and yes, your product might be pretty darn good, but they’ll prefer to work that out for themselves. Instead comment on the industry, on recent news and events, anything you like, but not all about your company.
4. Short-term thinking
In the age of social media we expect instant gratification, but if your content doesn’t go viral straightaway, don’t assume it was all in vain. A big element of content marketing is building a rapport with your audience and establishing yourself as an expert in your field. A particular piece may not have been widely liked or shared when it was published, but the sum of content marketing is greater than its parts. By regularly publishing high quality, genuinely helpful content, you are building advertising equity in your brand.
5. Lack of content promotion
Content on its own is not enough – no amplification means no audience and that means your content will fail. Even a dedicated online following may need a nudge back to your site occasionally. You can increase your reach simply by sharing your articles on social media. When others share, follow and retweet, this will help to build your following. Smaller brands without an established social media community could consider some paid social media promotion: LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook all offer options for content promotion.
6. Writing generic content
Identifying your target audience is crucial, and even then it may have many segments that you’ll need to address separately to entice them back to your site. Aim for specific pain points for each segment and write content that will help them address those problems. Speaking to them in a voice they’ll relate to, and which is consistent with your brand, is also important. Keep using the same writer, or team of writers. This will continue the tone and build a connection with your audience – that makes your content much more valuable.
7. Forgetting about your current clients
Content marketers often focus on the clients they want, rather than the clients they have. If you don’t want your content to fail, you should be nurturing the relationship you have with them, by creating content that addresses every step of the client journey, not just the beginning. It is much easier to retain your existing customers than to acquire new ones. Make sure your content strategy includes pieces that will help you strengthen your customer relationships.
8. Format fails
It’s often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. If so, a video is worth about ten thousand. We copywriters love our long-form text pieces. However, we do admit that sometimes a snazzy presentation may hook the audience more than an essay. Experimenting with different written formats can also pay dividends. For example, the average ’listicle’ gains 18 shares and follows, compared with just 7 for other content formats.
Content marketing doesn’t need to be as scary as people think it is. Once you address these issues, there will be no stopping you, or your content, from achieving success!