If no one reads your content, does it actually exist?
One of the biggest challenges with content marketing is making content that people will actually read. Unfortunately, there's a limited number of ways to produce great content, but a seemingly endless number of ways to make mistakes that discourage readership.
It has been said many times that trying to please everyone is the same as trying to please no one. But you should still make sure your content avoids some common mistakes that are sure to send leads away in droves.
Remember to avoid the following ways to make crappy content, or risk a failed marketing campaign and visitors that won't come back.
1. Your Content Is Purely Self-Aggrandizing
I'm sure you've seen content, no matter its format, that was created by an established influencer. It's true that influencer marketing is a trend that shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, it seems that influencer marketing is going to increase in 2018.
But one error I've seen people fall victim to is trying to make their blog all about themselves.
In reality, these types of content look really transparent, as though the author or marketer is only looking for a way to inflate their ego or try to look “cool.” Yes, looking “cool” is one part of the successful influencer marketing equation, but you also need trust, authority, and an audience that knows you are looking after their best interests.
Haven't you ever been bored to death during a conversation or first date with someone who is only capable of talking about themselves? Only in rare cases do users want to read about the blogger's self-interest. More often than not the reader is looking for solutions to their own problems.
Your website and content are not a personal social media page, and it's key to remember that they exist to serve your audience.
2. You Lead the Visitor on a Wild Goose Chase
If there's one thing I hate, it's content that misleads me.
Not only is it an irritating waste of time, but I really hate admitting to myself that I fell for a trick or was duped by some cheap marketing tactic so someone else could make a buck. You need to make sure that your content doesn't lead people on too much, but do note that there's a huge difference between an intriguing headline that sparks curiosity and an outright lie.
Sure, you can (and should) craft headlines designed to draw in readers and catch attention. But sooner or later, you have to get to the meat and potatoes of the content. I especially hate marketing videos that claim to have a solution to your problem, but are nothing more than a five minute long sales pitch for a product or service.
For example, I was trying to research nutrition in an effort to lose a few pounds. And wouldn't you know it – one of those PPC adds with a title along the lines of “never eat these five foods if you want to lose weight” popped up.
Sure, I was skeptical, but thought, “What the heck, why not.” I have to admit, the video that I landed on looked pretty professional, but I kept waiting for the video to stop with the intro and sales pitch so I could find out what not to eat.
But guess what? The video just led me on...and on...and on. Sure, it had cute cartoons and professional looking graphics, but it never really sought to answer my question.
In the end, it tried to sell me a diet plan, and let me tell you, I wasn't in any mood to take action after being led on a wild goose chase.
3. You Are Perceived as Boring
Making great content is as much an art as it is a science, and simply running through the motions of content creation isn't enough. If you have a high bounce rate or comments that indicate your audience finds you boring, you're in big trouble.
For instance, if you're trying to make video content but speak in a monotone voice, it's likely time to seek the help of a professional video content marketer...or at the very least time to learn how to animate your voice.
No one wants a lecture from a speaker that sounds like the sad donkey character named Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh.
And no one wants a lecture from Ben Stein either.
These days, it should be pretty easy to know if your audience finds your content boring. For written on-site content, just check your bounce rate. It should be pretty apparent for video content too, but everyone is so outspoken in the comments section of social media that someone has likely already voiced a complaint.
4. Using a Writer from Another Culture
Many new bloggers and small businesses feel intimidated by writing their own content. I'm sure many of you have heard of websites like Fiverr where you can get a writer for only five bucks.
Wow, what a deal!
Chances are, however, that the writer isn't a native English speaker, and without properly vetting them, you'll end up putting a decent amount of time into editing. Without it, it can lead to some pretty crappy content.
I certainly don't disrespect some of these types of writers from nations like India where English is spoken fluently, but I would advise you to think hard before working with a foreign content producer.
The problem isn't only that of a language barrier, but rather the fact that they're from a completely different culture as well.
The ways to make crappy content far outnumber the methods of creating good content.
If you want to market your business online and build a following, make sure you avoid these traps, or the efficacy of your marketing campaign will suffer. Lastly, keep in mind that your content strategy exists to serve your audience.
Remember - even though it's your blog, it's not all about you, but the reader.