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7 Signs Your Content Sucks

 

Content marketing is creating quite the buzz in the world of digital marketing these days.

 

content marketing meme

 

However, not everyone is doing it right. In fact, most people don’t know what the hell they’re doing.

  • Content marketing ≠ SEO.
  • Content marketing ≠ starting a blog.
  • Content marketing ≠ running an email marketing campaign.
  • Content marketing ≠ creating a free whitepaper download.

Yes, these are all potential elements of a content marketing strategy, but by themselves, they hold little to no value for any business.

If you think content marketing is a quick win or easy money, I’m sorry to burst your bubble.

Here’s the best definition of content marketing that I’ve been able to come up with:

Content marketing is a long-term marketing strategy that involves creating and distributing relevant, useful content to specific audiences in order to provide value, increase trust, encourage profitable customer action, and turn satisfied buyers into loyal advocates.

 

For a more detailed explanation check out my blog “What is Content Marketing?”

 

Some people know this. Most businesses have already begun creating content aimed at providing value and generating an ROI. 

But few businesses are seeing the ROI of this investment. And the most common reason?

Their content sucks.

It’s as simple as that. 

As a content strategist and writer with 7 years of experience in all stratospheres of the digital marketing realm, I’ve come to realise there are basically three tiers of content quality.

1. “Great” content 

  • Is part of a larger content strategy
  • Is based on KW research, competitive landscaping, buyer behaviour research, and data-driven analyses
  • Answers a specific question, or alleviates a specific pain point 
  • Is targeted at a specific buyer persona
  • Is presented in an appealing, readable and SEO optimised way
  • Is published and distributed in the proper channels
  • Presents readers with a valuable call-to-action
  • Gets satisfactory results

2. “Good enough” content 

  • Is usually based on some sort of research
  • Answers a specific question
  • Takes SEO/readability into consideration
  • Has a CTA
  • Satisfies business owners
  • Gets results but has room for improvement

3. “Sh*t” content

  • Gets 0 results

There are a few companies that I trust to create great content nearly all the time. If I google something and HubSpot, Copyblogger, or Neil Patel show up in my SERPs, I do a little mental-happy-dance, because they know what I want and how I like it.

That’s why they consistently rank on the first page of Google, get thousands of visitors to their sites each month and are incredibly successful companies.

Most other companies just don’t get it right. 

But why? It seems so simple...

Well, apparently it’s not. 

Here are 7 tell-tale signs that your content sucks:

1. You’re not making the proper investment

As I said, content marketing is a long-term investment. If you’re not fully committed to improving your content marketing strategy and results, you’re not going to see an ROI. 

The market is filled with businesses and individuals creating new content every day. If you don’t have the time or know-how to keep up yourself, you need to hire someone who does.

2. You’re writing for yourself

If you’re treating your blog, newsletter or social media accounts like a journal, only chronicling wins or only writing on topics you want to write about...you’re wasting your time. 

Audiences don’t want to see business owners flex. They want useful, relevant information that was specifically tailored to them. Not you.

3. You’re writing for everyone

Additionally, if you’re trying to make everyone happy, you’re going to please no one.

Every bit of content, from emails and ads to website copy and blog posts, should have a targeted buyer persona.

If you haven’t created your buyer personas yet click here.

4. You don’t have a content strategy

If you haven’t created buyer personas, detailed your competitive landscape, done an SEO gap analysis, performed detailed KW research, created a monthly content publishing calendar and set up data tracking for analysis and evaluation, you don’t have a content strategy. Create one. 

5. You’re not getting any traffic

If you publish content regularly, but no one reads it, something about it must suck. Here are some common reasons your content isn’t driving any traffic:

  • You’re targeting the wrong audience
  • You’re publishing/sharing your content in the wrong place(s)
  • You’re not promoting your content
  • Your content is boring

Content that doesn’t drive traffic is a waste of time. That’s why data analysis is so important to improving your content marketing strategy.

6. Your visitors stay less than two minutes and bounce

Bounce Rate and Average Session Duration are two metrics that all content creators should be tracking. 

  • A session is the group of interactions a visitor takes on your website before leaving. 
    • A decent Average Session Duration is 2+ minutes.
  • A bounce is a one-page session on your website.
    • A decent bounce rate is under 60%.

If your visitors are spending less than two minutes on your content pages, or if they’re bouncing, your content just isn’t getting the job done. 

7. CTAs aren’t getting clicked

Convincing your readers to take specific actions is the only way to see an ROI on your content marketing. 

Whether you’re building your email list, selling a product, nurturing leads, or have another strategy in mind, all of your content needs to have a purpose. And that purpose is realised in the call-to-action.

If no one is taking the desired action on your content, you need to rethink your strategy.

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Tagged Content, Content marketing, content writing, content strategy