With more than two million blog posts published every single day, the internet is getting noisy. In fact, with so much content to contend with, it wouldn’t be a surprise to learn that the majority of today’s content goes unread, unnoticed and doesn’t deliver results.
The days of publishing a couple of blog posts a month on your website and waiting for the traffic to trickle in are over. We’re going through a content saturation – that is, there are so many new blog posts being published, that the art of content marketing can sometimes appear as though it’s lost its power.
Below, we’ve rounded up five reasons why your content marketing efforts aren’t working – and put together some tips for making your content more effective.
It’s easy to fall into the content marketing trap of “if my competitors are writing about it, I should be, too”. Don’t. Original content trumps everything else in the marketing world.
If you’re struggling to find ideas of what to blog about, then it’s time to start brainstorming and planning a content schedule in advance. Ask your readers and customers what they’d like to see, answer questions that offer value to your audience and consider the content marketing skyscraper technique, where you take an already-discussed topic and add more value to it by conducting more research, updating statistics and adding a unique spin.
Other methods of making your content more original include:
- Emotion: bring emotion into your content marketing by telling stories with hooks
- User-specific: take a generic topic from your industry and tailor your content to a specific user – in the marketing world, for example, you could write a blog post that is useful only to a particular segment of your audience, like builders or bakers
- Perspective: share your unique thoughts and perspectives on a topic or idea
- Update: go back to a topic that was popular years ago and add a modern twist
Simply put, the more original you can make your content, the better your content marketing efforts will become. Why would somebody choose to subscribe to your blog when they’re already following people who post content similar to yours?
Find a unique selling point and then market your blog on that. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll build an audience.
If you’re writing quality content on a regular basis, then ask yourself whether your writing style is resonating with your audience. Picture your average customer or reader – would they prefer to read content that’s chatty, informal and entertaining, or do you require a more professional tone of voice when writing content for them?
This video from Stone Temple offers a great introduction to finding the best writing style for your blog. Become an avid reader of content yourself, don’t get hung up on the rules and strive for creating a ‘classic’ house style – a style of writing that visitors will recognise when they come back to your blog to read your latest update.
You’ve got the content; you’ve got the social shares, but your content is still not ranking on search engines for your competitive terms. Why? Well, it’s probably because you’re not spending enough time on your search engine optimisation (SEO).
Before we go any further, read our quick fixes for improving your website’s SEO.
Every blog post should be optimised for search engines, and you can start that by downloading a WordPress plugin called Yoast SEO. This plugin will add some markup to your website’s code to make it easier for search engines to read, helping you rank higher.
The plugin also allows you to set a ‘focus keyword’ – in other words, choose the keyword that you’d like to rank for when you publish your post – and offer advice on how to add this keyword into your content for maximum SEO effectiveness.
Other simple SEO tweaks that you can make to your content is proper internal linking (linking back to other parts of your website), using the correct header tags (h1, h2) and correctly labelling any multimedia content such as images with alt tags and captions.
If you can hook your readers into your content the moment they set eyes on your page, you’re much more likely to enjoy the benefits of content marketing. RepCap has put together some top tips for writing a good hook, but you can also draw more attention to your content by writing an interesting opening paragraph, creating an attractive graphic for your featured image or scheduling social media posts that share quotes from your blog post and encourage readers to click through and read more.
In fact, one of the best ways to hook people into your website is to start with your title. A strong headline can make or break your blog post, so spend time on crafting the right titles.
- Deliver a promise: If your headline includes “everything you need to know”, then you sure as hell better be able to deliver on it. Don’t write extreme headlines for the sake of it if you’re not going to be able to follow through, as people will be less likely to enjoy your post and won’t want to share it on social media
- Don’t worry about your keywords: You’ll definitely want to think about which keywords you’d like to mention in your title, but don’t worry about cramming in an exact match keyword if it doesn’t fit the flow of your writing. Not only does keyword cramming make posts difficult to read, but it can be off-putting to potential readers
- Stick to a list: As common as they are, list posts (also known as listicles) are one of the most effective forms of content marketing. ‘5 things you need to know about…’ posts are not only easy to write, but they’re fun to read and break down useful information into small, consumable chunks that aren’t taxing after a busy day
Finding a hook for each of your blog posts, whether they’re fascinating or dry, can have a real impact on your bounce, click through and social sharing rates, so it’s essential that you take the time to entice your visitors. And, don’t forget to boost engagement levels on your blog by adding calls to action and social sharing features.
Don’t expect overnight success on your new blog posts – it isn’t going to happen. The days of content marketing being the be all and end all of marketing are over, so it’s important that you work hard to put your content in the hands of potential readers.
Heck, some of the biggest businesses in the world are paying to get people to read their content using Facebook Ads, because they know that when people do land on their site, they’ll be impressed with their content and want to subscribe and buy into the brand.
You should aim to have a set plan whenever writing new content. Of course, brainstorming, planning and scheduling come first, but then you should spend time researching and writing your content. When you’re happy with your blog post and you’ve formatted it correctly, you can then publish the piece and schedule social media posts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to get eyeballs on your work.
From there, you can promote your new content through your mailing list, and then reach out to people who you mentioned in your blog post to get them to share it, too. Finally, you could consider starting an outreach campaign to get links.
While content marketing is perhaps not as effective as it was a couple of years ago due to the sheer volume of content that hits the internet, it can still work for your business. Just remember to take time when writing new posts, find relevant hooks, follow the basics of SEO, promote your posts on social media and through your mailing list, find a ‘house style’ that your visitors will find easy to write and produce valuable, unique content every time.