You have a really good content idea. Like, really good.
It’s powerful, it’s creative, and it feels fresh. So, naturally, you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and you start pouring out all the information you’ve gathered.
You load your post onto your site or social media page, you publish it, and then you wait . . .
And wait . . .
Over the next 24 hours, you monitor your post’s performance carefully. Nothing yet . . . You wait another 24 hours. Still nothing . . .
You give it another 48 hours, or even another week, until you finally reach the conclusion that your post just isn’t having the impact you had envisioned when that brilliant idea first sprouted.
There are so many reasons why your content may not accomplish what all content should aim to accomplish – engagement.
But in nearly every case, the reason why your content is unsuccessful can be narrowed down to one (or more) of the following factors.
Clean these up and your content will have a much greater impact online!
1. It’s not reaching people
Even in the case that your content is great, you’re certainly not guaranteed an audience. This boils down to a whole number of different factors, many of which are (somewhat) outside your control.
The more people you reach, the better off you’ll be in almost every scenario. But to actually reach people, you have to perform a whole number of functions consistently.
The idea that good content will magically find people simply isn’t true.
So while you might not be reaching people right now, you need to take steps toward reaching them in the future. And to accomplish this, you need to be disciplined with how you produce your content.
Without fully plunging into SEO concepts (such as keywords, word counts, on-page SEO, technical SEO, etc), there are a few things you should do if you have aspirations of reaching a large audience over time.
- Optimize your content for search engines. A common misconception about search engine optimization (SEO) is that results are immediate. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, you could produce 100 pieces and still rank poorly in search engines. Ranking takes time, so you have to be steadfast with the principles you apply.
- Create a lot of content (but good content). Don’t be another one-and-done blogger. In other words, you can’t produce one article and expect readers to swarm to your site. Be disciplined, get ahead, and publish great content consistently. Also be sure to keep your audience engaged by employing different content forms. There are plenty of content marketing tools that can help you achieve this.
- Promote your content well. Develop a content marketing strategy that you can implement consistently. Ryan Robinson has put together a great, comprehensive piece on content marketing, which is well worth your time.
2. It’s not crafted for people
Creating is more than venting or speaking your mind. Such content should be relegated to your diary or journal.
If it’s therapeutic for you to spill your thoughts online, then by all means, continue doing that. But if you want to have an impact, you’ve got to assume the position of an audience member even before you type that first word or hit record. Failing to do so exhibits a lack of empathy on the creator’s part (that’s you!)
Do you only care about creating what you would read or watch, or do you only care about creating what others would read or watch? You have to be all-in on one or the other.
Online marketing in the 21st century is all about attention. How can you get it, and once you get it, how long can you hold it for?
In order to attract people and get their attention, you have to provide something of value. Whether it’s entertainment, advice, or a gift, you have to prove to people that they’re going to get something out of reading, watching, or hearing what you have to say.
3. It’s not actionable
Have you come across a piece that never really seems to deliver? Maybe it’s got everything – a catchy headline, clean format and design, and it’s all showcased on a gorgeous web page or graphic.
But when you get to the content itself, it either tells you what you already know, or it doesn’t really tell you much at all . . .
This is often the product of creatives who are working on tight deadlines or agencies that are focused on churning out a large quantity of pieces, rather than quality pieces.
Great content should teach people something that they can easily implement in their own lives.
4. It doesn’t get people thinking
Finally, if your content isn’t actionable, it at least has to get the juices flowing. It should inspire people, lift their mood, or cause them to question or ponder big ideas.
People want to be challenged. If your content isn’t helping them, it should at least be challenging them.
If your content tends to flop, try making a greater effort to engage your audience. Here are a few tips you can start implementing right away:
- Start applying solid SEO principles today.
- Create more content.
- Promote your content properly and have a plan.
- Create for your audience and make sure your content serves a purpose.
- Use “you” and “your” far more often than “I”, “me”, and “my”.
- Avoid talking about yourself for too long.
- Offer practical advice and information to your audience.
- Challenge your audience with thought-provoking ideas.
- Include a strong call-to-action (CTA).