Content not hitting its mark? Want more buzz? There’s two people to think about – you and your reader. And you’ve probably not thought about them hard enough.
You could be making one of the following mistakes. Let’s get to it:
Your Audience Doesn’t Care
Ouch. Brutal. But it’s better to double check this than waste hours pumping out content to a brick wall.
It may be that your audience is just switched off to your content. This is not because your content is wrong, or that it’s got serious grammar and spelling issues. It could be that the intended audience just isn’t right. Look out for:
The format. Are you marketing to under-18s? Because they are not going to be easy to convert with a full-length prose piece. Try image-led content, or videos.
Reading level. Is your audience likely to be turned off if you’re not going into enough depth? Are they looking for content that gives them answers fast? Check your average word and sentence length. Consider if your content needs to be dumbed down or dolled up. Tailor as appropriate.
Marketing the wrong message. If your content draws an audience that is interested in learning the basics, but the conversion is getting them to sign up to a relatively chunky and expensive course, you’re missing the mark. Address their pain points – why are they searching and specifically what are they searching for, and do you provide a reasonable solution for that?
Your Audience Isn’t Here
SEO seems a given. If you’re putting content up, ram the keywords in. Get as many in in as many places and get yourself found. Or not. There is an easier way.
Find your audience yourself. I go back to a youth audience because they are a great way to illustrate this point.
The use of computers amongst that audience is lower than those of university age+. Smartphones are their prevailing connection with the internet – but they’re less about searching and more about apps. Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat – content platforms they are happy to engage with brands through. So long as you’re on their level.
Take Denny’s for example. An American diner that’s made a name for itself on social media as a sassy company that knows professional means their audience isn’t interested. They have a social presence – that’s not one that plugs their products, but their personality. Their Tumblr page is filled with casual interaction that takes advantage of the willingness of their audience to reply. Their audience are never knowingly sold to. As far as the audience is concerned, this diner has a Tumblr page, and it’s sometimes funny. Its courage to solidify a social media presence in this way stands it out from other companies and this gives it access to a market that other companies can’t seem to get – without paying for airtime.
Denny’s audience isn’t going on google. Denny’s audience is using Tumblr, and Instagram, and (though less and less), Facebook. So that’s where it puts its content.
Your Audience is Sick of it
Put enough scare letters through the mailbox and eventually they’ll pay their TV License. That tactic doesn’t work quite as well as one letter at the appropriate time.
If you have a Twitter page that is filled with links to your own content and never anything else, your audience will switch off the moment they see that it’s you that’s posted. This content, often appearing automated, offers no context or immediacy. There is no call to action or reason to click – because you’re going to post something else in 15 minutes just as ‘must-see’.
What is better is a tweet at the appropriate time. Four More Years. This tweet from the 2012 American presidential elections had context, had emotion, and had relevance to its audience. It has become the most retweeted tweet in the history of all tweeting. Not least because of the incredible run up and uncertainty of the election, but because it was delivered at the very best time. The audience loved it.
Your Audience Feels that you’re Hiding your Motivation
Some people write because they love to write. Some people design because they want to be better designers. But no business runs a blog just because it’s a cathartic exercise.
You need to be up front about the reasons that you are delivering your content. We, for example, are delivering this blog for two reasons: we believe that educating our audience is a good thing for both them and us, for a variety of reasons, and because we want to draw traffic to our website which may turn into work, which we both enjoy doing and kind of need to do to eat.
If you aren’t upfront, your audience can build cynicism about you and your brand or business. We live in a world of advertising, and we can’t leave our homes without receiving marketing messages. We at Digital Glue are as guilty of that as anyone else as we send direct mail campaigns. It’s a fact of 21st century, globally connected life. And everyone knows it. If you veil your content, you risk losing the trust of your audience. So be up front – tell them exactly why they are receiving the content and why they should believe what you’re selling.
Don’t be afraid to explain why you’re giving away your content for free. It’s because you want conversions – and that’s fine. The audience can then make a judgement – KNOWING that that’s what you want – if you’re worth it. Without being up front, they may not even think about it.
Notice a theme?
The single most important factor in the content marketing equation – your audience. Understand them, share platforms with them, be honest with them. And even if after all that they still reject you, you know that it wasn’t because of your content!
At Digital Glue, this is what we do. We can analyse your marketing strategy and come up with ways to improve the content to get it converting. If you feel like your content is getting wasted, get in touch. We’ll make sure your audience starts saying hi back.
You should follow us on twitter while you’re here!