Content marketing is all the rage, right? You’re in the know, and you’ve created a team dedicated to content creation. Now you’re ready to roll.
A few months into your content marketing efforts, however, the needle simply isn’t moving. Your website stats are stagnant, nobody is sharing your content and, quite frankly, you’re losing faith in the effectiveness of content marketing.
I’ve got good news. All hope’s not lost. Content marketing does work.
To reverse your content marketing fortunes and get your content connecting effectively with your target audience, you’ll first need to understand why it’s not connecting.
Here are a few reasons your content doesn’t connect with your target audience.
Producing content for the sake of having content on your site is not going to get you anywhere. As a marketer, the last thing you want to have to do is explain to your CEO why you spent $50,000 on content marketing with no positive results to show for it.
In 2015, a survey conducted by the Content Marketing Institute showed that only 32% of respondents stated that their organization had a documented content strategy.
That number is far too low. Content marketing should be viewed just like any other marketing or business strategy. In order to be successful, it’s critical that a documented, well-defined strategy is in place.
It’s Made for You
Many companies create content based on what they think their target audience wants to see, not content audience members actually want.
Projecting our own preferences on others rarely results in creating effectively targeted content. For this reason, it’s important not to create content made for you and your team.
Reach out to your target audience through surveys, focus groups and even social media, and ask them what they want. The info you obtain can then be used to craft content that truly connects. Content that connects gets shared far more frequently, thus amplifying the reach of your content significantly.
Another way to ensure that your content gets shared more frequently is to ask. Sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many pieces of content leave out the call-to-action at the end (or wherever it’s located).
If you want a site visitor to share your content, ask them.
If you want a site visitor to leave a comment, ask them.
If you want a site visitor to sign up for your newsletter, ask them.
Let’s say you’ve just completed a blog article, and you’re about to publish it live on your website. Before you do, go ahead and add a brief sentence at the end with a call-to-action. Adding a call-to-action has been shown to significantly increase engagement levels, so don’t leave it out.
Comment Section Closed
One sought-after engagement statistic is the number of comments you receive from those who consume your content. But what happens if you leave your comment section closed or too heavily protected?
This one’s a no-brainer.
No comment capability means zero comments. Zero comments means non-existent engagement. Some bloggers are waving the “remove comments” flag, but I’m of the school of thought that comments are valuable for a number of reasons, so keep them open.
Make sure your comment section is open for business, and don’t filter it too heavily, although some level of spam filtering is necessary. It’s even ok to let a negative comment slip through, as long as it adds to the conversation. It’s the way you respond that really matters.
By opening up comment capability to your site visitors, you let them know that you’re listening and you value their insight. They’ll show their appreciation by engaging in conversation with you, and each comment creates an opportunity for you to further showcase your expertise or direct visitors to other related content.
This one should really be first, but I opted to place it at the end in hopes that it sticks with you.
It’s never ok to opt for quantity over quality when it comes to content marketing. Ever heard of Google? If you answered “no,” please leave the site immediately.
Google takes quality of content into high regard when ranking your site and the content therein. It’s critical that you only create and distribute high quality content.
In addition to Google knocking your site down a few pegs, your site visitors will see right through poor quality content. The goal is obviously to engage your visitors and get them to engage with your content. If the content you’re feeding them has spelling and grammar errors, isn’t factually accurate or is otherwise awful, your bounce rate is going to head through the roof.
If you only choose to take one piece of advice from this article to heart, it should be this one. Poor quality is unacceptable on so many levels. So make sure you have a team in place to create high quality stuff that really connects.
If you know a colleague struggling to find ways to increase engagement for the content they create and promote, send them this article or share it on social media. (See, you shared it. These tactics work!)
If you enjoyed this article, check out more related advice in our content marketing category.