The main objective of any great piece of content really boils down to two things: it needs to engage your audience and help drive business. If your content does both these things consistently — mission accomplished. Unfortunately, a lot of companies miss the mark on this objective and are left with content that doesn't serve that purpose.
But before we talk about solutions, we need to understand the problems. Surely a grammatically sound piece of writing with some compelling data and quotes would qualify as a great piece of content, right? Well, it doesn't actually work that way. Content can be great one way and pretty atrocious in about six others. As a business, you want the full package. You want to create content that checks off all the boxes every time.
Left undiagnosed, these content issues will continue to grow over time, and your business will suffer as a result. Not to worry, though, the doctors are now in the building. We're here to properly diagnose your content so that it'll keep your business in line with its goals. Here are five reasons why your content isn't converting.
Your Content Doesn’t Focus on the Customer
Customers pay the bills. That's the most fundamental principle of business. If you're not creating content that puts your customer's needs first — you can't really expect them to buy anything from you. Think about it: would you spend $100 of your hard-earned money after watching a video where the business just talks about how awesome they are?
One of the most common mistakes businesses make is talking about their product or service in too much detail. While there's nothing inherently wrong with that, it needs to have the end game of explaining how that directly applies to the customer. If you bring up specific features, for example, highlight how they can help the customer solve a problem they're having. It's all about showing them the value of these features.
Always address the customer in your content. They're generally looking for help, insights, and applicable information. It's not complicated. If you can give them what they want, you've already done a considerable chunk of work.
Better yet is if you can directly connect with customers and ask them what they want. Plug into social media to find out what their specific content needs are. You can easily do this by putting a question out to social media or setting up a poll with different options. This type of approach will allow you to always create content that has the customer in mind first.
Your Content Isn’t Properly Optimized
Optimized content ensures that you're securing organic traffic online. If your business ranks on Google for specific keywords, this helps you establish audience trust. This is why search engine optimization (SEO) is so critical in today's competitive content landscape. You can have some of the most beautifully written blog posts in the world, but it won't matter if nobody can find it.
The basics come down to doing strategic keyword research. Equipped with this keyword research, you can optimize title tags, meta descriptions, keyword tags, H1s, and H2s. This process will help your content rank on Google so that more people can see it when they search keywords that you've optimized your content for.
With 80% of users using mobile devices to search the Internet in 2019, your content also needs to be optimized for mobile. This means your content needs to be appropriately formatted for mobile as well. If you're writing a blog post, for example, think about writing in short and more concise paragraphs with plenty of white space. This makes it easier to skim on a mobile device so your bounce rate stays low, which Google will reward you for. If your page is not mobile-friendly, Google will penalize you. That, in turn, will affect your ranking on the search engine.
Your Content Isn’t Evergreen
When searching for your next great content idea, it's easy to get caught up in trends. Maybe that means piggybacking a big news topic or a new Netflix series. Fight that urge at all costs. It may seem like a great idea at the time, but trust us, that piece of content is going to look pretty old and dated in mere months.
Your content should be like a classic car that never goes out of style. This starts with finding evergreen topics to base your content on. If you're a furniture company, for example, a blog post like "How to Pick the Right Sofa for You" has no time stamp on it. It's something that people need to know regardless of the date. If you do a blog post like "The Best Sofas of 2017," you may get some up-front traffic, but it won't last long.
Create content your audience can always come back to. It might even help to think of it as individual resources they're able to bookmark and use whenever. The goal is to have a pool of evergreen content that will continue to generate traffic over time.
Another great strategy is updating your old content. Sometimes all it takes is slapping a fresh coat of paint on it. If it's a quality piece of content, think about repackaging it in a new way like a blog post you can turn into a podcast or a stack of industry interviews you can turn into an e-book. You might already be sitting on a potential content goldmine without knowing it. Updating and repackaging it will give it new life in the eyes of your audience and, consequently, Google.
Your Content Isn’t Actionable
At the end of the day, content is a marketing tool that is designed to drive sales. If the content you produce doesn't make it easy for your audience to take a desired action — you're missing a big opportunity. Whatever action you want your audience to take needs to be clearly laid out in some way within the piece of content.
Let's say you've commissioned a company to create a great marketing video for your business. Awesome. Videos are a great way to engage your audience and create a lasting impact. There's a reason why most marketing videos show the company's logo along with contact information at the very end. They want you to call. That is the action they want you to take and the purpose of that video.
Having strong calls-to-action (CTAs) on website pages, e-books, and blogs is a vital part of moving people through the customer journey on your website. You are directing them towards an action — usually towards a purchase or contact form submission inquiring about your product or service.
Content marketing is a reliable tool in converting top-of-the-funnel prospects that find your brand through organic Google searches. Customer journey patterns show that website visitors will land on a blog post then navigate to the "about page" to learn more about your company. Then, they'll continue their research and visit the products or services page.
This is followed by a conversion in the form of a transaction or contact form submission. However, this customer journey cannot work without CTAs on each page thoughtfully placed within the content to move the user through.
Your Content Doesn’t Deliver Based User Expectations
From an audience perspective, you should be able to read a title and immediately know what type of information you're going to be consuming. If the content within doesn't do that, then that reader, viewer, or listener will leave and not even think twice about it.
If your blog post is titled "How to Fix a Sink," the people reading it expect you to answer that question. Fast. They want to take steps to fix their own leaky sink and move on. What they don't want is a ton of blatant product links and sales pitches. They also don't want clickbait because you're not a teenage YouTuber. You're a professional business.
Keep in mind, users searching for solutions on mobile devices will also skim content — not read it in full. This is why having content optimized for mobile consumption is invaluable.
When a Google search is conducted, there are specific keywords the user will look for when landing on a piece of content. When skimming a website page or blog post, if that searcher can't skim and quickly find the relevant keywords, then the expectation is the content won't have the information they're looking for.
This is important to keep in mind when writing the title tag and meta description for your content. Since these are the previews that appear on Google's Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), they should accurately describe your content.