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Yo, home skillet! Are you not getting the results you need from your content marketing efforts?

If you’re secretly in fear that your content marketing SUCKS, you’re not alone. So many businesses are doing their own thing these days, and it’s true that content marketing (or any form of digital marketing) can take a while to kick in.  But how do you know if you’re doing it right?

No-one wants to waste their time on bad content marketing. That’s why we thought we could be of service.

Below, we’ve outlined 15 of the biggest reasons that your content marketing might suck, and how to fix them – for more effective content marketing.

Psst! You can also check out 10 reasons why your CONTENT sucks – so don’t miss it!

1. You’re not talking to the right people

It’s SO important to know who you’re writing and developing content for. A digital or content marketing strategy works best when you know your buyer personas (AKA your best clients) inside-out. Their problems, challenges, and the questions they ask you on a day-to-day basis.

Writing about what your buyer personas hypothetically care about just doesn’t cut it. So, if you’re stuck for answers, go to the people you need to hear from; your best clients (if you have them). You can build on your buyer personas by:

  • Taking customer surveys
  • Conducting phone interviews
  • Web and exit surveys

Want to build on your buyer personas when you’re only just starting out? Look up places like Quora, Buzzsumo and online reviews of similar products or services you’re offering. These are your target market. What did they say was good, or bad? What angered them?

What were they particularly pleased about? Start taking notes.

2. You don’t have a clear strategy

You should never write content just for the sake of it. You need a clear strategy that outlines exactly what you should be posting, when – and how you’re going to get readers to take that important next step to becoming a lead, then a customer.

In other words, you need to have a holistic content marketing strategy that includes marketing automation, SEO, premium content, email marketing, social media, and more. And in order to have a clear strategy, you need clearly defined goals – S.M.A.R.T. goals.

S.M.A.R.T stands for:

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Assignable
R – Realistic
T – Time-based

A good example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal is to increase your company’s revenue by £35,000 in six months, or to increase your number of new incoming leads by 50% over the next year.

content marketing strategy map

3. You’re not implementing your strategy

Got a clearly defined strategy, but aren’t sticking to it? Maybe you’re too busy running your business to stick to your content schedule, resulting in erratic or stalled posts. Or maybe you’re stuck trying to create the best plan of attack, resulting in no action at all.

Okay, so I’ll let you in on a little secret here; we’re all learning and improving all the time. Waiting until you’ve got all your ducks in a row can and will cost you money. The best thing to do is just to leap right in, measure your results, and adapt as you go along.

In other words, don’t spend too long trying to ensure it’s going to be perfect – it’s never going to be perfect. Start thinking of tactics to help you reach your goals, and just DO THE THING!

4. You don’t have any premium content

Premium, downloadable content (also known as ‘lead magnets’) are a great way to convert more visitors into leads whilst giving them something that they’re going to find valuable, helpful and relevant to their needs.

If you know how to leverage this content on your website, you can easily build up your email lists and acquire tons of new leads to engage with and nurture into becoming potential clients. Just focus on being helpful!

5. You’re not using any call-to-actions

This is very much connected to point 4. Say, for instance, someone typed a question into Google and stumbled upon your blog post. They read it, take value from it, get to the end and then what?

Businesses often make two main mistakes here:

  1. They give them nothing to do
  2. They have a contact or ‘get a quote’ form (your visitors might not be ready to do that yet)

So, instead why not give them something more helpful, for free? CTAs usually look something along the lines of:

Download the Beginner's guide to content marketing

You can insert these at the end of your blog posts and: ta-dah! You can guide them into taking that logical next step.

6. You’re not varying your content

Okay, so written content is important, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. You’re going to want to mix things up a bit, with videos, infographics, Slideshares, lists, short rants – whatever you fancy!

You should also be varying your written content to different styles, depending on the point you’re trying to get across to the readers. For example, this blog post is a detailed list format. But instead, you could answer one big question, reveal a secret, or tell a story.

Examples include:

  • ’13 of the Most Popular Ways to…’
  • ‘What’s the Best Method of…?’
  • ‘How I Secretly Managed to Achieve…’

Don’t be afraid to get creative, and think outside the box in your content efforts!

7. All you care about is SEO

Don’t get me wrong; SEO is important, but again, that’s not all you should be caring about. You shouldn’t simply be creating a piece of content because you want to use a specific keyword. Your main focus should be on creating content that’s as helpful and valuable as possible.

You should also be looking at the search results for particular keywords, and looking for opportunities. Google cares a lot more about context and relevance nowadays, so if there’s a question or subject that you want to address, but is not showing up for that particular keyword? Go for it. There’s a good chance you can rank.

8. You’re trying to sell too hard

I see so many businesses trying to do their own form of content marketing, but it comes across as a bit desperate because of how much they’re going on about their own products or services. This is a mistake. Content marketing isn’t about selling; it’s about selling WITHOUT HAVING TO sell.

More importantly, it’s about being (can you guess what I’m about to say?) helpful. Don’t try to push your own products and services – just give people the answers and information they need. And give them an opportunity to take the next step themselves.

9. You’re playing it too safe

content marketing safe

If you’re not able to step up and take some chances, show some personality, address the big issues and become a thought leader in your industry, then there’s a good chance you’re not going to be able to distinguish yourself or your content from everyone else out there.

Of course, that depends on your industry – if you’re like me and doing content marketing, it can be tough to get noticed. But if you’re selling something more niche, or are one of the very few people sharing content on a particular subject, product or service, it’s not as bad.

But really, do you want to be publishing mediocre content? Thought not.

Talk about things other companies are scared to even mention; like price, and what can affect it. Or the disadvantages to your solution or service. Be honest, and people will respect you more.

10. You’re promoting on the wrong channels

This comes back to buyer personas again. If you don’t know where your ideal clients hang out, you could waste a lot of time sending your content out into the ethers without getting much back in return.

It can take a bit of trial and error to find the channels that really work for you, so persevere and once you know what’s getting you the most engagement, stick with it.

11. Your social media promotion sucks

If you’re writing the same, robotic title + link formula for every social media post you share, across ALL channels, then I have absolutely no sympathy for you. You suck, and you’re doing it all wrong. STOP.

You need to be adjusting your message to different channels. For Twitter, keep it short and concise, and don’t just write the heading of your blog. Write a tease, or something that will make people want to click and read your blog post or watch that video!

For other places like Facebook or LinkedIn, you can afford to write a little more. Ask questions, be engaging and add extra insight if you have any to add. And by all means, reply to comments, but just don’t spend all day doing so!

12. You’re not backlinking – or you’re doing it wrong

Getting backlinks to your content or website is an important part of your content marketing strategy. But you need to make sure these backlinks are from authoritative, trustworthy sources – otherwise, Google won’t like it. And we’re all scared of getting penalised by Google.

Psst! Here are some great tips and suggestions on how to build backlinks the smart way.

mobile content marketing

13. Your pages take too long to load

Your site can potentially run slowly for numerous reasons, and that can cause visitors to get frustrated or simply click away before even reading the content that you’ve spent so much time and effort into!

The following tools should help you identify any problems, and fix them quickly:

  • Pingdom
  • Website Speed Test
  • Google page Speed

You can also try CDN tools such as Cloudfare which allow you to serve cached content from their servers – also speeding up the overall load time. Cool, huh?

14. Your content isn’t mobile-friendly

Have you any idea how much of our views come from smartphones these days? A HELL of a lot! And that’s the same for everyone, so there’s really no excuse to have content that isn’t mobile-friendly. In fact, you could be losing half of your traffic, or even more. Fix it NAO!

15. The content itself sucks

Finally, if your content is written badly, isn’t helpful, sways off the subject and doesn’t deliver on the promises you make in the title… there’s only so much that can be done.

These and more are ways that your content itself can suck, and I’ve explained more about this (and how to improve) in this blog post.

Come on now… there’s no excuse for bad content marketing!

Skip to the end… (key takeaways)

Not sure if your content marketing SUCKS? Well, if a few of the above apply to you, your content marketing may well suck. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t fix it by following some of the tips outlined in this blog!

What’s your biggest fear about developing an effective content marketing strategy for your business? Let us know in the comments.

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Download the beginner's guide to content marketing