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Implementing a content strategy is hard work. Going through all of the trouble to outline your process, write, edit, and optimize your content, only to have no one read it, engage with it, or use it as a resource, is a big bummer. It’s especially difficult when you know that there’s tons of value there, but you aren’t sure where you missed the mark.
Your content is extremely important to your overall digital marketing strategy. Those who excel in creating and using it see unique site traffic 17.8 times higher year-over-year than those who don’t. Content marketing is email marketing fuel. It also serves as promotional material in your digital ads and fills your social media campaigns with educational resources to share with your networks. When it underperforms, it’s wasted effort and missed opportunities for lead generation and nurture. And kiss boosting your site’s traffic and improving marketing ROI goodbye.
The good news is that so long as you’re producing and publishing content already, most of the work is already done. From there, it’s just a matter of tweaking what you’ve created in order to get it in front of more people and ensure that it’s meeting expectations and providing value.
Here are some quick ways to resuscitate underperforming content.
If you’re not using the right keywords or you’re not properly utilizing your keywords within your content, expect lackluster performance.
Keywords achieve a couple of major things beyond just ensuring you zero in on a specific topic. Most notably, keywords tell search engines exactly what your content is about so they can place it in front of the right audience. If you’re not using the right keywords (or not using them well), your content isn’t going to rank when people search terms related to what it is you do.
Make sure you keep a list of keywords and search phrases that your audience uses online and use tools like SEMRush or Ahrefs to help you refine those terms over time, and see where you can make SEO improvements on your website.
Much like your email subject lines, your headlines are where your content makes its first impression. To ensure that impression is a good one, the headline should be clear and interesting, and it should also accurately lay out what you’re going to deliver within the piece itself.
Are your headlines too broad? Too wordy? Too boring? Do they fail to include your focus keyword or an iteration of that keyword? In all instances, a not-so-sharp headline is going to be less likely to garner interest and readership. And if that’s the case, simple tweaks can bring them up to speed and bring more eyes to the page.
CoSchedule has a headline analyzer that is totally free to use and provides your headlines with grades. It breaks your headlines down so you can make them more actionable or compelling, which can contribute to increased interest and engagement.
There are many content marketing mistakes out there. A big one is failing to edit your content before you publish.
Your content doesn’t need to be worthy of The New York Times necessarily, but it should be clean, correct, and compelling. Things like grammar errors and awkward word flows all take away from the authority of your brand, which hurts your integrity with your readers and, in many cases, your chances of moving them further down the funnel.
A good fix here is to make sure editing is part of your content creation process. Perhaps that means you hire a professional editor or that you simply use tools like Grammarly to give your content a once over before you hit publish.
It’s also not a bad idea to look at all your past content and update any dated or low-quality material. We all have some blog content we created when we first launched our site, content that makes us cringe when we read it. Try bringing in an objective third-party reader who can go through your content and point out areas or posts in need of improvement.
People love images. They add visual interest to your content and break up the text, making it easier to read. They can also convey a key point in a matter of seconds instead of requiring a full read-through.
You don’t want to overload the page with images, but you should be working images into your content strategy for better results. Make sure that any share-worthy images you include also have your logo on them so people can make quick connections if they see them pop up elsewhere.
If you’re going to make a claim in your content, you need to have the data to back it up. Aside from just lending more relevancy to the page, stats and data help put your claims into context, conveying your point to readers in a way that’s a lot more useful and effective.
Can’t find data to back up what you’re saying? Leave the claim out entirely, or create a survey that can help you collect original data for your content needs.
Readers trust content more when it has numbers and stats to back it up. And if you’re able to use proprietary data or survey information that you gathered yourself, you’ll show your audience that you have credibility and authority in the space.
Not all content needs to lead to a sale, but there should be some action you implore your readers to take. Whether it’s just a note to reach out or a link to your demo, a CTA provides clear instruction that makes it more likely people will follow through. It also gives you a conversion metric to evaluate your content performance against.
It’s always important for your CTA to be clear and straightforward. You want to take the guesswork out of next steps so you can increase the chances of more conversions. Also, think about the buyer’s journey and what CTA makes the most sense on what pages.
Don’t let underperforming content discourage you. Use the steps above as a way to carefully tackle the problem, and over time you’ll increase your content’s performance and start seeing the value you desire.
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