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10 Reasons Your Content Isn’t Getting Read

A recent study on internet trends published by KPCB estimated that by 2015, 8 zettabytes of content will be created and shared every day on the internet. To put that in perspective, 1 zettabyte = 8 trillion gigabytes. To put that another way, if you put that information onto floppy disks, the disks would cover every inch of the Earth’s surface 1,600 times over.

So when your prospective readers are being blasted with such a deluge of information, how can you make sure that your content marketing gets heard above the racket the rest of the web is making?

Here are 10 of the biggest mistakes small businesses make when creating their own content marketing campaigns, and how you can avoid them.

1. You Don’t Write Unique, Useful Content

Too many small businesses completely misunderstand the point of their blog, and end up sticking a bunch of posts up that are little more than drawn out sales pitches. There is no quicker way to turn off readers than by forcing a sales pitch down their throats.

We live in a world that is saturated with advertisements, and as a result we’ve all become pretty immune to them.

Good content marketing is about providing readers with something valuable. If your company manufactures fishing rods, you’d better make sure that your content provides fishing enthusiasts with information that they appreciate and want to read about, ie: “The Top 6 Fishing Destinations In The World” or “Our Favourite Fishing Rods Released in 2013”.

However, as well as providing useful content for your target audience, it’s also important that your content marketing is unique.

It’s fine to get inspiration from other sites, but don’t just start rewriting other people’s articles. After all, if your readers can get that exact info elsewhere, what makes you stand out from the pack?

Make sure that the content you produce gives readers something new, a different perspective or something they simply can’t find elsewhere.

2. You Don’t Know Your Audience

A recent survey showed that, contrary to popular opinion, middle-aged women share the most online content out of everyone.

However, by looking at the most popular social publishing sites you probably wouldn’t have guessed this to be the case due to most content marketers publishing content aimed at younger people.

We’re not suggesting that you tailor your content to appeal to middle-aged women in a bid to increase shares (unless your target audience really is middle-aged women), but do be sure to do a little research into who reads and shares your content.

By doing this, you’ll have a better idea of who you’re writing for, and what content they’ll appreciate the most.

3. You Don’t Embolden Important Points

Emboldening important points is an easy and effective way to make your content easily digestible. This means that your readers can quickly scan your article for the most important and relevant points. That said, don’t overdo it as too much bold is the same as no bold text at all.

Your readers are coming to your website to be informed, not to revel in your mastery of the written word. Make sure that you get your point across as quickly and efficiently as possible.

We recently wrote a post about the similarities between good content writing and bad journalism, so we suggest you read that to get some pointers on making your content more streamlined and scan-friendly.

4. You Don’t Have That Human Touch

Too many content marketers think that “making your content easy to read” means “write like a robot”. This isn’t the case at all.

Whilst it is important to make sure that your writing is concise, focused and to-the-point, it’s also important that your readers get a good sense of your personality too. People become attached to certain sites and writers due to the connection they feel with the writers, and this is an important part of getting your readers to share your content and keep coming back for more.

The way a story is told, and the character of the narrator, can be a great selling point for your content.

5. You Don’t Use Guest Bloggers

Using guest bloggers is a great, low-effort way to make sure that your content gets read.

Firstly, and most importantly, a guest blogger is going to be able to introduce your blog to their whole readership. This gives you the opportunity to win over some of their readers too, which in turn will result in a wider reach and more shares for your own content.

Your guest blogger is also going to widely share their guest-written content, which again will provide your site with a wider reach.

Recently, Iris Cai, who runs a Chinese language and culture school specifically for business people, wrote a brilliant article for us about the business secrets of the ancient Chinese. Not only did this give us the opportunity to offer our readers an article packed full of useful, practical information, but it also offered our readers a unique perspective they couldn’t get anywhere else.

6. You Don’t Use Links

When writing good content that’s going to get shared and read, it’s essential that you include internet links, both outbound (going to other websites) and inbound (going to your own website).

When you link to other websites, it not only shows that you have thoroughly researched your subject and really know your stuff, but it should also point your readers in the direction of other resources and blogs that they’ll enjoy. Remember, the internet isn’t a competition, and your readers will thank you for leading them to other great sites and blogs.

You should also use inbound links to your other interesting and relevant content. This will make it easier for your readers to find more content that they’ll enjoy and keep them on your website.

7. You Don’t Use Numbered Lists

Websites, like Buzzfeed, that are constantly shared know that creating numbered blogs and headlines is a great way to boost readership and shares.

Creating a numbered list of points ensures that the blog remains focused and allows readers to know exactly what they’re in for.

It also shows readers who are looking for a solution that the content will be specifically geared towards their problem.

As well as this, the structure of a numbered list inherently lends itself to being scan-friendly, which means that your content can be speed-read.

Perhaps most importantly, it immediately shows potential readers that there will be a range of solutions to their problem.

8. You Don’t Produce Content Regularly Enough

Google loves regularly updated sites that are brimming with new, up-to-date content. This means that by regularly posting on your blog, you can improve your search engine rankings.

As well as this, someone doesn’t become an authority in their field overnight. It takes tenacity to keep posting new and interesting articles, but this tenacity is rewarded by your brand becoming more and more reputable. Content marketing isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.

It’s also important to remember that your content has an expiry date! Let’s say for example you run a film review blog, and you wrote an article about “Our predictions for 2013’s Oscars”. By March, this blog will be out of date, so it’s important to regularly post new content, to show readers that what you do is always up to date and therefore relevant.

9. You Don’t Use Different Media
Reading online content

Variety is the spice of life. You should try to introduce new elements to your content marketing strategy, such as video blogs, infographics and info-products.

Everyone learns in different ways, so by introducing more visual media to your content, you can attract a whole new audience who prefer visual information.

There are other advantages too, as some information lends itself towards video seminars or picture guides. For example, it’s much easier to produce a video guide for using a piece of software than it is to do a written guide. More importantly, it’s much easier to learn from a screen-grab video than it is to read from a guide.

10. You Don’t Use Keyword Research

Find out the keywords and phrases people most commonly use to search for what you’re writing about. Try to include those terms in your headline.

If your target audience is searching for “Best ways to improve email marketing”, you’d better make sure that your blog post will show up in their search.

You can also use keyword research tools to find out what questions your audience are asking and what they’re searching for. This means that you can tailor your content to suit your readers and attract new readers too.

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