How to Kill Your Business in 5 Easy Steps
The idea is simple: great content brings great results; lousy content brings lousy results. Businesses understand that they need top-of-the-line content, but it isn’t always easy to tell the good from the bad. The road to bankruptcy is paved with good intentions.
So how can someone tell effective content from space-filling words? Hold your content up to these five standards and see how it fares. These are some of the most common content mistakes businesses make and ones which you can’t afford.
1) An Audience of One
Unless you have several personalities battling for supremacy in your brain, you are not your audience, so don’t write for yourself. Too many people look at their business content as a platform for spewing every detail about their products and services, how amazingly wonderful their customer service is, or the percentage of clients that have vowed to love them forever.
All of that information may come into play eventually, but you should be focusing on the audience, not the product. Your customers have a need that has to be met or a question that needs to be answered, and they are looking at your website to see if you can help them with it.
Figure out what your customers are thinking and feeling, and then talk about it in your content. Until you show them that you understand exactly why they are there, they aren’t going to pay much attention to your stellar stats.
2) Blather blather blather, and –you guessed it—blather.
Creating new content can refresh a site and boost your rankings if done well. Creating new content for the sake of creating new content leads to pages of foamy ho-hum writing. Posting a blog every day is great if you can keep it fresh and interesting so people want to see it that often. Or adding numerous informative articles is a sound strategy providing they are really informative. But too often the content on websites is the online equivalent of some old know-it-all who likes to hear himself talk.
If you have a choice between quantity and quality, pick quality every time. It is better to publish less but have what is there be helpful, truly informative, reader-engaging, and business-promoting than to have lots of words rehashing bytes your customers have seen elsewhere.
Unfair as it may be, if your content appears stale, so does your company.
3) Hi-Ho, Silver! It’s the Lone Ranger.
Writing quality content is hard work. Did you take that in? Hard work. That’s why businesses like Words R Weapons exist. Yes, you can write your content. Then you can revise it, rewrite, edit, and wonder if you have really hit the mark. That’s before we even get to the easy stuff…spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
If you don’t want to hire a writing firm and you want to do it on your own, you still don’t have to be the Lone Ranger. It’s okay to share content created by others as long as you give them proper credit. It can help your audience to see opinions and expertise other than yours. Invite others to guest post on your site and you reciprocate. Or interview an expert in your field, a vendor, or an inventor. Most are happy to get some free PR.
Not everything you post has to be from your own head.
4) Burdening the Blog
If you are only using a blog to increase your content marketing success, you are heading for failure. Blogs are great, but in the vast information-clogged internet, they often get buried beneath megabytes of noisier fare.
The next logical step that you may have already taken would be to engage social media, and that’s a great choice. But spreading the same information across all the social media channels at once convinces your followers that it’s a ‘one and done’ deal. They only need to read your post on one site because you won’t have anything new on the others.
To avoid this, try using your content in new ways. Make a video blog and guest post it. Take some of those statistics you are dying to spout and create an eye-catching, easy-to-understand infographic. If you are going to interview an expert, see if you can make it into a podcast in addition to summing up the transcript as a blog or social media post.
5) Measure Twice, Cut Once
All of your efforts will be of little avail unless you measure how successful they are and make changes based on what you find out. If you are blogging every day and nobody is reading it, then something needs to change. Remember Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity: repeating the same action over and over and expecting a different result.
Keep track of your sales-focused info like the time customers spend on the site, the click-through rate, the bounce rate, and the number of unique visitors. But look even deeper than that. Find out where the information you posted has been shared socially. Programs like Hootsuite are great for getting that data.
Use something like Google Analytics to find out what kind of content your customers liked the most. Was it the blog, a podcast, or a video?
You put a lot of effort into everything you do to grow your business. Slow down and make sure that you are being the most effective you can be.