Are you afraid your content isn’t quite hitting the mark?
It’s always a hidden fear or concern for anyone doing content marketing – that maybe, in reality, your content sucks.
It could explain why you’re not getting enough engagement or link-backs, despite sometimes putting in a great deal of effort to try to grow your business and get in those oh-so important new leads.
However, this post is meant in the nicest possible way – really. As an experienced content marketer, I’m aware of all the regular pitfalls marketers and businesses fall into when trying to create regular, quality content. And there’s a way to fix it!
So, without further ado, here are 10 reasons why your content sucks – and what you should do about it, if it does.
Psst! Do you think the problem runs a little deeper? Check out our sister post, ’15 Reasons Why Your Content Marketing SUCKS – And How to Fix It’.
1. Your content is too much work
By too much work, I mean that you’re building up a text wall that only the most enthusiastic of eyes are going to want to fight through.
This is a mistake I see a lot of great writers make, usually because they’re only just starting out, or don’t have much experience writing for the web (hard to believe these days, am I right?).
In this instance, think of white space as your best friend.
Try to break up your paragraphs into no more than about three lines deep, and ensure it’s easy on the eye.
Especially with so much time people spend on screens these days, I know the last thing I want after a long day of writing content is having to squint to get to the end of your super long paragraph. I’d rather just click away.
Harsh, but true.
2. You’re writing whatever you feel like
Okay, it’s true that we all get that urge – or sudden brainwave – to write something that’s going to be truly GREAT! And we want to get it out RIGHT NOW!
We’re only human, after all. And you know what? When something that important takes over, there’s absolutely no reason not to follow your heart, write that sucker and publish it immediately.
However, on the whole, it’s generally important to follow a content marketing strategy, rather than writing about topics that are all over the place.
If you make a concentrated effort to publish pieces you can link back to, on maybe one particular subject, you’ll start seeing more concentrated results, too.
Just bear it in mind.
3. You’re not writing for the right people
Just like you need to stick to your content strategy (aside from the occasional spontaneous post you just HAVE to get out there), it’s also important that you remember who you’re talking to.
That is, you need to always keep your buyer personas in mind when you’re writing ANY piece of content. Mmm’kay? Try to keep it personal to them when you can, and talk about their challenges or concerns to make your content always seem relevant.
Don’t suddenly veer off-course, or start talking to another group of people entirely. It’s wise to stick to what you set out in your strategy, or re-evaluate carefully when the time is right.
4. It’s a rambling, jumbled mess
This one sounds worse than it is. You’d be surprised how easy it is to write a blog title and then get carried away with too many mixed thoughts or ideas.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s great to add in a personal story or two. In fact, I’d recommend that you do! However, your blog needs to have a clear beginning, middle and end, rather than going off on random tangents that make it difficult for the reader to follow.
This is something that can happen if you have no clear idea of what you’re trying to achieve with your content, or even for some subjects that you feel passionate about and have a whole lot to say.
If you find yourself going too far off-subject, ask yourself: “Would this be worth turning into another blog post?”
5. You’re not delivering on your promises
This is also linked to my last point. Say you have a heading that promises how to help the reader find the best software solution for them. But in the content itself, what you’ve basically done is go over a few various solutions with no clear winner and no way to tell which is right for them.
It’s incredibly frustrating for the reader, but I understand why this happens. I’ve been there.
You start writing about one fixed title, and suddenly it turns into something else. Maybe because of an overload of information, or maybe it just happened.
If it does happen, you have to change the title so that you aren’t making any false promises. You want the reader to land on your blog post knowing exactly what to expect, and being satisfied – if not delighted – by what they’ve just read.
They’ll also want to come back and read more of your content – so it’s a win-win.
6. Your subheadings aren’t compelling
These days, people have short attention spans. If your subheadings are dull, or even just too on-the-nose, people may just gloss over them thinking that they aren’t interested.
Scannable subheadings used to be all the rage, until marketers one day realised that they’re actually making it easier for people not to read their content. Instead, think of writing them as mini blog titles. Try to make them catchy, and give a bit more of a tease.
Of course, this isn’t always necessary, especially with longer lists where people need to find what they’re looking for without wading through all of the content. Trust your gut.
7. There’s no practical/actionable advice
Imagine you’ve just told your readers why they’re having this huge problem or dilemma. That’s all very well and good, but what should they do about it?
The best content is the kind that offers practical, actionable advice that is actually going to help your readers, so try to include at least something they can action with everything you publish.
Even if it’s just a couple of exercises to go away and try for themselves, it’s giving them something valuable, and they’ll appreciate it.
8. There’s too much interference
If you’re working as part of a team, with other writers/editors in the frey, you probably know what I mean when I say ‘too many cooks’.
Often, when other people have an input, the content can become diluted and lose its main message. It’s best to stick to one writer, and one editor – and your content should only be edited 2 – 4 times at most. See my point below.
9. You’re editing it to death
You can be guilty of sabotaging yourself, too. If you’re constantly going back to edit your content, instead of just getting it out there, then you’re wasting time.
Remember, it doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect. As long as it conveys your message, your passion, your story, then it’s better to get it out there rather than having it sit on a shelf while your procrastinate over every little thing.
10. You’re not offering anything new
Nobody wants to read the same old boring content that they’ve read a million times before. And nobody wants to share it, either.
Try to offer a new angle, or a personal story that adds something of value. If you do a Google search and see five other businesses or blogs answering the same question or addressing the same problem you want to address, you better check that content.
See how you can make it better. Check how old it is. Check it for broken links. Google loves fresh, up-to-date content that’s comprehensive and valuable to its users, with plenty of helpful links that actually work.
If you’ve read through this and have decided your content sucks, it’s actually a good sign. Why? Because you’ve just taken the first steps to getting better at what you do.
And let’s face it, we can all get better.
Is there anything I’ve missed on my list? Let me know in the comments’ section. Or ask me anything you like – the Dr. is in the house.
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