10 Ways Your Content is Guaranteed to Suck

  • July 8th 2015
  • by Jessica Kandler
10 Ways Your Content is Guaranteed to Suck

When content is done right, it is an extremely powerful tool for driving traffic to your website, building your brand awareness and authority, and converting leads into sales.

But, just because you create it doesn’t mean it’s good. Countless blogs and articles are published online every day that nobody ever reads because, well, they suck.

So, how do you know if your content is doomed? Here are ten ways your content is guaranteed to suck – and how to improve it.

1. It’s inauthentic

In the modern world of web savvy readers, content that’s trying too hard is guaranteed to flop. Your visitors can easily see through your thinly veiled attempts to sell them your product or services via poor content, and will immediately bounce for better content elsewhere. Every minute of every day new content is published online, and inauthentic content is ultimately just a large waste of time and effort.

How to create authentic content

However, you can make yourself stand out from all the noise by being truly authentic. Here are three  quick ways to create content that rings true with your specific audience:

Attribute authorship: people want to engage with people. Make sure you’re not publishing under “blog admin,” but rather leveraging your team members as blog authors. Everyone in your company has a unique background and useful insight to share. For every post, include an author name, photo, unique bio, and links to their twitter and linkedin profiles.

Here’s a good example, via HubSpot:

Author-bio-1

Listen and engage with your audience: Don’t just talk at your readers thinking you know what they want. Your content should spark a conversation, so pay attention to blog comments, and respond to them genuinely. Pose questions in your content to generate responses, and continue the conversation on social media.

Find balance between content creation and curation: Sometimes sharing others’ content is the best route to creating trust and rapport with your audience. Including relevant external links within your blog content or sharing useful videos or infographics from other sources shows your audience that you’re not just focused on yourself and that you want to provide actual value to them.

2. It’s not actionable

There’s a reason why the most popular content on the web these days is how to’s, informational list posts, and robust downloads and guides – these types of content make readers’ lives easier! Make sure your content contains key takeaways and practical tips for your readers that they can use in their personal and/or professional lives.

Here’s the difference: it’s one thing to write a blog post about how anyone can create a website on their own and what to include on their site. It’s another to give them actionable free tools with which to do so.

Free mobile wireframe tool

3. It’s not visual

Visuals are imperative to making your content more digestible and engaging. What’s more, visuals aid in decision making, are more persuasive, and lead to longer overall impressions. But I’m not talking about using run-of-the-mill stock photos, because everyone everywhere has been there, done that. When crafting unique content, include varied custom visuals that help make your point and make you stand out from the crowd. If your readers get bored with your copy or while reading longer pieces, you can ensure you still convey your message and pique their interest as they skim the visuals.

visual-content-marketing

Ways to make your content more visual

  • Use charts, graphs, and infographics to convey statistics.
  • Create custom, social-media specific graphics to make your content easily tweetable and pinnable, like quote images
  • Avoid obvious photography – think more abstractly and conceptually when choosing photos to accompany your blog posts. For example, if you were writing for a business or financial services firm, it might be easy to rely on generic stock imagery, such as the dreaded stock handshake photo below:

handshakemore-visual-blog-postsInstead of such a literal image, opt for a more emotionally evocative and conceptual image, like a mountain scene. Both images convey overcoming obstacles and growth, just in very different ways.

4. It’s not relevant

Make sure you know who your audience is, and what they care about. If you have buyer personas created, great. If not, consider what stage of the buying journey your reader is in, and think about what type of content would enhance their experience. Take a look at what your competitors are doing, and make it better by reflecting your unique voice.

Remember, content doesn’t have to be just written content – if you have a younger audience, perhaps staying relevant means producing video content or creating infographics instead.

5. It’s overly promotional

When your content is always focused on your brand, it’s easy for potential customers to write you off as another meaningless advertiser. Endless press releases and blog posts solely focused on your CEO or company updates will quickly bore users, and won’t turn leads into conversions.

That’s not to say that some brand focused content is useful – it is. But shifting your strategy from being brand-focused to consumer focused is far more worth it. The key is finding the right balance of the two. Rather than make a hard sell with every piece of content, work in useful resources and industry news. Variety is the spice of life, right?

Here’s an example: if you’re a company that sells social media software, your content strategy could include:

  • Free downloads and/or guides that help your customers understand the audiences on each social media platform
  • Blogs providing your CEO’s and engineering team’s insight on relevant industry trends
  • A free pack of cool graphics for your customers to amplify via their social media channels

6. It’s boring

If your content reads like a fifth-grader’s 5 paragraph essay, you’re in trouble. There are tons of resources on copywriting 101 out there, but here are some essentials to writing compelling copy:

Write good headlines. Arguably THE most important part of your post, your headlines should be to the point, personal (use “you” to speak to your reader directly), and exciting!

Be direct. Communicate clearly by cutting to the chase and opting for short sentences over extra words.

Spur action. If your content isn’t convincing a reader to convert, it’s failing. Encourage readers to take action by instilling a sense of urgency (“now is the time!”) and including direct calls to action.

copywriting-tips

7. It’s formatted poorly

The best content out there makes use of good formatting to entice readers to stay on the page. If you put the thought and effort into formatting each blog post or piece of content you create, your analytics will reflect lower bounce rates and longer time spent on page, both important engagement metrics you and your clients should be paying attention to.

Some quick formatting tips:

  • Use headings, subheadings, and bullet points to break up huge blocks of text
  • Include a featured image at the top as well as images within the body
  • Include social media share buttons (preferably with counters that provide “social proof” that your piece is valuable)

8. It’s not promoted

Your content is only good if people see it. You should absolutely make sure you focus on generating organic traffic to your post (see next point!), but also make use of promotional vehicles like social media to start conversations on your content’s topic.
But, don’t just automate promotion by blasting out the title on all your social outlets at once – take the time to engage each different audience with intention. For example, the way you frame an article on LinkedIn and Twitter should be very different.

9. It’s not optimized for search engines

Blogs are a great way to drive organic search traffic and reach more customers. But, getting your blog posts and content to rank higher in search engines requires some work. These SEO checklists will help you cover all your bases before you publish, but here are a few first steps:

  • Make sure your blog follows proper url structure
  • Use keywords organically and thoughtfully throughout your content, and focus on long-tail key phrases with low competition
  • Make sure your meta description, title tag, and headline all include your target key phrase
  • Optimize your images by adding image title tags that contain your keyword

Plus, here’s a great infographic on the Anatomy of a Perfectly Optimized Page for your reference.

10. It’s not strategic

Are you writing content based on your mood that day, or are you aligning it with a defined content strategy based on your business goals? If you don’t have a well-conceived strategy and an editorial calendar in place, stop reading this and go make one.

Ask yourself a few questions to make sure you’re being strategic with your content:

Conclusion

So, you’ve created bad content in the past. Let bygones be bygones. Now get to creating the good stuff based on the above, and start seeing the results you want.

Any other advice out there for not sucking at content? Leave us a tip in the comments!

free-seo-download

  • Marketing Sweet

    Thanks Jessica.

    It’s for the above reasons that we get so many client coming on board looking for help. However, we are not immune to it either and are consequently always looking for bigger and better social media strategies.

    • thomas_kristina

      One yr ago I finally left my previous work and it was a best decision i made in my life… I started doing a job at home, over a site I stumbled upon over internet, several hrs a day, and I profit now much more than i did on my previous job… My last month payment was for 9 thousand dollars… Superb thing about this gig is the more time i got to spend with my family… http://chilp.it/8d93f4b

  • isabel_phillips

    I make around 6,000-8,000 bucks /a month with an internet task i found on the internet. For anyone ready to do easy freelance task for 2h-5h /a day from your house and get good income for doing it… Then this job opportunity is for you… http://korta.nu/NDe

  • lang.lachance

    I currently benefit in the span of 6 thousand-8 thousand bucks /month for freelancing i do from my home. So if you are ready to work simple freelance task for 2h-5h every day at your house and get good salary in the same time… Then this golden opportunity is for you… http://korta.nu/NDe

  • delores.russo

    Work on the web from 2 to 6 hrs on daily basis, and collect payment in the range 1k-3k weekly http://urlin.it/143a58

  • peggy.parra

    Six months ago,after being fired from my old job , i’ve been blessed to discover this amazing website that literally saved me… They offer online home-based tasks. My last month payment after working for them for 3 months was $12000… Great thing about is that only requirement for this job is basic typing skills and internet connection… http://korta.nu/NDe

  • lisa.michael

    6 months back,after being fired from my old job , i’ve been blessed to discover this marvellous website that was a life-saver… They provide jobs for which people can work online from their house. Last check after working for them for three months was $12000… Amazing thing about is that only requirement for the job is basic typing skills and good internet connection… http://korta.nu/MDe

  • stephanie-smith-92

    Earn 90 dollars every day for working on the web from your own home for few hours every day… Get regularly paid each week… All what is required is a personal computer, connection to the internet, plus a little sparetime… http://korta.nu/NDe

  • kayla.mitchell

    Make 90 bucks each day for working on the web from comfort of your own home for couple of hours on a daily base… Get regularly paid each week… You’ll need a laptop or computer, connection to the web, and some free-time… http://fave.co/2boctrE

  • betty.goetz

    Start Earning $90 each day for working on the net from comfort of your own home for few h each day… Get paid regularly weekly… All what is required is a laptop or computer, internet connection, and also a little leisure time…http://secure52.com

  • yoshiko.travis

    Start making $90 /daily for working online from your own home for several hrs /day… Get regular payment once a week… Everything you need is a laptop, net connection, as well as a little sparetime… http://ow.ly/n1nP303oO1A

  • anna.mahon

    I presently benefit about 6-8 thousand bucks on monthly basis with my online job. For anyone ready to work easy freelance jobs for 2-5 hrs /day from your living room and get good profit in the same time… Then this work is for you… http://chilp.it/8d93f4b

  • kelly-phyllis

    One yr ago I decided to quit my office job and that decision was a life changer for me… I started to work from home, over a website I found over internet, several hrs daily, and my income now is much bigger then it was on my last job… Check i got for last month was for 9 thousand bucks… Superb thing about this job is that i have more free time for my kids… http://korta.nu/MDe

  • sheila.strickland

    1 yr ago I finally abandoned my last job and it changed my life… I started doing a job on-line, for a company I found online, several hrs a day, and I make much more than i did on my office work… My paycheck for last month was for $9k… Awesome thing about this work is that now i have more time to spend with my family…
    http://secure54.com

  • anne.kelly.91

    One yr ago I finally quit my office job and I never felt so good in my life… I started doing a job from my house, for this company I found on-line, several hours a day, and I profit now much more than i did on my previous work… Last pay-check i got was for 9k dollars… Awesome thing about this gig is that now i have more free time for my family… http://korta.nu/MDe

  • jones.lorena

    1 year have passed since I finally abandoned my previous work and I never felt so good in my life… I started working from home, for a company I stumbled upon on-line, for several hrs each day, and I earn much more than i did on my office work… My last month check was for 9000 bucks… Great thing about this is that i have more free time to spend with my family… http://korta.nu/MDe

  • roseanne.leblanc

    After 5 years I decided to quit my previous job and that decision was a life-changer for me… I started to work from my house, over a website I found over internet, few hours each day, and I make much more than i did on my previous job… My last month pay-check was for 9 thousand dollars… Awesome thing about this job is the more time i got for my family… http://chilp.it/8d93f4b

  • kristi.neff

    One year ago I decided to abandon my last work and I never felt better in my life… I started doing a job from comfort of my house, for this company I found on-line, for a few hours daily, and I make much more than i did on my last work… Paycheck i got for last month was for 9000 bucks… Amazing thing about this gig is the more time i got with my kids… http://chilp.it/8d93f4b

  • roberta_rodriguez

    It’s been one year since I decided to leave my old job and I never felt this good… I started working from my house, for a company I stumbled upon on-line, for a few hours daily, and I make much more than i did on my last work… Pay-check i got for last month was for Nine thousand dollars… Amazing thing about it is that i have more time with my kids… http://chilp.it/8d93f4b

  • holmes.tracey

    One year ago I decided to leave my last job and I never felt better in my life… I started working from home, for a company I found over internet, several hours every day, and I profit now much more than i did on my office job… My pay-check for last month was for 9000 bucks… Superb thing about this gig is that now i have more free time for my kids… http://secure78.com

  • mary-phillips

    It’s been 1 year since I finally left my old job and that decision was a life changer for me… I started doing work from home, over a website I discovered on-line, for a few hours every day, and I earn much more than i did on my previous job… My last month pay-check was for 9 thousand bucks… Awesome thing about this work is that i have more time with my kids… http://chilp.it/8d93f4b

  • mazie.hardin

    1 year have passed since I decided to leave my office job and I never felt this good… I started doing work from comfort of my house, for a company I discovered online, for several hours every day, and my income now is much bigger then it was on my previous work… Payment i got for last month was for Nine thousand dollars… Superb thing about this job is that i have more free time for my family… http://chilp.it/8d93f4b

  • susanfoster2016

    After 5 years I left my office job and it was a best decision i made in my life… I started working from comfort of my house, for a company I discovered over internet, for several hours a day, and I profit now much more than i did on my last job… My pay-check for last month was for 9 thousand dollars… The best thing about this gig is that now i have more time for my loved ones… http://chilp.it/728813e

  • yvonnewallace91

    One yr have passed since I decided to quit my last job and it changed my life… I started freelancing from my house, over a website I found on-line, for a few hrs every day, and I make much more than i did on my last work… Paycheck i got for last month was for 9000 dollars… Awesome thing about this gig is that i have more time with my kids… http://chilp.it/728813e

  • hettie.williams

    1 year ago I abandoned my old job and that decision was a life-changer for me… I started doing a job online, for a company I discovered on-line, for a few hrs /a day, and my income now is much bigger then it was on my previous work… My pay-check for last month was for $9k… Great thing about this work is that i have more time for my loved ones… http://chilp.it/728813e

  • teresa.chase

    One yr have passed since I decided to leave my office job and I never felt so good in my life… I started doing a job at home, for this company I stumbled upon on-line, few hrs every day, and I earn much more than i did on my old work… My last month check was for $9000… The best thing about this work is that now i have more time with my kids…
    http://chilp.it/728813e

  • gladisjaworski

    1 yr have passed since I finally left my previous work and that decision was a lifechanger for me… I started doing a job over internet, for a company I stumbled upon over internet, several hours daily, and I earn much more than i did on my last job… Last check i got was for 9k dollars… Great thing about this work is the more time i got to spend with my family…
    http://chilp.it/728813e