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It’s common for entrepreneurs, marketers and other business personalities to espouse the benefits of content marketing. They tell you to put together a great blog, optimize for some SEO keywords and build some links. Over time, they say, you’ll attract more people to your website thanks to a combination of more loyal customers, increases in your organic rankings in SERPs and greater visibility on social channels.
I can personally attest to these benefits, since I’ve seen them play out in many businesses. But I’ve also met business owners who practiced content marketing only to find their web traffic remaining stagnant.
In other words, nobody is reading their blog.
Why is this the case? And what can you do about it?
Fortunately, if nobody’s reading your company blog, the effects can usually be attributed to one (or more) of several easily identifiable factors.
It’s unoriginal (or: someone else is doing it better)
First, and most commonly, your blog may be unoriginal. In other words, someone else is already doing what you’re doing — except they’re doing it better.
If there are several other companies with blogs similar to yours, you can’t possibly expect yours to get more attention. Your readers probably see you as an inferior imitation, or a carbon copy of these other blogs. If those other blogs have more history or a more dedicated readership, you’ll never win people over.
To fix this, you need to find a way to make your content unique. There are several ways to do this, such as:
- Topics: You could cover a topic that no one else has touched. This is hard to do in narrow industries, but you can always try to expand. Look for news and industry changes. Try to be the first person to cover these new subjects.
- Takes: If there aren’t any new topics to find, consider providing a fresh take. How do you see this topic differently? Do you have a different opinion on it? Do you have new data to provide?
- Angles and aesthetics: You can also use a unique angle or unique aesthetics to differentiate your work. Sometimes, even a different tone of voice, or different pacing, is all it takes to win people over.
It’s too self-promotional or manipulative
People (and search engines) want to see natural, authentic content. If your work is seen as being overly promotional or inauthentic, it’s going to work against you.
I most commonly see this in businesses that try too hard to promote their own products and services. For example, let’s say you’re an auto mechanic and you’ve just published a new article. Two-thirds of your article is dedicated to encouraging people to see an auto mechanic regularly. There are also three calls-to-action (CTAs) prompting people to schedule an appointment. If this article forms people’s first impressions of your brand, they’re going to think you’re desperate to win customers — even at the expense of your content quality.
It’s low quality
Speaking of low quality, it’s possible your content work isn’t, for lack of a better term, good enough.
Content quality is always going to be somewhat subjective, but these are some of the biggest problems that hold company blogs back:
- Spelling, grammatical and typographical mistakes
- Poor or inaccurate research
- Clunky phrasing
- Difficult readability
- No clear point
You’re not providing enough detail
Generally speaking, longer content performs better in the SEO and digital marketing world. There’s a place for short, concise content as well — but if you want to capture a larger audience, at least some of your work should provide exhaustive detail. It’s often better to have one comprehensive piece than several small, unfulfilling ones.
You’re not promoting it
It’s also possible that you have an amazing, high-quality blog in place. But because no one has heard of it, no one has gotten the opportunity to enjoy it. No matter how talented you are, you’ll need to spend at least some time promoting your own blog via social media, word of mouth and possibly even paid advertising.
Measurement and analysis
One more important note here; if you want your blog and content marketing strategy to be successful, you need to be committed to ongoing measurement and analysis. It’s good that you know your traffic levels are currently remaining stagnant, but will you notice if they begin to increase? Do some of your posts get more attention than others? Which tactics seem to work? Only by studying these differences, and learning from them, will you be able to continue improving your efforts.
Content marketing isn’t a switch you can flip to immediately start seeing more web traffic and better results. It’s a strategic approach that takes months, or even years, to perfect. Remain patient as you learn more about your audience and your competitive landscape — and be willing to make the investments necessary to take your content to the next level.