A lot has changed in the way people interact with content over the last five years. The age Google algorithm updates, the rise of mobile and the small matter social media have had a major impact on how users interact with brands.
The flipside is you also need to change the way you interact with users – or miss out on vital connections altogether. So, if you’re still publishing those 500-word blog posts every week, you’re already falling behind. It’s time to mix up your content and make your blog a profitable platform again.
The price of repetitive content
In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a lot of crappy content doing the rounds these days. Despite all the preaching about “quality content,” users are constantly left frustrated by what brands publish and how they promote it.
@hootsuite focus purely on self-promotion without curating via retweet or engaging! ^GC
— WriterAccess (@WriterAccess) July 20, 2015
If you’re investing in content marketing and all you manage is to wind people up, you’re off to a pretty poor start. No value to the end user means no return on investment for you, leaving your blog (and probably social media) strategy in the red. So where has content marketing gone wrong for so many brands?
Your repetition is sending people to sleep
You can’t engage if you don’t excite and people are sick of repetitive content that serves no purpose to them. Those 500-word blog posts talking about how good your services are don’t help anyone – yourself included. It’s time for a new approach and that starts with asking what users really need from your content:
- They need something useful – Content that saves them money or time, makes money, helps buying decisions, etc.
- They need something original – If it’s already been said, you need to say it in a new way or forget it altogether
- They need something engaging – Users will never get to enjoy your original, useful content if it’s not engaging from the moment they click your headline until reading the final word.
Those are basic principles we hear talked about so often in content marketing, yet we still see brands get it so horribly wrong. And that’s fine, because you don’t need to make the same mistakes. You can be better.
How to break out of the content rut
We’re going to assume you already have a unique voice, understand what sets your brand apart and know what people need most from your business. If that’s not the case, then start with those branding fundamentals before you do any content overhauls. Once everything’s in place, create a new content strategy and do the following:
- Mix up word counts: Google loves longer content while sort pieces are ideal for those early interactions on social/mobile. Mix it up.
- Go multimedia: The wider variety of content you can produce, the wider audience you’ll be able to connect with. Some people prefer to read, others crave video, infographics, podcasts or other formats.
- Offer something new: If you only repeat what others say, you’ll never stand out.
- Genuinely help readers: Create content that helps and it will do the selling for you.
- Keep users up-to-date: Become a news source people come back to for the latest developments.
- Promote other content: Don’t be afraid share and interact with content from other brands. Always strive to connect your audience with the best content from around the web – even if it’s not always your own.
- Deliver on your headline: Don’t promise something in the headline your content doesn’t deliver.
If your content strategy doesn’t tick those boxes, then its failing your users. Don’t get too down about it, though, because the list of brands truly creating good content is incredibly small. Spend a few minutes browsing the biggest online publishers and see how much of their content actually delivers. It’s the vast minority.
The good news is this leaves a lot of room for you to jump in and produce a better, more varied kind of content than your competitors. The reward for your time and effort is a stronger connection with people who interact with your content.