We’ve all done it.
A late-night deadline, someone called in sick, experts railing on us to post more—these are all things that push us to our limits and tempt us to hit the publish button on content that is less than stellar.
Or, let’s be honest, it’s just crappy content marketing.
I know you probably think we are here to yell at you. But that’s not it because we get it. It’s hard to be creative, inspiring, and revenue-generating 100% of the time. We are all human.
So, let me clarify.
We are not talking about those once-in-a-while subpar posts.
We are talking about the pattern that you have gotten into of making your content a lower priority. Companies are making this mistake daily. You’ve seen lousy content and scrolled past it.
And what is the result? It’s not about losing a few followers or not getting comments.
Let’s walk through the consequences so you can break out of the rut of crappy content (or never get into it in the first place).
All good content either entertains, informs, and/or inspires, which means that content helps the reader somehow, even if it is just a 30-second cat video that makes them laugh.
Lousy content doesn’t do any of that.
Now think about your own experience: what happens when you go to someone for help, and they let you down? You decide that they are not someone you go to for help, and you find another avenue.
Lousy content only accomplishes the goal of getting words and images on a page. It’s confusing and generates questions in the customer’s mind about your ability to solve their problem.
You started out well by setting yourself up as an authority on a specific subject. But because your message wasn’t clear and concise, you didn’t deliver on your promise as a trusted resource. And without customers seeing you as their trusted resource, your revenue suffers.
Readers spent approximately 37 seconds on a blog post, and 43% of readers skim rather than read it.
I think you will agree with me when I say that–
–you have little time and space to make a good impression and keep the reader from being distracted by something else. Can you think of a time when you were invested in reading or watching something good, and you were still distracted? I can think of several times myself.
Even if you have a tone of empathy and valuable examples, if the rest is muck, your message is muddled.
Without a clear message, your customer won’t have that “They get me” feeling and see you as the best solution to their problem. Without that emotional connection, you fail to attract and retain customers, and your sales come to a grinding halt.
It’s bad enough when no one interacts with your content but to have Google take you down? Ouch.
Writing any quality content takes time. Orbit Media reported that in 2020, over 1,200 bloggers said the average blog post took almost four hours to write! It’s tempting to take shortcuts when you’re crunched for time, but using irrelevant or repetitive keywords or automatically generated content is a surefire way to get dinged in search results.
And while you should be promoting your content in other ways, if potential customers can’t find your content via search engines, you lose another chance for visibility.
If customers can’t find you, two things happen:
You can’t be their guide in solving their problem, and you then must find them, which costs money, taking a cut from your revenue.
This leads me to the last point about crappy content…
According to this Forbes article, most companies have 25% to 30% of their marketing budget designated for content marketing. But even if you have no formal budget allocation because it’s only you, it’s still your time that you are spending. And wasting.
Maybe you want to spend less time per post and churn out more to see what sticks.
Here are the problems with that-
You are still spending resources. Your customers won’t be impressed and give up on you after a windfall of irrelevant content. You start to feel stretched too thin because you need to generate leads in other ways.
And cool things get ignored because there is no time or resources. You could be working on a new product or service, doing market research to understand your customer better, or participating in professional development.
Getting your content on track not only helps your customers and stops a resource suck. It frees you up to work on other parts of your business, which generate more revenue.
I’m not going to suggest the usual things–create or revise your strategy, plan better, stop being boring, or set more reasonable expectations. If these things were the problem, you would have addressed it by now.
Let’s get to the root cause so that we can get to the right solution.
I don’t mean tired of blogging or posting on social media (well, maybe that too) but physically and mentally tired. When in an exhausted state, most people either trudge on in pain (literally or figurately) or quit.
But the poet Edgar Albert Guest offers us another option “Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.“
Resting sounds like a bizarre solution when we live in a society that likes to use fear to push us through life. Can’t you hear the online crowds?
Don’t stop marketing even for a day, or you will lose all your leads and customers. You must be consistent and post every day, or people will forget about you. Hustle until you drop is the road to success.
But here’s the thing.
Trudging through your content and posting irrelevant or bad stuff does more harm in the long run than taking a small break, regrouping, and getting back to creating quality content.
We’ve talked about this topic in a previous post.
If you don’t like something, it’s challenging to do it well, even if you “have” to do it.
Besides not helping your potential customer, content that lacks value doesn’t help your business do well in Google searches. You probably aren’t keeping up with trends and best practices because you are just not interested. Finally, you lack the motivation to create the content that the customer needs and wants. Instead, you are just churning it out.
The current expert advice is still to prioritize quality over quantity. This problem has two clear solutions: either learn to like content marketing and undertake a DIY education strategy or outsource it.
There’s a lot of junk out there.
Think about how many times you’ve clicked on a post or article hoping to find the answer to your question, and it was the same old stuff reworded and repackaged.
How did you feel? Disappointed. Frustrated. Angry.
Your crappy content is stirring up negative emotions in your potential customers, which is precisely the opposite of what you want to do. The solution to fixing your content is benchmarking it against good content.
Use the keywords “best content marketing brands” to search to find brands to study. Add your industry, niche, or specific social media platform to drill down even more. Here are a few articles to get you started from Semrush, OptinMonster, and the Content Marketing Institute.
Well, you have a voice; it’s just not your authentic voice. It’s the voice you think you SHOULD have. And it shows. Resources on finding your brand voice suggest things like looking at your past content to find trends, developing your persona, dissecting company values, and identifying your audience.
When I started my business over a decade ago, I did these exercises repeatedly without insight. The problem was that they were much too cerebral and abstract. I needed something straightforward to cut through my emotional “shoulds,” which stopped me from using my authentic voice.
The solution is simple.
Take a piece of content and write it how you think you should write it. For example, maybe you think your blog posts should be formal, technical, and authoritative. Now, take that same piece of content and write it in the exact opposite way. In this example, you write it in an informal tone that is simple and collaborative. Which post feels better to you? The content you wrote opposite of the “should” content is likely closer to your authentic voice.
Here’s the bottom line-
If you’ve come this far, it’s a sign you are committed to better content. Everyone falls into a crappy content rut once in a while. But now that you understand how lousy content ruins your revenue by showing no value, distracts the reader from what might be good in the content, causes you to be smacked around by Google, and is a resource suck, you can take decisive action.
By all means, craft a better strategy, be a super planner, and be more engaging. But also stop and look at the bigger picture. Take a break, outsource it if you must, take time to learn what good content is, and find your voice.
Because the internet needs good content, and someone out there is waiting to hear what you have to say.
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