I see it often: Businesses hire a blogger, or rely on an existing employee to spearhead their content strategy. They have high hopes for increased website traffic, email subscribers and sales.
New content is frequently published to the blog. Weekly email newsletters are sent out with helpful information and tips, and social media updates are posted regularly.
And yet, there’s just one tiny problem: No one is reading what you’re writing.
When you’re investing huge amounts of time and resources into your content marketing strategy, it can be disheartening when your content doesn’t get the traction you think it deserves.
This is one of the most common complaints I hear from business owners who are investing in a content strategy.
Following are five reasons no one is reading what you’re writing…and what you can do about it.
1. Your content doesn’t have a unique angle
Take this article, for example. I could rehash the same old points in the hopes that you haven’t already read dozens of articles on this topic.
But, I know that you’re reading this because you’re looking for ideas you haven’t thought of before. Your audience is also too savvy and too busy to waste their time on unoriginal content.
Before you write an article, take some time to see what’s already been written on the topic. Ask yourself: What can I add to the conversation? What unique insights or experiences can I draw on to make this blog post unique? What questions can I raise that others aren’t asking?
2. Your blog doesn’t have a unique angle
Let’s face it: some niches just have too many blogs. If this is the case in your niche or industry, it may be time to look at the overall focus of your blog.
What are your competitors writing about? What’s their angle? How can you differentiate yourself?
Take the food niche, for instance. If you’re determined to have a general food blog, you’re going to find it’s most likely an uphill battle. You’ll be competing against the many thousands of bloggers who are already run established, successful sites with thousands of followers.
So instead of trying to compete, why not think about how you can set yourself apart? Drill down until you can find a subcategory in the food niche that’s just waiting for a unique voice. You’ll have a much easier time making an impact and attracting interest if you have laser focus on a smaller topic.
3. You don’t have an opinion
You may think that by avoiding controversial topics or by suppressing your opinion (which, let’s face, could be unpopular), you’re going to appeal to the broadest audience possible.
This, however, couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m not saying every article or social media update has to be controversial, but having a strong opinion about topics and issues is part of what will set you apart from the mainstream.
Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. Take some risks! Don’t be controversial just for the sake of being controversial, but also don’t be afraid to go out on a limb sometimes and share how you really feel.
4. You’re forgetting that your readers are real people
As soon as you start to treat your website visitors as numbers — pageviews, unique visitors or impressions — you’re in trouble. You may think this doesn’t affect your content, but it most definitely, absolutely does.
When you think about your content primarily as a way to increase traffic, get subscribers or ‘build an audience’, you’re missing the point. Sure, these are definitely going to be benefits and goals of a well-run content strategy.
But when you’re actually writing the content, you need to keep in mind that, first and foremost, you’re writing for real people, with real problems. They are reading your blog for a reason, and it’s incumbent on you to understand exactly what that reason is, and then meet their expectations.
Are they reading it to be entertained? To kill some time? To become better business owners? To feel less alone? Figure out what people expect when they come to your blog, then give it to them.
5. You can’t let go of your original plan
I know a business owner who pays big bucks to have new content added to his blog 5x per week. I’ve watched this guy trying desperately to make his content strategy work, and yet after an entire year, he gets little traffic and little engagement.
Is it a problem with the quality of his content? Is he simply posting too much content? Truth be told, I don’t really know. What I do know is his strategy isn’t working. And instead of reevaluating what’s going wrong, he’s sticking to his guns and trudging ahead.
I’m not saying you should give up when things don’t go as planned. What I am saying, however, is that if your content is consistently not meeting your goals, it may be time to think about trying something different.
This isn’t the same thing as giving up; it’s simply being smart about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
A solid content marketing strategy isn’t just about producing as much content as possible. It’s about being flexible and adaptive, and about finding your unique place in the blogging community. This is the secret to a content strategy that actually works for your business.
What do you think? Do you agree with my points? Have you fallen into any of these traps? Leave a comment and let me know!