7 Reasons Why Readers Are Ignoring Your Content
May 21, 2018
55% of readers read your content for 15 seconds or less. It might not be their fault.
There are few things more frustrating than pouring time and other resources into developing perfectly branded content, only to be met with utter silence.
Banner blindness and ad blockers have lessened the impact of traditional marketing, which has also contributed to native advertising’s rise in popularity. In the current digital landscape, many brand strategies now involve creating an experience that seamlessly integrates advertising. For many advertisers, this means more emphasis on content marketing alongside native advertising.
Content marketing is an effective and inexpensive way to build brand awareness among consumers and is expected to grow to a $412 billion industry by 2021. It also can be easily incorporated into a native advertising strategy.
The biggest challenge comes from getting the content in front of viewers. Simply creating it isn’t enough if no one is seeing it.
This doesn’t mean that content marketing doesn’t work, or even that your output isn’t good enough. However, it does mean that it’s time to reassess your strategy and ask what mistakes you’re making with your content.
If any of the following things describe how you handle this aspect of marketing, it’s time to make some adjustments.
1. You don’t have a documented strategy
Nearly two-thirds of B2B advertisers don’t have a documented content marketing strategy. Creating a documented plan will help you think about what you’re posting more strategically, and consumers will have a more difficult time ignoring posts that follow a defined voice and schedule.
When you combine marketing and strategy, you’ll be able to better define your goals, voice, style. Your plan doesn’t have to be long; it should merely outline your objectives, metrics, and strategy.
Once you write your plan, create an editorial calendar. Breaking down details like title, topic, and keywords allows you to easily keep track of what you’re publishing. It also pushes you toward your end goal by forcing you to think strategically about when, where, and how often you’ll publish.
2. You sound like a salesperson
Though content marketing and native advertising can be part of the same advertising plan, they’re not the same thing. Native advertising is still advertising, where the goal of content marketing is to drive brand awareness and interest.
If your posts sound too much like a sales pitch, you’ll drive users away. Instead, focus on developing entertaining pieces that will engage readers. Content marketing isn’t about the product, it’s about developing a relationship with readers and building brand trust.
The other purpose of content marketing is to educate readers. It’s an effective way to make leads aware of your brand and demonstrate your credibility in your field. Even if someone finds that content with little knowledge of your field or industry, your content should at least in part be an educational resource. Readers who find value in that education may stick around and eventually become users of your product or service.
This strategy isn’t about an immediate sell, so focus on creating engaging, entertaining, educational resources.
3. Your content isn’t optimized
Your publishing output must work in conjunction with your SEO strategy. (And if you don’t have an SEO strategy, it’s time to adopt one.) Free SEO tools like Yoast or Google PageSpeed Insights will help you optimize your content so it reaches more viewers.
Though 8 out of 10 web users will read a headline, only 2 out of 10 will read what follows. To boost this number, make sure your headlines are engaging and interesting.
One of the biggest audience turn offs is weird or unconventional formatting. A poor user experience can stay with an audience for a long time after the user has left a site.
We recently wrote about creating better user experiences on your site, but one of the most basic steps you can take is to make sure your content is highly readable (large text with high contrast from the background and in a normal font) and that it is formatted normally.
4. You don’t know what your audience wants
If your content sounds too salesy, part of the problem might be that you’re not understanding what your audience wants. It’s difficult to know what will work for every reader, which is why it’s important to develop buyer personas.
Personas allow you to ensure your audience is represented and understand what issues they might be having. It also allows you to create heavily targeted, relevant content.
Social media isn’t just a place for posting; it’s a good place to get ideas, as well. Monitoring relevant social media accounts, channels, and discussions helps you understand consumer concerns. Facebook groups and Reddit are both great ways to monitor trends and discussions.
5. Your voice isn’t genuine
Developing genuine content goes hand-in-hand with developing content that doesn’t sound like a sales pitch. An authentic, genuine voice in whatever online presence you have builds consumer trust.
In one poll, consumers and readers responded that they valued honesty, friendliness, and helpfulness above all other brand traits. These are desirable above a sarcastic or snarky presence on social media.
This isn’t to say humor doesn’t have a place in branded content. Sarcastic social media has worked well for brands like Merriam-Webster, Wendy’s, and MoonPie, but only because they’re fully committed to this type of personality. Regardless of what brand voice you choose, be committed to seeing it through.
6. You don’t publish often enough
Remember the part of developing a content strategy that involved creating an editorial calendar? This is where you’ll put that calendar to use.
Publishing posts or articles irregularly doesn’t engender consumer trust in your brand. Regular publishing gives consumers a more favorable opinion of your brand and keep you at the top of their news feeds.
Publishing too often drives down post engagement. Overexposing your brand will make consumers less likely to interact. Quality is more important than quantity, but you have to be consistent and find balance in your schedule.
One way to avoid consumer burnout is to mix up the type of content you’re posting. Try photos and videos in addition to text posts. Depending on your industry, you might also find success with infographics and podcasts.
7. You’re not promoting your content
Unlike Beyoncé, most advertisers won’t get 830,000 sales (or engagements, for that matter) for dropping content without warning. Self promotion is a key strategy in this type of marketing because consumers won’t know you exist if you don’t market yourself.
Creating engaging content promotes shareability and user interaction. A mix of email marketing, social media, and posting on forums will improve engagement and results. Overpromoting drives post engagement down. To make sure your posts stay relevant, use boost features to keep them at the top of your audience’s timeline.
This is also a good way to become part of industry conversations and, in the process, build your brand voice.
It’s also where native advertising comes in. Promoted social boosts your content and gets it in front of a targeted audience, and other forms of native (like sponsored posts) can boost awareness because they look like editorial content.
None of these fixes are particularly difficult to make. Arguably, creating the content plan is the most time-consuming step, but you can write one in a single page. The biggest change is thinking about content as a strategy in itself and as part of a larger strategy, instead of just as part of a marketing strategy.