I get emails almost every week from bloggers and writers who are frustrated at how content marketing strategies don’t seem to work.
Some are even on the verge of giving up.
Their email would start with something like:
“I’ve been blogging for the past six months, and I’m not getting traffic, shares, and leads.’
“Is blogging still working because it’s not for me.”
I don’t blame them. In fact, it has a lot to do with human psychology. The more time we spend working on something without a reward, the harder it is to continue doing it.
After going through their blog with them, I find that many of them face similar issues with their content marketing strategies.
I’ll cover all of them in this post and share with you how to fix these problems if you come face-to-face with them. You’ll learn how you can improve your content marketing strategy.
1. No Value
This is one I come across too often and is probably the most common issue.
When writing blog posts, many bloggers make the mistake of not adding any value to their audience.
These small business owners often blogged about their products and how awesome their products are.
No, this is not how it works. Remember this: people won’t search for your company on Google. What they will do is search for solutions to problems or answers to questions.
Don’t believe me? Google says that these are some of the top 10 most popular ‘How to’ questions people in the US asked in 2015:
- How to use the new Snapchat update?
- How to solve a Rubix Cube
- How to use beard balm?
- How to tie a shirt?
- How to lose 10 pounds in a week?
Here’s the harsh reality: People don’t care about your company or product unless you have an established brand like Forever 21 (most searched fashion brand in the US in 2015) or Chevrolet (most searched car brand in the US in 2015). They only care about what useful information you can give to them or how you can solve their problem.
People are more likely to find their way into your blog if it has posts that address their issues.
How to fix this: It’s simple, add value. What this means is you need to create content that helps people by solving their problems.
To do this, you can:
- Ask people to find out what frustrates them in their industry and listen to any previous customer feedback.
- Search Quora and see what are the most common and repeated questions.
iii. Stalk your competitors and find out what people are sharing on Twitter.
- Use Buzzsumo to see what are the popular and most shared articles in your industry.
Knowing and sharing these demonstrate that YOU are the expert that people should be talking to when they want or need the services you provide because you’ve already shown a thorough understanding of how you can help them solve their problems.
To show you an example, take a look at Jon Loomer’s blog. He’s THE authority when it comes to Facebook ads. People use his blog post as a guide to create their ads.
For beginners who needs an in-depth tutorial, they can purchase his course to get started on their own.
2. Niche is not targeted enough
I get it. It’s a really tough world out there and we are all trying to make a niche for ourselves.
For marketers that niche is about social media marketing. Everything is about social media marketing nowadays.
Social media marketing is HUGE!
Writing solely about social media marketing will spread themselves too much. Instead, they should start by focusing on a more targeted niche. Using my earlier example, Jon Loomer focuses on a smaller but more targeted audience. His niche targets people and businesses who want to create Facebook ads while other marketers talk everything from Facebook tips to Twitter and Snapchat. You get my point.
The same applies for every niche. Take fashion for example. I started my second Instagram account and a new blog Shortofheight.com to talk about fashion. However, I knew I needed to really target my audience and in my case I chose to focus on giving style tips for short men. I don’t focus on the larger niche which is ‘fashion’ like most bloggers would do.
I know my audience well because I’m basically the case study, I am 5’4”
If you want to do something similar in your niche, you first have to make sure that.
- You’re passionate about that topic
- You have some experience in the industry or niche.
3. Blogging persona
Before you start writing, it is important to know who you are writing for.
I love this description about marketing persona from Ardath Albee:
‘A marketing persona is a composite sketch of a key segment of your audience. For content marketing purposes, you need personas to help you deliver content that will be most relevant and useful to your audience.’
If you’re just getting started, You can write for yourself first. Figure out all the questions you have when you got started and how you’ve solved them.
However, once you start to get traffic, you should start with creating a user persona around the type of audience you wish to write for or attract more in the future.
How to fix this:
It’s important to know details such as:
- Are they male/female
- A day in the life in their shoes
- What are their problems and pain points?
Here’s a sample graphic I got from Buffer to get you started.
To read a more elaborated version and how to get started on building your reader persona for your blog, I recommend you read Buffer’s blog on this topic.
I’ll admit, I used to be the worst when it comes to SEO. I learned about the art and science when it comes to SEO when I started my second blog which was about styles for short men.
The “art” side of things is all about doing the research to see what your potential customers are looking for. The “science” is all about the numbers and finding out how many queries there are.
How to fix this: Before publishing a blog post, always do a quick search on Google to find what keywords are popular.
A trick I learned was to Google using the ‘allintitle’ strategy. When searching for a keyword via the “allintitle” command, you will be given the number of pages that have that exact keyword in their Title Tag.
Here’s a sample:
While I can’t advise you what keywords to pick, I would recommend you to choose the mid-range and not the highest because it’s less competitive and easier to rank.
5. Promotional strategy
Taking my first point into account, many bloggers unfortunately believe that if they create high-value content, people would automatically find them and share them. Then they will go viral.
High-value content, although extremely important, is not enough.
That’s not how things work. It never did work like that. Having a strategy to promote your content is as important as having great content.
There many different approaches to promote your content. Here are some of my favorite:
Influencer: The Influencer approach is probably the easiest, but it will require more time and effort. What you can do is contact influencers and create a piece of content that involves them it in. I find that these type of content gets the most traffic, link backs, shares and leads to get you started.
Guest-blogging: Guest blogging approach is another great strategy. What it does is help build authority and link backs. Being on other people’s blog raises awareness for your personal brand and the link backs you get help build your SEO. Both are a great promotional strategies in the long run.
Does your blog have a personality?
I learned that the hard way. I started my first blog in 2010. I enjoyed writing so much, and I showed personality on every single post.
I was then told that I shouldn’t be me. Instead, I should be professional and use big words.
Blogging, by its very nature, is the art of connecting with your audience. It’s like conversing in real life. I learn that I don’t have to sound like a robot to get more views. For my audience, being professional and restricted had the complete opposite. I had fewer shares and the blog dropped in traffic.
How to fix it: Your blog content needs to have YOUR voice in it. That’s the secret to connecting with your audience on a whole new level. Personal words like you, I, me, etc. are all crucial to building that one-to-one relationship with your audience.
You also need to imagine speaking to another person. A fun exercise I like to do is imagine talking to my blog persona at a coffee shop. I’ll have a conversation with that person for the first time and think of all the different questions he might have for me.
When I realize that my personality is important, I found that I enjoyed writing even more. My readers did as well. Till today, I get emails from people telling me how refreshing my writing is and how sassy I am. That’s how I roll baby.
Share your story and write the way you talk. Don’t be afraid to use vulgarity if that’s how you’ll speak to your blog persona in real life as well.
While my advice can help some of the mistakes that you are probably making, I want to leave with one of the most important lessons I learned while blogging.
Blogging takes time and patience. It’s like working out. You won’t see results immediately. You’ll feel dogged at times. It requires a lot of time, patience and dedication. Keep going and you’ll see the results.