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When marketing your business online, your content can make or break your success.

It doesn’t matter if you run an online store, a blog, or a small business website. Without articles that provide value to your target audience, it’s nigh impossible to grow your presence online.

But what if you’ve been pumping your resources into content development and aren’t seeing the results you want?

The hard reality is, not every brand is capable of cutting through the content noise.

Despite the fact that there are millions of posts being published per day, thousands of brands keep on churning out generic, dull pieces of content. This accomplishes nothing but to add another needle to an already bulging pile of needles.

On the plus side, there’s always a way to up your content game and be noticed. It all starts by acknowledging your content sucks and looking for ways to improve.

 To help you with this, we’ve compiled the most common issues with online content.

1. There are Not Enough Visuals

The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” rings true in content marketing.

Let’s face it, a long wall of text isn’t exactly the most inviting sight to online users.

If you want to capture their attention, you need to spice things up with images that improve the engagement factor and the overall readability of your content.

Adding featured images to your blog posts is a step in the right direction. But in order to utilize visual content to the fullest extent, you shouldn’t be afraid to explore other formats.

Infographics, for example, are perfect for making data-driven content more digestible. These are images that can use a combination of data visualizations, such as flowcharts, graphs, and timelines, to present in-depth information that would otherwise be boring to read.

If you’re on a budget, you can use free image editing tools like Canva to create professional-looking infographics in minutes. You just have to choose the right template and plug in other elements—from arrows to headlines—to customize your design.

 

2. Your Content Doesn’t Match User Intent

Another reason why your content may be boring to your audience is that you optimized it for the wrong keywords.

For example, let’s say you composed a post that primarily advertises your event planning services.

It’s structured from top to bottom to talk about your brand’s unique selling points, which means your ideal audience are those who are on the verge of making a purchase decision — not those who are only doing research.

So, instead of optimizing for broad keywords like “event planning” or “how to plan a wedding” in your PPC or SEO campaigns, you should go instead for transactional keywords like “event planning services,” “event planner for hire,” or “hire event planner.”

Knowing the difference between informational keywords and transactional keywords can make the difference between an effective content strategy and an utter waste of time. It’s something you should keep in mind from the moment you buy a domain name and kickstart content development.

There are several keyword research tools you can use to find long-tail keyword variations and segment them according to intent. The rule of thumb is to look for a platform that lets you use filters to find keywords that contain specific terms that signal intent, such as “hire,” “buy,” or “for sale.”

3. You Don’t Have an Editor

Although there’s a slew of proofreading tools like Grammarly that can help you spot common writing mistakes, none of them are meant as substitutes for a proper editor or proofreader.

This doesn’t mean you’re incapable of producing polished pieces if you write most of your content yourself. But once if you write on a daily basis or decide to hire freelancers, it’s hard to keep the quality of your content consistently great.

Fortunately, the booming gig economy has made it possible to outsource competent editors at reasonable rates. Just remember the following tips to ensure you find the right person for the job:

Look for an editor with experience in your niche

  • Ask for previous work samples
  • Read testimonials or full-on reviews from past clients
  • Gauge how fast they respond to your messages

4. You Don’t Have Fresh Content Ideas

Coming up with engaging topic ideas may seem easy, but it’s actually one of the most tedious aspects of content development.

There may even be times when you feel as if you’ve covered everything there is to write about.

To keep your content development efforts in high gear, here are a couple of repeatable topic idea generation strategies you can use:

Use Content Research Tools

First off, you can use a tool like Google Alerts to be informed whenever new content ideas surface on the web.

It’s as straightforward as a cloud-based tool can get. All you need to do is enter a relevant keyword and specify the email address you want to use.

 

Monitor Your Competitors

Why go all the trouble of researching your own topic ideas, when your competitor already did the heavy lifting for you?

A quick search on Google should enable you to identify competitors on the top of their game. If they have a blog that they constantly update, then you’ve struck gold — but be sure to mix things up and don’t blatantly rip off their content.

Head to Q&A Websites

Lastly, Q&A websites like Quora are teeming with content opportunities provided by the online users themselves.

Similar to search engines, Quora works by pulling up content based on seed keywords. You should begin to see suggestions pop up as soon as you start typing.

5. Content Promotion is Non-Existent

Even with cream-of-the-crop content, merely publishing a post on your blog is never enough if you want to win your target audience’s attention.

What you need is an elaborate content promotion strategy that actively sells your content before, during, and after its creation.

One particular strategy is to promote your content days before it goes live to increase anticipation. If you have an existing email list, simply broadcast a message that informs your followers about the upcoming post.

Of course, not everyone has an established subscriber base that they can openly promote their content to whenever possible. In which case, below are # strategies that can maximize reader engagement:

Share your content on Q&A sites as answers

  • Promote your content on social media groups
  • Insert “tweetable” quotes
  • Mention other influencers and remind them via email
  • Use social media buttons to encourage social sharing

Conclusion

Content marketing can be challenging, but it can be overcome with the mindset.

It’s not about being the best content writer or marketer there is — it’s about realizing you’re not perfect and working on your weaknesses. This may not make you the next marketing success story, but you’re definitely on the way there.

If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment below!

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Jono Farrington
SEO & Digital Marketer
Jono is a partner in two digital agencies in Australia. He also founded and curates his personal SEO blog at http://theseoglossary.com. He lives in Adelaide, South Australia.