Over 2 million blog posts are being published on social feeds every single day. No matter what kind of content users want to consume, they are being blanket bombed by more material from within that niche than they can possibly digest.
Let’s look at this, using a simple real-life example that most of you will identify with. Assume you use the Whatsapp messaging platform and have, say, a dozen contacts in there that you exchange messages with. Now one particular person from that contact list – Peter – is sending you endless material in the form of jokes, pictures and life updates every single day. Stuff you don’t have time to read, or stuff you’re not particularly interested in.
But Peter is quite oblivious to your discomfort and keeps blowing up your phone with messages that he imagines you will like. What’s even worse, his notifications are popping up every time you’re trying to use your phone for something important, and you’re having to waste time deleting those notifications before you can make an urgent call or check Google map or send out a text in the hurry.
After days and weeks of this, how will you feel about Peter?
The relationship began with you willingly opting to receive messages from him. But now he’s overwhelming you with so much, your feelings towards Peter are turning sour. You’re tired of him and probably wish you didn’t know him.
The very same human reaction triggers in consumers’ minds when marketers overstep tolerance boundaries with their target audience:
• Consumers stop evaluating the quality of their content because they’re sending out so much of it.
• Consumers undervalue their brand.
• Consumers think they are spam artists.
• Consumers go to their competition.
If you’re investing a bulk of your time and budget on content marketing efforts and not seeing any visible engagement milestones, ask yourself if you’re killing your customer acquisition leads in any of these ways:
YOU’RE CAUSING ENGAGEMENT FATIGUE
What lies between aspiration and perspiration? A few thousand social media posts, blogs and e-newsletters. Fresh content is great, and consistent engagement is great too. Just know how much is too much. Don’t kill the novelty value of your brand by tiring customers with your constant presence in their media feeds.
Unless you’re Apple or Aeropostale, nobody wants to receive more messaging from you than their romantic partners.
YOUR CONTENT IS NOT AUDIENCE-CENTRIC
All that time and money you’re spending on marketing content to your consumer demography – but who is that content serving? To find out, do some legwork to see what your consumer demography really wants.
• Use analytics tools to see which pieces of content are getting more engagement and then try to find a common thread running through proven audience preferences.
• Look at the keywords your broad client base is using to find your landing pages in organic searches. And build more content around them.
• Read comments and ask your audience what topics interest them. Make the interaction a worthwhile field study whenever you can.
• There are so many tools these days – like Buzzsumo, EpicBeat and Feedly – that track post popularity on the internet. Check on them to see what areas your competition is successfully covering and jump on those bandwagons. Aim to give a better, more thorough experience.
• Be cautious even if you’re targeting niche markets. The competition may not be as stiff, but over-posting can quickly lead to audience fatigue because – perversely – your marketing activities are more visible. With more visibility comes more responsibility if your intention is to convert leads.
YOUR SOCIAL FEEDS ARE ONLY ABOUT YOU
This seems to happen a lot with small and medium-sized businesses, where the chain of command can be less democratic, and marketers have to bow to the proprietor’s desire to tom-tom the heck out of the brand.
Talking up your brand is all very good, until you’ve completely lost sight of the fact that your readership doesn’t care as deeply for your brand as your proprietor does. In fact, they probably don’t care at all. To stand out from the competition and appear to be interesting, you have to tone down the hard-sell and aim to provide a more interactive, audience-facing marketing content to attract traffic and convert leads.
YOU’RE JUDGEMENT IS BLINKERED BY TOO MANY SEO `GUIDELINES’
If your H1 title is so carefully optimized that it’s losing its punch on account of a strong, long-tail keyword your SEO guy has just ferreted out, trust me, your audience will not be impressed. Please Google by all means, but don’t forget the people who have to click on the link to make your efforts worthwhile.
Stats prove that 80% of readers only read the headline. A strong, compelling title that attracts humans can garner 500% more pageviews. Don’t lose this advantage by choosing SEO over people. To be an effective marketer, you have to find a happy balance between the two.
YOU’RE TOO FOCUSED ON CTA
Is `Buy Now’ the sole goal of your content marketing strategy? If so, then you’re still not caught up with the current interactive climate where content marketing has become a big-picture strategy that’s all about establishing rapport and building relationships for the long haul. A successful marketer will even make the sales pitch seem incidental. The interaction will be so upbeat and spontaneous that customers will find themselves on the checkout page holding a virtual shopping cart, thinking the purchase was all their own idea.
YOUR MESSAGING IS NOT VISUALLY PLEASING
Gone are the days when people were happy to read dense blocks of text because there was nothing better to do. Now, for every paragraph they read on your page, they’re missing out on some fun social media experience. To keep them glued, therefore, you have to make your content a fun experience too. Prettify your presentation with attractive visual elements: infographics, high-quality header images, blurbs, illustrations, emojis, memes… whatever it takes to keep the readers scrolling.
As writer and editor, Nabanita (Nita) has worn many hats. She started her career as a magazine journalist – and launched and edited India’s largest-selling weekend magazine (`Brunch’) before moving to the United States in 2007. She has also written travel books (for the award-winning `To Asia With Love’ series) and countless columns and articles for newspapers and magazines in the United Kingdom, United States and Asia. She has been working in digital content marketing for over 10 years now with a relentless curiosity about what drives and motivates people when they’re interacting in the online space.