A Word to the Wise: 4 Content Mistakes You Might be Making
While we’ve all heard how “content is king,” that royal status is about much more than consistently pushing out new material.
In fact, focusing too heavily on output can do more harm than good. When we pressure ourselves to keep creating, we often lose sight of our strategy.
As a result, we're distributing sub-par content with little value - and our readers are certainly taking notice.
So before hitting “publish” on that new blog or Instagram post, take a pause and ensure that you’re not making one of these faulty moves with your content.
1. You’re using the wrong voice.
You might have a go-to writing tone, but is it the right way to speak to your audience?
Even if you blog about your personal life, it’s important to remember that your content is never about you.
To truly resonate with your target audience or customer, you must be able to speak their language.
For instance, my primary audience is in the 25-34 age range, otherwise known as that millennial sweet spot.
Millennials want to learn from someone that they can truly relate to, so it’s important that I tailor my voice accordingly.
If this article was written in complex, textbook-like language, I would lose my reader in a heartbeat. Therefore, I make sure to keep things conversational yet informative.
My 9-5, on the other hand, involves creating content for a range of trade associations. For example, I recently wrote a press release for the Association of Healthcare Internal Auditors.
This writing tone is much more professional and straight forward than the one I use for my blog content. It’s also for a specialized audience, which requires an especially strategic approach to reel them in.
Ultimately, it all comes down to knowing who you’re talking to. Think about it this way: If you were talking to your ideal reader in-person, would they listen attentively or would their eyes start to glaze over?
2. You don’t understand your audience.
In order to tailor your tone to reach your audience, you have to understand them – which is often easier said than done.
You might know who you want to impact, but are your tactics aligned appropriately?
When it comes to knowing your audience, here are a few questions you should be able to answer:
- What are your audience’s major struggles or pain points? Once you got it, provide solutions through your content.
- What are your audience’s primary interests or hobbies? Once you got it, weave them into your content.
- What does your audience enjoy reading or learning about? Once you got it, share your opinions and experiences.
- What are some hot topics that your audience is often buzzing about? Once you got it, take control of the conversation.
There might be topics that you particularly enjoy writing or posting about, but are they actually relevant to your audience’s interests?
It’s critical to always maintain an audience-centric approach. If your content isn’t applicable to the questions outlined above, it’s time to reassess and revamp.
3. You’re not evaluating your results.
If you haven’t already switched to an Instagram Business profile or enabled Google Analytics on your blog, I would strongly advise you to stop reading this article and go set those up.
These tools can offer key insights on your content, helping you understand what’s working and what’s not.
For instance, using the “Behavior” tab on Google Analytics, you can see which pages on your website are getting the most views.
When you evaluate this data, you might see that a certain blog post is getting significantly more traffic than others.
As this is an indicator that your audience is especially interested in this topic, you can then plan future content with a similar focus to maintain this traction.
On Instagram’s Business insights, you can view the reach of your recent posts. Sometimes, you’ll receive a notification that a recent post performed significantly better than other posts.
I was recently notified that a post from earlier this week did 80% better than other recent pictures. Although the Instagram algorithm has a mind of its own these days, it helped me think about which attributes contributed to this increased reach.
Maybe you used a new color scheme for a certain post. Perhaps you shared a selfie, after a series of quote-centric photos.
Rather than posting and hoping for the best, take the time to evaluate your insights. Recognize what your audience is responding to, and give them more of what they want.
4. You’re not proofreading your work.
If you’re a blogger, it’s easy to get away with skipping a few style guidelines here and there. However, it’s important to always give your work a read-through before publishing.
Typos are often easy to miss, and even the smallest mistakes can make you look sloppy and unprofessional.
If grammar isn’t your forte, have a trusted friend read your final draft. Not only can they pinpoint errors you didn’t catch, but they can also provide a fresh perspective. They might identify areas that are unclear and need more clarity.
While tactics and evaluation are key components of the content development process, never neglect the importance of readability.
Have you learned from any of these content mistakes? Let me know in the comments!