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What to try when your content isn’t getting results

It’s frustrating when your content isn’t getting results. You’ve put in the time and effort to craft the perfect words, but nothing. No sales, no clicks, no page views. Nothing.

Luckily, there are some easy things you can do to fix this. Some can give quick wins and others take time, but you’ll see the results.

Go back to the plan

You always need to start with this: go back to your marketing plan and business plan. Regardless of the type of content, ask if it would appeal to your target audience and does it support your marketing plan? Your race running shoe product listing won’t get sales if you just talk about the colour. And your baking dish sales email won’t increase growth in France if you send a recipe for paella. Extreme, but you get my point. Oh, and sometimes you’ll need to update your plan and target audience, but that’s for a different blog.

Check your definition of success

Are you expecting too much from your copy? You sent a sales email to 15,000 people. Why aren’t there 15,000 sales? MailChimp says the typical conversion from email is 2-5%, but varies from product and industry to email style. Look at Google Analytics on your site to see how many people, from that email, make a purchase, and define success from that. You can increase results, but it’s gradual and intentional and you need a starting point. So just be realistic.

Change it up

You know you’ve targeted the right people with the right plan and your expectations are spot on; now it’s time to change it up. A quick note: don’t change too many things at once. Keep it to 1 or 2 so you know what’s made the difference. 

Channel or platform

Is your content in the right place? Have you produced a podcast for something that’d be better with visuals? Lumped a block of text into a LinkedIn post instead of your blog? You can always republish on a better platform.  

Headline

If your content has a headline, is it short, catchy, and accurately sets the scene? Using a focus term the audience expects will help them know the relevance to read more.

Images

Do your images support your content? Unsplash is a great place for free commercial-use images, if you can’t take your own. Don’t forget to size them for the space and platform. And make sure you’ve added appropriate alt text for screen readers. You don’t want to limit who can enjoy your content. 

Word choices

How does the content read? Easily with the words your audience is expecting? Your audience will switch off if it gets hard, so keep it simple and relevant. I would link to my grad school thesis if it was still online, but it found that people won’t read anything perceived as complex, regardless of their education level. If you can simplify the word choices, do it. But remember, if there’s industry jargon your audience knows and expects, you must use it. Even if it’s complex.

Layout

This kind of fits with the others but is your content formatted for the platform? Have you added line breaks or transitions, if video, where needed? Bullet points and subheadings make things easier to read. If you’re on social media, have you tagged people and included hashtags? You can switch out the video thumbnail on YouTube and test what gets the best result. Remember to keep it accurate though or people will stop watching. 

SEO optimised

This last one is technically not a reading factor, but optimising for SEO can help your content be found and clicked on. If it’s a blog article or video on YouTube, you need a meta description to help both search engines index it but encourage people to click. There are literally hundreds of ranking factors all with different weightings and only Google know them all. Moz has some excellent learning articles if you want to know more. 

You’ve revamped your content to get better results, so what’s next? It’s a mix of test and learn and wait and see. Reshare your content and see if there’s a difference. Don’t forget to note down what you did so you can measure performance. Then judge it by your goals for that article. It may take a few months and a few changes to learn what’s best for your audience, but once you do, you’ll have a recipe to ensure your content gets results.

Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

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