So you have done the hard yards – researched on topics to write on, burnt a lot of midnight oil and written reams of content – in the hope that, some day, it is going to be widely read and talked about. Despite the time and effort, however, it just doesn’t budge. Google still ranks your article on page 61, and any kind of traffic remains but a pipe dream.
You are not alone. There are thousands of skilled content professionals out there who are great at what they do, but a few mistakes prove expensive. Fortunately, most of these mistakes can be avoided by ensuring you don’t fall in these traps.
Writing for everyone
Just as with products, it’s impossible to create content that will catch everyone’s fancy. Besides, there are 7 billion humans walking the planet, and any segment has enough takers as long as you are not writing on ‘sex in zero gravity, under the influence’.
Remember, content marketing is all about finding your niche and then churning out stellar content that your audience can’t have enough of. Focus on a specific niche to attract the right types of readers.
There are several amazing tools, such as Qualaroo, that help you understand what your readers are looking for.
Content that doesn’t solve a problem
Conventional writing wisdom says well-researched pieces, accompanied by compelling visuals and powerful writing, do the job. To be sure, they are a pre-requisite if you want people to see your website as some kind of authority.
However, what matters more than all of these combined is whether your content is solving a problem. From Neil Patel to WebMD, all successful websites solve a problem and ameliorate frustration.
Content that isn’t evergreen
For the same amount of work, would you like to be paid $10 or $1000? No-brainer, right? Evergreen content is content that will hold just as true even decades from now. For example, an article on ‘rain forests of Amazon’ will stay relevant (unless us humans start inflicting even more climate change), but the same can’t be said of a news piece that has the shelf life of a day.
Another benefit of evergreen content is that you can use it in a blog today, create an e-book with the same content next year and even share it on social media as and when required.
Not doing maintenance
If good content grew on trees, we would be happy plucking some and serving it to our readers. But the bitter truth is, creating content is expensive and time-consuming.
This is exactly why it would be stupid to not leverage your existing content and keep creating new stuff, blind-folded to reality.
Apart from the obvious SEO benefit of revising/updating content (Moz says search engines can score regularly updated content for freshness differently from content that doesn’t change), modifying existing content is much less expensive.
On our sister website OrganicFacts for example, we update content as often as possible. We also proactively consolidate content and either improve low-performing pages or weed them out.
Putting grammar on back burner
Even the best content can fall flat if it is mired in grammar and punctuation mistakes. People, and especially discerning readers, make a snap judgment the moment they spot a language error. To ensure that your content is top-notch, you can look at a free online tool like Grammarly. The premium version brings access to editing sentence structure and other advanced checks, so even that’s worth a thought.
If you don’t have the bandwidth, consider hiring an experienced editor. This is more expensive, but a lot more reliable than any online tool out there.
Those who outsource editing/writing to non-native editors need to be especially careful since quality can be a concern. Such content should be double-checked for inconsistencies and grammar. Our own experience tells us that hiring a native writer from, say, the US is more cost-effective given there is less back and forth, the quality is better and mistakes are exceptions.