Updated: Mar 25, 2021
And tips on how to make them better!
Reason #1 It's Not Customer-Centric
Is your blog content packed with all of the great features your employees have worked hard on? That's great for internal content, but you likely have not given the customer a reason to care.
Meet the customer where they are. What do they already care about? Themselves!
Instead of focusing on product features or your company, focus on the benefits you offer to customers. Your readers should be at the heart of most (80%) of your blog content.
You can easily reframe sentences by placing statements about the customer (e.g.: statements with the word "you" in them) in the first half of the sentence. With this change you will likely notice much more engaged reader behavior.
You can keep this in mind during the planning stages of new blog posts as all future topics should be customer-centric, too.
Reason #2 It Doesn't Educate On The Customer Problem Or Your Solution
Your company has likely spent a lot of time studying customer pain points, and tailored your product to address them. But if the audience is not aware that they experience those problems, or that there are solutions, then your content will fall flat.
Problem: Writers are often too vague when communicating customer pain points.
Solution: Explicitly state the problems many of your customers are facing, especially if they relate to wasting time, money or energy. Then, pair that with how your solution directly addresses these pain points.
For example: You have spent a great deal of time on these blog posts that have fallen short of expectations. By incorporating these tips, you will see higher audience engagement.
This is another mindset to keep with you when writing new blog posts. It may even help build out some of your larger content pillars.
Reason #3 It's Not Strategic
If you are not strategic with your content, you will inevitably waste time and energy. As the saying goes, if you don't market to somebody, you market to nobody. Get strategic about an overall content plan with clearly defined goals, target audience(s) and content pillars.
Then, for each blog post, get specific with the following:
Who: Who is this content for? Define the target reader with as much detail as possible. Maybe there are a few personas, which is fine. But if you identify more than a few target readers in mind, your content is too broad and you need to narrow it down.
What: What is the message and what value do you add? People have a tendency to assume there is a message, even in the absence of one. So, make your point clear and offer a valuable takeaway.
When: When will you release this blog post? If you know your target audience well, you will know when not to post. Another great place to start is to look at your metrics to see when your posts perform best. These will help you better plan your post to achieve the most reach and engagement.
Where: Where will this blog post live? Are you going to share this content on social media perhaps? Maybe paid advertising is the way to go. Decide where this blog post will best reach your audience. Again, detailed information about your target audience will help guide this decision.
Why: Can you clearly define your 'why' in the form of a call to action? Every blog post should serve a purpose within your larger content strategy. Readers expect a CTA, especially if you provide valuable content. Do you want readers to purchase a service, download a white paper or perhaps read more of your blog content? Make it clear and easy for them to do so.
How: How do you expect the audience to interact with this content? Maybe you want readers to refer back to this blog post at a specified later time. If you have provided them with something valuable to implement, then clearly lay that out in your final paragraph. You have created engaging content, now give the readers a way to engage.
Once you have answered these important questions, go forth and implement your strategy. You now have 3 things to keep in mind before beginning to write more compelling blog posts.
Reason #4 It Lacks Key Storytelling Elements
Storytelling elements are critical for writing a captivating blog post. There is a science to storytelling. When humans read well-written stories, the brain's reward center lights up. So, reward your readers by incorporating the following elements in your next blog post.
Structure: Make sure your blog post has a beginning, middle and end. This will delight the reader and it will pull them through your entire blog post. If your readers are not staying to read the end of your blog posts, revamping the structure may be the perfect remedy.
Expectations: Set expectations for your audience, and then meet them! Make sure your title clearly states what the blog content delivers. Further, include headings or subheads to set expectations with your audience on the type of content included within the various sections.
Purpose: Give readers a reason to read. This is why "how to" and "tips" content are so popular, because it is very clear on why someone would want to read. Lastly, tell readers what the appropriate next steps are with the valuable information you have provided. For instance, adding a clear call to action or displaying similar blog articles they may be interested in reading.
By using these three elements in blog posts, you will better tell a story, no matter how technical the content may be. But writing a compelling story doesn't end there.
Reason #5 You Haven't Optimized Posts For Search (SEO)
Once you have written your blog post, then you can edit with SEO in mind. Note: Do not write blog posts for SEO, write your posts for people. That's why this is listed last. It should be your final step to amplify your already engaging, customer-centric content.
URL: Each blog post should have its own unique URL, which will be indexed and stored forever. It should accurately reflect your content as it helps amplify keywords. It should be succinct and will likely (but not always) include the title of your blog post.
Title: Your title should be direct, detailed and succinct. It again will amplify keywords, especially if they are listed within the first 3 words of your title. Additionally, reword your title to avoid passive voice. A good, punchy headline is 5-8 words that clearly define what the text below covers.
Headers: Use headers to leverage certain subtopics that are related to your topic, but aren't your main keyword. It will help guide your reader, but more importantly it can make a big impact on your SEO.
Meta Descriptions and Alt Text: Include a succinct meta description for your post. Readers will see this paired with your headline, so it can make a big impact on click-through-rates. Your meta description should be 2 punchy sentences that provide details on what readers can expect from your blog post. Naturally, keywords will weave their way into these meta descriptions. Provide alt text for your images as well to help search engine crawlers understand why the images are related to your blog post.
Internal Linking and External Linking: Your blog post likely builds on previous blog content, but you haven't made it easy for readers to make that connection. Link to other blog or web content where helpful within your blog post. And link to other resources that your readers may find useful. External linking is important for the SEO algorithm.
Keywords: Last, but most certainly not least, include keywords throughout your blog post. Think about the path you want readers to take in order to read your blog post. What will the reader be searching for on Google? You should assign a primary keyword, which you should include in your title, first paragraph and twice more throughout the post. And sprinkle in a few other keywords related to the topic you are covering.
Once your blog post leverages the power of search, it will increase longevity and reach a wider audience.
These are just a few of the many reasons why your blog posts may not resonate with your audience, but they are so important. With your blog posts now reframed to make your customer the center of attention, properly educating your customer, aligned to a strategy, telling a story and optimized for search, I hope you see a big difference in performance.
Have you walked through these 5 reasons and you're still not sure why your content isn't viral yet? Request a blog audit <firstname.lastname@example.org>. I'd be happy to offer guidance on your unique blog content.