“What is wrong with my blog?” “Why can’t I get readers?” If you’re creating great content on regular basis, but not driving traffic or engaging new customers then you need to understand what to change, before you expend additional resources.
To paint the picture: there are millions of bloggers, social media marketers, content marketers, startups, entrepreneurs, affiliate marketers, you name it, all creating content. There simply aren’t enough eyeballs to consume all this content, so most bloggers and businesses aren’t succeeding.
The mistake most people make is believing that “Content is king” is the whole story. It’s not! Creating great content is only one part (yes, it is important) of a successful blog or Internet marketing campaign. Think of it as a platform from which you can start generating business.
It’s “what you do with great content that counts“. So here are my top reasons for why most people don’t drive decent traffic volumes from their content:
1. Persistent self promotion
Stop talking about yourself. It’s boring. Instead think of how great it would be to have other people talk about you. Sounds like a dream come true? It’s easy to achieve – all you have to do is talk about other bloggers, businesses, products and services.
Check out the following posts that talk about how to drive traffic and social followings using “altruistic” business blogging:
- The magic ingredient: What to change about your blog and social in order to succeed
- Altruism makes cold hard business sense when it comes to social media
By making sure that the people you talk about know your giving them great, free exposure you build up good will. Useful, if the people you are talking about just happen to be in a position to do the same for you.
Nurture connections based on mutually beneficial content and marketing. Sooner or later, you’ll start finding traffic arriving at your website or blog because someone else has mentioned how great you are.
If you learn something from someone else. Put it in your content. Let the person know. You’ll get far back-links and retweets than you get currently.
Solution: Plan your content ahead of time. Make sure that each article talks about an individual, product or services not related to you. Use that unsolicited exposure as “bait” to connect with new people.
2. Not incentivizing connections & relationships
Why should I follow you on twitter if all you are going to tweet about are your own products and services? I’m also trying to make a living.
Instead, use social media to find people who are in a position to help you. Work out how to help them. Then help them. It could be by blogging about them. Commenting on their articles. Recommending their books or products. Whatever.
Unsolicited exposure gives influential people an incentive to connect with you. The next time they release a copy of their new book, they might offer you the chance to give one away free, in a competition. Sure it promotes their book, but it’s also likely that they will promote your blog post to their own readership too.
Some of my most popular blog posts discuss other people. These articles became popular because of the beneficiary talking about them:
- Guy Kawasaki’s “Art of the start” outsells other titles by marketing gurus
- Infographic: Visualizing the true reach of social media personalities
The exposure I received from these articles was far more valuable than if I had simply created self-focused content.
Solution: Create content that gives targeted individuals or companies a reason to connect with you and promote your content. Don’t be stingy with back-links.
3. Unrealistic expectations
Don’t expect things to click overnight. When success comes, it often comes quickly. Some sort of threshold is crossed and someone you never heard of seems to be everywhere overnight.
While this might happen immediately in a negligible number of cases, what’s more likely is that the blogger or marketer in question has been working for years. That’s just the way it is.
Your content could be fantastic. No-one cares. Or rather, no one cares until someone else says it’s fantastic. Until you have built up sufficient trust and credibility, no one is going to say that about you either. Why should they? What have you done for them?
Solution: Set smaller attainable short and medium term goals. Remember, everything you do is cumulative, so traffic and connections will trickle in at first, but flood in later.
4. Not creating “remarkable” content
It’s difficult to come up with something entirely new for every blog post. But make the effort to approach the problem differently. I find that giving content something of a “human” interest feel works remarkably well.
It’s the difference between looking at photos of scenery, and looking at photos of scenery with your friends in it. It’s far more interesting to read things about people you know. Even if the subject matter is all about business – reference other people.
Don’t simply add to the general background noise of content being poured onto the Web. If you want to succeed, find the angles that no-one else has.
Solution: Add a unique and original content pledge badge to your blog for free. Let it be a reminder not to post content you know is fluff or noise.
5. Not actively looking for exposure
Are you an active guest blogger? Do you create content for several sites? Is your blog feed aggregated by other sites? If you answered no to any of these questions then there is more you can do to gain a wider field of exposure.
How much time do spend promoting content you have created? Do you tweet about new content more than once? How many social networks do you use?
Here’s a great mantra for building a successful blog or marketing campaign – “Exposure. Exposure. Exposure.” Do everything you can to get eyeballs onto your content. The more people who see it, the more likely that a few of them will follow and connect with you, or even convert into paying customers, etc.
Content is the message. It still needs to be shouted out!
Solution: Find top blogs or news sites in your niche, and put some effort into getting content onto them. Sometimes its simply a case of adding your blog feed, other times you need to work for it.
6. Not willing to learn
It’s just impossible to sit down and start writing content that is going to make an impact, rock search engine’s and appear at the top of SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), be remarkable, be innovative or industry changing, and so on.
It takes time to find your voice. Settle into a niche. Learn the industry. Learn who the players are. Become familiar with trends. New developments. And on, and on.
You need to read what other leaders are saying. I regularly look at new content from tonnes of great business people, marketers and bloggers like:
- Lee Odden (Toprank blog)
- Seth Godin
- John Jantsch (Duct tape marketing)
- Darren Rowse (Problogger)
- Lilach Bullock (Socialable)
Solution: If you read something that it useful, follow that person and start evangelizing what they do. Make sure they know about it. More often than not, people who are successful are smart enough to recognize your value and connect with you – sooner or later.
7. Not leveraging great products and services
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Solution: Partner with businesses, and utilize products and services that can help you meet your business objectives in a cost effective and efficient manner.