Answering Questions No One Asked: Audience Focused Content and You – Part 1

**Part 1 of a two part series answering the question of why no one likes your content**

So let’s say you’re a business owner with a website. You’ve heard either from me or the billion other SEOs that it’s crucial to create content for your page. Well, you have too many products on your site to write individual content for right now so you decide to make a blog post instead. You’ve heard people say that blog posts are great for getting shares and likes and they’re good for unique content for your page. So let’s get writing!

You sit down at your computer and the first thing you do is think of a topic that is important to your business. Ok, good start.

You know what keywords you want to rank for so you write up something and make sure you use them ever-so-carefully as to be in there but not ‘stuffed’ because you heard that keyword stuffing is bad. So far, so good.

You put in some nice images, infographics and other eye-catching visuals to make sure that your article really stands out. Ok, I’m with you.

You publish your content to your blog and share it out on Social Media and maybe even throw a few bucks behind it on Facebook to make sure it gets seen. Good going, chief!

You wait a few days…..aaand…crickets.

This you:

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Sure, you got lots of views Social Media but hardly any clickthroughs to your site. Very low, if any, engagement. A couple likes from a few of your own employees, a relative or two and a couple of your brand’s die-hard fans but that’s it. But judging by the views you’re showing, you know people are actually seeing your content…

So what just happened here????

Well, my friend, you’ve just fallen into the Content Marketer’s worst nightmare. Want to know what happens if you write content and nobody cared? You just found out. Whether your blog is boring or your on-page content is completely dull and unimaginative, congratulations! You’re talking to yourself on the internet. The future is now!

 

I’m What Now?

Yup, I hate to say it but no one cared a bit for what you had to say. All the infographics, fun facts, pro tips, charts and graphics and fanciful whirligigs in the world couldn’t help an article that literally no one cared about. You crammed those keywords in there? Great. No one cared what you actually said with them. You thought this topic was really important to your business? Maybe it is but audiences don’t care about what’s important to your business, they care about what’s important to them. You basically tried to make a bunch of people – in the age of ad blockers, DVRs that let you skip ads, paid services that even let you skip the 30 second ads on YouTube – read a commercial for your store in article form. Now do you see why that didn’t go over well?

 

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This happens a lot more than you’d think, especially in eCommerce but it’s also common in other areas like Real Estate and Rentals as well (but for different reasons). Let’s take it from an eCommerce perspective first to break down what went wrong and then we’ll go on to the Real Estate side to see two sides of the ‘no one cares’ coin.

 

eCommerce Blog Boredom 1: Hey! This Isn’t Really Just an Ad! Trust Me!

Ok, look. I’m going to get a little rough because this is a huge pet peeve of mine from working with a lot of eCommerce sites so just ride with me here. Ok, here goes. eCommerce Content Writers & Shop Owners: How stupid do you think your audience is? Do you think in 2016, going into 2017, people don’t know when you’re trying to shove an ad down their throats and calling it an ‘article’? Come on, now. People know when they’re being marketed to and they usually don’t like it. Especially if you’re trying to trick them.

I understand you’re in this game to make money, I get it, but the thing is don’t insult your audience and please don’t anger them! What do I mean? Well, have you ever read a product comparison article about something online only to get to the last paragraph and see something like ‘disclosure: this article was written by the makers of Brand X Blue Widgets’ and meanwhile the entire preceding content was talking about the perks of Blue Widgets and why they’re better than Red Widgets and Green Widgets?

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Doesn’t that just make you call the entire article’s honesty into question? Even if they didn’t mention their brand by name, now I feel this whole article was just trying to sell me their brand of blue widgets. Now I guess I have to go out and read more articles about red widgets and green widgets to get a fair comparison! I don’t have time for all that! I just want to know more about how these widgets compare and this article said it would help me do that! Well…now I’m just mad and I hate Brand X Blue Widgets for lying to me in the first place!

Ok, well maybe that example is a little extreme but you get the idea. Yes, feel free to write product comparisons if you feel your possible customers can actually benefit from them but don’t waste people’s time with ads disguised as something they’re not. If you’re not an independent reviewer, say that off the bat if it isn’t clear at first glance (e.g.: if you’re publishing a post on a third party site, etc.) because there’s nothing worse than wasting people’s time…and speaking of wasting time:

 

eCommerce Blog Boredom 2: Here’s an Answer To Something You Didn’t Ask!

Don’t waste your time by writing random articles you hope are going to ‘rank really high for my keywords’. Most of the time, it doesn’t work – at all. In fact, when you sit down to write something, if your main goal is to ‘rank really high for my keywords!’ just step away from the computer because the world doesn’t need more keyword-stuffed drivel. This isn’t 2006 and keyword stuffing isn’t the latest and greatest technique for optimization. You need to be relevant. Especially with the advent of Rankbrain. Rankbrain, as you should know by now, is the third most important ranking signal and it looks at things like engagement, bounce rate, click through rate and other relevancy factors. What does that mean for you? It means you need to make content that is actually useful for audiences, not what you think is useful for you. Don’t just randomly throw infographics, articles and videos out there and hope you get a backlink because you won’t unless you accidently stumble upon a goldmine. If that happens, go buy a lottery ticket because it’s your lucky day.

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Instead of doing that, actually go out and see what people are talking about in relation to your business. Get a tool like BuzzSumo or Answer The Public or even the customer Q&A sections on eCommerce marketplace sites can help you find quality topics to write about. For example, do you sell work clothes? Are people asking how to get certain kinds of stains of out their work pants? There’s an article right there. Are people asking about the durability of certain work shirt? How about an article on ‘our clothing recommendations by job’? The key is to figure out what people are talking about now and what is not already being answered and bring your articles in line with that.

 

The eCommerce Blog Boredom Fix?

Short and sweet? Just don’t do number one and research your articles better and find out what people actually care about and want to read. Google has been telling people for years to write for readers, not search engines. Google isn’t stupid and neither is your audience. You won’t get shares, ranking, backlinks, engagement or a positive reputation from sub-par, keyword stuffed drivel or a commercial for yourself that you’re trying to cleverly pass off as a ‘helpful’ article. Instead of pretending to be helpful, actually be helpful.

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Join Us Next Time…

Next week we’ll cover the common content mistakes of the Real Estate and Rental industry, focusing on wonderful things like lazy on-page copy, not including local area details or doing it wrong and more nuggets of copywriting sad and how to fix them.

Join us, won’t you?