We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but someone’s gotta do it: it’s very likely that users aren’t really reading your content, even if it’s fairly top-notch.
But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. There are many factors that can contribute to why no one reads your content, and this issue can be fairly simple to diagnose, and even to remedy.
If no one is really reading your content, don’t let it get you down. Sure, it can be disheartening, especially when you’re checking all of your boxes and you feel like your content quality isn’t half bad. But the truth of the matter is that it can be tough to capture the attention of your audience.
Various data demonstrates how people generally spend very little time on webpages (on average), and how little they actually read. For example, more than half of readers spend less than 15 seconds on a webpage, and only up to 20% of readers actually make it to the bottom of a post. Other findings tell us that far more people “scan’ pages than really read them top-to-bottom, and ultimately, most people usually only read up to 28% of a webpage.
But what about that percentage of content that audiences actually do really read? What distinguishes content that users read, from content that gets glossed over or skipped entirely?
In order to understand why no one reads your content, we’ve identified eight questions you and others on your content team can ask yourselves, to help get to the bottom of things, and find areas for fine-tuning and improving your content.
Are you truly teaching your readers?
Gone are the days when keyword-stuffed content would rank high on Google, stay there for the long-term, and actually captivate audiences. Today’s readers have become incredibly skillful at knowing when content is actually useful to them, and when it’s simply online for the purpose of holding a spot on Google. This is often the top reason no one reads your content: you’re not actually teaching them anything useful.
As it turns out, the usefulness of your content is actually one of the biggest long-term ranking factors to take into consideration. If your content is useful to a wide audience, you can bet it’s going to hold their attention, and that it’s going to rank far better than its competition.
TOFU content, or top of the funnel content, can often perform well as teachable content, especially if it’s in a “How to” format. But simply choosing a keyword rich title alone isn’t enough – you have to supply your audience with real value throughout the entire piece.
Do you have a content strategy?
As far as content is concerned, when you throw everything at the wall to see what sticks, you might get lucky. But more often than not, you might end up with a whole lot of content that’s not getting a whole lot of eyeballs. If you’re lacking a content strategy, you’re basically playing the lottery when it comes to people actually reading your content.
There are many aspects to a comprehensive content strategy, but one of the most well-known is definitely SEO, or search engine optimization. SEO is the practice of identifying keywords your audience is actually searching for, and utilizing them in your content in order to rank on the top pages of search engines.
A thorough SEO content strategy goes far beyond plugging in keywords that people are typing into Google. For example, technical SEO practices are nuanced, complex, and involve things such as the speed your page loads, if it’s optimized for mobile, and the architecture of your site.
What’s your publishing cadence like?
How often are you publishing content, and how often should you be publishing content? If you’re wondering why no one reads your content, your publishing cadence might be one of the factors.
How often you should publish really depends on your goals. An aggressive content marketing strategy that’s looking for significant movement in the search engines might call for more than a dozen pieces of content in a month, for example. And of course, results don’t just happen after one month, and a publishing cadence needs to continue month after month.
With an effective publishing cadence, it’s important to consider several factors. Firstly, it needs to be a cadence your organization (or marketing partner) can maintain for months on end. Don’t forget, it can often take many months before a content strategy leads to movement in the search engines, and consistency is key.
Next, keep in mind that if you’re just taking a “run and gun” approach to posting, you’re likely going to have a tough time developing a loyal audience. Let’s say you post a one-off piece of content that your audience really finds value in. They’re looking for more, but there’s no more to be found. By the time you’ve gotten your next piece of content live, they’ve already moved on to your competitor as a resource.
Are you being too salesy?
You can probably get where I’m coming from with this: people don’t want to feel like they’re being sold to. Think about when you’re swiping on social media and an ad pops up, or you see an email from a brand that’s clearly chasing you down for a purchase. What do you do? Swipe, skip, or send right to the trash bin, most likely.
That’s why when you’re creating content, it’s very important that it doesn’t feel “too salesy.” Even if you’re going in with a “hard sell” CTA, the content itself should steer away from even smelling like a sales attempt.
Avoiding the feeling of being salesy is a fine art, because of course, you’re likely looking to bring in organic revenue through your content. But when content is useful and ranks well, it has the power to bring in sales on its own accord.
Do you know your audience?
Who is the ideal audience for your content, and what do you actually know about them? You should be writing content for specific stages of the buyer’s journey, for example, which speaks to where your customers are today. There are three stages of the buyer’s journey, and where they are will impact how your audience reads your content:
- Awareness stage: This is where a person realizes that they have an issue, and that they want a solution. They likely don’t know what that solution is yet.
- Consideration: Now your prospects are digging into research, looking for solutions to their pain point.
- Decision: In this final stage, your prospects select a solution to their pain point, whether it’s a product or service.
Writing content for specific stages of the buyer’s journey can help you speak to your audience in an authentic and useful way. Other ways to address your audience effectively include tapping into your org’s marketing data, specifically customer data. This includes behavioral, demographic, psychographic, and personal information, which can help formulate your understanding of who your audience actually is.
Is your content over-optimized?
Ever hear of having too much of a good thing? It’s true with cake, and it’s true with keywords in your content. Yes, it’s possible that your content is over-optimized, to the point where keyword overuse is impacting readability. Keyword stuffing, or the practice of filling a page with keywords in order to manipulate search engine rankings, isn’t just frowned upon: it can actively harm your content.
In the early 2000’s, marketers were able to use keyword stuffing to essentially bamboozle search engines, and get content higher up in the rankings. But nowadays, the search engines are all-too-aware of this practice, and it’s even called out in Google’s spam policies.
There are other optimization techniques that are best in small numbers. For example, only one H1 should be used on a page, and only for the main heading. Keywords should be relevant. Articles should be the ideal page length (not too short, not too long). And links should be both well-placed, and point to useful resources.
Is brand voice a priority (consistently)?
When content is sterile or generic, a few things can happen. You might bore your audiences, leading them right off of your pages. Or you might find yourself in a position where people are reading your content, but they don’t actually associate it with your brand. They’re referencing “that great blog post” they read the other day, but they simply can’t come up with the name of the company that penned it.
Consistent use of brand voice is key to keep your readers engaged. When you’re consistently using your brand’s voice, you’ll not only keep your audience entertained: you’ll also raise brand awareness. They’ll know your content is your content.
Why create content if no one is going to truly find value from it?
Creating content just for the sake of creating content is likely going to end up being a fruitless endeavor. But by deploying strategies which ensure your content is genuinely useful to your audience, you ensure that the stuff you’re creating isn’t just sitting there unread. Instead, you create content that helps you accomplish your biggest business goals, and yes, which people actually read.
We know so much about content because it’s our area of expertise. We help ambitious B2B brands break their records of organic-sourced revenue, and specialize in SEO, LinkedIn marketing, content marketing, and verbal identity branding.
Interested in partnering with us so we can help take your marketing strategy to new heights? Let’s talk.