We’re going to let you in on a little secret: you need to subtly condition your audience to generate more clicks, subscribes, and sales for your content. And a big part of that is being able to click with your readership. Unfortunately, a ton of content marketers inadvertently mess that up. Here are the usual culprits…
1. Putting yourself before your audience
This one’s a biggie. It can be tempting to write about a topic that is super interesting to you. But you have to be careful and think about your readers, too. If that new e-magazine you created about publishing (your favorite pastime) doesn’t click with your audience, you’re doomed to failure. Your content needs to be 100% reader-centric all the time.
After all, the main idea of content marketing is to provide valuable material that fosters audience loyalty and trust. You can start by conducting audience research. Get comfy with your readers by studying up on their behaviors. Once you identify a proper audience, you can begin creating content around it. Doing the opposite– creating content first and then finding an audience for it– is much harder to do and results in less impactful content.
2. Getting too salesly
Okay, we’re going to be totally honest here. Nobody likes that guy on the phone who keeps trying to push a sale on you. You’re a person, not a target, right? So the same logic also applies to digital publishing. Anyone with a brain can see right through a shoehorned sell. It’s off-putting and it’s a major rapport-building killer. But it’s also no surprise that sales are an integral part of any serious publisher’s marketing strategy. Working hard on producing quality content, magnifying one’s brand, and netting qualified leads ultimately serve a single purpose– to make more money. So what do you do?
You always inform first and sell second. That’s the key. That should be your official publishing motto as it is for so many other rock star publishers today. Be subtle and tactful. We’ll use ourselves as an example.
Take a look at our homepage above. You’ll find the “Resources” tab at the top. Hovering over it will reveal a drop-down menu that lists 6 different resources for publishers. And guess what? They’re all free. Users have access to multiple resources designed to help them learn the ins and outs of online publishing and our platform. More importantly, each one adheres to our motto of educating first and selling second. You won’t ever find us cramming annoying promo offers down our publishers’ throats. Of course, we try to sell our product, but it’s only after we provide value to our clients and ensure they have everything they need before they get started.
Do the same. Promote your content by employing subtle and thoughtful sales tactics that encourage readers to buy or subscribe. They’ll need to see value first before shelling out the money.
3. Grinding out content
“Content fatigue” is the idea that producing an excessive amount of content can lead to burnout and, consequently, a decrease in its overall effectiveness. It’s thinking that more is better– a risky mindset for any publisher to have– when in actuality less is often best.
Here’s some interesting data. It’s from Rand Fishkin, co-founder of Moz, and details how this growing phenomenon will impact marketers and audiences alike.
It’s scary, especially considering that the amount of online content is expected to increase 600% by 2020— only 3 years from now! The internet is saturated with so much information that finding relevant content is getting harder and harder to do. We’re getting numb.
Here’s what we recommend. Don’t smack your audience with publication after publication just because you “think” they want more. It’s dangerous and can lead to content fatigue faster than you can say, well, “content fatigue.” Instead, focus on quality over quantity and produce material that gives your reader time to breathe. It will require some experimentation on your part, but you’ll find that sweet spot eventually.
We’ve seen our fair share of content turn-offs, many of which create rifts between publishers and their audiences. Steer clear of the three above and you’ll come to know what your readers love over time.