Are Your Readers Bored? Here’s How to Tell
Content marketing is only effective if your audience is engaged. They have to be intrigued by your headline, impressed by your body content, and then moved enough to take a strong action like converting, sharing, linking, or even commenting. Achieving that level of engagement is difficult even for exceptional content marketers, and there’s a problem that makes it even harder to achieve: boredom.
The sad truth is that even “good” content can create reader boredom—you might have very thoroughly and thoughtfully explored a topic that just isn’t interesting, or you might have explored a concept so many times that your users are no longer engaged in it. The first step is acknowledging that you have a reader boredom problem, but it isn’t always straightforward.
These five signs can help you establish whether or not your readers are bored with your material:
Sign One: You Don’t Get Comments or Positive Feedback
Depending on the popularity of your blog, an occasional post with no comments and no other visible signs of traction isn’t anything to be concerned about. However, if you feature several posts in a row, none of which have any comments onsite or on social media, you might have a problem. Comments are a positive sign of engagement; even though only a small percentage of readers ever leave comments, if those vocal readers aren’t moved enough to respond, it could reflect on the overall interest level of your readership.
Sign Two: You Get No Shares or Links
Shares and links are more than just valuable assets for an SEO campaign; they’re indicators of how well your content is performing. If your pieces consistently get no shares and no links, it means you aren’t doing enough to captivate your audience. You have to make your content important, interesting, and valuable—all at once—or else your readers will be bored and unwilling to take meaningful action.
Sign Three: Your Statistics Are Flat
As a content marketer, you should be checking Google Analytics (or whatever other analytics tools you’ve adopted) as a pulse for the health of your strategy. Here, you’ll be able to see which of your posts are performing well, which ones are faltering, and overall trends for your campaign. Compare your last several dozen posts to one another. Are there spikes and valleys? This is natural, and a good indication that at least some of your content is exceptional. If your statistics are suspiciously consistent—flatlining across the board, regardless of volume—it means readers are generally unmoved by your content.
Sign Four: Your Social Followers Have Declined
It’s usually a bad idea to gauge the health of any marketing campaign, including social media marketing, by the sheer number of followers you have. This is because a single number can’t tell you things like interest level, loyalty, or demographics. However, if you notice your social media followers are declining any time after integrating your social and content marketing campaigns, take it as a bad omen. Your followers don’t like what they see, and it’s your job to change it.
Sign Five: You Can’t Remember the Last Time You Were Excited About Your Content
Finally, think about your own interest level. Are you excited about your newest topics and initiatives? Are you genuinely engaged and interested in it when you’re writing it? If you aren’t interested in your own content, how could you expect your readers to be?
You didn’t think I’d leave you hanging, did you? I went through all the trouble of letting you know whether your content was boring—now I’ll teach you how to fix it. You could start by tearing down your strategy and rebuilding from scratch, but first, I’d recommend trying these easy adjustments to return your content to its former glory (or reenergize a bored audience):
- Try a new medium. This is a pivotal one. Include more images and videos if you’re used to doing written-only content; you can even embed them in your written posts to make it easier on yourself.
- Target a different audience segment. Are you used to writing only to one type of customer? Try a different angle, or a new audience segment altogether. You’ll inject some fresh blood into your campaign and force yourself to think more abstractly about your work.
- Expand your subjects for more variety. Don’t limit yourself. Look at your competitors and other industry publications—what kinds of posts are getting more traction? Don’t be afraid to experiment.
- Write more conversationally. Adopting a cold, professional, business-like voice will only alienate your readers. Loosen up, and write in your natural voice.
- Including something surprising in every post. If your users aren’t surprised, they’ll feel cheated—like they never needed to read your piece in the first place.
- Be controversial. Be careful with this one, as you don’t want to polarize your fans, but don’t be afraid to take a strong side. It shows conviction, and is far more interesting than fence-sitting.
If you find your content really is boring your readers, these fixes should be a good solution to the problem—at least in the short term. The truth is, reader boredom is usually a recurring issue, and even the best content marketing brands sometimes suffer from it. You can’t always prevent it or predict it, but you can always respond to it, so stay on your toes and make the best effort possible to keep your readers engaged.
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