They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. We can’t argue with that. If you were to translate that over into the world of e-commerce and SEO, then it would be “the way to Google’s heart is through content.”  The words, images, and videos that you use are the most powerful tools at your disposal in your battle to the top of SERPs. This is how you are going to get people to read, click, share, sign up, subscribe, purchase, and return. But what if what you are doing isn’t working? A study done by B2C, a business community, showed that companies use on average 25% of their marketing budgets for content. If you learn how to improve your content when it isn’t working, you can save a lot of money.

You need to have a concrete direction

The only people who get away with just saying whatever they want and hoping it works out are politicians and weathermen. Everyone else needs to have a firm plan of action, and to be held accountable when things don’t work out. You need to have objectives. What do you want your content to do? Is it going to generate more leads, increase awareness for a cause, or help retain customers? Is it going to solidify you as an expert in a certain field, or advertise a product?

60% of companies with a documented strategy reported success, far more than the ones without. Imagine showing up to a city walking tour only to find that your tour guide has no idea where you are going or what you are going to see along the way. You wouldn’t expect that to go well either, would you?

Tip: Have something that sets you apart. What makes you different than the millions of other providers out there? Your personality? Your in-depth coverage? Your interactive media? It needs to be unique.

Provide Resources for people

People are interested in a few things when they look for content. They either want to be entertained or they want to learn something. If you post something that people can go to for useful information or direction, then you will see your number of visits rise. Teach people how to do something, and they will keep coming back. Check out some of these numbers from a recent study from Hubspot:

  • How-to articles accounted for 19% of shares
  • Why articles accounted for 22% of shares
  • How-tos, ‘why’ articles, and lists have a low share variance of just a few percentage points

This means that not only are people sharing it, but they always want to view and share it. The demand was high, and very rarely changed.

Give people incentives

Chances are that when someone is coming to your website to read something it is because you are offering something that they themselves cannot provide or get elsewhere. If it is good, then they are going to want more of it. This means you can get them to interact with you in some extra way to continue to access the best stuff. Encourage them to share, offer emails with more content updates, give some special features to people who sign up. We were very impressed with Location 180, a remote living company that sent users private, interesting emails related to the niche with concrete tips to use immediately to improve our lives. They are the only company emails that we look forward to opening each week.

Tip: Use exciting, useful materials to get people to sign up. Rich infographics or access to videos always work. A series of introductory articles for a skill or knowledge into an industry or lifestyle have also been shown to get people to sign up.

In the end, the goal of your content is to be enjoyable. You want people to want to come to you to get it. It is how you are going to get them to engage with you, and eventually make profit. Sinking a large portion of your budget into something that isn’t working is a waste. Use these tips on how to improve your content marketing game to turn things around, and get people reading.