Are you putting countless hours into creating content, only to have it fall flat? No one wants to waste their efforts that way, and it can be enough to make you want to give up on content marketing altogether.

Don’t do it! Content is still the most important way to engage consumers. In fact, statistics show that 70% of internet users prefer to learn about products and services through content rather than advertising.

All you need to do to turn your results around is to identify and correct the common mistakes that you’re making. Here are a few tips.

Your Content Isn’t Informative and Engaging

Unfortunately, I have to break it to you. Not everyone who is excellent at running a business is also excellent at writing about products and services. This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you.

Maybe you have someone on your team who is a great writer, but if you don’t, you need to work with the pros. Choose a company with great digital marketing services to help.

If you don’t have great content, you’ll lose in two ways. First, people who do land on your website won’t stick around. They won’t have any reason to see you as an authority or a good source of information in your industry. If there are grammar or spelling mistakes, they’ll focus on that rather than your message.

Secondly, Google will bury your page in search results if you have poor-quality content and bad user engagement. Your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts won’t make any difference. It pays to do what you do best and let the marketers create the content.

You’re Focused on Yourself

Guess what your customers what to read about? Themselves. They want to find someone who understands who they are and what they’re struggling with. Then they want to discover how to solve the problem.

If all of your content is about you and how wonderful your company is, you’re going to swing and miss every time. Be sure you take the time to really understand your target audience. Go well beyond age and gender and discover what their true motivations are.

From there, find out what struggles they have that your products or services solve. But don’t stop there. Otherwise you’ll still be tooting your own horn and turning off your readers.

The final step is to find a way to focus your content so that your reader is not only the focus but the hero of the story. Take what you’ve learned about their motivations and desires and talk about how important it is that the reader realize those dreams. Talk about the problems that hold them back and how your product or service can make them the hero they deserve to be.

When you do, you’ll grab your readers and they will be eager to take the next step.

You’re Selling Too Soon

Every business owner knows that you have to make sales to thrive. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to pitch the sale immediately. It’s like meeting someone new and asking to marry them before you’ve even dated!

No one would do that, and anyone who did would expect their prospective love to run away. The same thing happens in business when you move too fast. So slow down and understand how to begin and nurture the relationship.

Start with defining your sales funnel. Depending on your product or service and the customers you target, the funnel may describe a fairly quick process or a long drawn-out one.

In general, though, the steps will always be the same:

  • Create awareness of your brand
  • Connect and build engagement
  • Deepen their understanding of their need for your product or service
  • Ask for the sale

Notice how asking for the sale is fourth! Be sure you move your audience through all the steps before you get to that point.

You Aren’t Promoting Your Content Effectively

Do you still operate under the assumption that if you build it, the audience will come? That hasn’t worked for online content for many years. Instead, you need a plan to promote your content on the channels where your audience spends the most time.

For many small businesses, Facebook is the place to start. Almost everyone online has a Facebook account, and many demographics use it every day. If you’re focused on young people, you may want to use Instagram more, or keep an eye out for up-and-coming social media platforms that young people prefer.

It’s also important to do more on social media than simply promote contests. You want people to enjoy your profile and have a good reason for following it. Mix up your own content with shares from other people, fun quizzes, and engaging questions. The “You can only have 3” posts, for instance, have gotten a lot of mileage on Facebook.

When you avoid these four common mistakes, you’ll have content that is far more effective and that makes a bigger difference in your business. And that’s worth putting and effort into!