By Alan Graner
Your content doesn’t pass the “so what” test
You don’t give readers a reason to invest their time in your content. It may be you’re delivering vanilla to a world of 31 flavors; the same-old same-old they’ve read a hundred times. It may be too “salesy,” coming across as a long-form commercial rather than imparting information they can use. Or it’s all about you: your accomplishments, your products, your awards, your latest news, your ideas. Nobody cares about you. They only care what you can do for them.
Your headlines are boring
Headlines are the entry to your content. If they are bland, uninteresting or they sound like a million other pieces of content, readers will pass. This is especially true if you distribute content by email where prospects can trash it with a keystroke. Instead, concentrate on writing relevant, intriguing, thought-provoking headlines or ones that promise a benefit.
You use too much jargon
Some industries, such as semiconductors, read as if they speak nothing but acronyms. Others, like medicine or science, have a specialized vocabulary. If your content is aimed specifically at these audiences, it’s appropriate to use that type of language. However, it you’re writing for a more general audience, or a lay audience what wants to know about such topics but lacks the formal education and knowledge, write in plain English. If you must use specific acronyms, spell them out the first time you use them. If it’s specialized vocabulary, explain what the terms mean. If you simply use high falutin’ language to prove how smart you are, chances are you’ll be writing for an audience of one.
Your content is sloppy
It sounds like a sixth-grader wrote it. There are spelling errors, grammar errors, poor sentence structure. This indicates you’re totally sloppy and don’t care, or you’re not very smart. In either case, who’d be interested in anything you have to say?
Your content lacks a call to action (CTA)
At the end, tell readers how they can get more information: download a white paper or eBook, have a representative call, subscribe to your blog. This is critical for converting prospects into customers.
What mistakes would you add to this list?
Alan Graner is Chief Creative Officer at Daly-Swartz Public Relations, an Orange County, CA business public relations and marketing content firm. For content that makes you stand out from the crowd, email Jeffrey Swartz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit www.dsprel.com.