Keep your content marketing on trackIs your content having the opposite effect to what you’d wished for? Natural instinct might lead you to conclude that content marketing isn’t for you – as it’s either that or admit you might have made a mistake or two along the way.

The good news with content marketing is that no mistake is irrevocable, i.e. your fortunes can turn around. The bad news, I guess, is that it can take a lot of time and effort to get your content to thrive as you had initially intended.

Also, the only way of getting to that desired point where your content is maximising your online presence, improving your reputation, and increasing your rankings in search engines is by identifying where it has gone wrong so far.

Perhaps it’s not a total disaster, but you feel like your results have plateaued? Forbes contributor Jayson DeMers thinks he might know where you’re going wrong:

1. You’re producing “thin” content

Thin content is essentially the new way of saying your article is “not worth the paper it’s written on”. In other words, it comes with little or no added value, having adopted the quantity over quality approach.

Here are some examples from Google of thin content:

• Automatically generated content – content that is generated programmatically; senseless.

• Thin affiliate pages – only exist to make money.

• Content from other sources – scraped content or low-quality guest blog posts that are unoriginal.

• Doorway pages – pages created to rank highly for specific search queries.

DeMers points out that Google and users are unified in their dislike for thin content; Google’s Panda algorithm is designed to “seek and destroy” websites with too much thin content, while users aren’t likely to share such low-quality content on social media.

2. Your content is inaccurate

Let me start by acknowledging that content writing is full-on. If you’re intent on making it work, you’ve got to dedicate the appropriate time – which, as a bare minimum, means having somebody who is tasked solely with writing. If you start to overwork your marketing team, you’re in trouble.

Rushed writing, more often than not, leads to inaccuracies. If the writer doesn’t feel like he has time to check his facts, or simply chooses not to, you risk seeing your brand’s credibility heading out the window.

That might sound like hyperbole, but let’s imagine that the first time a new prospect comes into contact with your brand is via a piece of content that you’ve produced. If it’s littered with inaccuracies, that reader might make their mind up there and then.

3. You’re not bringing anything new to the table

Anybody who is anybody is producing content these days. That’s a daunting prospect for anyone that steps into the world of content marketing, but there is success to be had from joining the party.

However, you won’t find much joy if you just write about topics that your competitors already covered months ago. Neither will you get the social shares that you yearn for if you ask on the hour, every hour, for your audience to read and redistribute your content.

The key to standing out from the crowd is to impart your unique industry insight into new topics that have yet to be covered. Only then will you have the leverage to ask for shares and get them. Being unique is lauded in all walks of life and content marketing is no different.

4. Your users feel neglected

So, you’ve identified a new and original subject matter. You’ve taken the time to write a well-researched piece – double checking facts accordingly. You’ve ensured that it’s nicely presented, with relevant images and pull quotes. Then you’ve hit ‘share’ and decided you can now forget about it, as your work is done. *Facepalm*

What about all those users who have gone to the effort of commenting on the post, having been suitably impressed by a sterling piece of writing? Or those on social media who have given you a mention and linked the post to their followers? Failure to acknowledge responding readers might leave them with a negative perception of your brand, making a mockery of all your good work.

“If you want your content campaign to keep moving forward, you have to keep your users at the heart of it,” DeMers says, and we couldn’t agree more.

The comments section is not only a good place for self-esteem, it might throw-up more unique blog ideas, or present you with your customers’ pain points – which you can then go on to put right. After all, engagement is a two-way thing.