Many components of content marketing are controllable and predictable. But you know what isn't? Your audience's response. Surprises are the one thing you can count on.
So, what can you do when a piece of content you've created simply doesn't produce the right results?
Based on our experience, there's a lot you can do. In fact, with most content, the post-publishing optimization process can improve an article's performance significantly.
Examples we've come across are as simple as a piece that was too long and made users drop off, or one, which tested readers' knowledge of a topic, had too many questions about other, unrelated subjects, leading to frustration. Some situations are more complex and harder to spot, such as an article with a positive headline but a negative tone in the content itself, or any kind of mismatch between the way an article is being promoted and the substance it in fact provides.
All of those issues can be spotted and solved before your content reaches full audience exposure.
To get you started, here are three common scenarios to explore, along with optimization tactics to help you turn things around.
The problem. You are experiencing an exceptionally high bounce rate. Readers are clicking the published article, viewing it only briefly, and immediately moving off the page. This is an issue not only because readers did not consume your message but also because a high bounce rate will be reflected in your site's public stats, indicating to potential clients and investors that a problem possibly exists.
The reason. One cause may be that there's a gap between your item's promise and the content itself. Your title and corresponding image managed to intrigue your audience; however, a quick look at the article revealed that it is less relevant than they assumed. In other words, you may be using clickbait, and your audience doesn't appreciate it at all.
Another explanation could be that the content is relevant and interesting, but it is simply too exhausting to consume. Readers clicked the link, but after realizing that this long-form article is not something they would be interested in (or capable of) reading, they decided to take their research efforts elsewhere. Perhaps the piece was too text-heavy, and thus too tiresome to consume.
The solution. Let's start with something positive. A high bounce rate means that something drove readers to click the link and view the content to begin with. The content within didn't deliver, but you should still pay attention to the title and visuals that brought relevant people in, as long as they aren't tricking readers.
For now, your focus should be on bridging the aforementioned gap. Adjust the item's social media appearance to make sure it's not over-selling an idea to your target audience. If it's a branded content piece, make sure you have chosen the relevant publication for your target audience; an interesting title could be bringing in readers who are less relevant to you, and so their visit is a short one.
Finally, take an honest look at the piece you've created and ask yourself what type of first impression it creates. It could be that what your piece needs is less text and more visuals.