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October 23, 2014

Does Your Content Stink? 10 Key Ways to Make Sure It Doesn’t

Phew, what’s that smell? It certainly can’t be content, can it? Does content start to stink or is all content perfect? Honestly, there is quite a bit of rank-smelling content out there, which is unfortunately drowning writers (and companies) quickly. “Yikes, does this mean my content stinks?” It might not be a stinky mess yet, but it will be a great idea to double-check. Let’s look at 10 key questions you can ask yourself to make sure your content’s smell doesn’t rival that of the elephant house.

1. Did You Write Only One Draft?

If you are simply publishing your very first draft of content, this could cause it to be stinky. Yes, there are probably those people who can write something in one single draft, but many times you will need to revise it and rewrite portions of it. Always make sure you read through it and locate any changes that should be made to your points, how you explain them and any spelling or grammatical errors.

2. Did You Think, “Pssh, Who Needs An Editor?”

In connection with point one, you should always have an editor. Whether it is your grammar-loving friend or a hired copyeditor, you need another set of eyes to look over your work. If you have numerous typos in your posts, many people will avoid it and your content will start smelling like a fish under the hood of a car. Definitely not a good thing to have on your site! In addition, Google is not a fan of that smelly content, and they will make sure your site doesn’t rank in search engine results.

3. Is Your Headline Yawn-Worthy?

Another major problem with content nowadays is yawn-worthy headlines. Your headline is what will convince someone to click and read. If it stinks, people will push it away with a ten-foot pole. Start crafting great headlines that are catchy and informative.

4. Did You Think Google Was Just Too Annoying?

Yes, we know, Google can get really tiresome and annoying with all of their various algorithm changes, but no matter how annoyed you get, you should still appease them. This means you should make sure you are properly optimizing your posts, no matter what the recent changes are. Yes, this means you will have to stay up-to-date on new changes, but this will help keep your content from smelling to high heaven.

5. Are You Ignoring What Your Audience Needs?

You might like writing about one particular topic, but are you making sure your clients need or want that information? If you are ignoring what your clients want to read, then your content will most definitely be considered stinky. It might be top quality, but clients really care about reading what they are interested in. Never ignore what your audience needs and wants from you.

6. Does Your Content Have Substance?

Of course, we all have funny stories from odd client requests to random happenings on the job, but if all your content is about that, you might be missing the mark. You need to make sure you offer significant substance to your content such as DIY tips, how-to lists, information on products, and other pertinent, useful information. Useful info is what many clients want from the companies they support. In addition, make sure you share social media links that have substance, as well.

7. Just How Much Of A Sales Voice Are You Using?

Does your blog, website, and social media content sound like an over-the-top used car salesperson? Then you need to turn it down and cut out the extreme sales pitch. Write with a natural sounding voice that doesn’t come across as a salesperson and you are more likely to make more sales. People are tired of all of the various sales maneuvers, which makes this one of the biggest ways your content could be stinking.

8. Do You Want To Read Your Content?

A great way to know if your content is doing a great job or smelling terrible is if you want to read your content. Yes, you wrote it, but sometimes you might find yourself writing content you don’t particularly like. If this happens, you should always try to write it in a way that makes you want to read it and learn from it. Chances are, your audience feels similarly to you about your content.

9. Are You Simply Not A Writer But Writing Anyway?

This could cause some major trouble for you in the future. It is vital that you get someone who is a writer if you know for a fact that writing is not your strong point. Your content will start smelling like you stepped in dog poo if you aren’t a strong writer. Hiring strong writers or finding them in your company will help you craft expert content that can be made into a fun, easy read for all of your clients.

10. Just How Bland Are Your Posts?

Are you writing your posts with just the bare minimum information without a single bit of personality? Then your content might not only be a snoozefest, but the smelliest snoozefest of them all. Put in your personality and make your content shine. This will help bring in visitors and convert them.

In Closing

Are you guilty of any of the above problems listed? Then your content is well on its way to Stinkville where clients will avoid it as much as possible. Turn these around to have a great, glorious smelling content campaign that not only keeps your clients, but also converts those visitors!


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Julia McCoy is a top 30 content marketer and has been named an industry thought leader by several publications. She enjoys making the gray areas of content marketing clear with practical training, teaching, and systems. Her career in content marketing was completely self-taught. In 2011, she dropped out of college to follow her passion in writing, and since then grew her content agency, Express Writers, to thousands of worldwide clients from scratch. Julia is the author of two bestselling books on content marketing and copywriting, and is the host of The Write Podcast. Julia writes as a columnist on leading publications and certifies content strategists in her training course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia lives in Austin, Texas with her daughter, husband, and one fur baby.

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