5 Reasons People Stop Reading Your Marketing Content
You’ve put hours into drafting a piece of content.
You selected the finest royalty-free images the internet has to offer.
And, you’ve hired an editor to ensure your copy is as clean as a whistle.
Now, the time has come to unveil your masterpiece online.
With hopes of high traffic, viral shares, and rave reviews, you hit the “publish” button…only to discover that people are jumping ship long before they ever finish reading what you wrote.
The harsh reality is that your content is tanking faster than the time it took for the Titanic to nominate all its passengers for the ice bucket challenge. (Too soon?)
The good news…
With a few tweaks, we believe that most content can not only be saved, but turned into captivating copy that keeps readers engaged until the end.
Today we’re going to share 5 reasons why your content might not be performing.
Take a look at each problem, and honestly gage whether your content is suffering due to one (or more) of the common mistakes we see being made all the time.
Let’s get started…
Problem #1 – Your Marketing Content Isn’t Focused
Breaking focus is incredibly unproductive.
Just think of the number of times you’ve had to put an email on hold to take a call, or stop reviewing metrics to attend a meeting.
Often, by the time you get back to the task at hand, your mind is in a different place, worrying about different things.
The focus is lost, and things tend to suffer.
The same principle is true for writing content.
If you start out writing about one thing, then wander to a new topic before returning back to your original thought, your copy becomes disrupted.
In the end, this makes it more difficult for your audience to follow along.
Here’s an example…
Let’s say you own a pool company, and you install both traditional chlorine-based pool systems as well as saltwater pools.
While you sell both products, your main goal is to sell the value of saltwater pools as they provide a better return on investment for your company. In order to push these sales, you decide to write a blog on the benefits of saltwater pools.
Your ideal target audience is people who are in the market for a saltwater pool.
And, due to the title of your blog–10 Reasons You Should Install a SaltWater Pool–95% of your traffic is actually people who are trying to do research so they can make a purchase.
So far so good…well, until halfway through your post, you start talking about chlorinated pools. Then you go on a tangent about the safest types of chlorine. Then, you put in a call to action to purchase your chlorine products for 25% off.
See how confusing this suddenly gets?
One minute you’re talking about the benefits of salt water. The next, you’re trying to sell chlorine products.
What one is truly best?
I don’t know about you, but, at this point, I’m going to click out of the article and search elsewhere for information that’s strictly related to saltwater setups.
The bottom line: No matter how tempting it may be, DON’T confused your audience. Stick to one simple topic and carry it throughout your entire content piece. No jumping around!
Problem #2 – Your Marketing Content Is Indigestible
Take a look at exhibits A and B below…
Which one is easier to read?
We’re going to take an educated guess and assume you picked exhibit A.
The reason: Text readability has been studied for ages. And, it’s been proven that short, spaced-out sentences are much more digestible than big chunks of copy.
But that’s not all.
While content paragraph structure is important, there are 4 other key factors of digestible copy–that aren’t as obvious–that can make or break your copy.
Always pay attention to…
- Syllable count: Syllables can be described the number of beats it takes to pronounce a word. For instance, the name Sam is one syllable, where the name Veronica is four. Stuffing your content with high-syllable words makes it more difficult to read.
- Passive word count: Passive voice occurs when you make the object of an action into the subject of a sentence. For example, a passive sentence might read, “A fish was caught by the bird.” In active voice, that same sentence would read, “The bird caught the fish.” [Link to https://www.writtenbysumer.com/blog-posts/engaging-readers-active-vs-passive-learning/]
- Sentiment and tone: Your content needs to have some sort of emotion or tone; otherwise, it will be boring. We’ll talk about this a little later, so keep reading!
- Keyword density: For SEO purposes, some people have gotten into a bad habit of stuffing keywords into copy. Don’t do this. Stuffing keywords often derails content or gives it an unnatural, robotic feel.
Problem #3 – Your Marketing Content Doesn’t Engage on an Emotional Level
It doesn’t matter if you’re writing copy for theme parks or for a package of screws.
There needs to be some emotional drive behind the content you created. And, that emotion needs to be communicated in the copy you write.
Let’s use the example of writing for a retirement community.
If you’ve ever had to move a loved one into a retirement community, you know the wave of emotions that are involved with making such a decision–heartbreak, relief, confusion, etc.
So, upon researching a community, you’re going to have an instinctual desire to connect with the community on an emotional level.
With this in mind, let’s play a little game!
Read the following passages below…
Which one connects with you on a more emotional level?
Once again, we’re gonna take a lucky guess and assume is was example B!
Were we right?
Ok, ok. So, it wasn’t really a “lucky” guess.
Unlike example A, example B hits on more pain points that tend to stir up some emotions while reading.
It’s as simple as that!
The copy in example B plays on the emotions of worry and the desire to ensure mom or dad’s safety.
Now, we’re not saying that worry or fear is always the best angle to take. In fact, there are many other effective emotions you can base your content on, such as…
Simply take some time to think about what your prospective customer might be feeling. Then, use that emotion to drive your content.
Here are a few great emotional storytelling examples if you’re unsure of where to begin!
Problem #4 – Your Marketing Content Is Dry
No one unwinds after a long day by picking up the Oxford Dictionary for a good read–that would be boring as heck!
Therefore, you can’t expect someone to make it through your entire content piece if it’s dry and robotically written.
People not only demand, but crave, content with personality. And it’s your job as a content creator to give it to them.
Here are a few ways you can bring dull, boring copy back to life.
- Tell a story. People love a good story. If you have an anecdote that makes sense to share along with your content, go for it! Here’s a great resource you can use for some additional insight into how to create content through storytelling.
- Incorporate a joke. Humor goes a long way in content. If it makes sense, throw a few appropriate jokes into your content to keep your audience engaged and laughing.
- Adjust your tone. As we mentioned earlier, writers can easily get sucked into writing boring, robotic copy–especially if the product/service you’re writing about isn’t super thrilling. You can combat robotic-sounding copy by adjusting your tone. To do so, check out our 5 tips for writing conversational content.
Problem #5 – Your Marketing Content Is Selling, Not Telling
Let’s be really honest for a moment…content that is pushy and salesy is annoying.
After being bombarded all day by TV ads, door-to-door solicitors, and sales calls, no one wants to open up a magazine or a blog post and feel like a snake oil salesman is jumping off the pages.
To avoid this, we suggest you write copy that tells, not sells.
This is done through writing real, raw, human-based copy that tells a story.
Here’s how it works…
Let’s pretend you sell a line of natural cleaning products.
Your first instinct might be to compile a list of reasons why your products are superior to other chemical-based cleaning products, and then ask people to give them a try.
Sure, information like this can be useful. But, do you see how it can come across as a little salesy?
Now, picture this…
You write an article based on the true story of a mom whose small child suffered from an allergic reaction due to bedsheets that were washed in a chemical-based product.
After the terrifying incident and a trip to the hospital, the mom decided it was time to make a switch to more natural products.
She stumbled upon your brand and has been using your natural products ever since in an effort to keep her entire family safe, healthy, and out of harm’s way.
See how this “telling” method is so much more effective than a bulleted list and call to action to buy, buy, buy?
A story will stick with people longer than a laundry list of info on “why we are better than our competition.”
The next time you draft content, do your best to paint a picture of why you’re the best on the market, instead of trying to sell your product or service.
We promise it will make a difference.
At Sūmèr, we know a thing or two about writing highly effective content that not only drives leads but also increases conversions and grows sales.
Reach out and let’s chat