If you create content for marketing, maybe you’ve run into this not-uncommon scenario.
A piece that covers the same subject as previous content delivered on the same platform at the same time, to the same audience, bombs compared to similar material. Despite mirroring previously successful stuff, you don’t get anywhere near the comments, likes, or shares. You have a content clunker, and it feels difficult to explain.
But nothing is truly inexplicable; there’s a reason for everything. In content marketing, that reason could be the creator. Without even realizing it, the maker of the content could be hurting its chances for engagement. Here are three questions to ask after a content clunker to determine whether you unwittingly self-sabotaged your piece:
Were you rushed?
If all the other variables are the same, one of the possible reasons one post can fail compared to the similar material is the creator rushing through it to publish on time.
It happens. Everyone has deadlines and other projects. But when you’re crunched for time and hurrying through the creative process, your audience might be able to sense it. A rushed writer’s “voice” changes. A hurried speaker on video delivers a different cadence in their speech. These are the sorts of things that might not be noticeable to the person producing the content but can make an audience feel as though something is “off” compared to previous content.
And that feeling of “off” can negatively affect engagement.
Did I believe myself?
Another subtlety an audience can pick up on is the content creator’s lack of conviction in the subject matter. Sometimes in content marketing, a piece can be so successful in generating leads, engagement, etc., that the subject will be worth revisiting. Trying to come up with something different might lead the creator to reach, and maybe produce content they don’t honestly believe.
And if you don’t believe in what you’re trying to communicate, you will lack conviction. You might not even realize it, but the audience can notice it. Maybe you’ve heard the line about a joke’s success that goes something like: “It’s all in the delivery.” Delivery also can influence an audience’s reception of content.
Delivering with conviction is much easier when you sincerely believe in your message.
Did I provide something new?
In the news business, when a high-profile story breaks and garners a huge audience, the temptation is to keep going back to that story. You see follow-ups on the same original story for days, weeks, or even months. Sometimes, news editors and reporters ask themselves, when considering follow-up information: “Does this advance the story?”
In other words, does the new content provide new information? Going back to a subject that was popular is fine, but an audience will be less likely to interact (and will eventually tune out) if you go to the well too many times. So what you might have thought was an excellent piece became a clunker because it provided nothing new.
You can present something in a new way and still not be providing further information. So you have to examine the content. Is that new angle a new angle? Does the audience get anything out of this that they didn’t get before? Did I just say the same thing a slightly different way?
Again, this can happen to the best of them. Content creators might be well-served to remember, however, that nothing is inexplicable. Asking a few questions of yourself, and answering honestly, just might help explain an otherwise head-scratching clunker.