Creating content and social media posts is easy- literally anyone can do it.

Creating content and social media posts that capture an audience’s attention, stops the scroll, and that drives new business is hard. When it comes right down to it, the only thing separating everyday content and effective content, let alone you from your competitors, is execution.

When creating content, you should approach like selling newspapers back in the day. In the late 19th to mid 20thcenturies, newsboys stood on city street corners shouting “Extra! Extra!” followed by the major headline of the day in order to attract passersby to purchase the newspaper. This is where most content fails. Your content needs to attract your audience’s attention by creating headlines that are easily consumable and make people take action (i.e. contact you or make a purchase).

If newsboys shouted “Extra! Extra! XYZ Corporation is proud to announce….” and then went on for several more sentences, they would have never sold a single paper. So why are you doing this when it comes to your business’ content?

When creating content, you should always remember to ask two questions: “So What?” and “Who cares?” If it doesn’t pass this test, it’s not going to bring you business or build your brand.

Here are some of the all too common reasons why content is completely ineffective in driving business:

Sounds nice / looks good but isn’t effective

Content and social media posts are not school reports or introductions at award shows. Sure your content may sound nice and “check all the boxes” when it comes to the information, but that doesn’t mean it grabs the audience’s attention. Remember: create headlines.

It’s too long

No one is going to sit down and read several paragraphs of a social media post, blog, or website. Remember, most people these days consume content on mobile devices, so the screens aren’t very big, and attention spans are even smaller. Be concise and to the point. Content needs to be easily consumable.

It’s all about the business and is the business’ idea of “good” without taking into account the customer/client

Good and effective content should address the needs, wants, desires, and pains or your potential client or customer. If the focus of the content is all about the business, the business owner/employee, and/or what the business owner “wants” or thinks is “good,” you are completely ignoring your potential client or customer. Your content should tell a story and your target customer/client should be the hero of the story, NOT the business.

It’s copied/stolen from competitors or other businesses

Just because you see your competitor or another business create content you like or that gets a good response, doesn’t mean “they’re killing it!” or that it’s a good fit for your business, brand, or industry. Trying to re-create it or simply just re-posting it is not a good idea. After all, they may have copied or reposted it themselves. Be a leader, not a follower.

It’s purchased from a company that creates content for your industry

There are numerous companies that produce content based on industry. For regulated industries, such as financial planning, a frequent selling point is that the content said to be compliant with industry/federal/state regulations.

This type of content is never a good idea. This content is always extremely generic, broadly targeted, and contains lots of filler (usually due to the people creating the content getting paid by the length). Not to mention it has no branding connecting it to your business. All this leads to the content offering little, if any, value to your audience. “Something” isn’t always better than nothing.

It’s filled with clichés and overused/tired phrases: “Got _____?”, “During these trying times,” “[Company Name] is proud to announce”

This is one of the most common mistakes in creating content. Using clichés, like doing a take on the almost 30-year-old “Got Milk?” campaign, or overused and tired phrases, gets your content ignored. When people see things over and over again, they become numb to it and scroll right on by. Effective content captures the audience’s attention and doesn’t make them roll their eyes

It’s random / no consistency

If your business isn’t posting on a regular basis (committing what’s often referred to as “acts of random posting”), your customer/client base might even know you are still in business. The pandemic has changed how we do business and with a lot of businesses being forced to close because of it, social media may be the only way for people to know you’re still operating, especially if the rarely leave the house.

It’s given to someone outside the company to handle with little to no input or oversight from the business

Running a business isn’t easy, so it’s common to outsource marketing and content creation. However, hiring an agency or consultant and giving them the keys to do whatever they want because they are “experts” is the wrong way to go. Businesses NEED to be actively involved in content creation process to assure that the content is aligned with your business, your brand, your industry, and your target audience. Content that is off-target will cause your audience to ignore and unfollow you and cost you money.

It’s done by an “expert” / “guru” / “maven” / “rock star” / “Jedi” that has no real idea what they’re doing or experience

Hiring the wrong person can end up costing a lot of money. There are lots of marketing “professionals” who claim to know what they are doing—having little or no experience, education, or training. They may even come highly recommended by other businesses that sing their praises. The days of just knowing how social media works and how to set up accounts being important are long gone. There are many other things you need to worry about in order to actually generate business.

If you are looking to hire a consultant, ask to see analytics and proof of actual results. Ask how big the budgets they’ve worked with were, how many ad campaigns they’ve run, and how many websites have they’ve managed. The better the experience the consultant or agency has, the better results your business will get.

Done from a personal perspective NOT a business perspective

There’s a big difference between creating content for your personal profile and creating content for your business profiles. The audiences are completely different, which means the content needs to be completely different. Know the difference.

The content is completely unrelated to the business

Another very common mistake I’ve seen a lot, with Football being an extremely popular unrelated topic of content. The belief is that since people are really into football, the business will attract new customers/clients by posting about football. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. If people want content about football, they’ll follow their favorite team or ESPN or some other football-related profile, NOT a local business that posts about football asking if the Giants are going to beat the Steelers this week. If a topic or subject is popular but not related to your business at all, don’t post about it. This is the equivalent of throwing something against the wall and hoping it sticks.

Creating content is easy, but creating effective content is not. How well you execute your content is what separates you from all the rest. If you need help with your content, contact us today.