Let’s all be honest for a second: not every piece of content we pump out is a winner. Even if all of your content is performing decently among consumers and audience members, there will still be pieces of content that perform better than others. After all, a 10 is always going to be better than a 9.99.
You’re also working in a very over saturated market. Unless your business is incredibly niche, there are likely tens or hundreds, maybe even thousands, of other blogs or websites out there doing exactly what it is you’re doing. As a result, every piece of content you create has to fulfill a purpose – there’s no room for failure.
When content isn’t performing as well as you want it to, there’s a three-step solution to fixing the problem. First, establish which content is performing poorly. Second, understand why it didn’t do well in the first place. Third, repurpose the content into something that will work the next time around.
Don’t stress. You’re bound to create a few content lemons. The trick is turning them into sweet, marketable lemonade.
1. Establishing Poor Performance
Analytics are of course the best friend of anyone who works with content, websites or social media in a business sphere. If you aren’t introducing your content to analytics checkups regularly then you’re already falling behind.
One myth is that if content isn’t performing well almost immediately then it has to be a dud. Wrong. A recent study performed by Pamela Vaughan, the Principal Marketing Manager of Optimization over at marketing blogging giant HubSpot, found that most of the blog’s content didn’t gain traction until months after it was posted.
Underperforming content is content that never goes anywhere. You have to give it time to mature and find its footing online. This involves fine-tuning your measurement methodologies and setting certain goals for your content performance. For instance, if a content piece hasn’t hit X amount of shares in three months it’ll be cycled through for repurposing.
2. Understanding Content Failure
There are actually many reasons why a piece of content can fail – it would take a whole book to discuss them all in detail. Instead, let’s briefly touch base on some very key issues many content creators face when crafting content they find eventually flops:
- The content isn’t engaging enough. If there’s no purpose behind the content that will draw in a consumer, you won’t get much use out of it.
- It isn’t properly shared on social media. Making a tweet or Facebook post go viral can be tough, but it’s doable.
- The content simply isn’t high quality enough. High quality content = more shares, more views, more success.
- The content is missing something. Whether it’s SEO, pictures, a catchy title – something was simply left out and thus it underperformed.
- There was no follow through. You can’t just post a blog and link it on Twitter. Resharing and recirculating are key to getting a piece of content off the ground.
In general, the reasons behind poor content performance are very specific to a business and the piece of content in question. Do your research and look at the analytics figures – why do you think your content failed?
3. Content Repurposing
You’ve picked out a piece of poorly performing content and you’ve established why it bombed – now what?
First, let’s examine the most obvious option: content recycling. Thousands of businesses recycle content every day and you wouldn’t even know it. This process involves taking one piece of content and deconstructing it, only to then turn it into new pieces of content. For instance, a collection of underperforming blog posts can be spruced up and combined into an e-book for consumer download.
Sometimes going that far isn’t even necessary. Quick fixes like adjusting a headline or improving your long-tail keyword use can help you bring a piece of content back from the dead. Also, don’t forget that Google takes over 200 ranking factors into account when ranking your content in their search engine. How many of these metrics do you check for?
Finally, assess content with a very critical lens and ask yourself some basic questions of taste. Is this simply a bad piece of content? Is it written poorly? Sometimes your best option is to take a piece of content all the way back to the drawing board. Starting from scratch can be what really makes the best lemonade.