The last thing that any content creator wants to do is create content that is overlooked or ignored due to irrelevancy. With the prevalence of the digital age, scrollable news feeds and limited attention spans, it is much easier than you think to cross the blurry line that separates the updated from the outdated. How do you know if your content has crossed that line? The list below highlights 11 warning signs that will help you answer that question:
#1: There is No Method to the Madness
The opportunity to learn the “method to the madness” typically piques curiosity, because it provides a glimpse of how everything works behind the scenes. However, what happens if there is no method at all? At that point, all that you are left with is madness. The same principle applies to your content. If you do not have a well-structured strategy to make everything work beautifully behind the scenes, then you are simply setting yourself (and your content) up for failure.
#2: Your Keywords Appeal to You, Not Your Audience
How do you select the keywords that you target with your content? One approach is to select keywords that personally appeal to you. When you think of your business, these are the words and phrases that may pop up in your mind. When creating relevant content, though, you should focus on what is relevant to your audience – not to you. Conducting poor keyword research (if at all) will give you a first-class ticket to creating irrelevant content. Chances are that is not a flight you want to take.
#3: Your Content Does Not Answer Any Questions
Most people search the Internet to find answers to questions. Therefore, you must find a way to creatively answer the questions asked by your target audience members. One of the biggest warning signs of irrelevant content is when it is not clear which question (if any) is being answered. There is a reason why a vast number of effective, well-constructed headlines are questions.
#4: Your Content Answers Questions That No One is Asking
Another warning sign of irrelevant content is when you work hard to answer questions that are simply not being asked. Perhaps it is a question that your target audience did have once upon a time, but the answer has since become common knowledge. For instance, posting an article titled “How Does a Computer Work?” is great for people with limited computer knowledge. However, it would be irrelevant content to a targeted audience of certified IT professionals. Focus on the needs of your audience and the questions they are asking – not the ones they have already answered.
#5: Your Social Media Presence is Lacking
What is your social media strategy? If you do not approach your social media content with the same quality and diligence that you approach your web content, then you are missing the mark. Irrelevant content on social media pages and profiles slips through the cracks and is never heard from again. On the other hand, relevant content is liked, clicked, viewed, shared and starts conversations. Analyze the performance of your social media presence for the last week, month and year. Focus on addressing any areas of improvement.
#6: You Receive the Analytics, But Refuse to Study Them
You may receive periodic data reports and analytics that document the performance of your online presence. However, when is the last time that you studied those reports? Paying attention to how your content performs will help you to determine if you are creating relevant or irrelevant content.
#7: Visitors Enter & Look for the Exit
One area that you can analyze within those reports is your bounce rate. If you create irrelevant content, then your bounce rate will skyrocket right before your very eyes. Your visitors will exit your website almost as quickly as they entered it. You must provide relevant content to get them to stick around and (more importantly) keep coming back.
#8: You Pop the Question, But Still Have No Engagement
When you “pop the question”, you typically want the discussion to end with a confirmed engagement. The same principle applies to content creation. When you create content that answers questions “popped” by your target audience, your goal is to get them engaged, right? If you notice that your engagement statistics are lower than usual or declining gradually, then you might have an issue with irrelevant content.
#9: It’s Rush Hour, But Your Traffic is Disappearing
One report shows that Google generates more than 3.8 million searches each minute, according to Search Engine Land. Therefore, if you were to compare this popular search engine to a highway, you could say that it’s always “rush hour.” How does the traffic look in your lane? Are you able to get quite a few of those searches to take your exit ramp? If your traffic is starting to decline instead of increase, you might have a problem with irrelevant content.
#10: There is No Schedule for Posting & Promoting Content
Consistency is essential when creating and promoting quality content. When you raise consumer expectations, they expect you to meet that bar consistently – not sporadically. Otherwise, they will take their business elsewhere to one of your competitors who are consistent. You must have a structured schedule for posting and promoting your quality content to get the most value and best results from your hard work. If you have a haphazard approach to your work, then you should not expect anything different from your target audience. You may have a perfect post ready and waiting for your audience. However, if it is not scheduled properly for posting and promotion, your audience may never get a chance to use it.
#11: Your Content is an Exclusive Billboard
It is true that you want to use your content to drive traffic towards your business and market your products and/or services. It is imperative that this is done in moderation, though. A general rule of thumb to follow is the 80/20 rule. If 80 percent of your content is informative and engaging, then 20 percent could focus on marketing your business. Otherwise, you would essentially have more of an online billboard for your business and your target audience will view your posts as irrelevant content.