The 5 mistakes that will kill your audience engagement

21 Jul 23

Have you invested time and effort in your content marketing efforts but aren’t seeing any return? Do you feel as though your content is failing to hit the mark with your audience?

Content marketing can be a great way to establish your company as a knowledge leader and source of authority, whilst also building trust with your audience. When done right, it can result in impressive ROI, but much of the time companies fail to create content that actually engages and resonates with their audience.

We’ve been on our content marketing journey for several years now and have learnt a lot in that time. Now, we can easily spot the reasons why content isn’t performing as expected.

We’re going to share our findings with you and the top reasons why content fails to engage its intended audience and how you can avoid these issues. By the end of the article, you should be able to confidently audit your own content and begin to develop a plan to improve it.

1. Confusing message

The first, possibly most obvious reasons why your content may be failing to resonate with your audience is simply that it confuses them because it doesn’t have a clear message. This may mean the message of the content itself, or even the surrounding brand messaging, which we’ve discussed in much more detail in our article on the importance of strong branding.

Confusion can be caused by several different issues:

  1. The curse of knowledge, in which you overload your audience with unnecessary and over-complicated information because you have based it on your knowledge level rather than their knowledge level.
  2. Using industry jargon and unnecessarily complex language.
  3. The message isn’t specific enough, meaning your audience is unable to picture it in their head (which loses emotional connection and is, therefore, less memorable).
  4. This confusion can lead to frustration, causing your audience to quickly lose interest, at which point they’ll leave and likely go to your competitor.
  • Solution

    Clear and concise communication is essential to effectively convey ideas, values, and information. We firstly recommend that you ensure you have clear brand messaging – in fact, we recommend that this is the first step for all marketing campaigns.

    Secondly, it’s helpful to start every piece of content with a brief which includes who the audience is and what the content is hoping to achieve. For example, your brief might look something like this:

    “This article aims to give an unbiased overview of the pros and cons of [device/platform/service] to [target audience]. By the end of the article, they should be armed with the knowledge needed to make an informed decision on whether to invest in [device/platform/service] for themself.”

    Once you have this initial clarity, the result is likely to be more direct and cohesive. You should check the content against the initial brief once it’s complete to ensure that it does what it’s supposed to.

2. Not answering their questions

One of the biggest mistakes when it comes to content creation is covering what you want your audience to know rather than what they want to know.

Think about it – would you approach people at a party and immediately start talking about yourself and your life story without considering whether the person on the receiving end wants to hear it?

Oftentimes, companies shy away from talking about the topics that their audience is most interested in because they think they’re too sensitive to discuss openly – for example, one topic might be price. This may be controversial, but you’d be amazed by quickly providing information about your pricing, not even necessarily stating your prices, can earn the trust of your audience.

Shying away from your audience’s questions is not only frustrating for them, but it can come across as untrustworthy. It can cause people to wonder if you’re trying to hide something and if they’re going to end up getting stung later on down the line.

  • Solution

    We’re firm believers in the ‘They Ask, You Answer’ business philosophy, in which you openly and honestly answer the questions of your audience through your content.

    Instead of shying away from difficult or commonly asked questions, you embrace them head-on. By providing clear, detailed and, most importantly, unbiased answers, you establish trust with your audience and position yourself as a knowledgeable authority in your industry.

    You can learn more about the questions of your audience by closely collaborating with your sales teams – after all, they are the ones who hear from customers every day. You’ll find it’s pretty easy to generate content ideas when you approach it with this mindset. We’ve gone into more detail on this approach in our article on generating fresh, new content ideas.

3. Posting on the wrong channels

Different mediums, such as social media, email, blogs, videos, or traditional advertising channels, have unique characteristics and appeal to specific demographics or communication preferences.

The best way of consuming content differs from person to person. Video is the most popular content medium, but many prefer to consume written content or even learn just by listening.

Your audience will struggle to engage with your content if it’s constantly presented in a medium that doesn’t work for them. For example, only focusing on blog articles could be detrimental.

  • Solution

    We’d recommend sharing your content creation equally across different likely mediums when initially launching. This way, you’ll be able to gather enough analytics to judge which medium your audience engages with most.

    Once you have your answer, you know that you can prioritise certain mediums above others – although we wouldn’t suggest ditching the others entirely because, like we said, everybody engages differently.

    By selecting the appropriate medium, you can tailor your message to resonate with your audience in the most impactful way. This ensures that your content reaches the right people at the right time, increasing the likelihood of capturing their attention and driving desired actions.

4. Ignoring best practices and data

Best practices are established guidelines based on industry knowledge and experience, offering insights into what works and what doesn’t when it comes to creating and distributing your content.

This includes insights such as what makes a great video, the best times to post and what calls-to-action are usually most effective.

Disregarding these best practices is like shooting an arrow without any coaching on how to do it – you’re likely to miss the target. You can end up with missed opportunities and wasted time and effort because your content isn’t done in the way that is most likely to impress your audience.

Similarly, ignoring data and analytics prevents you from understanding the behaviour and preferences of your audience, making it difficult to create targeted and engaging content. Without data-driven insights, you risk producing irrelevant or poorly performing content that doesn’t help you achieve your goals.

By doing background research on best practices and monitoring and reporting on your data, you can optimise your content so that it’s effective from the start.

  • Solution

    You could spend many months, even years, undergoing trial and error when it comes to your content creation to find out what works best. But why bother when many others have already been through that and come out the other end with the answers?

    Whenever you’re considering launching a campaign, it’s a good idea to do some research on the best practices and what other people have found. There’s a wealth of information on the internet (there’s even a wealth of information on our Learning Hub), and dedicating some time to learning can save you lots of hassle.

    Once your campaigns are up and running, looking for ways to improve doesn’t stop. Regularly reviewing your data gives you an understanding of what works for your company specifically.

5. You haven’t given it enough time

If you’ve been doing everything right but still aren’t seeing results, you probably just need to wait.

Content marketing is by no means a quick-win strategy. In fact, it can take a minimum of 7 months to start meaningfully ranking on search engines and up to 18 months of consistently posting on social media for things to really pick up.

So, consistency and patience are your friends when it comes to content marketing. Don’t give up before you get to reap the rewards of your hard work! After all, by that time, you will be so far ahead it will be impossible for your competitors to catch up.

Your next steps

Content marketing offers a huge opportunity for marketers willing to embrace the challenge and put in the work, but ensuring that everything you create is customer-centric is key.

This means covering the topics that interest them, answering their questions, engaging on the mediums they’re most interested in and much more.

Hopefully, this article has given you the information you need to go away and examine your own efforts and where they might be going wrong, but if not, we’d be more than happy to help.

If you’re interested in some further reading, why not check out some of these articles:

  • Repurposing content: How to create more by doing less
  • How does Podymos create and execute a content marketing plan?
  • How to become a social media analytics expert
  • How much does an effective content marketing strategy cost?

Content creation with Podymos

Do you want to communicate more effectively with HCPs and patients? Do you want to be able to deliver high-quality high-quality content as part of your larger multichannel marketing strategy? You’ve come to the right place.

Podymos is a healthcare marketing agency specialising in downstream Medical Device marketing.

We’re more expensive than non-specialised agencies and freelance teams because we only work in the Medical Device space so we have specialist knowledge and experience that other agencies may not be able to offer you.

If you want high-quality, compliant campaigns that help achieve your business goals, we’d love to hear from you. Simply leave us your contact details below and we’ll get back to you very soon for a no-obligation chat.

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