How To Diagnose Boring Content (And Then Spice It Up)

We are now in a stage where the general population demands constant entertainment. I blame the internet, with its wealth of cat gifs, Youtube, and instant access to everything you could ever want to know via search engines.

And now we have your site, with visitors coming across it while roaming the internet. They might have clicked a link in an article to find you, or put in a search query on Google that resulted in finding your site. Either way, something has interested visitors enough to visit your domain.

Now, it’s up to you, and your content, to keep them around. If they don’t receive that instant gratification, be it an answer they are looking for, or entertainment they seek, you’ll lose them.

So, your content needs to fulfill those needs and keep them interested. If you don’t, if you are boring, you’ll lose them, and all of your work creating content will be for nothing. Before you can produce great content for your visitors, you first need to identify what is boring them.

Is the Content For Search Engines or People?

Sometimes, marketers create content for the sole reason of ranking for keywords. They focus so intently on what search engines think of them that they forget who the real customers are. Content produced solely to appease the great search engine overlords is only going to be interesting to robots. So don’t do it.

If your main goal in content creation is to rank higher, your writing’s going to bore readers because it wasn’t made for them. You’ll be more focused on keywords and adding fluff that is meaningful to search engines, but completely irrelevant to potential consumers. It will also make your writing seem impersonal and robotic (which is extremely boring.)

Now, I’m not saying forgot completely about keywords, because they are still important. Instead of stuffing keywords into your article, focus your content on how people search. If you receive a lot of questions from some of your customers, or they all have similar pain points, write content designed to answer them. That way, they’ll search their question on Google, and your content answering it will satisfy both your readers and search engines. Good content marketing equals good SEO.

Look At What Your Analytics Are Saying

Do you sometimes wish you could grab your target market, shake them and yell “Tell me what you want! I’ll make it if you would only tell me.”

Well, they are. In a sense. They are informing you what they like and dislike through your analytics. They’re letting you know what pages are attracting them, what attracted them to it, if you kept their interests long enough so they didn’t bounce away, whether your content was good enough that they stayed on your site to visit another page, and what types of content are the most engaging.

Every marketer should know the basics of analytics, like tracking website visits and conversions rates, but delving further into your site’s numbers can reveal the answers to all of the above questions. Want to know which of your pages are the most interesting? Exclude the home page and then compare which pages have the most views, lowest bounce rate, and retains visitors. Interested in finding which pages are capturing people’s interests at first, but quickly losing it? Look at pages with high views, but also a very high bounce rate.

Your website’s data is incredibly valuable and you should utilize it whenever making content decisions. Doing so will lead to better visitor experiences, higher conversion rates, and will help guide you to new idea and opportunities.

Purpose, Focus and Length

What is the reason your content exists outside of marketing? Great content answers difficult questions, entertains a viewer or is instructional in a specific subject. Understanding what your target markets are looking for and then creating content around that need is how to make powerful content.

Once you understand the purpose of your content, you need to focus it. If somebody is looking for an answer to a question, make it easy to find. Don’t bury the answer amidst lines of filler content or at the very bottom of the page. Focus in on why you’re producing this content and remove distractions from it. Your visitors are first going to skim your content to see if the answer is easy to find, and if it isn’t, they’ll return to Google to find a different site.

How long should your content be? Well, every marketer will give you a different answer, and that’s because every reader is different. Again, you need to understand your target audience to make an informed decision. Casual readers searching for an answer or entertainment will want shorter, easy to digest, content. More professional and dedicated readers are looking for longer, more in depth content to dig into. Every common length has advantages and understanding your readers is essential to deciding between 250 or 2000+ word blog posts.

Turn to your analytics again to discover how long your content should be. If multiple longer articles have high bounce rates, it might be a symptom of them being too long. Articles longer than a thousand, or even 500 words, might intimidate readers into leaving. Shorter articles with a lot of traffic going to other pages but never transforming into leads or customers can be a sign your readers are looking for more indepth answers, but not finding what they are hunting for on your site.

What Is Your Writing Voice?

A very simple way to bore people is to write like a college professor. And no, not that really interesting one where the wait list to get into their class is a mile long. We’re talking about the extremely dry, long winded, humourless, hour long Powerpoint lecture professors, where students ache for the sweet release of the end of the semester.

To figure out your current voice, read your content out loud to yourself. Pay attention to how your voice sounds. Does it feel like you are giving a lecture or having a conversation? Easy to read articles use a friendly, conversational tone, like you’re having a friendly talk or telling an interesting story. Boring voices sound like a high school essay; coming across as forced, robotic, and insincere.

Making Your Content Pop

Remember that your content is competing with the entire internet, so it needs to be good. Once you’ve identified what is making your content boring, the next step is making it interesting. The easiest fix is to have a warm, conversational, and passionate voice for your content. After that, it comes down to tweaking different aspects depending on the preferences of your target markets.

Now, not every blog post is going to be a modern literary masterpiece, and that’s ok. All it needs to do is be interesting enough that your viewers want to read it. Tell the reader why your content matters. Aggravate some pain points and then give them the solution. Don’t be afraid to include audience appropriate images to help break up lines of text, or include other media forms to add extra value.

Don’t be accepting of boring content. If something isn’t performing, find out why and then fix it, both in current content and in future productions. Constantly tweaking your content will lead you to perfecting your content marketing and boost your website, both with search engines, and in webpage conversions.

What are you doing to create interesting content? Do you have a trick I missed to diagnosing boring content? Share with us in the comments below.

Photo Credit

Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.