Season 1 - Episode 06

Why No One Cares About Your Content (And How to Fix It)

Struggling to get engagement on your content? Discover strategies for creating impactful, scroll-stopping content that truly resonates.

DT Episode 6 Website

Are you tired of putting time and energy into creating content that just doesn’t get meaningful engagement from your community?

We’ve all been there. 

You’re proud of your hard work and effort. A feeling of excitement rushes over you as you hit “post” or “publish.” This one’s going places, you just know it. 

Only, it doesn’t. It flops. Or maybe a few people engage but nowhere near the level of traction you need to take your mission to the next level. 

It’s one of the hardest and most disheartening parts about creating and producing content. And it makes you question if any of your energy and investment is even worth it at all. 

Sometimes it even feels unfair, like the algorithm holds a weird personal grudge against you, or that people’s attention spans are so short these days that they don’t engage with anything meaningful anymore. 

Other people seem to be blowing up and going viral, and their content feels generic, clickbaity, and low value. 

What’s going on here?

In today’s episode, we cover: 

  • The top 10 mistakes we see that stop marketers from getting traction with their content
  • The importance of framing and packaging your content in a way that actually captures attention
  • The mindsets and habits of successful content creators that will forever change your thinking on content creation
  • And how you can apply these strategies to your own content to start getting the traction you need



Are you tired of putting time and energy into creating content that just doesn’t get meaningful engagement from your community?

We’ve all been there. 

You’re proud of your hard work and effort. A feeling of excitement rushes over you as you hit “post” or “publish.” This one’s going places, you just know it. 

Only, it doesn’t. It flops. Or maybe a few people engage but nowhere near the level of traction you need to take your mission to the next level. 

It’s one of the hardest and most disheartening parts about creating and producing content. And it makes you question if any of your energy and investment is even worth it at all. 

Sometimes it even feels unfair, like the algorithm holds a weird personal grudge against you, or that people’s attention spans are so short these days that they don’t engage with anything meaningful anymore. 

Other people seem to be blowing up and going viral, and their content feels generic, clickbaity, and low value. 

What’s going on here?

You’re not alone. Creating content that captures and converts attention is not easy. If it were, everyone would go viral and build massive audiences online. 

Learning to craft engaging content is a lifelong pursuit. You’re never done figuring it out.

And the path from low engagement to meaningful engagement at scale is rarely quick or easy. 

The uncomfortable truth all creators eventually come to learn is that if your content isn’t getting the results you’re looking for, there’s no one to blame but yourself. 

At first, this might feel harsh or brutal. But when you think more deeply about it, it’s actually incredibly empowering. 

Because it means that with the right mindset, approach, and strategies you have the power to learn how to craft content that truly resonates with your audience. That gets the engagement it deserves. And that ultimately builds the momentum and action that can unlock next-level progress towards your social impact mission. 

In today’s episode we’re going deep on exploring the differences between content that flops and content that’s scroll-stopping, engaging, and effective. I’m talking about content that doesn’t just get likes, comments, and shares, but truly MOVES your community and grows your reach and influence.

We’ll cover:

  • The top 10 mistakes we see that stop marketers from getting traction with their content
  • The importance of framing and packaging your content in a way that actually captures attention
  • The mindsets and habits of successful content creators that will forever change your thinking on content creation
  • And how you can apply these strategies to your own content to start getting the traction you need

Let’s get to it. 


Part 1: Common Content Problems

Here’s a question you should ask yourself before you start creating and distributing content for your brand. What’s the point? No, really?

I think we’ve all just accepted that we must be out there creating content and showing up on the latest social media platforms because that’s just what you do if you want to build a brand and nurture community. 

And there’s certainly some truth to this. But when you just dive into creating content for the sake of creating content, you’re not setting yourself up for the true power of an intentional content strategy. 

You need to start by thinking about this from a broader strategic perspective. If you’re focused on measuring success by looking at list and follower growth, likes, comments, shares, and other common engagement metrics, you’re not going deep enough with your thinking. 

How do you plan to leverage that engagement into meaningful action and growth that actually moves your mission forward? If you can’t connect your content strategy to your larger growth strategy, it’s destined to fail from the start. 

But even if you’ve thought through that, there’s plenty of other mistakes we see so many social impact brands make with their content. Let’s dig in to a few of the common ones. 

Mistake #1: Spray and pray content “strategy”

If you’re just tossing content out there like throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks, you’ll soon find out….not that much is going to stick. If your audience doesn’t know what to expect from you and your content, they end up confused and unclear about your niche and whether or not your content is even relevant to them. 

Mistake #2: Thinking about your content as just “news and updates”

There’s usually a place for important news and updates within your content strategy. But if you stop there, your content is unlikely to get much traction. Unless those news and updates are incredibly interesting, relevant, and exciting, this isn’t likely to be enough to engage an audience. Is the news exciting for you? Or for your audience? Usually it’s not as exciting for your community as it is for you. 

Mistake #3: Spreading yourself too thin

You’ve got to be real about how much quality content you can actually produce. A common mistake is to try to build an audience and a presence for your brand on every platform and channel, but not doing a good job getting traction on any of them because you don’t have enough capacity to get strategic and focused to the level you need to. It’s better to focus on a few key channels and really nail it versus trying to do them all and flopping. 

Mistake #4: Picking the wrong channels

You need to understand where your audience actually spends their time. If you’re trying to engage grassroots supporters and a younger audience you’re going to want to focus on very different channels and strategies than if you are trying to engage a smaller group of policy makers or influencers. 

Each channel has a culture and standards around the content formats. You aren’t going to do well trying to repurpose your slow, long-form webinar content into a vertical video on Tiktok. One of the benefits of nailing a few specific channels is that it allows you to spend your time learning the ins and outs of the culture of that channel. You want to use the cultural currents of each channel to your advantage or you risk swimming upstream and making everything harder than it needs to be. 

Mistake #5: Overcommitting to an unrealistic publishing cadence

If you commit to an unrealistic publishing cadence that isn’t sustainable for you long term, your content is destined to take a hit. If you’re overstretched and forced to push out low-quality content, you’re not only doing a disservice to your audience, you’re going to burn out. And when you hit that point it can be disastrous and difficult to recover from. 

Mistake #6: Not publishing frequently enough

On the flip side, another common mistake is to publish so infrequently and sporadically that you just aren’t giving your content a fair opportunity to get traction. You need to aim to find a sweet spot. You want to publish as frequently as you possibly can, with a consistent cadence, while maintaining a realistic publishing schedule that doesn’t burn you out. Each channel has a threshold range for meaningful engagement. Try to sit within that range whenever possible.

Mistake #7: Boring content

This one’s going to sound harsh, but it has to be said. So much content is just straight up boring, uninspired, low effort, stuffy, and forgettable. We’ve all done it. It’s ok. But we can’t keep posting content that’s boring or we’re just creating digital pollution.

The era of stuffy, informational content is long gone. If you aren’t thinking about how to create content that’s actually entertaining and inspiring, you’re not giving yourself a fair chance to succeed. 

Mistake #8: Creating content for you, not your audience

Don’t just think about your content through the lens of your goals instead of what your audience actually wants. This requires that you have a deep understanding of your audience’s preferences and motivations as it relates to your brand. You can’t just create content based on your personal preferences, or what’s easy or convenient for you to produce. 

Mistake #9: Trying to outsource content creation

If you think about your content creation as something you can just hand off to an outside team or contractor, you’re never going to create truly impactful content for your brand. You can absolutely work with outside writers, designers, or photographers and videographers to help you with the technical and creative aspects of content production and even content strategy, but you have to think about it like a partnership and plan to show up and stay involved. What’s more, your team should be integral to idea generation and vetting, because even if you find outside help that has category experience, your content needs to articulate your lived experience and point of view to authentically reflect your brand. 

Mistake #10: Siloing content to your marketing team

Even if your marketing department takes the lead on content strategy and execution, they should still bring in leadership, staff, and other stakeholders from inside and outside your community to generate ideas, surface content opportunities, and include new perspectives. Think about your content production like a news room, and yourself as the editor-in-chief. This also helps build significantly more capacity for idea generation and content production, and it just makes the whole process way more fun and inclusive. 

Chances are, you’ve made many of these mistakes throughout your content creation journey. I’ll admit, most of these mistakes are mistakes I’ve made personally and sometimes still make today. We’re not striving for perfection here. You’ve got to develop a learning mindset and a certain amount of resilience to failure with content production. More on that soon. 

But first, we need to talk about the single most important thing that separates content that breaks through and captures attention versus content that flops. This is something I think very few people understand, or spend enough time thinking about. And once you learn how to see your content through this lens, it can be incredibly powerful in finally getting the traction you want. 


Part 2: Framing and Packaging Your Content is Half the Battle

Ok, be honest here. When you produce any given piece of content for your brand — whether it’s an email, a social post, an article, a live event, or a video — how much time do you spend creating the content itself versus thinking about how you’re going to frame and package that content?

If you’re like most creators, you probably spend 95% of your time coming up with the idea, actually creating the content, editing the content, getting feedback, and iterating on that feedback. And then, once you’re basically done and ready to post or publish, you’ll quickly write the final headline, or design the thumbnail or image, or write the subject line and preview text, or bang out the promotional content you’ll use to entice your audience. 

What if I told you that the ratio between the time you spend working on the content itself and the time you spend getting strategic about how you’ll frame, package, and distribute that content should be roughly equal?

If there’s one thing you do to change your approach to content creation after listening to this episode, let it be this:

Don’t underestimate the importance of framing, packaging, and distributing your content. 

All good content starts with a good idea. But how you package that idea can be the difference between a viral hit and another content flop. I’d go as far as to say that a generic idea with creative and strategic packaging will almost always perform better than a great idea with bad packaging. 

How you package and frame your content is the most important part of the process to approach creatively. You’ll have to find your own distinct way of packaging and framing your content that’s aligned with your brand and appropriate for the channel that the content will eventually live in. 

But there are a few best practices when it comes to packaging and framing your content that can help get you on the right path. 

First, you’ve got to hook your audience.

Crafting a powerful hook is the first and possibly the most important step in creating scroll-stopping content. 

Depending on the type of content, the hook might be crafted from copy, or an image or video, or a combination of the two. 

There are limitless ways to craft creative hooks. But all good hooks do one thing really well. They create what’s called a curiosity gap. A curiosity gap is the space between what you know and what you don’t yet know, based on how the hook is designed. 

A good curiosity gap creates an itch in our psychology that’s almost impossible to resist. Chances are, you’ve seen a curiosity gap taken to its extreme form: This is called clickbait. A lot of clickbait content leverages a curiosity gap to get clicks and engagement. The difference between clickbait content and authentic content with a good hook is that you have to actually deliver the goods. If you get someone to engage with your content after opening a curiosity gap, you have to make sure you’re delivering truly valuable content in the end. Remember, the end goal is not clicks, but connection and value creation. 

But a good hook does more than just create a curiosity gap. 

You also have to elicit an emotional response.

Good hooks are built using a two-pronged strategy. Prong 1 is the curiosity gap, and prong 2 is the emotional hook. When crafting a hook, think about what emotional response you want to elicit in the hook itself, not necessarily in the full piece of content. 

There are obviously a ton of different emotions your hook might create, but there are 2 main emotions that good hooks will usually boil down to: fear and desire. 

Fear and curiosity, or desire and curiosity, are a powerful combination. Keep in mind, we don’t want to fall into the transactional marketing trap of “Fear-based” marketing. But that doesn’t mean you have to avoid tapping into fear entirely. There’s a careful balance to strike here. 

The concept of packaging and crafting hooks is relevant for all content formats and channels in distinct ways. 

Let’s look at a hypothetical email subject line to help clarify.

Ok, let’s say your organization works on affordable housing and housing insecurity. If you were sending an email that featured an impact story about a homeowner named Lauren who your organization had helped, you could simply use “Lauren’s Story” as a subject line. Or “Stories of Impact: Lauren.” But this doesn’t really create much curiosity or elicit much of an emotional response. In fact, I’m probably not opening that email. Are you?

Let’s rethink this subject line using some of what we’ve learned about crafting compelling hooks. 

How about “Lauren’s Story: One Paycheck from Homelessness” Ok, that’s getting somewhere. That generates a lot of questions for me. What caused Lauren to get that close to losing her home? How did she overcome these challenges? Did your organization help Lauren? How? How might we prevent other people from going through what Lauren did?

It also generates an immediate emotional response. For me this creates a feeling of empathy, sadness, and even frustration at income inequality and the growing problem of high cost of living.

Now, a couple of things to consider. Was Lauren actually 1 paycheck away from losing her home? If not, this would certainly be clickbait content. So again, you need to come through on the curiosity gap that you open up here. 

A quick reminder: You should spend just as much time brainstorming subject lines and preview text for your emails as you do on writing the rest of the email, if not the entire impact story. Because if no one clicks the email, then all the hard work on the story is wasted.

Let’s do one more. Let’s say that your organization is unveiling a new youth climate education program in your community and you want to announce the launch of this program on LinkedIn. You could go with something standard like “We’re excited to Introduce our Climate4Kids Program” or something like that. But let’s see if we can get more creative with a few alternative hooks. 

How about “Can grade schoolers crush the climate crisis?” or “Meet the kids solving climate change” or “Is your kid the next climate change warrior?”

These hooks all create curiosity, and hopefully elicit an emotional response as well that entices you to learn more.

Are these the most amazing hooks ever? No. But hopefully they help illustrate the mindset you need to develop when crafting your content. 

A couple more tips about good hooks. Good hooks come in 3 major flavors:

A Question hook: Ask the audience a question they want to know the answer to.

A Context hook: Drop the audience into the most exciting part of your story.

A Statement hook: Start with a bold statement that you can back up.

Good hooks and packaging are about more than just good writing though. For many formats, hooks can be visual. Think about how captivating a compelling image can be. Or a video. Good visual hooks can do everything good written hooks can do, and more. They can stop us in our scroll, create curiosity, and elicit strong emotional responses. 

The most powerful hooks work when captivating imagery and compelling copy work together. When this is done well, the impact can be exponentially better than just the sum of both parts. 

Crafting compelling hooks and packaging for your content is one of the most important ways you can take your content from a flop to meaningful engagement with your audience. But there’s more that can help you supercharge your content creation journey beyond good packaging. We need to explore the strategies and mindset of the world’s most successful content creators and marketers to understand how they’ve made it from content nobodies to legendary examples. And we get to that next. 


Part 3: Creator Strategies and Mindset

We’ve covered the common content mistakes we see time and time again and discussed the importance of a good hook and packaging for your content. Now let’s cover the strategies and mindset that top creators and marketers use to truly set their content apart and build a sustainable approach to their content strategy and production. 

Here are some ingredients to explore and combine as you work to take you content to the next level:

Number 1: Believe it’s possible

This one might feel a bit lofty, but stick with me here. Aiming to craft truly scroll-stopping, engaging, mission-moving content is an ambitious endeavor. And there will be many, many times along the way that you’ll feel like throwing in the towel. I’ve been there myself. So cultivating a belief that you can do this is super important to help you get through the low times when your content is flopping, or you’re not getting the results you’re looking for. 

At Cosmic we published articles and insights regularly for years without getting the traction we wanted. In the early days, we’d put hours of time and effort into our articles only to have it feel like we shipped it off into the void. Maybe we could have been more strategic about our target keywords or distribution strategy. I’m sure we made plenty of mistakes along the way. But we persevered. We kept going. And we started seeing some signs of success. Slowly, organic traffic started to grow on our site. We started getting people mentioning articles we’d written that they resonated with. Potential clients coming to us saying they’d been following us for years. 

Number 2: Remember the lurkers

On the internet, there’s a general rule of thumb that for any given platform or channel, 90% of users are silent lurkers, 9% of users contribute a little, and just 1% of users contribute almost all of the content and measurable engagement on the platform. 

If you’re consistently creating content you’re part of the 1% of people on the internet publishing regularly. But, more importantly, 90% of the people who see your content don’t ever engage with it. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t making an impact on them. 

Number 3: Create content pillars (and stick with them)

One of the worst feelings as a creator is the blank canvas problem. If you know you need to create a piece of content but it feels like every time you start, you’re starting from scratch, it’s going to eat into valuable content creation time. 

Creating content pillars can be a game changer for this. Determine what topics, formats, and types of content are most viable for your team to produce. This is a good time to get creative with packaging. When you have a predetermined content strategy with content pillars, you have helpful constraints that can help hone your creativity and idea generation. 

But this is also good for your audience, too. Because over time, your followers will learn what niche, topics, cadence, and formats to expect from you and your content. And this helps them relate to your brand and quickly determine if they are a good fit for your content or not. 

Number 4: Good planning creates good luck

We have to acknowledge that there’s a certain amount of luck involved with having your content really get traction or even go viral. But luck isn’t totally passive. You can plan for good luck and increase your odds of success by being consistent, having an intentional content strategy, and being ready to capitalize on earned attention when you do break through. 

Set yourself up to take good luck and convert it into fuel for your mission. 

Number 5: Create Hero or Featured Pieces

Although consistency is key and creating smaller, bite-sized content truly does add up exponentially over time, you should also plan for some larger hero or featured pieces of content as part of your broader content strategy. 

Some examples of hero pieces would be year-in-reviews, brand narrative videos, interactive experiences and microsites, or launching larger media like podcasts, video series, or a digital magazine. This is next level content that can help you stand out. People recognize quality and are more compelled to engage and spread the word when they find something worth sharing. 

Number 6: Tap into timeliness

Look for ways to make your cause and your mission relevant to what’s timely and relevant to culture. If you can find ways to tie into the current discussion and zeitgeist, you can show how your work is relevant and worthy of attention. I’m not talking about feeling like you have to post something for “national xyz day” here either. I mean tying your work into important cultural conversations and ideas that matter. If you can tap into timeliness, you’re more likely to capture attention and drive action for your mission. 

Number 7: Cultivate curiosity

When you’re assessing your content strategy and engagement, you have to learn to generate a mindset of curiosity. When things don’t go as planned or your content flops, you have to resist the urge to see yourself and your content as a failure. Instead, you need to reframe this through the lens of curiosity and investigate what may be causing your lackluster results. Sometimes, things just flop, and it doesn’t seem to make any sense. And other times things take off, and you really can’t explain why. There’s definitely a certain randomness to this that’s real. 

So you have to look for larger trends and patterns to see what seems to get the most engagement and traction with your community and what tends to get lost in the noise. 

Remember, take a deeper look at engagement here beyond vanity metrics like views, clicks, likes, and shares. Those signals are important, but not as important as engagement with your broader brand, mission, and community. 

Number 8: Have Fun 

Chances are, if you’re having fun making your content, your audience will have fun following your brand. I know it might sound counterintuitive to talk about having fun creating content when you’re working on important social impact issues that often deal with injustices and inequalities in our society. And there are times to be serious with your content. But if you get truly creative, you can find ways to have fun and create interesting, engaging content that your audience loves. 

We once did a campaign for a climate justice organization in California. We leaned into a light-hearted, fun, nostalgic tone for the brand that made people feel hopeful, optimistic, and activated rather than hopeless and apathetic. The campaign garnered outsized support and engagement, largely because it just felt good to be part of it. Climate justice work is serious work. But we can have fun while making a serious impact. 

When you can craft a content strategy and approach that is fun and creative, it can be a lifesaver when you are dealing with the harder parts of content marketing and keeps you motivated and active when you most feel like throwing in the towel.

For me, I’m a huge music nerd and writing and recording the music for this podcast is one of my favorite parts of producing it. When things feel tough or like I’m in a rut, I can focus on writing some new ambient tracks that we can use for future episodes. This charges me up and keeps me motivated to work through the harder parts.



Creating content that actually breaks through is becoming increasingly important for social impact brands of all shapes and sizes. Because in our digital-first culture, content is the currency of attention, affinity, and action.

Today we covered some of the common content mistakes we see all the time. From a “spray and pray” content strategy, spreading yourself too thin, creating boring content, to creating content for you and not your audience. 

We also covered the importance of framing and packaging your content. How to craft a compelling hook, create a curiosity gap, and elicit powerful emotional responses to your content that drives meaningful engagement and opportunity. 

We examined the strategies and mindsets that top content creators and marketers use to set their content, and their brands, apart. These creators believe it’s possible, and cultivate a culture of curiosity with their content production. And, perhaps most importantly, they find a way to keep content production fun. 

I hope the ideas and advice in today’s episode inspires you to reach your true potential as a content creator and marketer. Learning to harness the power of effective content and storytelling for your mission can make a massive difference for your growth and progress as a social impact organization. 

But next-level content creation is really only half of the equation. Because content production by itself won’t get you anywhere. The second half of the equation is content distribution. And in next week’s episode, we’re going to cover how creating a content distribution strategy can activate your content and your community. 

I hope that you’ll join me. 


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