5 times my posts have flopped

Over the past 3 years, I’ve written over 700 posts. Some were amazing. Others, not so much.

So I analysed five posts with *low engagement, the reason behind it, and what would make it higher.

After all, they say learning from failure is the key to success.

So why not learn from mine?

*low – taking into consideration my follower count at the time, and average engagement.

1. Being A Smartass.

Why the engagement was low:

  • The first sentence (the Hook) is too “clever”, meaning the reader needs to focus more to get my message.
  • The cleverer the hook, the faster the reader scrolls past.
  • The body of the post lacks clarity.

What would make it higher:

  • A simple hook that grabs attention.
  • Using the body of the post to elaborate.
  • Less abbreviations & industry jargon. (e.g. POV, landing page & ideal client persona)

In 3 years, we’ve tested over 1,000 hooks. Discover the Top performers here.

2. Super-Niche Content.

Why the engagement was low:

  • Speaks to a specific subsection of the audience, in this case, copywriters.
  • When your content is super-niche, it’s only relevant to a handful of people.
  • Negativity probably didn’t help either.

What would make it higher:

  • Go wider. (e.g. service providers annoyed at zero-knowledge clients making useless changes)
  • Important Note: With a decent number of followers, super-niche content is where you get easy conversions. Absorb it into your content strategy, regardless of the “no likes” problem.

3. Sales Posts.

Why the engagement was low:

  • Sales posts always have the least amount of engagement. (even if written flawlessly)

What would make it higher:

  • Don’t promote too often, especially not in the beginning.
  • Always combine sales posts with value posts in between.
  • Mix soft sell with hard sell to minimise the “sleazy car salesman” effect.

4. Weak Hook.

Why the engagement was low:

  • The hook is weak af.
  • I fell into the trap of “lots of people know the value we provide, so they’re gonna be excited as soon as we make a newsletter announcement”. Bad Dina.
  • Even if you have 1,000,000 followers, you still need a strong hook. Otherwise, your content will underperform.

What would make it higher:

  • Strong, benefit-oriented hook, including numbers.
  • Strong body that speaks confidence.
  • Example: “After X posts, X,000 followers, and X,000 clients, Stevan and I are launching a newsletter on actionable writing hacks that get you clients. You’ll basically get all of our secrets for FREE. Got any specific topics you’d like us to cover? Let me know in the comments.” Better, yeh?

Not sure how to write strong, benefit-oriented hooks that grab attention? Check out our Top performers here.

5. No-Context Testimonial.

Why the engagement was low:

  • Like sales posts, testimonials will always have lower engagement.
  • Psychology 101: Nobody cares about you, people only care about what’s in it for them.
  • However, testimonials are 99% more likely to convert than any other content type. Aim to post one per week, regardless of engagement.

What would make it higher:

  • Giving context to the testimonial. (Most of my audience probably didn’t know what happened last week.)
  • Making it more about the reader. (e.g. Amusing the reader by using humour, or saying something motivational.)

Final Note

Nine times out of 10, every underperforming post has either a weak Hook, or weak writing.

But low engagement doesn’t always mean your post has flopped. The examples where this can’t be further from the truth are well written sales, niche, and testimonial posts where your engagement naturally decreases, but when done right, sales go through the roof.

On the other hand, you’ll see a no-context selfie post with 1,000+ likes, that brought the creator nothing but a few dopamine hits.

Something to think about until next Friday.

Big hug,


Actionable Writing Hacks That Attract & Convert Clients.

Claim your weekly cheat code to turn words into cash.

We’ll never spam you, or sell your data.

Not for you? Unsubscribe at any time. No hard feelings, we'll still be friends.