IS ANYONE READING WHAT YOU HAVE WRITTEN?
Today, content marketing is one of the most important forms of marketing for your business to engage in. However, if no one reads or views that content, or if they do, but then don’t take any further steps, you won’t get the results you want and need. In turn, that makes the time and energy (and potentially money) you spend on content wasteful.
As you plan out your content for the year ahead, consider the idea of engagement. Content engagement is the term for when consumers take an action on a piece of content or a web page. The action someone takes after reading, listening to or viewing content, sends a signal that this piece was relevant to them in some way. It got them to take the next step and move further through the sales channel.
Not only is good-quality, original content great for SEO purposes, it’s also a brilliant way to drive traffic to your website and keep them on it for longer. It creates brand awareness and authority in a saturated market, which then has the potential to generate new leads and increase sales as more consumers become exposed to the brand. Whether it is in the form of a blog post or social media updates, your content should encourage users to engage with the brand, whether they realise it or not. If it’s genuinely good, users will pause to consume the content, understand the brand message and perhaps even comment, like or share a piece of content.
There are numerous ways consumers engage with content, and it varies according to the type on offer. For example, one of your most important tools to give you marketing intelligence is your website. To determine how well content is performing on your website, keep an eye on the following engagement indicators:
- The number of pages people look at on your site per session.
- The length of each session.
- Form completions, such as a Contact Us form, newsletter sign up, free resource download, or blog follow.
- Comments on your blog or elsewhere.
- Sales (for e-commerce businesses).
All of your content should be measured and tracked. Downloadable assets should be created with all embedded links carrying the information about the original download. Not only can you track the downstream outcomes of people who interacted with the content (allowing you to make the ROI case), but also answer interesting questions about latency and the nature of the sales cycle (e.g. how long after interaction the person responds to the call to action). Consider tracking:
- Growth in followers, friends, and other contacts.
- The number of Views, Likes, Shares, or Comments your posts/videos get.
- The number of times links are clicked on from within posts or profiles.
- The reach (total number of users who saw a piece of content) and impressions (total amount of times content was seen, regardless of the user).
Also, view engagement statistics from guest or sponsored blog posts you place on third-party sites, online ads, and any other type of content you create and share.
Thankfully, it’s easy enough to track all of these details these days, via Google Analytics, AdWords, and the tracking functions on social media sites. Once you have this information, analyse it and compare results from one piece of content to another to see how you can improve future creations.
Once you know what is being read your need to work out a formula for success so that each piece of content you writes gets maximum engagement.
You should consider things like:
TAILOR CONTENT TO YOUR AUDIENCE AND PROVIDE VALUE
For each piece of content you design, know exactly who it is you’re targeting. In order for any content to work, you must start with an audience-centric vision and have a specific type of customer in mind, tailoring everything to their interests and how you believe (based on research) they browse, buy, and generally live their lives. Give your content a clearly defined mission. Taking this step will increase the likelihood that the content gets the attention of the right people and is relevant to them, and memorable. After you fleshed out a “job description” for your content, you’re ready to determine what metrics you’ll use to determine success.
Similarly, always provide value to viewers. Content needs to educate, entertain, inspire, motivate, or otherwise move and assist people if it’s to gain traction. You don’t need to provide the same kind of value in each piece, but there does need to be a good reason to develop it, apart from simply trying to get more sales. Put yourself in your users’ shoes, and think about problems they want solved or benefits they’d like delivered.
INCLUDE CLEAR CALLS TO ACTION
Every piece of content needs to have a clear call to action, based on your goals. What do you want a potential customer to do after they have consumed the content? This might be going to your website and signing up for your newsletter, contacting you for a quote, buying a product, sharing a post, etc.
Think of these calls to action as ways to motivate people to keep interacting with your business and to move further through the sales funnel. Note that the call to action you choose will depend on your goals for the content and the type of platform you’re using.
MAKE CONTENT EASY TO UNDERSTAND
Content must be easy for people to understand, too. Don’t use lots of business or industry jargon, complex theories, confusing statistics, or big words that most people won’t know. Content, whether written or spoken, should be simple, clear, and easy for everyone to understand. It should also be consistent with your brand. For instance, the language used by a light-hearted, fun-loving company like Virgin is usually very different from that used by a funeral home or medical device manufacturer.
Furthermore, when it comes to how content is displayed, ensure it’s user-friendly, too. Use common, legible fonts in a large enough size that most people will be able to read the work easily without having to squint. Don’t cram too many words or graphics into a space, either. Also use relevant images, illustrations and videos that won’t offend anyone and that tie in nicely to the point you’re making.