Creating engaging content is harder than ever before. In fact, a study from Beckon shows that while content marketing had increased 300% in 2016, engagement was up at a measly 5%. To make matters worse, the percentage of people taking the time to read and engage with your content are spending only 37 seconds on your page. So, what gives?
There must be a reason for these terrible statistics, right?
Opinions (like most things search) are divided on the subject, but it could be anything from the overwhelming amount of new content available every day to the fact that we are constantly connected to media, making it harder to capture someone’s attention. That means to get our content read, we need to adapt. Our content needs to:
- Keep users engaged
- Give them what they want
- Carry them through the buyer journey
While there is no one magic process you can follow to guarantee users will engage with your content, there are things we can do better to increase the time they spend reading your content.
1. Get Visual
What is the perfect word count? We’ve all been asked this question and the answers have varied overtime. For a while, the recommendation was that content marketers create shorter posts at a higher frequency. As time went on, the school of thought shifted to creating longer, more in-depth posts at a lower frequency.
It’s pointless at this stage to get into which is better as it’s obvious that it should be dependant on your goals and your own website, but it’s certainly worth noting that longer posts, while still very valuable, have lots of words!
Break Up your Posts
By adding media to your page, you can improve everything from the time spent on a page, to social shares, even your conversion rate. The key here is to make sure that you’re using the right media for your content.
- Choose media that is relevant to the user experience - Generic images and other media are exactly that - generic. Connect the reader to your content.
- Tell your story - The power of media is that it has story telling power that words don't. Media that supports your content is much more valuable.
- Remember your brand - If your brand is more jovial, then using the latest memes might not be a bad idea. If you're a funeral director, this is probably not the best move. Media can help people connect to your brand so it's important that your media represents it.
Provide Useful Tips & Takeaways
All the best articles usually make sure that you leave with at least one thing in mind and make you feel as though the post added value. That is key. Make it easier for your readers to see value in your content.
When you scan a post and straight away you notice tips throughout, you’re much more likely to go back and take the time to read it in full. That’s why it’s often cited as best practice to use things like bullet points and sub-headings in your copy.
To make it easier for your readers to see the value in your content and keep them engaged, consider:
- Use quotes or call outs - If you've spent any time on the web at all, you will almost definitely have seen a motivational quote overlaid on a scenic background. While they aren't all exceptionally good quotes, they can be powerful if used correctly. They will help to break up your content and lend some credence to it. Just make sure you verify your quote.
- Highlight the specifics - Your readers want answers and they want information. Make it easy for your readers to find the key points in your post. Use bullets, italics and other formatting methods to make them stand out.
Write Good CTAs
You want your audience to be engaged and a strong call-to-action provides direction, encouragement and motivation for your readers to take the action you want. It’s arguable that a good, strong CTA turns your run-of-the-mill blog post into a conversion workhorse for your brand.
Don’t write content that doesn’t provide direction on what you want your audience to do once they’ve finished reading your content. A strong CTA is direct, straightforward, persuasive, includes action verbs and might even inspire your reader to follow up on the action you want them to take. It's also a staple SEO best practice.
“Practice what you preach” right? When it comes to building content that keeps your readers on your site for longer, you should bear the following in mind:
- Use media that supports the user experience. Tell your story and provide information. Adding media for the sake of it will not do. Keep it relevant and useful.
- Give readers the opportunity to immediately see the value in your content. Provide specific tips and most importantly, make them easy to see!
- Drive your audience to take the action you want them to take. Provide a clear, persuasive call-to-action that makes your content.
If your content isn’t producing leads, enquiries or sales, it’s probably because your website is a marketing brochure, rather than an interactive tool that helps users solve problems, further their knowledge and justify buying your products or services.
Need help with creating seriously engaging content that drives traffic and engagement? Contact Ascensor today.