Content marketing has always existed in one form or another- its origins trace back to the early 1880s, but it has only been in the past 10 or so years that it has become one of the most influential forms of marketing. As of 2015, 88 percent of B2B companies reported using content marketing. Industry experts predict that content marketing will continue to grow and by 2019 it is expected to become a $300 billion dollar industry.¹ So in an ever-growing field how do you make sure your content strategy is successful and stands out? Have no fear- We have compiled a list of the only 5 steps that you need to follow in order to create a content strategy that is both successful and engaging.
Step 1: Make Sure Your Site Can Handle an Increase in Traffic
It doesn’t matter how amazing your content is if your website can’t handle traffic no one will be able to view it. Studies show that for a delay of a single second, the bounce rate increases by 56%.² Here are the 3 most important things to check when getting your site in order:
- Speed: As evidenced above, the first couple of seconds after a visitor lands on your website are crucial. If your page takes a long time to load you are almost guaranteeing that people will get frustrated and exit out of your website. Even if some stay through the delays, having to wait will leave a poor impression lowering your chances of conversion.
- Mobile Responsiveness: In 2018 to have a website that is not optimized for mobile responsiveness is the equivalent of not having a website at all. Over half of all site visits are from mobile devices and if your site is not equipped or formatted to handle these types of visitors, then the content will fail to engage.
- Ads: Many blogs are sponsored by advertisers in exchange for ad space, which most of the time happens to be above the fold. While this may be great for the advertisers, it is not so great for the visitors and it is a sure way to annoy them. If you choose feature ads on your website make sure that they follow the appropriate guidelines, and are not too extensive.
Step 2: Present your Content in an Appealing Manner
The way your content is presented is almost more important than what’s inside. This is because we are naturally very visual people, and if something is not aesthetically pleasing we have a tendency to turn away. To prevent this, there are a couple of simple ways to punch up your content visually, so that it draws readers in instead of pushing them away.
The first way to make a visual impact is through typography. The font size, type, and color you choose can not only make your content seem more trustworthy, but it can also induce a positive mood in readers.³ Including some background color and whitespace can make it easy digest, which is important because readers will not engage with your content if it is too difficult to read.
Including visual aids such as images, illustrations, screenshots, charts, and videos automatically increases engagement. A study of more than 1 million articles found that those that had an image after 75-100 words got double the shares.⁴ Adding a video to your page is even better and can lead to 88% more engagement that pages with just text and images.⁵
Step 3: Write an Intro that Hooks them
How many times have you put down a novel or stopped reading an article because the beginning failed to capture your attention? The same thing can happen to your content if you do not have a headline and a hook that it is powerful enough. One of the ways that you can ensure you have your readers attention right off the bat is by having a catchy title. Here are a few different ways to use your title to intrigue your audience:
- Ask questions that they can relate to
- Use your title to take advantage of human intrigue and curiosity by leaving them hanging
- Use statistics or numbers to add authenticity to your content
From there it is important to have an introduction that is just as powerful. Remember your title may draw them in, but it is your introduction that will convince them to continue reading.
Step 4: Include Data where Possible
There is a reason that all academic studies have citations sprinkled throughout the text and reference lists that are sometimes just as long as the content- it adds credibility. This is also true for any content that you produce. Take a few minutes each day to browse the latest industry news and developments, and bookmark any articles that you find interesting. You never know when you will need it as a reference and finding these articles can be extremely helpful when trying to plan for future content. When you use information as evidence to back up your points, it makes you sound authoritative, which in turn makes your content seem trustworthy. When your content is seen as trustworthy, people are much more likely to engage with the post and share it.
Step 5: Make Your Readers Life a Little Easier by Solving a Problem or Answering a Question
Earlier in the blog post, we mentioned using catchy titles as a way to hook readers. Another easy way to grab someone’s attention while they are scrolling is to provide a solution to a problem they may be facing. Think back to the last time you were on Facebook, did you see any “how to” posts? Were you tempted to click on any of them? People are always searching for solutions which is why these types of posts can get as many as 55% more views than other types of content.⁶ Do some research to find out what types of problems or questions your target audience has, and then create content that addresses these matters directly. Add a catchy title, introduction and some visual aids and you’re well on your way to maximum engagement.
Content Marketing is only one of the many things that we do here at Marketing Armor. If you are interested in implementing a content strategy click on the banner below to schedule your free 30-minute consultation with us.
- White, Rebecca Lee. “The History of Content Marketing: An Essential Guide.” TrackMaven | Marketing Analytics Software, TrackMaven | Marketing Analytics Software, 10 Feb. 2017, https://trackmaven.com/blog/history-of-content-marketing/.
- “Mobile conversion rates up 27% when pages are 1 second faster.” SOASTA, 1 Sept. 2015,https://www.soasta.com/blog/mobile-web-performance-monitoring-conversion-rate/
- Larson, Dr. Kevin & Picard, Dr. Rosalind. “The Aesthetics of Reading” http://affect.media.mit.edu/pdfs/05.larson-picard.pdf
- 20, 2015 Andrianes Pinantoan on May. “How To Massively Boost Your Blog Traffic With These 5 Awesome Image Stats.” BuzzSumo, 21 May 2015, http://buzzsumo.com/blog/how-to-massively-boost-your-blog-traffic-with-these-5-awesome-image-stats/.
- Kzoinnovations. “10 Astounding Statistics about Online Video.” KZO Innovations, 30 Oct. 2015, http://kzoinnovations.com/statistics-about-online-video.
- Vaughan, Pamela. “How to Write Stellar How-To Posts for Your Business Blog.” HubSpot Blog, https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33163/How-to-Write-Stellar-How-To-Posts-for-Your-Business-Blog.aspx.