As a web content writer, there are days when I can’t help but wonder how many people still like to sit back and read a great article. Sure, I’m a book nerd who’ll read just about anything, so I love content, but is that the typical business audience? Well, yes and no.
Not everybody has an apartment filled with overflowing bookshelves. However, it turns out that many individuals browsing the web do, in fact, take the time to read content.
We’re bombarded with messages and constantly reminded that people have short attention spans. When it comes to content, that’s tough. It often takes time to tell a complex story or convey important ideas. While individuals are getting good at tuning out overt marketing hype, short attention spans don’t apply to all content, only to irrelevant content. There are plenty of opportunities to engage readers online, but it’s only going to happen if you’re focused on what they want to read, not just selling your products.
With this theme in mind, here’s a look at key thought leadership and research coming out of the content marketing world this week:
Picture the typical business user reading a blog and you probably have one of two images: somebody trying to escape work for a few minutes by checking out a fun website or an employee frantically researching a product during a few moments of spare time.
While there may be some truth to these images, Clutch recently surveyed individuals who consume B2B content and found that the vast majority are still highly interested in taking the time to dig into blogs and similar articles. Approximately 88 percent of those polled said they engage with business-related content at least once weekly.
With B2B stakeholders turning to content for insights, it’s important to make sure you work to reach them where they are so they’ll take the time to read what you create. The study found that 45 percent of respondents specifically turn to business content with the intention of following industry trends. Conversely, just 19 percent do so to research a company’s products.
Content marketing isn’t simple. It requires careful coordination across diverse stakeholders and a laser focus on the audience. This last factor is a key issue mentioned in a recent Forbes report that pointed out many content strategies fall short because standards for quality are so high in today’s marketing world.
Businesses can’t get by with mediocre content like they could in the early days of SEO. Instead, Forbes pointed out that good content will speak directly to your audience, in its preferred format and using the insider language that makes sense to them.
Writing specifically for your audience is critical, but how do you actually do that? In particular, how do you connect the right people with the right type of content? A MarTech Advisor report discussed the rise of predictive content market strategies as a way to become more precise in identifying and reaching target audiences.
According to the article, predictive content marketing can use historic data generated by customer activities to inform content strategies and better reach readers. In practical terms, this often means gathering more data about audiences and using a wide range of information sources to tailor all digital content to what users are looking for.
Reaching readers where they are is a common theme this week, and so, apparently, is leveraging data. A Marketing Land report emphasized the importance of metrics as a way to understand user behaviors and adjust content strategies accordingly.
Practically speaking, businesses should put a strong emphasis on data points that serve as user signals. These metrics point to signs of specific activities, ranging from interest in digging deeper into a topic to being turned away by confusing messaging and leaving your site altogether. Analytics strategies are critical in identifying how and why readers interact with your site and are instrumental in building engaging content.
The internet is bursting with content, but people aren’t tired of learning new information and exploring stories that are relevant to their specific interests. Content marketing strategies that put the customer first and use real-world data, not just anecdotal observations, can go a long way in driving the positive results businesses are looking for. That’s it for this week’s roundup, but keep checking in for more insights into the world of content.