Has content marketing become easier as its matured? According to a study by Track Maven, the answer is a resounding “no.” While content creation increased 78 percent throughout 2013 and 2014, engagement hasn’t risen at the same rate … except for those with a strong strategy and distribution plan.
After studying thousands of blogs and the interactions they sparked, Track Maven concluded that engagement has decreased 60 percent between 2013 and 2014. Only 21 percent struck web marketing gold, receiving 250 or more interactions (defined as Likes, Shares and Comments on social networks). A full 23 percent received zero interactions and 43 percent generated fewer than 10.
This data could be misconstrued as a sign that content marketing is sputtering out, but we think of it as a symptom of change and evolution. Like any marketing tactic, content creation is coming of age and brands aren’t rewarded for ‘showing up to the game.’ They need to outperform the competition to win the audience’s favor and earn the results they want.
Timing distribution for more engagement
One factor that could improve content engagement is timing distribution. In a separate study, Track Maven reported that marketers generally flood the web with content at the same times – during the middle of the work day, in the middle of the workweek.
The result? Information overload, lower engagement
Even if your target audience is active during these peak times, they might not be able to find your content in search results or on social media news feeds. One alternative is to publish and/or promote your best content during off-peak hours when it doesn’t have to compete as much to get viewers’ attention.
The data backs up this approach. While fewers articles are published during the evening (after 6 p.m.), social shares actually pick up steam between the hours of 6 p.m. and 12 a.m.
It’s a similar story with weekend posting and shares. People engage with content more on the weekends, even though brands publish fewer articles on Saturday and Sunday.
Fine-turning content to the target audience’s search tendencies
Timing distribution just right is only part of the larger solution. The broader challenge is to make sure content messaging matches up with search intent and meets readers’ needs:
- Can you fine-tune article headlines to answer relevant search queries?
- Are you using the language your customers use to find you?
- Does your content offer value that readers can’t find from other sources (i.e. your expertise)?
Content marketing isn’t losing momentum, it’s going through a development period that will separate the wheat from the chaff. Your blog content needs to be useful and entertaining, optimized for search and social media to generate audience engagement. It’s a tall order, but marketers who master the right topic and distribution strategy will catch readers’ attention and reap the rewards of stronger traffic, engagement and conversions.
Here are some examples of our favorite content marketing campaigns: