Content marketing fails – Five ways to stop making mind-numbing content

The word on the street (or in the bowl) is that the human attention span has fallen to just 8 seconds, that’s shorter than even the dimmest goldfish. With that in mind, I better keep this interesting.

Our lives are spent in a constant flicker between world and phone, people are sharing articles without ever reading them and half of all page views last less than a minute.

In response, the world of content marketing is being forced to change strategy, reimagining content for fast-paced consumption.

Think about it, what can I do to keep your attention?

Here are our five top tips on how to create content that gets consumed and shared…

 1) Work to the highest standards…

Bad writing, miss-placed or miss-timed content costs businesses every day. If it isn’t driving results, it isn’t worthwhile.

To eradicate ineffective content from your business, and keep your standards of production high, there are a few processes you can get into the habit of doing:

  • Validate blog posts with industry and persona research
  • Analyse competitors output to see which content is driving engagement, and on which channels
  • Conduct social media polls/surveys to find out what topics and content types interest your audience
  • Create a style guide or editorial checklist to maintain the standard of your output

2) Invest in thought leadership

The ultimate aim – your website, blog or social channels being the go-to hub for insight in your industry!

Going the extra mile to produce content that demonstrates thought leadership in your field is a sure-fire way to keep visitors engaged in your content, and returning to your feed again and again.

The ultimate aim – your website, blog or social channels being the go-to hub for insight in your industry! To do this you need to start approaching content marketing in exciting new ways. Here are some great places to get started:

  • Are there any topics that someone in the organization, such as a founder or executive, is uniquely qualified to write about?
  • Guest posts
  • Long-form content with original research
  • Interviews with influential industry professionals
  • Collaborations / cross promotions

3) Create visual content

The more visual the content, the better it performs. I really should have made a video of me saying this, with a hilarious hat.

It’s simple, readers spend more time looking at images than words, and people are far more capable of remembering something they’ve seen than something they’ve read. Thus, the hat.

When you’re creating content, stop and ask yourself if there could be a better, more visual way you could say it. Try to think in terms of…

  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Photos
  • Audio-visual
  • Social story
  • Hats?

…would one of these formats resonate better with your audience? It’s worth considering.

4) Put yourself in the reader’s shoes/eyes

If the reader’s attention span is shortening, it would be pretty stubborn to ignore this fact when creating content.

Put yourself in your reader’s position. Statistically speaking, they’re very busy and prone to skim-reading content.

Make it easy for them to follow, use different formatting, layout, and coding options to make the vital information stand out, giving them a valuable experience no matter how long they spend with your article.

Here’s a few ways you can do this:

  • Headers to clearly signpost the structure of the content
  • Bolded text to highlight key information
  • Bullet points / numbered lists to offer quick insights
  • Recap section to help readers remember what they’ve just read (seriously)

5) Spread your efforts across a variety of channels

Audiences comes in all different shapes and sizes

Now your content is looking great – it’s super clear, super palatable, super interesting. But to be able to consume it, audiences need to find it.

Audiences come in all different shapes and sizes and vary across different platforms. For your content to get discovered, and then read, it needs to be published in as many relevant places as possible, not just your blog.

Social media platforms offer a variety of features for publishing original content, and, if you hit prime time posting slots, you can quickly get traction for your content.

10 more seconds, then you can think about something else…

Competition is fierce. You need to stand out. Know your audience. Think differently. Have fun with it. Make content your proud of. Do your research. Put the content in front of the right audiences at the right times. Make it easy to follow. Make it engaging. Make it resonate.

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