This year isn’t just about creating content. It’s about producing consistent, compelling content that will help your brand stand out amid all the noise online. If you want to dominate in 2017, your content must be in-depth, interactive and informative. And, yes, better than that of your competitors.
As Google’s algorithms and user expectations continue to change, it’s important that marketers be agile and stay ahead of trends. Not long ago, you could post a few 300-word blogs each week to keep your brand top of mind. But, as more content floods the web, it’s become more difficult to see short-form blogs amid the digital clutter vying for consumer attention. Last year, when the average top-ranking pages contain nearly 2,000 words, we discovered that users prefer longer content.
Consumers’ attention spans continue to shrink, but they still want articles that are longer, thorough, well-researched and intellectually challenging. Engaging your readers with more valuable content gives them more opportunities to see you as an authority and thought leader.
You can also increase your number of social shares and backlinks by posting comprehensive content. A study by BuzzSumo found that the more words in an article, the more times it was shared on social media.
The study, which analyzed the social share counts of more than 100 million articles, also found that much more short-form content is available online. This is great news for marketers seeking new ways to stand out. With less long-form competition, now is a good time to jump on this trend before too many others catch on.
Think about it. Taking time to write one massive blog, well-researched and content heavy, could yield a larger return than writing a slew of meaningless blogs offering readers little of value.
It’s important to note that readers on mobile devices also prefer longer content. A Pew Research Center study found that these users spent 123 seconds with long-form content but only 57 seconds with short-form content.
Interactive Visual Content
Breaking up long-form content with visual elements such as videos, photos, infographics, charts or maps is also important. That’s how you keep audiences engaged. By incorporating these elements, you give viewers more opportunities to interact with your content and, hopefully, stay on your site longer.
We’ve been stressing the importance of visual content, and now that 2017 is here, there’s no way to ignore that. Consumers expect and demand it.
Don’t stop at visual content. Focus on interactive visual content. Data visualization has become increasingly popular. That’s how marketers simplify complex data in an interactive, easy-to-consume way.
The number of design tools continues to grow. Sites such as Google Charts make it easy to create everything “from simple line charts to complex hierarchical tree maps” that you can easily add to your website.
The popularity of visual-only social-media sites such as Instagram and Snapchat proved that people want visual content. Don’t forget that formerly text-only sites such as Twitter and Facebook are now flooded with images and videos.
While it’s important to produce long-form content full of additional visual goodies for consumer interaction, it’s vital that the content be valuable and informative. If you want people to think of you as a subject-matter expert, you must give them reason to trust you as a resource. When they visit your site, the content should be consistent and relay information they can actually use.
The purpose behind content marketing is to provide viewers with informative content as opposed to simply telling them how great your brand is. The emphasis should be on them and what value you bring them.
Facebook has even decided to give preference to “informative content” in users’ news feeds. Last August, Facebook updated its algorithm to predict what content is most informative to individual users.
As a marketer, you must ensure that content you create is relevant to your page followers so they are more likely to find it “informative” and engage with it.
The world of content marketing is constantly evolving. Today’s trend can be gone tomorrow, so marketers must stay informed and ready to adjust their marketing strategies.
2017 is already a month old, but it’s never too late to create better content for readers. Get started now!