Even those of us who love a deep dive in the day’s news sometimes struggle with the sheer volume of articles, podcasts and videos being blasted at us from every direction. It can be overwhelming and, frankly, exhausting.
BuzzSumo’s Content Trends Report 2018 confirms that we are indeed experiencing a moment of content saturation. This should ring alarm bells for companies that have been diligently churning out copy.
Yet the great takeaway from this report is not that content is dead, rather that companies need to get smarter about what they write and share. In this new landscape, quality beats quantity.
Companies have been rallying behind online content for approximately 10 years now. So-called earned media, when companies convince reporters to write about them, was getting more difficult to secure, and platforms such as Medium and LinkedIn gave companies the opportunity to tell their own stories. But too often the focus was on quantity, click-bait headlines and jumping on the trend of the day.
That may have worked for a little while, but since 2015, content engagement has plummeted and content social sharing is down 50 percent. The report’s author, Steve Rayson, says that this is a result of too many people writing about the same topics: “In many topic areas we see that as the volume of content rises, the average number of shares per articles declines.”
But this is far from dire news. People still want fresh content; they’re just looking for it in new ways. They are moving away from Facebook (which changed its algorithm making news sharing a little trickier) and social referrals and towards sources such as Slack channels, company websites and email newsletters. There’s been an increase in LinkedIn sharing and trusted “quality” sources like Harvard Business Review and The Economist.
Companies need to rethink how they approach content. Rayson provides 10 top-notch takeaways for content marketers. Here are the five FitchInk thinks are most important:
- “Be clear on your objectives for content and social media.” What are your goals? The metrics vary depending on whether you are looking to drive referral traffic or build your brand. You might be garnering a lot of social shares but losing conversions. Clarifying expected results will help you adjust your strategy.
- “Back to basics: Build your audience and work on direct distribution models.” Don’t make a viral post your goal. Concentrate on intelligent, thoughtful copy that will attract an audience—even slowly. You’re better off with a consistent crowd of interested readers than a single copy comet that hurtles through the internet and then disappears.
- “Encourage user generated content.” Want engaged readers? Encourage them to participate in the discussion. Rayson suggests developing campaigns that reward interaction such as “surveys, competitions and feedback.”
- “Don’t forget promotion.” No matter where you publish online, these days you need to sweat a little to get that copy read. Encourage your staff to share it, blitz social media and consider paying a PR or social media guru to help.
- “Focus on high quality content.” Take the time to do your research, present original thoughts, and clean up your copy. These days, copy needs to be sharp and authoritative in order for it to be shared.
Be smart about how you approach your content—don’t just start writing a blog or thought leadership column because you believe that might boost your company’s brand. Make sure you’re bringing a unique point of view to anything you write. Take an audit on what you are currently producing, what measurable results you’ve had and how you want to improve. It might be that a weekly email will provide better engagement than a daily blog. Or perhaps focusing on updating your LinkedIn posts will reach a broader more specific and receptive audience than occasional op-eds in major news outlets. Or maybe you want to take your time and write just one article or white paper a quarter and selectively shop it around.
After all, as Rayson firmly and repeatedly reminds his readers, “less is more.”
Love these ideas but don’t know how to get started? We can help. Drop us a line or call us at 312-772-5893.