When it comes to searching for good advice on the subject of content marketing, it can be hard to separate the good from the bad. So much literature on the topic – and coming from so many sources of varying degrees of credibility – makes it harder still. But while serious forays into content marketing can be intimidating, it doesn’t have to be hard to get off on the right foot. Here are a few short, simple, but effective thoughts on what makes successful content marketing.
Avoid Being Forgettable – What’s the last thing you remember seeing on the Internet? Can you even recall the last thing you saw on Instagram or Twitter from five minutes ago? Nowadays, we digest so much content, that our brain is constantly spitting out huge quantities of whatever seems disposable and not worth remembering. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that we forget 50% of what’s happened to us in the past hour, 70% of the past twenty-four hours, and 90% from the previous week. We simply don’t have the bandwidth, especially for things that flash briefly before us online and on social media. But consider for a moment, the things that actually do. Why do they resonate with you, personally? And once you figure that out, how can you implement those things into content that you make for other people?
Get People’s Attention . . . – Among online readers, studies show that 55% of people spend fifteen seconds or less reading an article before clicking off. This is why hooking your readers from the start is so important. To illustrate just how important it is, consider this widely-held belief among writers, that you should spend just as long crafting a headline to your finished piece as you did writing the piece itself. A good headline generates clicks and a strong opening paragraph helps to retain forward momentum. After all, studies find that 80% of people click on a piece for the headline alone.
Then Keep It! – Authors Chip and Dan Heath, in their bestselling book Made to Stick, write extensively on why some ideas survive while others die in the minds of those who hear or see them. Keeping them simple, describing them in unexpected ways, and illustrating them through stories and anecdotes are three methods they believe can help an audience retain ideas being discussed. As previously stated, the single biggest obstacle inherent to developing content for an audience is making them care enough to remember its core message. It is, therefore, imperative to employ as many methods as possible to ensure that your message is, in fact, made to stick.