Content creation can sometimes seem like throwing a penny into a wishing well; you get your hopes up, toss your penny, and then watch it float to the bottom, lost among hundreds of other pieces of change.
And now there are more pennies in the content marketing wishing well than ever. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 88% of B2B brands are using content marketing, with 76% reporting they’ll be putting out even more content in 2016 than they did in 2015. But there’s strong evidence to suggest that more content doesn’t always mean better content. In 2015, B2B marketers spent $5.2 billion on content creation, but studies show most businesses are wasting about 25 cents of every dollar they spend. However, understanding why audiences are ignoring your content and then retooling to make it more engaging is one of the best ways to make sure you’re not just tossing quarters into the well. Here are some of the top reasons content gets ignored.
I never saw it.
The sad truth is, most content doesn’t get much attention. A recent study of 100,000 social media posts found over 50% had just two or fewer combined likes, shares, and comments, while over 75% had no external links. Those are pretty distressing numbers, but they just go to show that content for content’s sake isn’t going to cut it. There is a bright side, though. Audiences are absolutely willing to engage with content that inspires, educates, and entertains. The key is making sure content serves a purpose for the consumer and not just the brand.
I couldn’t share it.
Audiences are also much less likely to engage with content if they can’t share it. The University of California at Berkeley calls this “the sharing effect” and has found that people get more joy from positive images when their friends can see them as well. These days, most people use social media as a way of sharing their lives with the world. Make sure you’re taking full advantage of the sharing effect by not only adding easy to use sharing buttons to all your content, but also breaking content into easily sharable sections to get audiences tweeting, pinning, and instagramming all your best research, product photos, and quiz results.
It didn’t stand out.
As Wired recently pointed out, the Internet is awash in content. From the 400 hours of YouTube videos posted every minute to the 80 million daily photos posted on Instagram, consumers’ attention is more divided than it’s ever been.
But that’s not to say that audiences don’t want content. In fact, half of B2B buyers are relying on content to make purchase decisions. The caveat, however, is that since they’re relying on content to make purchasing decisions, white papers, case studies, and videos have to be better than ever to grab attention. According to a recent Demand Gen report, audiences want “short, interactive content that educates rather than sells.” Anything that reads too much like a sales pitch is going to be passed over in favor of content that feels more like a conversation and less like an ad.
It wasn’t relevant.
No one likes to feel misunderstood, and on the Internet, it can be easy to invoke the ire of consumers who feel alienated by clueless content. As a matter of fact, 74% of consumers report being frustrated by irrelevant content, and still more startling, 67% say that they would leave a website after being shown an ad for donations to a political party they didn’t agree with. The only surefire way to avoid inadvertently offending your audience is to let them take the lead by adding quizzes, calculators, and assessments that let brand and customer get to know one another before moving forward in the purchase cycle.
It wasn’t interactive.
As content marketing becomes an essential part of brand strategy, the role of content is changing. Consumers are using content as a means of making purchase decisions, but they’re also more wary than ever before of being “marketed to.” Adding a helpful assessment to a white paper or a quiz to a landing page is a great way to get new customers engaging with the brand, not to mention creating a feedback loop of data that helps prove the utility of your product.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, consumers are much more receptive to interactive content than traditional, static content. Interactive content is 81% more effective at “grabbing attention” than static content, which means more clicks, likes, and shares. It might also save marketers money, since 79% of content marketers agree that interactive content has reusable value in the form of repeat visitors and multiple exposures.
So don’t let your content get lost in the shuffle by simply wishing for more engagement! Consumers are searching for great content, so make sure you’re out there inviting interaction by keeping content relevant and making sure it’s sharable.