By Kelsey Meyer President of Influence & Co.
Between maintaining your company website, building a solid social media following, targeting audiences in online advertising, and nearly every other tactic digital marketing teams use today, what’s the one thing they all have in common? Content.
Content is a crucial aspect of your marketing campaigns because it’s how your company gets its message across to consumers. As any digital marketer knows, though, it’s not enough to simply push your content out into the world and assume everything will fall into place. Content alone isn’t the key to digital success; content that engages your audience is how you’ll achieve results.
Because it’s engagement that counts when it comes to content, Influence & Co. set out to research the link between content engagement and success.
We surveyed online editors at leading publications and analyzed more than 4 million pieces of content to discover what separates the most successful content from the content that readers pass over without a second glance, and we compiled our findings into “The State of Digital Media.”
Our research uncovered several unique findings about how people engage with content, and there are three simple things you can do to improve engagement:
Seventy-one percent of editors said they would reject contributed content if the content was not professionally written or edited. That might sound harsh if you don’t consider yourself a pro, but consider what sloppy content says about you (and the editor who publishes your content).
If your content is poorly written or difficult to understand, readers will quickly overlook it. Typos and grammatical mistakes can cause audiences to disengage in the short term and develop a negative impression of your brand in the long term.
Well-written content, on the other hand, improves your brand image, as your audience will see you as a professional and a thought leader in your industry. Editors will also be more likely to accept, publish, and share your work, which will help grow your digital marketing efforts if guest blogging is part of your strategy.
Publishing an article and then calling it a day isn’t enough. Rather, you have to promote your content strategically to reach and engage readers. And one of the best ways to do that is through social media platforms.
Our research saw Facebook snag the top spot among social media platforms for social shares and engagement, followed by LinkedIn and then Twitter. Each platform is different, and it’s important to share your content on the appropriate social site.
If you’re a B2B marketer, for example, LinkedIn’s audience will likely be the most interested in your content. If your content has been repurposed into an informative branded video, Facebook may be the way to go now that videos are so easily shared on the site. And because nearly 90 percent of Twitter users use the site for news, your news-related content might engage more readers on that platform.
Don’t forget to follow up and continue connecting to readers by using hashtags when appropriate, replying to comments, and posting in groups to ensure your audience remains engaged.
Our analysis uncovered the fact that content publication is relatively steady throughout the week and then tapers off on weekends. But reader engagement is the opposite: It remains steady during the week and then peaks on weekends.
To take advantage of these peak times when readers are looking to engage, start posting more content on the weekends. If you have publishing power, test out publishing your content on weekends. If the date and time of publication is out of your hands and at another editor’s discretion, share your content on social media during the weekends when engagement is higher.
Your social media director doesn’t need to be on call all weekend to do this; simply schedule your posts ahead of time and check back on Monday to see how they performed.
Digital marketing is all about content, but your content strategy has to be rooted in data and executed properly to be effective. Focus on cleaning up your content, sharing it where your readers are most likely to find it, and paying attention to when they’re most active to boost your content engagement, and check out the rest of our findings in “The State of Digital Media.”
What ways have you found most effective for engaging your audience online? Share your stories with me in the comments!
Kelsey Meyer is the president of Influence & Co., a content marketing firm that specializes in helping companies showcase their expertise through thought leadership. Influence & Co.’s clients range from venture-backed startups to Fortune 500 brands.