In one of the Facebook groups I’m a member of, a great question came up regarding the effectiveness of written posts and content marketing.
A friend of mine recently invested a lot of time into a yet another blog post, and she was really frustrated with the results. It had gotten almost no engagement.
In fact, the had noticed her blog posts have been getting almost no shares, especially in comparison to the video content she’s been creating.
Her question? Should she just ditch blogging and start creating exclusively video content?
It’s a great question, with a somewhat complicated answer, because as Tara Gentile said here, “It’s never a single blog post, video, or webinar that makes a sale. It’s a whole conversation.”
Done correctly, written content is a part of an effective conversation.
But the fact is, the data backs her up her experience.
- People who watch a video are 1.81x more likely to purchase than non-viewers. (source)
- By June 2015, mobile video plays exceeded 44% — up 74% from 2014. (source)
- Between April 2015 and November 2015, the amount of average daily video views on Facebook doubled from 4 billion video views per day to 8 billion. (source)
The stats don’t lie, folks. Video is here, growing rapidly, and it’s what everyone is actually engaging with. With Facebook Live, Periscope, Instagram, and so many more platforms equalizing the field and with the technology of smartphones improving to let us use great cameras anywhere, there’s no good reason not to be doing video.
This naturally leads any business owner who has been utilizing a content marketing strategy to ask a somewhat terrifying question.
Is written content done for?
Nope. Not by a long shot.
According to Neil Patel’s incredibly detailed study, long form content is performing better than ever, and many of us, especially in an internet era marked by fake news sites, are seeking more depth. (Think Wait but Why.)
In other words, wimpy, short, and otherwise rehashed content that does nothing for no one will do even less than it used to.
For a piece of writing to really sing, you need an original perspective, a strong voice, and enough relevancy to rise above the noise, whether that plays on current events, top trends, or – perhaps most importantly – the kind of high quality content your audience your audience has come to expect of you.
But even that isn’t enough to create a written post that will really hook readers. Great content utilizes a lot of marketing triggers that will encourage and reward readers for continuing to engage in a piece. For example, confirmation bias and social proof are two often used tactics to get you in the habit of clicking on a given author’s work.
So how can you create written content that will get shared?
1. Say something that fucking matters.
I wish this were a no-brainer. It’s not. Go read people’s self-indulgent blogs, and it’s terribly obvious. A good rule of thumb is to serve a delight or solve a problem. My most successful posts have been ones that focus on solving very real problems most people have. You can also go for an emotional appeal like I did in this post about depression and entrepreneurship. These are ways to engage with your readers where they are, relate to them, and make it clear you understand the problems they are going through.
2. Play the long game.
Pieces over 2000+ words perform best. Pieces that capitalize on relevant keyword searches build longterm SEO. Don’t worry about going viral today. Prepare for better gains tomorrow from better traffic sources.
3. Add images.
Yep, make it more visual. Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images. (source)
4. Add a video.
51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI. And keep it short. 60% of viewers stop watching after 2 minutes. (source)
5. Repurpose as much content as many ways as possible.
This may sound counter-intuitive, but this an effective mechanism for building brand recognition and increasing information retention. When someone reads something, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information after 3 days. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. This is exactly why pairing a blog post with an infographic is so effective.
When you create a blog post, create multiple assets as well in order for your audience to consume it in the way most convenient for them – which will also let you collect data on what is most effective with your audience.
Content marketing isn’t rockets science, folks. Watch the data, try new things, and don’t be afraid to do something different. The experts are all making it up anyway.