It’s only going to get worse – as more and more people keep creating more and more content, the likelihood that someone is actually going to read what you’ve written is getting slimmer and slimmer. Still, we see top marketers say things Gary Vaynerchuk saying, “The more content I put out, the luckier I seem to get.” And Bill Gates said, “Content is King.” It seems like all anyone talks about is content, content, and more content. You put out a ton of content, yet all you hear is crickets. As a result, you give up, and stop spending so much time creating content – you’ve got better things to do, right? If no one is reading your content (or watching it or listening to it), is it worth it? Should you keep going?
Stop and consider why. Why are you putting out content in the first place? Then, take a look at the world’s top websites: Amazon, YouTube, Facebook, even your local news sites. What do they all have in common? They all produce a ton of content, and not just monthly, weekly, or even daily, but continuously. Every time you go to one of these sites, you are presented with new information. I recently did a survey to verify this.The results were not surprising, but hopefully they are enlightening to anyone who is running their own website as to why visitors go to a website in the first place, and why they return (or not).
In response to the question, “How often do you visit this site?” 84% of the respondents said they visited Facebook either more than once a day or several times per week. But business sites are visited “Never, Seldom, or Occasionally” a whopping 92% of the time. So, it seems that sites which have more frequent content updates are visited more frequently.
To verify this, I then asked the question, “What are your reasons for returning to this site?” I included a choice for the obvious answers, such as “interact with friends on Facebook” or “buy something on Amazon.” But respondents could select multiple answers to this question. These answers were quite revealing: 42% said they go to Facebook for “latest information and updates” and 50% said they go to business sites for the same reason. 33% of people go to Facebook for “Personalized Content” and 25% go to business sites for the same reason. Even though people are visiting Facebook much more frequently than they are business sites, the reasons why people are returning to a site are essentially the same – they are looking for good, personalized content and updated information.
Content is important, but you are not getting any traction from your content – why and what can you do about it?
The first thing is to make sure that you have a strategy. Most marketers (73%) have no strategy for creating content. They just post whatever they want whenever they want. This makes it easy for your readers to ignore what you are posting. You might have noticed that I post something on this blog and newsletter every week. I also put out a podcast post every week. Consistency is crucial if you want to be successful online. Most likely, you are publishing often enough. When it comes to uploading content, quality beats quantity any day. If you’re just posting once a month, you’re going to struggle to grab any real attention. Don’t confuse readers with a sales pitch. Your content shouldn’t sell, it should inform. You are trying to build trust with your content.
Let’s say you are selling a gourmet food product, like sauces and spices. You should be creating weekly content telling people how to use your glazes or spices as rubs. Provide a new recipe each week. Teach them how to make a great meal using your products. Interview customers who have come up with some creative ways to use what you are offering. I don’t sell gourmet food items, but this is essentially what I do every week – I show you new ways to market and sell your products online without making a sales pitch. The result? My site ranks higher on alexa.com than most of my competitors. You can do the same for your website.
You’re practically begging people to leave quickly
You’ve probably been told to make your content scannable. This is about the worst thing you can do if you want people to spend time on your page. Think about it. How long does it take you to scan an article?
Instead you want to give the perception that your content is scannable.
Most readers try to skim marketing content rather than investing the time to read it. They look for the points that stand out, such as subheads, callouts and images to get the gist of your article. If your reader can successfully do this, then there’s no reason to actually read it. You obviously don’t want that.
But if your article is a wall of text, it will look like too much work, and people won’t read that either.
What you need to do is give your content the appearance that it is scannable and use those elements to draw readers in.For example, I frequently try to use Click to Tweet callouts to get people to keep reading. Click To Tweet
You might also try using subheads within your copy.
I also asked why you visited a website in the first place. Again, the answers did not surprise me – regardless of the type of site, the majority went there because “a friend told me to go there.” Marketers and SEO companies would like to have you believe that the reason people find your site is because of a Google search, but this only accounted for about 33% of the responses. Another 25% is due to advertising. Depending upon the site, 42% to 67% of the respondents visited a site because of word of mouth. And word of mouth happens because the site provides great content.
So should you keep creating content if no one is paying attention? The answer of course is yes – your content lives on as long as your website is active. I’ve got people reading my blog posts years after I’ve created an article. Plus, the more content you produce, the better you get at creating it.
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Are you interested in learning how to really create and manage the content on your website? Take a look at the new set of courses I’m releasing on Udemy.