In the content marketing game, getting people on your website is typically the main objective. Posting great content improves your reputation, increases your visibility, and can serve as a funnel for referral traffic, but inbound traffic numbers alone aren’t enough to justify your use of content marketing as a revenue generating strategy. As an extreme example, consider your content marketing is capable of attracting 1,000 people a month to your site, but none of those people stick around beyond their entry page. Few people experience this degree of disconnect, but 87 percent of B2B marketers do struggle with creating engaging content.
If you want to maximize your brand exposure to new visitors and increase the likelihood of visitors eventually becoming customers, you need to optimize your content to keep people on your site for a longer period of time.
These seven types of content have the greatest power to keep users interested in your brand:
1. Multi-Part Posts. Multi-part posts, if they’re proficiently written, almost demand users to further explore your site. For example, if you write a post called “Becoming a Better Writer,” your readers might be satisfied once they’ve hit the end of it. However, if you explore half the content in twice as much detail and rename it “Becoming a Better Writer, Part 1,” anyone who enjoyed the article will instantly want to read the second part. Once you’ve initiated a click through to a new article, those users will be further compelled to seek even more content.
2. Ongoing Features or Series. Similar to the multi-part post strategy, ongoing series naturally inspire people to find more, similar content on your site. How you approach this is up to you. You could have a dedicated weekly article, like “This Week in Social Media News” on a certain day of the week, or monthly interviews with thought leaders in your industry. The only requirement is that you have to be consistent with it—once you’ve settled on an approach, stick with it. This will help you generate an ongoing loyal audience, and will also ensure that the inbound readers interested in your material will be more likely to stay and consume more.
3. Instructions and Guides. How-to articles and tutorials are always a popular bet because people will always need to learn how to do things. These posts are especially popular for content marketers because they tend to rank high for long-tail keywords in Google, but they also help readers identify you as a major authority in your space. For example, if you write a great article on how to change a filter in a central air conditioner, users will trust you enough to consult you for their more complex heating and cooling needs.
4. Opinions and Predictions. Opinion posts are intimidating for many marketers, but you can’t deny their ability to keep users on your site. Take a strong stance on a particular issue and you might drive a small percentage of people away, but the people who remain and enjoy your content will want to venture deeper and see what you have to say about other topics.
5. Original Research. Original research is always a big hit because people can’t find the information anywhere else. Make a post on a survey you conducted, or statistics you were able to generate on your own. You’ll earn tons of links and shares, and the people who do visit will want to learn more about what you have to offer the community. The only downside is that most original research takes a lot of time and money to produce, but in my experience, it’s worth it.
6. Posts With Candid Images. Images instantly make a post more engaging, and with so many consumers getting used to image-based social mediums like Instagram and Snapchat, an accompanying image is almost a necessity for any type of content. The more images you post, and the more candid, appropriate, and original they are, the better. Your users will be far more likely to feel engaged by your brand, and want to read and view more of your material. And don’t limit yourself to still images, either—71 percent of companies note that content with video tends to convert better than content without video.
7. Case Studies. Last but not least, case studies serve two major roles; first, they illustrate a before-and-after story of a company or individual, and second, they make your brand look more capable and more professional. If you do a good job subtly demonstrating the power and ability of your brand, consumers can’t help but venture deeper to learn more about who you are and what you do.
How to Determine the Staying Power of Your Content
Applying these strategies can make your content more likely to keep people on your site, but if you want to measure and improve your results, you have to be objective about it. As you work these strategies into selected posts, log into Google Analytics to determine the bounce rates for each of your new entry pages—this is especially useful if you syndicate links to these posts on social media, so the posts can serve as a first-line exposure to your brand. The lower your bounce rate, the better—and remember, the quality of your content is only one influencer of bounce rates. It’s also worth examining the design and user experience of your site.
It’s also worth looking at Google’s convenient and handy Behavior Flow chart, which you can find under the Behavior tab. Here, you’ll be met with a visual map of where the majority of your traffic goes once they’ve entered your site. You can use this chart to determine which pieces of content seem to have the highest likelihood of passing traffic through to other pages.
Treat your content strategy as a constantly evolving work in progress. You won’t be able to perfect your ability to keep users onsite with a single adjustment, or in the first month of your rollout. Only after a period of experimenting, testing, and developing will you come to see the results you want.
And if you’d like to see how content marketing can help you improve SEO, you should read this eBook!