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Everyone says “Content is King” in today’s marketing landscape. While that’s a nifty little motto, it’s led marketers to churn out content to the point that we’re now drowning in blog posts. It’s easy to get lost in this content clutter, which begs the question: If a blog is posted online and no one reads it, does it serve any purpose?

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I attended the ClickZ Live conference in New York and left with some great takeaways about content marketing. Here are some tips for creating online content—blog posts, social media, videos, landing pages—that will connect with your audience.

 

1. Keep It Bite-Sized

You might enjoy a good novel, but the average internet user isn’t looking for a novel. They’re scrolling through their phone on the train or wasting time at work, so they want content that’s quick, digestible, and gets right to the point.

  • Humans now have an average attention span of 8.25 seconds, compared to 12 seconds in 2000.
  • Goldfish have a 9 second attention span. Granted, they have fewer distractions.

Goldfish

 

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That means people probably aren’t going to read a 700-word article when 300 succinct words can make the point. Same goes for social media posts.

  • Facebook posts under 80 characters have 23% more interactions than longer posts.
  • Users are 17% more likely to engage with Tweets under 100 characters.

 

2. Pictures Are Worth A Thousand Retweets

Most of the time I’m on Facebook, I’m just mindlessly scrolling, waiting for something to catch my eye. It’s almost always a funny video or picture. I guess I’m not alone.26BAE4EA00000578-2998541-image-m-14_1426589473774

  • Among the most shared Facebook posts, 87% include a photo.
  • Tweets that include photos are 35% more likely to be retweeted.
  • Videos increase retweets by 28%.

Not only is visual content more likely to catch the eye of users, it also encourages them to share and interact with your brand. All of a sudden, they’re doing the legwork of building your audience and generating word-of-mouth. Look to Buzzfeed and Pinterest for visual inspiration.

 

3. Be A Human

Easier said than done. So many companies try to push their product with old-school funnel marketing, but the consumer decision-making process has changed.

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People now have so many resources when making a purchasing decision. Brand messaging is only one facet—people are far more likely to trust online reviews from other customers. Would you go to a restaurant if it only had 2 stars on Yelp?

When approaching content, step into your audience’s shoes. Ask yourself: Is this something I would want to read? Is this something I would want to share? What would sharing this content say about me as a person?

  • 66% of social media users share content to give followers a sense of their personality and values. Think of it as personal branding.

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People know when they’re being sold. Don’t be sales-y in your content. Pushing a product has to take a back seat to telling a story that audiences will connect with and be proud to share.

 

4. Join The Conversation

Breaking the internet can be a fickle thing. Trending topics change constantly and just when you think you’ve latched onto something topical and relevant, some new headline has taken its place.

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 Remember the Llamas on the Run? That was fun for a day.

You need to act fast to get topical content out there, otherwise you’ll miss the boat. If you wait three weeks, you’ll be too late and run the risk of appearing out of touch. But if you come up with a fresh twist on a hot story and successfully tie it into your brand, it can pay major dividends.

 

5. Limit Your Options

Giving customers fewer options can actually lead to higher conversions, especially when it comes to landing page optimization.

Have you ever been shopping on a clothing site and been so overwhelmed by the sheer number of options that you don’t end up buying anything? Me too.Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 2.40.21 PM

 

A study found that when jars of jam were put on display at a grocery store:

  • A table with 6 jars had 40% of customers stop by and 30% of them bought a jar.
  • A table with 24 jars had 60% of customers stop by, but only 3% made a purchase.

 

The key is to have one clearly defined goal for a landing page, whether that’s making a sale or generating a lead. Tailor the page to achieve that one goal. Cluttering the page with too many products or CTAs can ultimately push people away and lose conversions.

 

So, to help your content rise above the clutter, keep it short, visual, topical, and don’t be afraid to be empathetic.

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Conference Recaps

How to Stand Out in a Crowded Web Marketing Field
Blogging

How to Prove to Your Boss that Content Marketing Adds Value
Social Media

A Smorgasbord of Social Media – Making Conversations Even Easier

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