Content marketing is undoubtedly effective, but content marketing will only work for you when you come to terms with one key reality: that the vast majority of content will not succeed on its own.
In a study that analyzed the spread of millions of messages on social media, researchers from Yahoo realized the following:
- Less than 1 percent of content will get more than seven shares.
- 95 percent of content will only be discovered through its original source or from one degree of separation.
In essence: the onus of the discovery of your content, and consequently the success of your content marketing efforts, lies on you. As a result, beyond simply creating content, you must also focus on non-content actions that can boost the chances of success of your content marketing efforts.
Below are six non-content hacks guaranteed to boost the success of your content marketing efforts:
1. Amp Up Your Content Distribution Efforts
As a content creator, it is critical that you come to terms with a harsh reality: your content is highly unlikely to go viral. When researchers from Yahoo decided to study the spread of millions of social media messages years ago, they came to the realization that the vast majority of these messages don’t stand the chance of going viral.
The findings of the Yahoo study makes one thing clear: if you don’t put enough effort into distributing your content, it is highly likely to die a slow painful death – and your content marketing efforts will suffer in return. Effective content distribution is all the more critical because, as I stated earlier, you need people to see your content repeatedly before it registers and they act on it.
Here are some tips to help you enhance the distribution of your content:
- Leverage discovery networks like Outbrain to ensure that your content gets distributed to a lot more people. It is practically impossible for the average business to get any form of link/traffic from sites the caliber of CNN and TIME. Discovery networks like Outbrain make this possible, allowing you to distribute your content far and wide and get more traffic.
- Set up push notifications. If you don’t currently have push notifications enabled on your site, enable it and set it up to automatically distribute new content to subscribers. It is the new RSS.
- Build a list. It goes without saying that you should have an email list set up to capture email addresses of visitors to your site. Whether you want to drive repeated traffic, engagement, or sales, email can be a good channel for this.
- More importantly, you should carefully leverage your channels to ensure effective distribution of your content. This means you have to repeatedly share your content on social media and other channels. In fact, research by Buzzsumo shows that constantly resharing old posts on social media can boost engagement by a massive 686 percent.
2. Improve Your Website Speed
Improving your website speed is perhaps one of the simplest and most effective non-content hacks you can leverage to give your content marketing efforts a significant boost. Several research studies have demonstrated noticeable increase both in conversions and traffic simply by improving a website’s speed:
- Akamai’s research study found that a simple 100 millisecond delay in a website’s loading time can reduce conversion rates by 7 percent.
- Portent’s study that analyzed 94 million e-commerce page views over a 30-day period found that every second counts: between the first 0 to 5 seconds of a site loading, every additional second of load time reduces conversion rates by 4.42 percent.
- For organic and paid search traffic, on both mobile and desktop devices, site speed is an official ranking factor used by Google to determine which pages to show to its users.
How about actual case studies involving people who have improved their results by optimizing their site speed? Here are two:
- By optimizing several aspects of its website, RankPay improved its PageSpeed and YSlow scores by approximately 20 percent each. This yielded a 3.5 percent reduction in its homepage load time, a 20 percent reduction in its bounce rate, and a 10 percent increase in its organic presence.
- When Pinterest rebuilt its pages with a focus on site speed, page load time for the average pinner reduced by 40 percent. This improvement in site speed resulted in a 15 percent increase in SEO traffic as well as a 15 percent increase in performance.
If your website traffic and conversions are poor or, worse, have been on a decline, one of the most effective non-content hacks should be to first take a look at how your website loads. You want to do the following:
- Carefully review your website infrastructure. There is no shortcutting this. An in-depth analysis and comparison of WordPress web hosts found that whereas a particular web host had a load time of 419ms, another had an extremely discouraging load time of 5,977ms (which is essentially 14 times slower). In this case, without changing hosts, nothing would really move the needle for improving the speed of a website on the poor host.
- Regularly analyze your site speed and performance. Using key tools like Google Pagespeed Insights and YSlow, you want to regularly analyze your site’s speed score on both desktop and mobile. The key advantage to doing this is that these tools will give you pointed suggestions on what you can do to improve your website’s speed.
- Treat mobile and desktop site speed separately. This means that measures to optimize your desktop and mobile site speed should be taken individually. Realize that there are now more mobile users than desktop users, and don’t take this fact for granted. Don’t assume that your site is automatically mobile-optimized because it is desktop-optimized .
3. Tap Into the Power of the Bandwagon Effect
Have you ever heard of the bandwagon effect?
It originated in the 19th century when Dan Rice, a famous clown at the time, was campaigning for Zachary Taylor, who would later become the 12th president of the United States. Rice employed a series of methods including asking people to “jump on the bandwagon” he was using to campaign for Taylor to show their support for Taylor. This quickly became associated with the campaign (which was successful), and the bandwagon effect was coined to indicate an action that many people embrace due to its perceived popularity.
The bandwagon effect can be leveraged to improve both your conversions and traffic. Here are some tips:
- If you have an impressive key metric (user base, traffic, subscribers, etc), showcase this metric on your website to get people to realize that you’re “the real deal.”
- Look for a respected celebrity or industry thought-leader considered “cool” by your audience and get them to be associated with your brand. They can be your “brand ambassador,” “adviser,” or whatever.
- If you have a lot of users, or new customers/subscribers, you can use a real time notification that showcases user activity on your website so that people can see that your website is buzzing with activity.
4. Make Good Use of Trust Factors
If you aren’t using trust marks already, you are most likely losing about half the people who could have converted as a result of your content.
A research study by Econsultancy and Toluna found that 48 percent of people would not trust a website that doesn’t use a trust seal, and that 61 percent of people have stopped making a purchase due to a lack of trust seal. Other key trust factors besides the use of trust seals can also be implemented:
- Enable SSL: Not only do people trust sites more that use SSL but search engines are also more likely to rank content from these sites better in their results pages.
- Use trust marks: Be sure to make use of trust marks such as the PayPal logo, the Norton secure logo, the BBB logo, or other highly popular and renowned marks regarded as a sign of a site’s credibility and security.
- Use social proof: Effectively leverage social proof such as user testimonials, reviews, and key numbers to let people know that they are not alone in using your website.
5. Retarget Your Content to Users
Have you ever heard of the marketing principle called “the rule of 7”?
In essence, it means that prospects have to be shown your offer at least seven times before it registers in their mind and they seriously consider taking action. This means a significant majority of people who come across your content or offer will only skim its surface. For you as a content marketer, this means you don’t necessarily need to create a lot more content; you only need to ensure that the people who are familiar with your brand get to see your content more often – and the best way to do this is by retargeting them.
Some interesting facts:
- Visitors who are retargeted with display ads are more likely to convert by 70 percent.
- Retargeted ads have a 10 times higher CTR than ordinary ads; while the average CTR for an ordinary display ad is 0.07 percent, that of a retargeted ad is 0.7 percent.
- 91 percent of marketers who retarget find it to be better-performing than search, email, or other kinds of ads.
As you can see, retargeted ads aren’t only going to generate more traffic, they are also going to generate better-quality, higher-converting traffic. If you haven’t been retargeting your content yet, it might be a good idea to start.
6. Improve on User Experience
Do you know that 74 percent of people will switch to another brand if they find it too difficult to purchase from you?
This goes to show that user experience isn’t only important but it is also critical. Focusing a lot more on content than on user experience is likely to backfire.
Here are some ideas:
- Don’t try to be disruptive at the expense of user experience. If users are accustomed to locating a menu or an item in a particular location on websites in your industry, putting it in an opposite location could backfire by making things difficult for them.
- Reduce the number of form fields and processes involved in signing up to your website. Research agrees that having a complex sign up process negatively impacts conversions.
- In situations where you cannot reduce the sign up fields, a multi-step approach to sign ups has been found to be very effective.
Conclusion – Think Beyond Content
If you want to get the most from your content marketing efforts, you should occasionally think beyond content. What are some of the non-content tactics you can do to improve results of your content marketing efforts? Hopefully the above ideas are helpful!