One of the more common themes I encounter on forums and LinkedIn groups is “Why won’t people engage with my content?” By content I mean your communication with your prospective and existing digital audiences – in short your inbound marketing efforts.
If we are completely honest, we know that not every piece of content we produce will appeal to every person. We simply hope that it will appeal to a large enough audience to achieve its goal – whether it be onsite goal conversions, driving traffic to the site or generating brand awareness. Returning to our question though, I think that the issue isn’t necessarily with your content rather it lies with how you package it and deliver that to your target audience. Sending communications which are of low quality, infrequent and irrelevant causes the audience to become disengaged and “brand blind”.
So what is it we do that causes brand fatigue? The answer is these three
- We don’t differentiate our content enough
- the content we do produce is irrelevant or low quality
- out communications cannot be controlled effectively by our audience (specifically for email and social channels).
Not Enough Differentiation
Brand fatigue begins to occur when there are too many messages on all of the different platforms the brand has a presence on. All of the colours, slogan and brand logo become white noise as users filter it out and just scroll past your content. Though the act of differentiation we are able to “keep it fresh” by breaking up our content types.
Wrong Frequency, Low Quality
A second contribution factor is frequency and quality. Everyone subscribes to email newsletters which offer up-to date news, offers and sales- but how often do we actually read these emails? Every morning I will have at least 15 emails to my personal email account, 11 of which will probably get deleted without a second glance whereas the others may get marked as read based purely on their subject line, who they are from and their snippet. Sometimes, I even receive marketing emails from brands I’ve forgotten that I signed up to.
Social platforms like Facebook work in a similar way – despite the best efforts of the News Feed algorithm, you still see content that you don’t want to, which leads me nicely onto my next point about control.
Users Want Control
It is important for users to have the option to control how we, as marketers, communicate with them via our brands. For emails, this can be as a simple as a preference centre, where we can offer options such as once a week, once a month, snooze for 3 months and unsubscribe or, through Facebook’s post option menu.
So what can you do to stop users getting turned off by your content? There is nothing more frustrating than investing your time and resources into a really great piece of content for it fall on deaf ears. Unfortunately, there is no one-size fits all solution to preventing brand fatigue. However, there are some practices you can implement on a platform by platform basis. Digitally, there are three main outlets for a brand to share the content that they produce – your blog, your social media channels and your email marketing.
Who Is Your Blog For?
When you are producing a blog article you have to remember these two things – who is this for? And why are we producing this? In answering these questions you can directly target your audience producing a much better level of engagement.
It is also important to be aware of your metrics, make good use of Google Analytics or your WordPress dashboard. By checking these on a regular basis you will gain a much better feel for which pieces of content are working. Personally, I look for these three metrics in Google Analytics to tell whether or not my blog posts have been successful; the number of organic entrances to the site via the blog post, the number of page views the blog post has achieved and the average time spent on the site. It would also be worthwhile to monitor the number of onsite comments your posts get as well as the number of social shares.
Once you have gained all of this information you can pop it into your content calendar and then look to invest more resources into those types of content which yield greatest results. One of the biggest misconceptions of a content marketer is that they have to consistently produce pieces of content on a daily basis and have a set, structured plan. It is very important to have structure but the job of the content marketer is to have as much success with the content they produce as possible. You must do this using the data available to drive decisions and correlate this with the content strategy to grow your channel’s audiences, your newsletter subscription list and drive conversions onsite.
On my blog, I discovered that the most popular time for me to post is at 2am GMT. This is a strange statistic on its own, but coupled with the fact that a huge percentage of my traffic originates from America, time difference becomes an important factor when considering my posting schedule. To accommodate all the time zones involved I decided to post later in the evening (GMT).
Are People Opening Your Emails?
When writing emails, it is important to remain as personal and as relevant as you can at all times. This can be achieved through a good email capture form, a good preference centre and good database management.
For example, you’re on a fashion website that sells products such as shoes and handbags and you sign up for their email newsletter. You get their standard, automated welcome email with maybe your name personalised into it. Next week you get an email with a great offer for a clutch bag and some news about new shoulder bags – whilst there might not be anything wrong with the email itself, what if as a user I was only interested in shoes?
This is where an effective signup form comes into play, by being able to acquire further information about why the user was on your site and find out their intent you can tailor your email content for them. This also puts the user in control of the communications that they receive. This additional information also enables you to manage your database effectively and segment your send lists and even introduce dynamic content to keep your sends relevant.
How Social Is Your Social Media?
In general Twitter is a more forgiving platform than Facebook. This is because the rate in which a person’s newsfeed refreshes on Twitter is a lot greater than Facebook, so poor content can quickly be swept under the carpet.
Due to Facebook’s complicated News Feed algorithm they place a lot of focus in ensuring users are presented with content that they will find interesting and engage with. Facebook therefore ‘punishes’ poor content by not displaying the producers messages as frequently in a user’s newsfeed, meaning brands compete with users friends for real estate on the News Feed. Facebook’s algorithms to keep News Feed’s relevant have to be uncompromising, they have to deal with an approximate 4.75 billion posts per day (data from Wishpond).
Twitter on the other hand is much more simplistic, it runs a basic newsfeed algorithm – he who posted last will be at the top of the newsfeed (however it is estimated that 350,000 tweets are sent per minute, that’s 6,000 per second – so you might not be sat on top of the pile for very long).
Is your content reaching the right people at the right time? What is your approach with the distribution of content? Share your ideas and experiences in the comments below!