“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Ferris Bueller knew it better than the rest of us — time is a precious commodity. More than 30 years later, and it seems like time is more precious and scarcer than ever before.
In fact, I still haven’t chalked up you reading this article as a win. At least, not yet.
That’s because 55% of people who click on a webpage spend fewer than 15 seconds actively engaging with it. Considering most marketers spend hours creating a new piece of content (be it a video, social post or blog post), it may make you question whether it’s all worth it.
Still here? Phew. Okay, let’s keep going.
Getting your content seen and heard isn’t impossible. It involves shifting your mindset away from earning impressions and toward engagement. It means being honest about what your audience wants and how you measure your success. And of course, it all starts with a great story. Here are five ways to get more people to see your content.
1. Aim For Engagement, Not Impressions
If your goal is to get people to see your native ad units or banner ads, that’s one thing; if you want them to read your stories and learn about your brand values, that’s another. When sharing your stories, keep one question top of mind: How do I get people to stick around and listen to what I have to say? This thought should drive all your efforts. While it’s important to optimize your headlines and imagery for clicks, it’s even more important to ensure that the payoff of the story itself is worth your audience’s time and attention.
2. Turn Back Time
Even though Facebook is a huge driver of traffic, publishers and marketers haven’t always had to rely on it to connect with readers. And they don’t have to today either.
Traditional tactics like e-newsletters are gaining ground once more. Just look at popular email blasts like the “Daily Skimm,” “The New York Times Morning Briefing” and the “Quartz Daily Brief.” Why is this seemingly dated method so successful in 2019? Because e-newsletters can create a direct relationship between a content creator and a reader, they’re easy to digest and they’re available on your phone at the tap of a button. While this method has been around for years, the way we use it is always evolving. Look at other ways of connecting with readers outside of Facebook, be it via email, through conversations with influencers on other networks or by posting on content-sharing communities like Medium and Reddit.
3. Find Powerful Partners
As an old saying goes, if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. The same wisdom applies to content.
Instead of trying to compete with popular content producers and their stories, think about how you can work with them on future projects. Do you have blog posts in the works that you could contribute as guest posts on more popular sites? Do you have room in the budget for membership in a content collective or a sponsored post on a notable site? Are you connected with any influencers (or communities) who you could tag when sharing on social media? Leveraging the reach of a powerful partner and building a long-term relationship with them could help you turn your 750-word post into a far-reaching thought leadership opportunity. Don’t forget to share your engagement-focused goals with your partner. If you’re after reads of an article or views of a video, ask to compensate your partner under that model.
4. Don’t Mark Your Own Homework
After putting hours of creative energy into a blog post or video, it can be tempting to share it and forget it. By doing that, you’re likely avoiding seeing the worst possibility — that you created a piece of content that doesn’t resonate with your audience. But by looking at the cold hard facts, you can pinpoint what’s working and what can be improved upon, letting you turn a so-so story into a powerful post. By using third-party measurement tools, such as Google Analytics or others, you can make sure you and your partners have all the data you need to make thoughtful adjustments that can improve your content’s performance. We didn’t get to mark our own homework in school, so we probably shouldn’t do it now either.
5. Create Content That Delights, Inspires Or Informs
We talk about this a lot at our company: If the content isn’t good, no number of clever tricks or intriguing ad copy will get people to see it. While every company and publisher has different stories they’re best equipped to tell, whatever you create should do one of three things: delight, inspire or inform. The story you tell either needs to delight someone, making them laugh or feel an emotional connection with the characters; inspire them, through stories about incredible people or opportunities that can help them achieve their goals; or inform them about what’s happening in their world, their networks and the stage of life they’re in. Audiences know a good story when they hear or see one — and that’s something no industry trends or new technology will likely ever change.