Creating Content That Gets Read And Shared - A Step-by-Step Guide
It’s well after midnight on a weeknight at the end of a long day, at the end of a long week, at the end of a really long month.
The computer screen is the only light in your office as you’re hunched over again trying to FINALLY finish up that piece of content you’ve been working on for weeks. You’re not worried about your posture or sitting too long at this point, you just want to get it done!
Whether it’s a video, blog post or anything in between, you dutifully researched your subject, leaving no stone unturned in the pursuit of answering EVERY question your audience might have.
You hit publish and wait for everything to upload. You double check for typos.
You skip through the video or audio just to make sure nothing weird happened during the upload.
Finally, you close down your computer and go to bed with the sweet feeling of satisfaction that comes from finishing something great.
In the morning you open up your browser, click on Google Analytics or YouTube or whatever and look to see how people are reacting to your content.
Only to see nothing.
And only a handful of views/reads.
Ok, you think, maybe you published it at a weird time and hopefully the people who did come see it watched or read all the way through.
But then you check your bounce rate and see that the average length of visit was only around 30 seconds.
What went wrong?
Why did the content you poured your heart and soul into fall completely flat?
Why did people leave your page before they had gone all the way through your video or read your blog?
The answer isn’t that your content wasn’t good enough.
It’s that you haven’t curated your content for maximum visitor retention.
Without the curation or presentation of your content, you’re destined to end up with visitors who leave before they even get halfway through your content.
Don’t believe me?
Let’s look at some statistics courtesy of this infographic Neil Patel of Kissmetrics came up with...
Did you know?
- As of 2015 human’s attention spans are just 8.26 seconds less than a goldfish.
- The average watch time of a video is 2.7 minutes
- Videos under 1 minute retain 80% of their audience
- Videos 2-3 minutes in length retain about 60% of their audience
- Videos 5-10 minutes in length only retain 50% of their audience
- 75% of mobile watchers complete a video compared to only 25% of desktop watchers.
- 52% of mobile search is for videos.
With so much competition for our attention the content that is specifically designed for user retention is the content that is going to win out, regardless of quality.
Besides greater distribution, there are 2 other major benefits to curating your content for maximum visitor retention.
The more you design your content for retention, the more engaged your visitors will get. One of the major reasons your content is not getting the comments and shares that it deserves is because people are leaving your website, page or blog before they get to the really good stuff. When you design your content for maximum visitor retention, your visitors get the point fast and are eager to share your outstanding life changing content because they know their friends and followers will get it as well.
2. Google and YouTube Rewards
The other reason you want to curate your content for maximum retention is to take advantage of the rewards Google and YouTube will give you for having content that keeps people on the page.
As you probably know, one of the keys to the Google search algorithim is relevance. The more relevant your content is to a variety of different searches, the higher up you rank on the page. One of the ways that Google measures relevance is by how long your visitors stay on your pages.
The way Google sees it, if you cheat by keyword stuffing or using other shady SEO tactics when a searcher lands on your page they’re going to bounce quickly because while you may have tricked the algorithm your site was not actually helpful for the end user.
On the other hand if users are spending a lot of time on your page because your content is extremely relevant and engaging, Google and YouTube pick up on that and will start to rank your content higher. YouTube especially rewards videos where viewers stay on for upwards of 30 minutes, so it’s less about length of content and more about creating content that keeps visitors reading or watching for as long as possible so that the magic robots that run Google and YouTube can see that your content is actually helpful for searchers.
Ok, now that you know WHY curating your content for maximum visitor retention is important, let’s get into some specific ways you can do that.
How To Curate Your Content For Maximum Visitor Retention
1. Think User Experience
The most important thing when it comes to retaining visitors is the user experience. If you make a blog post difficult to read, most visitors will not finish it. If you make users opt in to a email newsletter or disrupt the reading/viewing process, most visitors will leave. You have to make it easy for the visitor to find and consume your content without distractions.
If you’re having difficulty figuring out where your visitors are looking and clicking, try Crazy Egg which creates a heat map of where visitors are clicking on your site. The more you know where your visitors are going when they reach your site, the easier it is to funnel them the right way.
2. Put The Best Stuff Upfront
Content consumers want to know what they are getting as soon as possible. If you are asking visitors to commit 5, 10 even 15-20 minutes to go through your content, you need to hook them upfront on WHY that’s worthwhile.
There’s a couple of easy ways you can do this.
The first way is to put the good stuff “above the fold” this is a technique owing all the way back to newpaper days when writers literally had to hook the reader before the fold of the newspaper. The idea of putting the good stuff above the fold is to hook the reader in with a great point or fascinating detail to get them to commit to reading or watching the rest of your content.
The second way to put the best stuff first is to summarize upfront what the visitor is going to learn and why that’s important. A simple summary can lead to a big increase in retention.
3. Point Them To Supplementary Content
One thing to remember about retaining your visitors is that you don’t need to keep them on the first piece of content they find.
One of the best ways to increase time on your site, YouTube or Kajabi page is to point the visitor to supplementary content. For example you might have a blog post about “ Learning a new language in record time.” In this blog post you could include a link to another post you wrote on learning to write in another language or learning to memorize different alphabets.
You can even provide supplementary content across platforms by embedding or pinning videos in blog posts or including clickable links to blog posts or audio content in your video.
4. Foster A Sense Of Community
As a content creator you want to encourage and cultivate a sense of community among those who consume your content.
One of the best ways to keep a visitor on your page longer is to make it a place they can contribute and have a discussion. There are a variety of ways to do this, from soliciting comments during your videos, to being sure to respond to each and every comment you receive. You’ll know that you’ve fostered the kind of community you want when you see regular commentators using your content as a place to socialize in addition to commenting on your work.
5. Know Your Audience
No matter what you believe, how great a writer you are, or how much your videos can help everyone on the entire planet, most people are not going to be into your content. In fact if you are trying to create content that appeals to everyone and can go “viral” every single time you do something, chances are your content is actually appealing to no one.
You have to create content for your specific audience, whether it’s real estate investors or freelance writers, your content should aim to exclude everyone BUT your target audience.
There are tons of tools for identifying your audience, from Google Analytics to Moz and SEMrush, but you have to create content for your tribe and only your tribe. That’s how you create fanatics and evangelists - not from trying to create something that appeals to the masses.
6. Offer Content Upgrades
Another great way to retain visitors to your content is to offer content upgrades.
Let’s say you have a video on how to write a killer resume. You could mention that at the end of the video you will give out a link to a FREE resume template you put together. Or if you sell content you could use this as an opportunity to offer a paid content upgrade when the visitor buys one of your products.
7. Have The Correct Content Architecture
Lastly it’s important to make sure that your content has the correct architecture for whatever medium you are in.
If you’re creating a video, you want to make sure that it has a strong opening sequence, a talk bed that fades into you speaking, a strong introduction, summary of what you are going to be learning, and a good interesting lead in to the meat of the video.
If you’re writing a blog post you need to make sure that you immediately grab the reader’s attention with a stong headline and introduction.
Then you want to make sure that there is a table of contents so that readers can skip around or go directly to the section that is most interesting to them.
You also want to make sure that you arrange the content into easy to read formats like lists and bullet points so that it is skimmable as well as readable.
Without the proper content architecture you are relying on the visitor to wade through your content and hoping that it is good enough or he/she is bored enough to do so.
Curating your content is like designing the perfect job resume.
You might be perfect for the job, qualified in each and every way and the best thing to happen to a company....
But if you don’t design a great resume that catches the HR person’s attention, they’re not going to pay enough attention to you to figure out how great you are.
When you curate and design your content the right way, it’s like having a resume that leaps off the page and DEMANDS the reader’s attention.
When you curate content the right way, you’ll no longer have to worry about those long nights spent creating content that no one reads or watches.
You’ll stop worrying about whether or not your content is connecting with your audience and start seeing the benefits of people sharing and spreading your content without you even having to ask.
You already have great content, it’s time to start making sure that you curate it the right way so that everyone can see it.
Start Creating Better Content Today
In this article we looked at why content falls flat and I shared a bunch of statistics about attention spans and view rates to show you why it’s so important that you put out content that grabs your audience quickly and can be watched on the go.
After that we looked at the two major benefits of greater visitor retention: engagement and Google and YouTube rewards.
Then we looked at 7 different ways to curate your content for maximum visitor retention, including everything from designing content with the right user experience in mind to having the correct content architecture.
You now know everything you need to know to start curating your content in a way that will get you maximum retention, and all the benefits that come with it!
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