How many potential shares, would-be leads and short attention spans do you think your content has lost over the years? You know, all the visitors who slipped through the cracks — the ones who didn’t stick around or convert?
Even the best content can be be held back by a bad experience.
Consider that the average blog post can take up to five hours from ideation to publishing. Infographics and eBooks take even longer. With all the time and effort we invest in creating valuable content, we can’t afford not to maximize its potential to actually serve its purpose.
As hard is it can be to create the right content and get the right people to consume it,it’s the overall content experience that seizes the opportunities created by your content.
Here are the six key elements of a content experience that’s engineered to empower every article you write.
1. Focus on long-term discoverability
Is your best content being buried by your most recent content? If your content seems to have a limited shelf-life, even your evergreen assets, you should focus onimproving discoverability across the board.
Your content should be organized in a way that’s meaningful to your buyers and target audience, catering to their interests from the top of the funnel to the bottom.
Know that visitors are all on different journeys and your menu structure is a good way to communicate what your business is all about and send them down the right path.
Enable search to accommodate individual search intent to help them find the specific content they’re looking for.
By accommodating both spontaneous and intentional discovery, you can resurface older content and put it back in front of your audience.
2. Recommend related content for further consumption
Generally, the more time a visitor spends within your content experience, the higher the chance of converting.
Recommending additional pieces at the post level helps to continue the visitor journey and keep them around a little longer. Recommending related content is even better.
3. Call them to act within the context to generate leads
One of the great things about the Internet as a medium — versus print and many offline channels — is that it empowers immediate action with just a click of your mouse. But you need to direct them to click with an explicit call to action that acknowledges the visitor’s context.
Static calls to action are a conversion killer.
Your content can generate demand for your product or at least more content. But without contextual CTAs or lead gen forms with messaging and offers that cater to that specific demand in the moment, you won’t be able to compel further action.
4. Make it social
It surprises me how many blogs don’t have easy-to-use social sharing buttons.
Why wouldn’t you let your visitors contribute to your content distribution efforts? Consider displaying social share counts as well to leverage your content’s social proof and create a snowball effect with engagement.
Some will turn off the count for social shares and opt for buttons that hide engagement, but if you’re truly creating valuable content and distributing it effectively like you should, that’s a bad move.
Allowing comments on your blog via platforms like Disqus are another way to create conversations around your content and, when you take care to reply, you can encourage repeat visits to your content—another chance to convert.
Make it social if you want your content to build a community around your brand.
5. Ensure it looks good and works well on every screen
First, one of the biggest reasons for high bounce rates is a non-responsive experience. Notice how I said responsive experience and not responsive design?
With mobile content consumption on the rise, the entire experience has to scale for smartphones and tablets without sacrificing all the other elements I’ve mentioned above that contribute to your content’s performance.
CTAs still have to show, lead gen forms still have to work, and it should still be easy to find content.
6. Stop wasting your great content on a bad experience
Many of the results of your content marketing (lead gen, sharing, commenting, consumption) happen around your content, within the experience it’s served in. Unless you optimize the whole, the parts you put inside it — your articles, SlideShares, infographics, eBooks — aren’t going to produce the results they could.
Want better results from your content? First you need to make sure the experience is made for marketing.