15 Feb The reason your audience doesn’t care – and how to change it
Let’s face it. You are not interesting. You probably spend a lot of time planning, creating and distributing your content, but majority of those who find your content won’t remember you five minutes later. You most likely do the same mistakes as everybody else, and end up being just like everybody else. When everyone is medium, media becomes mediocre.
Having produced content on three languages and scoring for the most read print article of the week in the Nordics and the most read article of the year on a digital niché forum, I claim to know how to stand out. Luckily for you, it’s not about me being special. It’s about following the right guidelines – which I’ll reveal on this article.
An analysis based on a total of 650,000 content marketing hits reveals, that most readers only read 25% of an average article. Only 20% of readers read the whole article. (This means that if you are just like everybody else and want to stay that way, you should go read 32 unbelievable facts about whatever on BuzzFeed – now.)
The numbers are quite depressing if you aim to get your audience to subscribe to a newsletter, share your content or eventually buy your product. Leisure bloggers can write just for fun, but professional communication should always have a reason and a target.
Because you’re still with me, I assume you want to improve. You know the basics and the typical challenges of communication. You have been in a situation where time and money is wasted on toneless communication that goes straight down the drain. Nonetheless, whether you try to launch a new product or build a personal brand, you are still dependent on content. You’ve done your best but your content just doesn’t make the audience click.
Should you just give up then?
Absolutely not. Investing in content marketing is still your best bet, since inbound campaigns achieve higher ROI than outbound. And it’s relatively easy to be good enough.
There are some basic guidelines you hopefully follow already: you are more likely to get shares with research backed content and opinion forming journalism. You should focus on longer posts. You should link to external sources. You shouldn’t be afraid to be controversial. And so on. Lists like this are used by all dewy-eyed social media consultants, which means that following these instructions will only get you started.
Technical tricks and gimmicks might help you to get above average with your reach, but it is not enough to make your content great. Great content goes beyond formal fine-tuning. Most people can tell if they like an article or not, but are still unable to identify the key elements that make content enjoyable.
Whatever your weapon of choice is – video, article, podcast or even a selected social media platform – you should always ensure that you have substance, understandability and entertainment value.
If you are entertaining and have substance but lack understandability, you have no audience. If you have understandability and are entertaining but lack substance, you are useless. And if you have substance and understandability but lack entertainment value, you will never get noticed by a wider audience. The sweet spot is a combination of all the three elements.
For me, understandability means that I avoid vogue words and use a lot of examples and analogues. I strive to embrace substance by drawing conclusions from a lot of data and background research and by linking to my sources. And eventually, the entertainment value. For me it’s not about wisecracking but providing thought and brain waves instead. I seek to wrap abstractions into tangible models, such as the picture above.
Entertaining doesn’t have to be funny-ha-ha, sometimes a simple eureka moment is enough.
Creating compelling content is not difficult, all it takes is effort. Clarify your substance – the topic you are dealing with – to both you and to your audience. Then make it understandable and wrap it all up in an entertaining format.
Go big or go home.