Blog Post by Sarah Malcolm, Chief Digital Strategist at The News Funnel
Content marketers devote plenty of time talking about how to capture attention in an increasingly crowded online world. Like a magician, marketers deploy every trick up their sleeve: jumping on new trends, crafting catchy titles, and creating evergreen content. Bloggers have to wonder--is all this effort worth it? Yes. A NewsCred study found the average time spent per article was 37 seconds in the first quarter of 2016. Half a minute may not seem like much, but that’s enough time for a consumer to scan, digest key takeaways, and make a judgment call on your business. Maximize every second to create a positive impression that entices the reader to click through or make many happy returns.
Value starts with the content. The readers clicked on the article to satisfy a need, usually advice on a particular topic, or because the title made them curious. The content must deliver on its promise and be informative from hook to close. Value continues by offering more quality content. This appears in a “related posts” section, with a call-to-action for a free, downloadable white paper, or any other additional content offers.
Demonstrate what you mean to create a more powerful experience. Even mobile-optimized content benefits from engaging visuals. Include related header images and in-text photos. Better yet: turn data-rich content into an eye-catching infographic. Be creative with your visuals. Use interactive graphs and polls, include a video, experiment with .GIFs.
Encourage the reader to interact with the page using more than in-text links to more blogs. Embed additional related content, like a playable video or a recent podcast. Create a slideshow or a scrolling photo gallery. Find key points or engaging quotes and create a suggested tweet for the reader to share on their feed with an easy tap.
Don’t bury your call to action. Make the next steps clear to the reader. Ask them to subscribe to an e-newsletter, like your social networks, or download related content. Once you’ve got their attention with your incredible content, keep the reader hooked.
Ensure your page is optimized for all devices and loads quickly. Readers that can’t load a web page within seconds will abandon the effort and are more likely to never return to any page on the website again.
While a visitor is on your page, readers are most likely to scan to locate the information most relevant to why they clicked through to the content. An eye tracking study found that people read in an “F” pattern. Keep your most pertinent information near the top. Make finding takeaways easy by using best practices like subheaders and numbered list.
Keep in mind 37 seconds is just an average. Some readers will linger for a more thorough read, meaning having the best possible content from start to finish is essential to move first-time visitors into potential leads. Avoiding common blogging mistakes helps keep visitors on your page.