If all different types of content consumers walked into a focus group together, odds are you’re headed towards a bad joke. But if you’re a content marketer, figuring out how you can capture each and every user’s attention is not only important but also necessary.
Varied browsing habits, split by age group, require content distribution that many businesses have not yet considered. Spreading out content across multiple platforms, be it through various social networks or to content aggregators is a need of the hour. The reason for this is very simple:
“Content needs to follow wherever Consumers go”
That being said, I’m going to sound like a broken record, but it can’t be said enough: there’s more traffic on the internet from mobile devices than desktops. But to be able to create a successful content marketing strategy, one needs to understand that the internet is split in mainly 3 kinds of users.
Baby Boomers (1945-1964), Gen Xer’s (1965-1976) and Millennials (1977-1995) and their consumption pattern is somewhat different basis the sources they use to access the said content.
I am dividing this article into 2 separate halves. The first will define what kind of users and where you need to be to intercept their attention. In the second half, we’ll try and define how we can go about achieving that.
1. The ‘Who, When and How’ Question
i. Content Consumption (Time Spent)
Hours per week:
Baby Boomers: 11-14hrs per week;
Gen Xers: 12-15hrs per week;
Millenials: 14-18hrs per week.
ii. Content Consumption (Time of Day):
Baby Boomers: Early Bird of content Consumption- Active anywhere between 8am-12pm.
Gen X and Millenials: Evening/Night Owls- Active anywhere between 7pm-12am
Pro-Tip: If your Target Audience falls under a specific age group, use the above information to schedule posts accordingly. However, if your Target Audience is a bit stretched out in terms of age, use the night slot as that is when the number of users overall platforms tend to peak.
iii. Medium of Consumption
Again, the more you can hone the age group you are targeting to, the better you’d be able to decide on how you want to optimize your content i.e. phone, mobile or tablet.
That being said, the medium of consumption for the same age class tends to vary with the time of day as well. For e.g.: office hours, post 9 pm etc.
Content should be optimized for Laptops and Desktop during the day. Additionally, as a rule of thumb, any content that you now publish, should ALWAYS be optimized for mobile.
Targeting on the basis of the medium of consumption really helps us in controlling our spend in case we are going the promotional route. That is, if you are running ads and focusing on Millenials and Gen X, you can distribute a major chunk of your budget on mobile ads optimized by time slots mentioned in the above point.
iv. Source of Content Consumption
Blog articles and Images top the list for all 3 groups in terms of source. Quality content that can be understood and consumed quickly is crucial.
A recent study also revealed that users are more likely to consume content shared by their peers than brand generated content. Peers can be further divided into an active circle of people you know and Influencers, with the latter being more prominent.
2. Preparing Content
With the first half dealing with where the audience interests lie and what their consumption habit is, let’s get into how we can actually create content that they’d want to readily consume.
i. Get creative with format
Until the beginning of 2016, content was mainly based on blogging, ebooks and other written content. While these strategies continue to prevail, we also need to start taking advantage of new product offering and lower distribution rates as well as decreasing cellular data costs, which essentially enable everyone to consume a variety of content ranging all the way from static images to full-fledged engaging videos.
ii. All roads should lead back to the same place
As mentioned above, I think its tantamount for brands to be present across all content distribution channels, however having one point of sale for your business is also necessary. Are you a lifestyle brand and have physical products to sell?
Use Instagram and its discovery feature to get out in front! Or, do you have a more online based service product? Use Facebook and its plethora of marketing options to reach and engage a higher number of audiences. Let other social platforms be an add-on instead of competition.
iii. Instant Gratification
While click-baiting is the fashion now, if you don’t close or engage your customers in the first few minutes, chances are you’d be spending a huge amount of money to get them back. (Recently, saw a B2B company with a Snapchat account – Great for engaging the customer, but is that really where they need to be?).
The power users of today, have more content at their disposal than they know what to do with. Keep your content specific and concise which helps the user absorb it in a much quicker manner.
Pro-Tip: Try throwing in brand/influencer keywords relevant to your market that users will relate to. Might tip the balance in your favour.
iv. Design and Aesthetics
Try and remember how you browse through any social media feed. Constantly flicking your thumb till you suddenly stop and scroll back a bit 'cause you saw a post that was visually engaging. Instead of just making your post visually appealing also try to make it contrasting and complementing to the background of the social medium. For instance: dark posts on Facebook’s white background. Red/maroon dominant posts on Twitter
v. Length of Posts
This is tricky. The longer the post, the more it is discoverable on Google. However, longer posts tend to put people off.
I suggest you find your own balance between discoverability and acceptability. This, of course, will vary with the industry you cater to.
Content Marketing and consumption behaviour are reaching maturity. Because we have thrown everything we can think of over the last few years, we are now in a position to gauge and measure what works and what doesn’t. Keep iterating and testing what works for your needs.
However, just like everything in the world, content marketing takes time. Run different campaigns over a period of 3.