Spending on content is expected to explode this year as marketers recognize the growing influence of search engines and the value of peer recommendations. However, many are still stuck in a print-era mindset that ignores the speed at which information spreads—and dies—in this caffeinated age of social networking.
Simply stated, people have less time and patience to read, and more sources from which to choose. The content that gets noticed is eye-catching, easy to understand and simple to share. That doesn't mean the 10,000-word white paper is dead, but its role in the information ecosystem has changed.
Here are some interesting factoids that I recently bookmarked. Why am I telling you this? Because if you're ignoring these trends, you're wasting your content marketing investment.
• The best days to generate Facebook interaction in the advertising, automotive, financial and telecommunications industries are Saturday and Sunday, according to LinchpinSEO. However, the retail, sports and technology industries get more responses when posting on Monday and Tuesday.
• Facebook posts that are published between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.—overnight, in other words—get 14% higher interaction than those posted during daytime. Yet the majority of brands post content mainly during the workday.
• Wednesday is the best day of the week for interaction on a single Facebook post, reported Mike Lewis, author of “Stand Out Social Marketing” (McGraw-Hill Cos., 2012), based on an analysis of millions of posts by customers of Awareness Inc. However, most business posts happen on Friday, which is one of the least responsive days.
Lewis also reported that nearly all Facebook and Twitter responses occur during the first 10 days after a message appears. In contrast, only 7% of engagement with a blog post occurs during that time, and only 34% of engagement with a YouTube video.
• Socialbakers found that one-third of the reach of a Facebook post occurs within the first 10 minutes, and 60% within the first hour. In contrast, only about 24% of email opens occur within 60 minutes.
• HubSpot evaluated nearly 9,000 Facebook posts in October and reported that those with photos got 53% more “likes” and 104% more comments than those without photos. However, 60% of the photo-bearing posts in the sample didn't include a link, which means the authors missed an opportunity.
• E-singles (short books that sell for a couple of dollars) are one of the fastest-growing segments of the otherwise moribund book industry, according to paidContent.
Increasingly, long-form content should be housed in places where search engines can index it. Meanwhile, factoids, infographics, tweetable quotes and summary videos are the stuff that get people talking. Marketers need to think of content modularly and approach publishing as a sequence of events whose lifespans may range from minutes to months.