Truth: People don’t read content

QUICK READ: Time is just as valuable as currency. People don’t have time to read your content unless they are information-seeking mode. They will scan your content for personally relevant information and even share it on social media without reading it. Site visitors on average spend less than 15 seconds on any given webpage, and that’s assuming people click to go to your site at all. The way to combat this is to know your audience and what THEY want to know/read.

 People don’t read content most of the time. They usually skim the pages looking for highlighted keywords, meaningful headings, short paragraphs and scannable list. Since they’re in a hurry to find the very piece of information they’re looking for, they’ll skip the fluff and speed read your content often just reading the first sentence of your article.

Chartbeat analyzed websites and found that most visitors scroll through about only 50-60% of an article page. What’s more interesting, it seems to be no correlation between sharing and scrolling: people readily share your articles even without reading them. An eye-tracking study indicated that less than 20% of the text content is actually read on an average web page. In addition, according to a study by computer scientists at Columbia University and the French National Institute, 59 percent of links shared on social media have never actually been clicked: people are sharing news they haven’t even read.

However, If people find the very piece of information they are interested in, they are likely to read the related content word-by-word. So how should content marketers and writers write content?

1ne: Know your audience. It’s not enough to know a couple of things about your audience; you need to become your audience and ask, “what do I want to know?”.

2wo: Understand that content is not going to appeal to everyone in your audience. Today it’s about micro-segments, not “one article fits all.”

3hree: Ensure key points/messages are highlighted in callouts or article summaries.

4our: Possible content has a limited timeframe. What may find readers today may be dismissed tomorrow as more media websites Jim on the subject.

5ive: Keep is short and to the point. No more than one scroll to read the article.

6ix: Limit interruptions. You eat readers focused on your content, not ads or images that point to other areas of your website.

7even: Ask for feedback but understand the risks. You’re always going to have some wise-ass troll who throws shit at your content to compensate for an antinomical shortfall. Let them, who cares.

8ight: Check the reading level. The higher the learning needed to read your content, the more likely people will drop off.

9ine: Quality trumps quantity. Write often but post when you’re likely to get more readers. Web analytics can test different post times and days to maximize reach.

10en: Define success upfront. Social media shares are OK but they are by no means a success metric. You should be looking at time on page, pages viewed, and bounce rate.

It’s simple; the better you understand your audience and their needs the better you can write content that really communicates with them.

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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