By Emma Fitzpatrick
If you’ve been paying attention to the evolution of content marketing, you’ll be alarmed—but not shocked—by this new statistic. According to a new BuzzSumo study that reviewed the performance of 100 million articles published in 2017, social sharing of content has dropped by massive 50 percent since 2015.
Before you throw in the towel, though, be aware that this doesn’t call for abandoning your social media program. The same study found an increase in engagement for authoritative, well-researched, evergreen content. So you will want to review your content strategy. Now more than ever, quality matters.
As for what form this content should take, read on to learn the three types of content you need more of—and three you can skip.
Three content types to post more often.
1. Videos (especially live): We know you’ve heard this before, but content marketers can no longer ignore the ever-increasing dominance of video. Videos have reigned on social for years. By 2021, Cisco projects video will represent 82 percent of all IP traffic. Already, data shows Facebook users watch more than 100 million hours of videos every day. That’s likely why BuzzSumo found videos on Facebook now have, on average, double the engagement rate of other content types. Static videos may not perform as well after Facebook’s latest algorithm change. Live video, though, will continue to perform well—Facebook has found that people watch live video more than three times longer than regular video.
2. User-generated content (UGC): Facebook now prioritizes posts from friends and family. How can you get in on that? Have customers create content for you. That’s what user-generated content is. It can be as spontaneous as retweeting a happy customer’s experience or as meticulously planned as the “Share a Coke” campaign. Either way, it’s currently an effective way for brands to expand their reach. Your customers save you time by creating some of your content, and your followers will respond greater engagement. Specifically, 85 percent of consumers say they find UGC more influential than brand-created content. Plus, one study found that UGC gets 6.9 times more engagement than brand-generated posts.
3. Questions and conversation starters: In its recent algorithm update, Facebook stated its goal of making its news feed more personal. In addition to that, the platform also strives to create “meaningful interactions.” In other words, content that gets more comments, comment replies, reactions and shares will rank higher. Put that goal at the forefront of your mind as you’re penning your editorial calendar. If you want to see this concept in action, check out Instagram’s new feature, the questions sticker. While video and UGC can be time-intensive, this one is simple. It allows you to instantly add an interactive question to your post, try a poll and find out what your customers want to talk about.
Avoid these three types of content.
1. Clickbait – BuzzSumo found that the top clickbait posted before 2017 got more than 3 million shares. (Baited as “2 People Described the Same Person to a Forensic Artist and This Is What Happened,” it turns out to be a Dove ad.) In 2017, the top clickbait article got only 250,000 shares, a 92 percent decrease. Articles posed with withheld or misleading information will appear lower in the Facebook News Feed. If you post these, they’ll rank lower. Then, if you keep doing it, your bank’s page will be penalized and see a significant drop in reach.
2. Engagement Bait – Facebook wants engagement to be genuine, so engagement-baiting is also out. That means those “like if…,” “share if…” or “comment if…” posts are a no-no. That also goes for polls that ask directly for a reaction (“click haha if…,” “wow if…,” “love if…”) and those that ask you to comment or tag a friend. The consequences are the same as above if you keep at it.
3. Overdone topics: The content market is more saturated than ever, making it tough for content to stand out and perform. In 2017, there were close to 100 million posts published on WordPress compared to 50 million just a few years before. As the number of articles increases, page views decline. Before you start writing a new story, make sure there aren’t 50 other posts out there that are just like it. Instead, zero in on niche topics that use long-tail keywords or that are personalized to your bank. If you’re stuck, write about how specific services work at your bank or local events unique to your community.
Emma Fitzpatrick is a Philly-based freelance writer and marketer, whose specialties include content marketing, social media marketing and short, snappy writing. Pick her brain at firstname.lastname@example.org.