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Simon Wadsworth

What’s more important, relevance or shareable content?

Posted by August 9, 2016
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Regular readership and sharing of content online tend to signify good online content. But according to a recent study, 60% of people don’t even click the link to read before sharing online.

The pace of social media and digital marketing continues to quicken, so how do you create content which users want to read, rather than just share, online.

The study

The University of Columbia and the French National Institute analysed the Twitter pages of five major news outlets over the course of one month earlier this year. The research found that their posts had a combined 2.8m shares, equating to a reach of 75bn people online.

But these posts only had roughly 9.6m actual clicks – just 40% of the overall total. That means three in five people shared the article to their followers without reading the story.

Commenting study co-author Arnaud Legout said: “People are more willing to share an article than read it… This is typical of modern information consumption. People form an opinion based on a summary, or summary of summaries, without making the effort to go deeper.”

Creating relevant content

Business portal Inc.com writes that “content must be designed to educate, inspire or entertain first and sell second.” In other words, provide answers to the questions your followers and target market have, and give them relevant information about your company and industry.

‘How to’ guides are a good way of showcasing your industry expertise, while comment pieces on sector trends can illustrate your reputation as a thought-leader in your field. Multimedia content can also be useful, and infographics and videos can often be accessed from social media without the user needing to click through to an article. Multimedia content can catch someone’s eye just as effectively as a provocative headline, encouraging them to follow your brand for other relevant information.

Figures quoted by the Guardian indicate that video will account for 69% of consumer traffic by 2017, and they’re often just as relevant and informative, as well as more shareable.

Getting people to read

According to Chartbeat, you’ve only got 15 seconds to entice the majority (55%) of your readers. So you need to ensure the content is relevant and engaging from the off.

Shareable content has increasingly been the aim for content marketers, with the aim of reaching a larger portion of your social media followers online and allowing you to communicate your brand principles more effectively. But that’s resulting in a major disconnection between shareable and readable content.

Click-bait and catchy titles have become a popular way of getting a solid readership for articles, but research quoted by the Washington Post suggests that 80% of the time people prefer headlines that “helped them decide if they wanted to read the full article before they had to click through.”

In essence, people would rather see an accurate headline and determine whether they are interested in reading the article than wasting their time withy catchy, often misleading headlines.

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