Click or Treat: Three Content Strategies Guaranteed to Scare Users Away

October 30th, 2017 | General No comments

Let’s face it, content marketing can be a frightening business. It’s often hard to measure how much your earned media content reaches and resonates with  targeted audiences. Any little slip-up can make you a member of the walking dead. For Halloween, we’re serving up a few Searchmetrics tips on how not to get buried by the little things that scare users away.

Who’s Watching?

Two early indicators of content success are Time on Site and  Bounce Rate. These metrics give you answers as to how long the average user engages with your content and offer  indicators as of how relevant your content is– key metrics that Google and other search engines use to rank your content against others’.

Once a visitor lands anywhere on your site, the key to scoring conversions with them often is to get them to take a full tour of everything you have to offer. Beyond calls to action such as requesting demos and filling out forms, “sticky” content is a must for staying ahead of competitors. We worked with content experts at Wortliga, a German text analysis company, to show you three strategies that can scare users away in an instant.

Create Confusion and Terror

Low bounce rate good; high bounce rate bad. To achieve high bounce rates, confuse your readers at first sight and offer them none of the content they need to answer the question that brought them your way.

Something wicked this way comes if you bombard the reader with too many welcome messages, overt sales pitches, oversized display ads and text teasers or “Fake News!” headlines that have little to do with the content attached.

TIP: The average person reads 250 words per minute. Those first 10 words have to grab them; users leave a website after just 3 seconds of reading.

Be Repulsive

What’s equally deadly?  No doubt it’s slaying your reader with poor sentence structure and weak context. Avoid passive sentence construction. Alternate between short and long sentences. If you’re really intent on boring readers to death, be as broad and bland as possible by avoiding tips, takeaways, summaries and illustrations.

Deceive and Delude

An even more perfidious (and long-term) way to scare users away is to deceive and delude by creating a website that seems to be helpful and intriguing at first sight and reveals it fecklessness later on.

For the best in horror, try clickbait headlines. Create previews, social shares and text teasers as grandiloquent and revolutionary as possible – only to completely let the user down when it comes to the actual text. Besides a rather superficial outline of the text, advertorials in poor disguise instead of rich advice should do the trick here.

Fool the reader once, shame on them. Fool them twice, shame on you. They’re likely not to come back a third time.

Back from the Dead: Measuring Content Success

User Signals like Bounce Rate or Time on Site, as well as Click through rate (CTR) and Social Shares, can easily be measured with free tools like Google Analytics and should be the first metrics every content marketer, blogger or website manager consults on daily for indicators of success.

While the ex-post approach aims at analyzing content performance after publishing to incorporate the findings iteratively into the underlying content marketing-strategy, a newer approach seeks to identify topics that will be relevant to the user, and rank well on the search engine,  before publishing.  

Within the Searchmetrics Content Experience, we use an aggregated metric called the Content Score, to determine whether a piece of content meets the users expectations.  Factors that go through our data-crunching algorithm include text length and how comprehensively the writer covers a topic compared to similar content on competing websites. The platform also follows Google and other search engines in examining content uniqueness and readability.  

Killing It with Your Content

Halloween puns aside, we’ll wrap with a few treats that could help you murder the competition. If you’ve got more “yes” replies here, you’re on the right track. For those questions where the answer is “no,” take a deeper dive into how to address that issue.

  • Does the text attract a specific target group? 
  • Do the first 10-20 words address a tangible need? 
  • Do the first 3 paragraphs deliver what headline and introduction promised? 
  • Does the text deserve likes, shares and rankings? 
  • Is the text conforming with your marketing goals? 
  • Are there any redundant elements? 
  • Is this an innovation? 
  • Is the text partitioned and scanable? 
  • Did we cite sources where needed? 
  • Can you understand most of the sentences without reading them twice? 
  • Would you recommend the text to someone with a similar problem or need for information? 
  • Would you share the text publicly on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn? 

Hi, my name is Lea! As part of the Global Communications team I am responsible for the Searchmetrics Social Media channels and marketing cooperations. I am interested in digital marketing news, events and I'll share recaps and trends with you on this blog.
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