By Allie Viau
Be honest: How often do you actually finish an article that you start reading? Rarely?
Don’t feel bad, it’s not just you.
In fact, most internet users who clicked on this blog probably didn’t even make it this far.
Changes in technology, and the incredible growth of digital media, are altering the way that online users are interacting with content they read. So, with all the buzz about the importance of content marketing -creating unique, quality, and engaging content to help your agency’s overall inbound marketing and branding efforts- how can you even be sure that users will read your content before clicking away to another page?
In order to write effectively for an online audience, you need to understand how people read different types of content in different ways. Before you launch your content marketing strategy, consider this:
- Internet users skim content more than they actually “read”. Since reading content online involves more distractions and cognitive processing, screen reading is much different from traditional reading. Even as you read this right now, chances are that you have multiple windows open, are clicking on hyperlinks that will bring you to a new article, and are maybe even listening to music on top of everything else. In order to get past the information overload and find the content we are looking for, we tend to skim online content rather than reading it in the traditional, complete way. Experts call this “hyper-reading”.
- Internet users typically read in a passive way. Online readers are not participating in active reading or close reading techniques. Therefore, internet users are engaging less with the content they are reading. As a result, when reading online people are less likely to retain information, recognize key themes, or draw their own conclusions.
- Online readers are looking for immediate gratification. The nature of the internet, specifically the immediacy in which you can access information, has caused people to “power browse” horizontally through headlines and paragraphs in order to find what they are looking for as soon as possible. Ironically, while I was researching this topic in order to write this blog, I found myself power browsing through content in order to find specific bits of information that I could use.
- Most internet users don’t make it all the way to the bottom of a page. In fact, studies show that most people only scroll through the first 60% of the article before leaving the page, and about 10% of people who open an article don’t ever scroll down.
So, now that you have a better understanding of how people consume online media, what does this mean for your content marketing?
Yes, developing a content marketing strategy and writing for the internet is hard. But does that mean you should just give up? No!
For those of you who are still reading (probably way less than half of those who originally opened the page), be sure to check out the next blog about writing skills you can adopt for your content marketing in order to better engage with internet users!
About The Author
Allie Viau is an Inbound Marketing Specialist at Astonish. She creates a variety of content including website landing pages, blogs, and press releases. Allie is passionate about helping small businesses build their brand equity online through quality content and other inbound marketing strategies. She spends her free time baking, painting, and traveling as much as possible.
By Hannah Beacham
At Astonish, we are social media enthusiasts and get excited when we see something especially useful. Recently, our Inbound Marketing team came across a site that puts the world of social media content at your finger tips! If used in your insurance marketing strategy today, you can really stand out with fresh and timely content.
How To Keep Your Insurance Marketing Social Media Topics Fresh and Timely: Content Generator Tool
The site is feedly.com and it is truly a game changer. Here’s what it offers to your current insurance marketing and social media strategy:
- Organization– The best thing about Feedly is it offers a place to add all the best sites from around the web into one easy to use dashboard. If you are especially into current news, this is a place where you can see articles from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and your Local News all in one place.
- Top stories - Feedly is 100% customizable so no matter what site you find interesting you can make sure you are getting the latest information and most popular articles to your newsfeed.
- Segregate content- We all have a wide variety of interests and Feedly gets that. With the organization of grouping sites by topic, it’s easy to see what’s trending in insurance vs. what the best recipe on Food Networks Blog is at the same time. On the other hand you can select just one topic if you are just focused on business news etc.
- Find new content– Once you have all your favorite sites, Feedly starts to recommend more sites that you may find interesting. This is where it gets really fun, you may discover your new favorite blog or relevant business articles to post on social from a new site you have never heard of.
How you can use it in your insurance marketing strategy:
- Create different groups pertaining to your agency- The best thing to get started with Feedly is think about the different types of content you want to access. Start with insurance news and move on from there.
- Share the content on social media- Once you start following content and can see it all in front of you, get inspired. Maybe there is a great article about flood insurance in the New York Times that is really timely, use that as fuel for a blog about flood insurance or share the article on your agencies Facebook and Twitter.
- Stay on top of industry news- Browsing all the news sites, or agency blogs is time consuming, and as an agency owner you need relevant news now. This is why staying on top of what’s going on in the insurance field is easier than ever with Feedly.
Try it out and let us know what you think about it! If you have any other great ways to aggregate content for your insurance marketing needs, let us know.
About The Author
Hannah Beacham is an Inbound Marketing Specialist at Astonish. Fanatical about helping small businesses reach their full marketing potential, she utilizes marketing best practices to implement effective strategies on the web. Hannah is involved in a wide array of inbound marketing activities – from social media all the way to SEO. After a long day of decoding the complexities of the world of inbound marketing, Hannah likes to unwind by taking her creative energy to the next level – cooking, baking, decorating, shopping, and of course, crafting.
By Chris LaChance
With state of social media today, there are so many channels to tackle. From LinkedIn, to Facebook (timelines and pages), Twitter, and the up-and-coming Google+, how do you begin to coordinate your social media strategy without critical comments or conversations that could ultimately lead to conversions? Astonish will show you how to simplify the management of your social media today through an online tool called Hootsuite.
What You Will Need
- The usernames & passwords for your agency’s social media accounts
- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ page are recommended
- An account on Hootsuite, which we will set up together
Getting Started With Hootsuite
So what exactly is Hootsuite? Essentially, it is an online tool that can bring all of your social media streams into one place, making it easy to monitor, post, and schedule across all of your social channels.
Let’s set up an account together.
- Visit Hootsuite and sign up for a free account. Unless you have an agency-specific Facebook page, set up an account in the traditional way with an agency email, your name, and the password you like.
- Next, Hootsuite will present you with a screen to add all of your social media accounts. Add all the accounts your agency currently has.
- Press Continue, and you will be redirected to your dashboard.
- Hootsuite will then guide you through your first-time setup, walking you through how to add streams, tabs, and schedule posts.
Watching Your Social Streams
Once on your dashboard, you can set up any additional streams you want to help you monitor what’s happening in social media today, down to the second. Streams are layout of entries in chronological order, and can be your social timeline, a list of people who mentioned you, a list of posts mentioning a specific search term, your scheduled post, and so on.
As an example, if I had chosen my first stream as my Facebook timeline, I would see the real chronological order of every incoming post, unfiltered and unsorted by Facebook’s algorithm.
The most powerful piece of the stream feature is that you can still comment, like, retweet, and do all the regular things you might by visiting those individual social media sites, without having to jump all over the internet.
Scheduling Your Social Posts
Arguably, the best feature Hootsuite has to offer is the scheduling of posts. Some of the examples of what you can do are:
- Set up a post to send out to all your channels on social media today at 9pm,
- Set up a post to go out to just your Twitter and Google+ page at what Hootsuite automatically calculates is the best time of engagement.
- Send out a post right now to just your Facebook friends.
To create & schedule your posts, start by clicking the input box at the top left of the page. Here you can select the social channels you would like to post to, write your message, and schedule your posts (click on the little calendar icon above the send button). As a general rule of thumb:
- Marketing posts should be auto-scheduled with Hootsuite’s algorithm.
- Date/time specific posts should use a set time. For example, if your agency wants to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, you could schedule a post for December 25th at 10am right now.
- Any breaking news or disaster news should be posted instantly, and not scheduled.
Organizing Your Streams with Tabs
Lastly, if you are looking to organize your streams, you can always separate them into new tabs. For example, you could have a Timelines tab (for seeing all your social media timelines), a Mentions tab (streams you set up that monitor when your agency is mentioned), and a Scheduled Posts tab.
BONUS MODE: Automating your Google+ Timeline Posts
Note: This solution is non-official and a bit buggy. Proceed with caution.
At this time, there is no online service that can schedule your Google+ timeline posts, only ones that can schedule posts to your Google+ pages. This is because Google has yet to release its timeline API for non-Google developers to work with.
However, there is an alternate way to automate Google+ timeline posts:
- You’ll need to use the Google Chrome browser (which is a good idea anyways) and install the DoShare extension. You will see it show up as a little icon with a number (the yellow one).
- Click it to either schedule your posts or send them out right away. It doesn’t have an auto-schedule feature like Hootsuite, however. Astonish has not tested this one extensively, but some user reviews are reporting it as buggy.
About The Author
Chris LaChance is self-taught Graphic Designer, Web Developer and User Experience Practioner with over 12 years of experience in the industry. His passions are corporate branding, customer satisfaction, writing and illustration. When not working, he spends time with his four children, serves in his church, or watches K-dramas with his wife. He is currently serving Astonish as the Lead Marketing Designer.