Getting a lot of traffic, but not enough people sticking around? Here’s how you can create a sticky content strategy that lets you actually grow.
Whether it’s a blog, newsletter, or social media following, these five secrets work to get people hooked and coming back for more.
First, let’s start with the basics. Here are the core metrics you’re probably already tracking for your site:
- Unique visitors
- Average session length
- Average pages per session
- Number of email subscribers
- Newsletter open and click rates
These seven statistics will tell you pretty much everything you need to know to understand how your blog is doing.
But beneath it all, these fancy KPIs really measure just two things:
- How many people are finding you online; and
- How engaged they are with you.
You don’t need to be a digital marketing expert to know that if you do these two things well, then your blog will be successful.
A lot of effort and focus goes into the first one, getting people to find you. You post on social media; you work on SEO; you pay for Google or Facebook ads.
But most marketers don’t focus enough on number 2. Think about it.
1. Don’t be a leaky bucket.
If a lot of people find you, but none of them come back, that’s bad. It’s clear people don’t like what they see once they get to your site. No matter how much traffic you drive, if you can’t capture that traffic and actually do something with it, then you’re SOL. It’s like pouring water into a leaky bucket. Your growth investments are pointless.
On the other hand, let’s say only a few people find you. But when they do, they stick around and keep engaging—then you’ve got something. So many of the greatest products and communities started with a small but mighty following. Sooner or later, the passion of the initial members begins to get contagious.
And all that time and money you invest in growing traffic? It makes a huge impact, because your content is “sticky”. Then you’ll really start to grow!
How to tell if you have a leaky bucket problem? Check your bounce rates, session length, and ratio of website users to repeat users. If you don’t have many repeat users, you have a leaky bucket problem.
Here’s how to create an engaged and “sticky” content marketing system that hooks your audience, keeps them coming back, and starts to drive viral growth.
2. Focus in on content.
Create content that is FUI: Fun, Urgent, or Important to your specific audience. Not any of those things? Don’t write about it!
Create enough content that fits these categories, however, and people will keep coming back again and again. Here are some examples:
Fun content is everywhere on TikTok. There’s a reason videos like these go viral.
Urgent content is what people need to know daily—think stock ticker services, or daily tech headlines, or whatever industry you’re in.
Important content is a bit harder to define, because it varies from audience to audience. What is an important problem many members of your audience are facing right now, that you could help them solve? That’s important. Start there.
And remember, good content is original content—the more original, the better.
3. Take an omnichannel approach.
There is more competition for attention now than ever before.
That’s why you can’t just stick to one medium to share your content. Sure, some people might keep reading your blog posts, but what if they’re only on mobile? Or if they’re not looking at a screen? Or if they’re in the mood to listen to audio or watch a video instead?
For each channel you leave out of your content marketing strategy, you are missing opportunities to engage your audience. Ultimately, you want to stay top-of-mind as much as possible for the people in your target demographic.
Any channel you don’t have a presence in leaves a wide-open opportunity for competitors to swoop in and take your audience’s attention.
If you do have a presence across visual, video, and audio, then your efforts compound, your impressions add up, and people have a chance to think of you much more often.
And the more integrated these different channels are with each other, the better. You don’t want your audience to be confused by a disjointed experience.
4. Offer different ways to consume content.
How do you actually implement a true omnichannel approach? Well, it’s simple: You create and publish content in every channel. Simple doesn’t mean easy, of course. But who said creating a successful content marketing machine would be easy?
What channels are we talking about here? Sure, it’s good to have a presence on the different social networks: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, maybe Pinterest. But what about video? What about audio? People consume content across all these channels. Why wouldn’t you publish across them too?
Video and audio can seem daunting to get started with. But I’m telling you, it doesn’t have to be that hard. You don’t have to start with the fanciest cinematography or most amazing production quality. Start where you are!
For video, the best way to start is sometimes just with your smartphone. Try utilizing the Live features on the different social networks—Instagram live, Facebook live, etc.
These formats are super engaging for a reason: They force the content creator to be real, to be authentic. And people love that. You could even record video once and publish to a bunch of social networks at the same time.
For audio, some people will tell you you need a podcast, but I’m here to tell you there’s a much simpler solution: Create an audio feed of your blog posts, tweets, or newsletter automatically.
It takes about 5 minutes if you use a tool like Shoutworks, which lets you instantly transform your written content to voice and publish it to the 200+ million Amazon Alexa devices out there. This is perfect for reaching people when they’re washing dishes, cooking, or otherwise not looking at a screen.
Competition for attention is more intense than it’s ever been. The channels you miss out on are the ones your competitors can use to take your audience’s attention away from you.
5. Engage with real people.
Ever seen a live performance where the performers pick someone from the audience to come up on stage? All of a sudden, everyone is paying attention to what’s going on. This is an old trick used by stage performers: If you want your audience to engage with you, take the action to them!
For example, the host of the beloved science podcast Ologies, Alie Ward, always reads listener questions in her interviews—she even mentions each of them by name! It is truly a rush to get your name called out on your favorite podcast, and as a result people submit more and more questions each episode.
How could you incorporate the real individuals in your audience into your next piece of content?
You could encourage newsletter subscribers to reply with questions, or even add a Q&A plugin to your site so users can submit both questions and answers.
You have to make the first move.
If you engage with people on a real level, put content in front of them across channels, and make that content fun, urgent, or important, then your audience will take off like a rocket.
If you don’t, you can be sure you’re already losing your audience to others who are competing more effectively for their attention.
So engage! Don’t hold back. Go across channels. Let your guard down, and be you.
That’s the best way to ensure that you don’t drive traffic just to see it keep driving on by—but that you actually build a loyal following who will keep coming back for more.
Want to drive 43% more traffic to your site through Amazon Alexa, while you sleep? You’ll want to try the Shoutworks plugin (takes 2 minutes). Quick, do it before everyone catches on!