3 Content Marketing Trends to Drive Sales [Research]

9 Actionable Content Marketing Tactics For A 4 Screen World

We live in a four-screen world filled with smartphones, tablets, computers and televisions. This device proliferation has changed how and where we consume content so that we spend an average of 4.4 hours per day of leisure time in front of one or more of these screens.

Three content marketing trends have emerged from four-screen content consumption based on Mark Armstrong’s examination of Pocket (formerly Read It Later)’s data. 

Smart marketers can leverage these consumer trends to maximize content longevity and drive sales. The research shows that people:

Take a Hunter and Gatherer Approach to Content.

With the growth of smartphones and tablets, time-shifting has modified when and where we consume content. People now spend their days gathering information for later consumption when they have more time to focus. They use evenings, weekends and commutes to dive into the content they’ve saved. This means that you don’t need to constrain your content to 300 word to 500 word snippets.

Actionable Marketing Tactics:

  1. Expand your content offering to include longer pieces. If visitors are interested in your information, they’ll find time to read and consider it. This activity will probably be time shifted. Therefore offer a mix of content including longer pieces.
  2. Keep your best and most recent information and articles visible for four days. To this end, post a list of recent posts on your blog and websites.
  3. Provide alternative entryways to your content that allow potential readers to save them for later consumption. Think in terms of emailings and RSS feeds
  4. Include options for bookmarking, email and printing. Let your audience choose how they want to receive your content.

Are Loyal to Writers.

Authors and bylines matter to readers. According to Mark Armstrong, examination of the “most-read authors” proved that readers were loyal to writers. He found that readers were just as likely to read a 2,000-word story as a 300-word story. Understand that these writers are in essence mini-brands beneath your brand. (Here’s information about creating your brand.)

Actionable Marketing Tactics:

  1. Determine whom your best contributors and writers are (unless you’re The Economist which has no by-lines).  Then move their articles and content to your best performing days. For many business publications, this is Monday.
  2. Feature your best writers. Make their content stand out to attract more readers. Also, give their past articles and bios the royal treatment.
  3. Assess the attributes your readers like about these writers. Consider their content, style, and other attributes. Then look for these qualities in other writers and coach them to emulate these writers.

Consume multi-media content.

Participants save text and video on Pocket. Video support was added in late 2010 and now video domains (including YouTube) account for 3% of all content saved on the platform. No surprise here. People like different content options and video is something we’ve been trained to consume. Further, participants have longer attention spans for content they’re interested in.

Actionable Marketing Tactics:

  1. Offer longer content in a variety of formats. When it comes to long form content, it’s not just text anymore. (Here are 26 content marketing formats to consider.)
  2. Experiment with audio. While text and video are tried and true, expect audio to gain traction as an on-the-go, simultaneous content format.

A four-screen world changes participants’ approach to content consumption. Make sure you analyze what type of content, length, formats and authors your audience likes. Also, make sure that your content can accommodate newer form of content consumption.

What other implications do you see emerging from these three content marketing trends? What do you recommend doing as a marketer?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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Photo credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/intelfreepress/8047838494/


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