From old standards like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to of-the-moment favorites like Periscope, Instagram and Snapchat, marketers and publishers have a plethora of social channels for reaching customers– enough for some serious social overload. With marketers juggling more channels than ever before and increasingly siloed marketing departments, reaching the right audience is an increasingly daunting undertaking. Here’s the bad news: reaching the right audience is just the start. Your agency needs an effective strategy for audience retention, too. Without a retention strategy in place, content marketing ROI will remain low and your marketing efforts will continue to be an expense, rather than an asset, for your client.
As we head into 2016, consider a fresh approach to audience engagement and retention:
- Build your audience: use competitive intelligence to choose content topics. Even if you’re an expert on your client’s industry, picking content topics without first doing competitor and audience research is like throwing darts blindfolded: how can you hit the target if you don’t even know where it is? While your client can be a great source of inspiration, remember that your client doesn’t have a birds-eye industry view. That’s your job. Get started with a competitor analysis tool to track trending topics. What topics and keywords are trending within your client’s industry? Take a look at your client’s evergreen posts, too; which are still generating traction six months or a year after being posted? Refresh these posts for increased engagement. What recent current events or industry trends can you capitalize on or use as an angle for driving traffic? Be smart about topic selection to build a better audience.
- Lock in a captive audience: offer email subscriptions. Great marketing writers know that content is vital to connecting with your client’s target audience, but content alone is not enough to build audience loyalty. A smart audience retention strategy must give the audience a reason to come back for more. If your content views are high but return readership is low, the problem may be a lack of subscriptions. Whether your subscriptions are a daily, weekly or monthly email content digest, subscriptions build an audience with whom you have an ongoing dialogue.
- Keep your audience coming back for more: publish consistently. A subscription program will also force your agency to stick to a regular publication schedule. Yes, short-term campaign stunts (like GE’s “Drone Week” or Dunkin’ Donuts “DD Summer Soundtrack”) are great for re-energizing your core audience and bringing in new audience members. When a short-term campaign ends, don’t leave your new audience hanging. Keep them coming back for more with a steady publication stream. Think like a publisher with a content editorial calendar and aim for weekly or bi-weekly publication. Tease out content over social media, serialize posts, and atomize lists (e.g., “Tip 5” lists becomes a different tip each day).
Erin M ghostwrites extensively on behalf of B2B companies to support their content marketing and thought leadership campaigns, and her clients range from major Fortune 500 companies to small business startups. When not crafting custom content solutions, you can find her adding stamps to her passport, scuba diving, or perfecting her secret cheesecake recipe.