We spend so much time creating content to get and sustain the attention of our audience. In spite of this, I can guarantee you that you’re not showing your website audience the content that they want to see because it’s not on your home page. And… you likely have a library of amazing content that they’d love to consume. This adds up to lost opportunities, time and money. It’s time to start thinking about personalizing your content marketing so that you’re putting the right content in front of the right visitor at the right time.
Blogs Promote What’s Recent Not Relevant
The biggest perpetrator of showing the wrong content to your visitors has been the adoption of blog platforms in place of a general content management system (CMS). Blogging platforms are fantastic because they make it easy to write often and write in a conversational manner.
That being said, blogs inherently favor the content that’s the most recent. This works and makes a lot of sense, if the content that you’re creating is time specific, like news. As new posts come in, there’s more recent and in that case, more relevant content.
Having your website give more prominence to recent content is actually not the best approach if you have any timeless, seasonally relevant, or “evergreen” content. If you have a post that’s just as engaging 5 years or 5 months from now as it is today, the minute that it’s off the front page of your blog it’s less likely to get seen in the natural flow of someone visiting your website.
At AddThis, we call this the “Content Iceberg Problem.” We’ve all seen the picture of the iceberg that’s actually MUCH bigger if you look at how much of it underwater and not immediately seen. The same issue happens with a blog. A very small portion of content is easily discoverable and a lot sits beneath the surface.
Examining This For Yourself
Do you wanna see this first hand? Open up your Google Analytics. Look at your top trafficked content for the last month. How much of that content is more than a month old. I’d imagine a pretty good chunk of it.
We did this ourselves. If we look at the last 12 months, the number one most trafficked page on the AddThis blog is a post that we wrote back in April 2014 on the best time to post to social media. There’s many others like it in there.
How are users finding this content? They’re finding it through search engines. So if this old content is so popular with people, why aren’t you making sure your visitors see it? More on the solution in a minute.
Rise of the Personal Web
The online publishing revolution that we’ve seen over the last 5 years has been truly incredible. It’s never been easier to express your opinions online, with the hope of building some kind of an audience.
While we’ve made it easier to create content, we’ve not done much to make it easier to consume. We give everyone very impersonal inefficient one-sized-fits all experiences that really just prominently show the wrong content, which we’ve identified is only a fraction of what people actually wanna read.
Over the rest of 2015, we’ll see people and their data move to the center of how we market and build audiences online. We’ll be able to personalize how to present content on what’s relevant and not just what’s recent. We’ll be able to show website visitors what they want. We’ll see the rise of the personal Web.
How To Personalize Content Discovery
So… what’s the answer? There’s lots of different ways that you can start displaying more personally relevant content to your readers versus giving everyone exactly the same thing. Here’s what we’d recommend…
1. Create places to promote content
Make sure that you have welcome bars or marketing overlay/lightboxes on your site that you can use to promote older but recently relevant content that pops up in your Google Analytics data.
You can do this with AddThis marketing tools.
2. Install a related/recommended content tools
These tools will figure out what a visitor should be reading next based on what they’re currently reading.
Check out AddThis recommendation tools.
3. Start using contextual visitor data
When a visitor comes to a website, there’s all kinds of context about that visit that can be useful for personalizing an experience. For example, where was that user prior to coming to your website? Were they part of a campaign? Did they come from a specific social network?
4. Start using external visitor data
Data about what users do outside of your website can be even more helpful in terms of helping you identify what they’re interested in before they come to your website. Are they interested in sports? How much do they REALLY love basketball? Are they looking to buy a car?
AddThis marketing tools can also leverage data about a visitor from across the AddThis network of 15M websites and 1.9B people.
By utilizing one of these techniques, you can start to utilize data about your audience to give your website visitors a more personal experience that’s tailored to what will best suit what they’re looking for. This in turn will help you to better engage your visitors, drive deeper relationships, and in turn generate more revenue. By using AddThis marketing tools and personalizing their website, Sophia Institute was able to double their fundraising goals.
Try AddThis website tools today!
This blog post first appeared on Medium.