Guest post by Steve PeckCofounder at Docalytics

I hate to be the one to break this to you, but the majority of your readers don’t find much value in your content. That’s not to say you aren’t producing quality content. Rather most of your readers don’t find an answer to their specific question fast enough, and with all the massive amount of other content out there to explore, they quickly move on and likely never consume another resource of yours again.

stop watchThis is at least one of the key takeaways from the recent B2B Content Engagement Benchmark Report published by my company Docalytics.  Engagement data captured during 180,000 view sessions across 1,700 resources like downloadable eBooks, whitepapers, reports and guides indicated that the average reader spends only 2 minutes and 3 seconds consuming this type of branded long form content. More telling is that the largest group, accounting for over 35% of your readers, will spend less than 30 seconds engaging with your long form content, before they lose interest and stop reading, as illustrated via the graph below:

view times

Why you will NOT read much further beyond this line

At this point we are 174 words into this post, and given the average reading speed for comprehension runs between 200  – 700 WPM or 400 – 700 WPM for skimming (which let’s be honest is exactly what you are doing), I have at best another minute and three seconds before I lose your interest forever.

This means it is time in this post to give some practical, tactical advice to not only drive deeper engagement with your content, but more importantly ensure your readers return to consume future pieces of content as well.

Driving Engagement:

  1. When designing content, make sure key stats and takeaways are easily findable. (Note this sudden change to numbered bullets. Happy coincidence? I think not.)
  2. Interview experts in your field and include approved snippets of those remarks as credibility callouts throughout your content.
  3. Take the expert advice Neil Patel provided us, which is outlined in the strategically placed expert interview call out box below (see point #2):

patel quote

Securing Return Visits:

  1. Build intelligent nurturing campaigns with marketing automation to put relevant secondary content offers front and center in prospects’ inboxes
  2. Say fewer things, but provide ample call-to-action opportunities for those readers who want to dive deeper on the topic or subscribe to receive additional, value added content
  3. Take the advice Jill Konrath gave us around leveraging your sales team to help distribute your content as part of their value-added follow-up to all marketing qualified leads

You’ll also need to invest in solutions that will help you measure engagement with the different type of content you create.  Thankfully there is no shortage of amazing tools to help you measure engagement with your:

  • Website & Blog Content – While most marketing automation platforms provide surface level metrics around reader views or shares of content, a new breed of Content Marketing Platforms has made massive strides to help you measure effectiveness of your content by reporting more telling metrics such as:
    • Attention Time
    • Finish rate
    • Engagement Rate
    • Return Visits
  • Webinars – The ‘pay attention while we talk’ nature of most webinar presentations makes it critical that you measure audience engagement. If you manage to get 10,000 people to register for a webinar, and 9,999 of those registrants disengage after the first few minutes, the value of all those new leads will be greatly diminished. Many leading webinar providers now make available metrics that help determine the quality of your content, so make sure you take advantage.
  • Downloadable Content – PDF eBooks, white papers, guides and other reports have long been a complete black box in terms of understanding reader engagement. More modern marketers now understand the importance of measuring how readers consume these resources, which is outlined in this downloadable content engagement benchmark takeaway published by my company Docalytics.

However you accomplish it, the key is to start capturing metrics around how your target audiences consume your content. This will help you more easily replicate the things that perform well, and eliminate those things that don’t. Over time, this will lead to higher quality content that allows you to more quickly build your subscriber base and convert inbound traffic into qualified customers.

Don’t be average. Keep Reading.

monitor medalSo we are now 705 words into this article, meaning the majority of your content marketing peers who started this post are already long gone. But not you. You are among the engaged.

So given your interest in the topic, and in alignment with the advice I’ve given on leaving no dead ends with frequent CTA’s, I encourage you to check out our Ultimate Guide to Content Engagement Benchmarks, or if you’re tapped out on reading be one of the first to subscribe to the new InsideContent.Marketing blog where you’ll learn first-hand from some of the biggest blunders in content marketing, as told by the experts who lived through them.

And of course, would value your opinion and own expert commentary on how you drive deeper engagement and repeat visitors via a comment below…

Steve Peck is Cofounder at Docalytics, lead author of the Ultimate Guide to Content Engagement Benchmarks and co-creator of the free-to-use PDF Content Tracker. His newest project InsideContent.Marketing features candid stories of success & failure told by experts at the cutting-edge of the content marketing front lines. Join the insider discussion today by subscribing here or connecting on Twitter @1StevePeck