How does a company know if its customers, or even its potential audience, are consuming its content? Christopher Altchek, co-founder of the news site PolicyMic, offered some advice to the enterprise about how to create content that will reach its intended audience in our highly mobile world.
Altchek believes that knowing your audience is incredibly important. When you understand who consumes your content, you can build a successful mobile strategy. Being aware of your digital followers not only means possessing demographic knowledge; it also means being able to pinpoint their mobile devices and platforms. “Both device and platform matter,” Altchek said. “It’s important to understand whether your audience is consuming on desktop, tablet, or smartphone.”
Why does possessing this knowledge matter? “The consumption habits of the three are different, and each requires an optimized experience and potentially optimized content to ensure quality engagement,” Altchek explained.
Businesses are fortunate in that it does not take a great deal of time or effort to gain platform and device information. “Luckily, both devices and platforms are very easy to track in common analytics software, like Google Analytics,” Altchek noted.
In addition to demographic and technical information, Altchek recommended learning about which distribution channels your audience relies upon to access your content. He commented that there is a significant difference between business-to-business and business-to-consumer content channels. “If you’re an industrial company looking to reach professionals who work in the water industry, you’re more likely to earn engagement with content distributed through a professional e-mail newsletter or LinkedIn, rather than Facebook,” he remarked.
Conversely, consumers turn to other digital content channels. “If you’re a B2C brand and you’re trying to reach consumers with general interest content, you should think about leveraging platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Vine where the audience is returning multiple times a day to consume a broader range of content,” Altchek suggested.
The co-founder of the popular news site urged the enterprise to study the types of content to which customers best respond. “We have done extensive audience research to figure out what our audience enjoys and is likely to pass along to their friends,” Altchek commented. He has seen a generational gap in the way people consume content. “Young people consume content much differently than older generations,” Altchek pointed out. “For instance, we’ve found that in addition to writing in the language of our generation and being honest with them, charts, photos and maps are an effective way to make content engaging.”
Altchek also advocated forming partnerships with other companies to distribute content. Businesses must be careful with whom they allow to distribute their content, though. The PolicyMic co-founder shared his site’s strategy for finding partners: “First we make sure that our partners have brands that we are proud to support. We will lose credibility with our audience if we are promoting brands they distrust. Second, we make sure the potential benefits of a partnership outweigh the time costs. If so, then we always start small, test, and go from there.”
Content itself matters as well. What compels people to read something? Altchek emphasized that content must be meaningful. Readers keep returning to PolicyMic because its writers discuss topics that are relevant to their peers in an honest, straightforward way. “In today’s world, users can easily avoid content, so create content they don’t want to avoid,” he said.
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