This week focuses on challenges content creators face today.
Buzzsumo released their Content Trends research last week and it correlates with research we undertook last year at Radiate B2B. As usual my take below.
The return of search engines
Several years ago it was not unusual to see most traffic to your content generated from social networks. This rapid growth led to plenty of advice on how to take advantage and quickly build your audience.
The biggest takeaway from the research is that social sharing has been cut in half since 2015.
Google was the big loser from the rise in social sharing.
This fall means Google is again the major generator of traffic.
Facebook changes are significant
Whilst the decrease in sharing has declined slowly since 2015, mid last year it declined rapidly.
Buzzsumo puts this down to increasing competition, an increase in private sharing and changes to the Facebook algorithm.
Private sharing is where people are sharing outside the social networks – e.g. via email, work intranets and chat platforms like Slack.
The Facebook algorithm changes can be attributed to the demotion of click bait type articles last year. The data does not yet account for changes last month where personal content is now increasingly being promoted at the expense of publisher content.
The end result is going to be a further decrease in shares for publishers in the future.
It is getting competitive (expensive)
With more and more companies publishing content and only a finite number of spots within social network feeds, getting your content in front of people is getting harder. The speed with which a new topic gets saturated has also increased.
This matches with research we undertook last year, where we saw increasing amounts of content being created by companies and decreasing performance.
It resulted in us launching Radiate B2B’s account based advertising platform, which helps companies place content in front of people or organisations they want to see the content.
This builds brand authority versus the competition and increases the overall reach of your content.
The importance of authority
The winners from all this change have been sites with authority – The New York Times, The Economist and Harvard Business Review were all shown to have significantly increased their shares.
How is authority being defined though?
Clearly investing in high quality content is now more important than investing in click bait headline writers who once could attract clicks.
There is a conundrum here though.
Is it the social networks placing high authority content in front of people to share or is it that individuals are increasingly choosing to share content from sites they trust.
In either scenario, building up an early lead in creating high quality content for your market will clearly be the best strategy rather than lots of low quality content and then, just as important, is ensuring that content is placed in front of people who want it.
Most are flogging a dead horse
Gaining authority in your markets is now critical and my advice remains for companies to create their own blogs so they can control their own destiny, rather than rely on third party platforms to distribute their content.
Then use those distributions platforms to further spread the content.
WordPress.com, one of the largest platforms for hosting a company blog, saw increasing numbers of posts being created.
But the overall audience for those posts has dropped as quality decreased.
LinkedIn still winning?
LinkedIn bucked the trend in terms of content engagement compared to Facebook, Twitter etc over the three year period.
LinkedIn is attributing the increase over the past three years to their experimentation with layout and new features.
However, content engagement is down over the past 12 months.
Based on our own anecdotal research, the decrease in content sharing over the past twelve months is likely due to increasing competition for spots in people’s LinkedIn news feeds, similar to what has happened on Facebook.
This confirms that a lot of “best practice” social media and content marketing advice in the market is now bad advice.
Much of the old advice was around manipulating social media platforms and individuals, who had just read the headline, into sharing.
An increase in quality content is good for the reader.
Less is more.