Survey Reveals Generational Gap in Content Consumption

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Some outward differences between age groups are easily observed, such as hairstyle, clothing, and taste in cars and music.

But as tuned-in integrated marketers know, it’s the unseen differences–like values, preferences and online behaviors–that businesses need to be aware of.

Case in point: the recently revealed ‘generation gap’ in digital content consumption that exists between Millennials, Generation Xers, and Baby Boomers. Researchers define the groups by the year in which they were born:

  • Millennials–1977-1995
  • GenXers–1965-1976
  • Baby Boomers–1946-1964

If you don’t know which content your customers enjoy (and ignore) the most, you’re pouring marketing resources down the proverbial drain.

Likes, Dislikes and Habits

Some interesting and instructive differences between the groups recently came to light in an eye-opening survey of 1200 adults from Fractl and BuzzStream. Key findings, summarized below, may help inform your content strategy, and fine-tune the production of future marketing resources:

Survey participants were asked to share opinions and preferences for 15 types of content, ranging from blog articles to white papers. Respondents also estimated how much time they typically spend engaging with different content. Here’s a taste of what their answers revealed:

Most and Least Loved Content

  • Content most favored by all three groups: blog articles, images, comments, and eBooks.
  • Content least favored by all three groups: webinars, quizzes, SlideShares and white papers. (Question for B2B marketers: how does this revelation square with your current content marketing strategy?)

Preferred Length

When it comes to content, it turns out the attention span for all three generations is roughly equal, with each group most preferring articles of about 300 words. Half of boomers polled like pieces that shorter than the 300 count, while 18 percent go for content totaling 200 words.

And here’s one you didn’t see coming: 20 percent GenXers prefer longer articles of 500 words or more.

Time Spent Engaging Online

Now, you might think that younger people spend more time with content. But you’d be wrong. Boomers lead handily in this stat: more than 25 percent screen-gaze for at least 20 hours weekly. By comparison, the largest percentage of both Millennials and GenXers (23 percent) only consume between five and 10 hours per week.

Stay Tuned. There’s More to Come.

We agree with experts who predict a breakout year for companies who market with content.
We also feel strongly in helping new and experienced practitioners maximize content effectiveness.

That’s why we’re planning a rare part-two follow-up to this post. Part Two will not only explain predicted trends may impact your business, it will also break down the latest recommended best practices, and provide access to a free downloadable content marketing checklist.

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Content reuse and recycle: It’s not just good for the environment.

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You see, when the average person sits down to write a blog, that’s all they do. But wise content marketers compose that blog with the larger marketing ecosystem in mind. As they build the blog, they ponder all of the places that same information might appear. Before they know it, their blog gets reborn as an email, a white paper, a web video, an infographic and many other forms of content. And voila — they’ve got themselves a full-blown integrated marketing campaign.

To successfully repurpose, get clear on your purpose.
It seems obvious that reusing information in different forms makes a ton of sense, right? But according to the coschedule blog, the perks of repurposing go considerably beyond the practical idea of basing a complete campaign on a single piece of content. As coschedule put it: “When you focus your energy on producing one awesome asset…you’re likely to produce a better piece of work than you would by dividing your attention across every platform you’re responsible for.” Which means the recycling strategy saves more than time. It can also raise your campaign’s profile — and impact.

How to successfully recycle content.
The team at Fractl shares five great tips for recycling content. Here are three of them:

  1. You can work smarter instead of harder. You can research and create an entire integrated marketing campaign in a single, efficient effort.
  2. You can stretch your resources, “finding new uses for content even years later by republishing, reviving and renewing.”
  3. You can connect with new audiences. Rather than a one-size-fits all approach, take the same basic idea and adjust it for “different demographics and verticals.”

10X your content and multiply your results.
As the folks at coschedule say, every integrated marketer is “under pressure to deliver the high-quality our audiences want…if you’re working solo or on a small team, that pressure is further magnified, since all the weight is on you to do everything.”

A powerful one-two punch.
According to Wordstream, certain kinds of content are more recycling friendly. Examples: If you have a blog with a strong visual component, turn it into a Pinterest board. A series of beautiful PowerPoint slides might become an intriguing infographic. And your next blog post might metamorphose into a podcast.

Then: Write less…promote more. Now: Write less…reuse more.
Neil Patel reminds us of a time-tested content marketing strategy: “Write less…promote more.” While that’s never been truer than it is today, one of the best ways to promote more is to repurpose whenever possible.

The painless path is successful recycling.
Let’s close with an easy way to get the repurposing ball rolling: Before you to start work on a new piece of content, turn to what’s already been done. Is there something in your content portfolio that tested well the first time around? If so, dust it off. Polish it up. And commit your team to building an integrated marketing campaign around recycled content.

How Three Small Businesses Got Big Results with Content Marketing

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If you think world-class content marketing is restricted to global companies with ginormous budgets, think smaller. See how these three businesses of modest size and means created a huge impact —and were rewarded big time!

1 – Mint.com
Infographics & blogging – According to an article by Alexandra Skey in Spokal, “Mint.com was the first company to create infographics to attract customers on a mass scale – that resulted in 2 million customers within 3 years.” Mint was started byAaron Patzer in 2006 to give consumers a new way to handle personal finances online. By 2007, the company was already managing 100,000 accounts, before skyrocketing to two million. Mint.com also has a very cool, friendly and inviting blog, Mint Life, that makes personal finance highly accessible.

Bottom line: Mint.com perfected creative content marketing — and made a mint. The company was bought out by Intuit for a cool $170 million. Mint currently looks after more than 10 million accounts.

Takeaway: Are you using infographics to paint the picture for your customers? You can review the basics here.

2 – Canva
Long-form articles 
– Canva’s website provides a stunning graphic design tool free of charge. An article in Marketing Insider Group revealed, “Canva doesn’t have a blog, they have a Design School. Canva’s content can be fun, inspirational, useful or of course — educational.”

But what’s particularly revealing about Canva is that their most-shared content isn’t about design, but rather a long-form article about the benefits of taking long walks. As Marketing Insider Group notes, “Despite containing very little imagery, the piece has been shared more than 60,000 times on Facebook, 400 times on Pinterest, and 2,000 times on LinkedIn. It’s also (according to Ahrefs) received links from 163 different domains. The really great thing about this is that it’s something you could emulate. You don’t need a design and development team – you just need to pinpoint a topic that resonates with your audience and write about it well.”

Bottom line: Canva grew to more than six million users in four short years. While their website does a fine job of showing off their creative design chops, what’s just as interesting is their willingness to go way outside of the box.

Takeaway: Are you growing your content marketing muscles by stretching yourself and trying new things? In addition to pushing the creative boundaries in house, trying going outside to try creative outsourcing.

3 – Old World Inn
Review Sites
 – SEM Rush shared some great examples of small business content marketing. One story in particular reveals how a California wine country lodging called the Old World Inn reaches out using review sites like TripAdvisor. The Inn takes the time to not merely respond to traveler inquiries — but to draw a word picture of what it’s like to experience the Napa Valley.

Bottom line: On their TripAdvisor site, you’ll discover the Old World Inn’s extensive history of communicating with the traveler – a history that spans several years. It’s quite a commitment!

Takeaway: Are you using the location-based sites that make sense for your company and industry? Get yourself on the map – and encourage customers to share your story.

5 Benefits of Facebook Business Pages

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Is your business one of the 65 million taking advantage of Facebook’s free local business pages? If not, check out the business benefits below to help sway you or any reluctant managers toward including a Facebook business page in your integrated marketing plan. Facebook business pages offer a number of benefits that you don’t want to miss out on.

Brand Awareness

Perhaps the best reason to develop your Facebook business page, is that likes and shares help get your content out to your followers, and their followers, etc., building brand awareness. A site that serves the customer rather than a sales agenda helps with recognition and associates users with your brand, making your followers effectively influencers. When customers post positive messages to your wall or their own, it is seen by an ever-growing list of potential clients.

Customer Communication & Support  

Nurture your current customers (and convert new ones) with a personal touch. A business page opens you up to organic customer engagement and the opportunity to build a community. Talk to customers, post messages and receive feedback, provide product or service updates, and listen to customer needs, responding politely and with authenticity. Take the time to invest in a long-term customer communication and support strategy, and practice it regularly.

Referrals & Reviews

Think of Facebook as a networking mixer for a couple billion people. Integrated marketers used to look for new business and referrals from among a few dozen people in a small midtown meeting room, but with a Facebook business page, the world is your Rolodex. Users share their experiences working with your business, seek/receive advice from each other, or find product reviews and testimonials right on your page from other members.

Web Traffic

Once you’ve built your community and fostered interactivity, you can use your Facebook business page to boost traffic to your website. Link to your site and encourage Facebook users to click through for a larger portrait gallery, more testimonials, longer posts, or to make a purchase. Those who visit your webpage are more likely to explore and convert, so offer them even more enticing content on your website. 

SEO

For many managers, this is the most important argument, so don’t forget to use it! Facebook business pages are quickly indexed by Google and other search engines. Ensure that the keywords you want associated with your page are used in the business page title to help Google’s bots find you. Any posts, links, and other activity that takes place on your public business Facebook page helps to lift SEO when indexed, so confirm that your page regularly features rich, relevant content.

As you can see, there is no shortage of reasons to use Facebook for business, from the obvious to the expert. Take advantage of as many of these capabilities as possible to spread the word about your business. And check back next month for five Facebook business applications that you will want to put to use ASAP.