Curator Intern Blog Series
By Lauren Macalalad, PR Intern
The rapidly changing digital ecosystem requires companies and brands to change with it. The endless – and at times overwhelming – flow of content and information on websites and social channels have caused me to ignore much of what I see simply because it all seems the same or doesn’t stand out. I have even come to believe that it has shortened my attention span to the point where I can barely stand to read a two-page article, and I find myself resorting to skimming the material instead. Like me, digital users are constantly altering how they react and respond to content, as well as how they navigate online sites, in order to keep up with ever-changing digital platforms.
When Facebook first came out, I would look at virtually all posts since my feed only consisted of my friends’ activities. However, with time comes change and the changes to not only Facebook, but other social channels as well, have made it difficult to filter what pops up on your feed. There is a nonstop stream of posts, advertisements, suggestions and links, among many other things, fighting for users’ attention. From here on out, it will only become more difficult for companies and brands to successfully reach their target audience, unless they implement the best practices to capture their audience and keep them engaged.
Below are three strategies companies and brands can use to stand out online.
1. Always provide an attractive and compelling visual to the story, social post, advertisement or whatever it may be. It is almost an unspoken rule at this point, but sometimes companies will use a visual that either doesn’t add much to the message or even distracts and subtracts from it. A recent blog post published on My Content Co explained that our brains are biologically wired to register and respond to visual content, while Inc. presented a list of statistics that highlights the powerful effects visuals have on user activity on several different platforms, thus making clear how influential visuals really are. A picture, video or design that is aesthetically pleasing and nicely complements the company’s message will ensure online recognition, even among an endless stream of content.
2. Convey the message in a brief and concise manner. No one likes to be overwhelmed with text on a page (unless you’re purposefully seeking out a thorough, scholarly research article). It is crucial to consider formatting and how it may affect the audience’s ability or motivation to consume content. Examples of formatting that make information easily digestible include bullet-pointed lists, short-sentence paragraphs and infographics.
3. Utilize social media or online listening tools to help track and evaluate post analytics. These numbers actually mean business and if you’re not paying attention, you probably don’t have the attention of your audience. Several social media platforms already make it easier for businesses to track how well their posts are reaching customers, like Facebook and Instagram. Other helpful sites to get you started are Hootsuite, Google Analytics and Klout. Use these analytics to strategize what and when you post to increase reach and engagement. The data is your guide and can help steer your company and online activity in the right direction.
Ensuring that content and messaging is consistent, concise and compelling will help companies and brands stand out among the millions of other articles and ideas floating around the digital world. Not only will the implementation of these three strategies simply improve content, but it also has the potential to make sure more people actually see that content. In a time where we are overloaded with posts, links and advertisements, it’s important to make it easier for your audience to find and consume your content, otherwise they will scroll right past it.
This blog was written as a part of Curator’s Intern Blog Series. The author, Lauren Macalalad, is a senior at the University of Washington studying communication, Spanish and diversity. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.