Content is Currency

Developing Powerful Content
for Web and Mobile

by Jon Wuebben - Founder and CEO of Content Launch

The Value of Repetition in Content Marketing

Saying it over and over again within and across media is essential. Let me repeat …

Information Dumps vs. Spoon Feeding

Whether it is a new product web page, a brochure or an email blast, companies everywhere have a seemingly irresistible impulse to cram every feature and benefit into the content. What should be a hard-hitting 200-word message turns into a 2000-word, mind-numbing information dump.

The root cause of the information dump syndrome is thinking, if we get everything out there in one fell swoop, our job is done. While this sounds logical and efficient, it fails to take human nature into account, a factor that is clearly essential for any content marketing strategy. To avoid turning your content into a dump, keep these two ideas in mind:

1. Short and Sweet

While there are exceptions, for the most part a marketing message’s impact diminishes as the word count expands. Since word count is directly related to the number of ideas being expressed, it follows that a shorter message with fewer ideas has greater impact. To restate it more compactly:

Fewer Words + Fewer Ideas = Greater Impact

This formula applies to web content in particular, because people move through web pages so quickly. Studies vary, but it’s safe to say that users make a judgment within a handful of seconds whether to read a page’s content or click off. The mere sight of an imposing block of content is in and of itself enough to drive many readers away.

2. Repeat and Repeat

Saying something once accomplishes very little, even when the message is compact and compelling. Users might be in a hurry when they read your stuff. They may have a hundred other things on their mind. They are probably not even close to being ready to act on whatever you’re saying. Some marketers feel that repeating the message somehow insults the intelligence of the reader, but I think just the opposite is true. Repeating a message makes it easy for me to remember, especially when the time comes when I’m ready to take action.

Repetition vs. Spam

Admittedly, there is a fine line between strategic repetition and spam. Staying on the right side of the line hinges on frequency and timing. Here are specific examples to help clarify. These are just suggestions based on my experience and data gathered over the years; what’s best for individual firms may be different.)

Content on the Page
• Landing Pages. Repeat the same call to action, but space it out every 200-300 words in pages with long content. On short content pages, one CTA in the body and one in the form are usually sufficient.
• Product Pages. State the one or two most compelling benefits above the fold, and push secondary benefits and features down. Touch on the top benefits throughout the page.
• Blog Posts. It’s seldom effective to cover more than one or two main ideas in a post.
• Brochures. Less is definitely more. Keep at least one page free of content clutter and instead use it to drive home one or two main points.
• Tweets. It’s beneficial to use the same or similar phrasing when tweeting the same message. Otherwise, each tweet strikes the reader as a new idea.

Content Syndication
• Email Blasts. One email per month is a desirable frequency; the argument for emailing more often should be very strong.
• Blog Post. Covering the same idea five times a week is too often. Covering the same idea every five posts is about right.
• Tweets. Repeating the same message twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon is as far as I will go. Chances are good that the AM and PM audiences will be different.
• Facebook Posts. High frequency posting seems to be less well received on Facebook than other media, even if the messages are different. Since users are especially sensitive to stream clogging and can easily block you, we seldom repeat a message more than two or three times a week.
• Google+ Posts. Google+ attracts a very savvy crowd, at least in the marketing world. Repetition two or three times a day might work, but your message needs to be well crafted, useful and intelligent.

“Well crafted, useful and intelligent” is a good rule of thumb for most content issues, making this last point worth repeating. The cumulative effect of repetition – when well crafted, useful and intelligent – is greater brand awareness, stronger brand identity, and ultimately, better lead generation.

Great companies are generally known for one or two things. Keep the message simple and streaming … it will help you get there!

Bonus video: Check out this entertaining, 31-second video that demonstrates the effectiveness of repetition!

This Content is Currency blog post was written by Brad Shorr, Director of Content & Social Media for Straight North, a web development firm specializing in Drupal, based in Chicago. They work with firms in a variety of B2B and B2C niches, including a firm known for building the best dentist websites and one that books golf tee times online.

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