The internet has changed the way we discover and consume information. Think about the year 2000 — you put a keyword in the search bar and websites with the highest keyword concentration were the ones that appeared on top. Things gradually changed with the Panda, Penguin, Pigeon and other updates. The focus was more on quality of content. The search industry was further revolutionized with the introduction Google’s Instant Results around 2010. People were excited to see how the search engine offered relevant results just by reading the first few letters of a keyword.
Fast forward to 2017, the search engines have become even smarter. Their only focus is at offering the most relevant and useful information based on user preferences. Enter content discovery! Marketers are now keen on making brand content discoverable to ensure better awareness and traffic.
But what is all this buzz about content discovery? Let us take a look.
What is Content Discovery?
Content discovery is the art and science of using predictive algorithms to help make content recommendations based on how people search. Search engines and various other platforms are now using artificial intelligence (AI) to understand customer preferences and interests. This helps users to find content that’s most suitable for them.
To understand what content discovery is all about, let us review some examples. Social media sites such as Facebook have content discovery features integrated into its algorithms. Consider the News Feed offered by the social platform. The content that appears in an individual feed is offered according to each users past behavior and personal preferences. In fact, a survey carried out by Forrester Consulting found social media to be the most preferred source of discovery for news and information among online adults between the ages of 18 and 55. The survey also revealed that a young millennial follows an average of 121 publishers on the social media.
Similar to Facebook, YouTube’s “Recommended for You” section is another example of how user activity and preferences fuel content discovery.
Why is Content Discovery Important?
Content discovery has become more important than ever. This is because the amount of online content is increasing exponentially. Almost every brand is creating content to offer value for their audiences, which means it’s even more difficult for people to find the information they are looking for. Content discovery allows people to find information that is highly relevant and personalized. In fact, content discovery helps both consumers and online marketers. Here is how:
- Consumers find desired data/information quickly without having to scour through hundreds and thousands of search results.
- Online marketers can put relevant content in front of their targeted audience at the right time through the right channels.
Content discovery, helps people weed out irrelevant and unimportant information. The next question is how can brands, publishers and advertisers benefit from content discovery?
How Content Discovery Helps Brands, Publishers and Advertisers
Marketers spend time creating high-quality content, sharing it across various channels but often fail to get the desired attention they seek. Why? There are high chances that the content gets lost in the deluge. So what can marketers do to ensure content gets seen? Here is what leaders are doing to get attention and expand their reach.
Brands, publishers and advertisers are leveraging various content discovery platforms such as Taboola, Outbrain, Curiyo, Renoun, and others to expand their reach and improve ROI. The content discovery tools allow the marketers to offer high-level engagement (through high-quality and relevant content), which offers them with ample opportunities to monetize and capitalize on the user engagement levels.
The platforms analyze user behaviors by considering a number of metrics such as time spent on a specific site, the path taken to reach a specific content source, search habits, preferences and others. These useful insights can be used to target content and advertisement campaigns and ensure better lead generation.
Content discovery has become even more important for brands as consumers prefer information on their mobile devices rather than on their PCs and laptops. According to Statista, the number of smartphone users across the world has increased from 1.5 billion in 2014 to 2.17 billion in 2016. The number of smartphone users are expected to rise up-to 2.87 billion by 2020. Moreover, about 20 percent millennials are no longer using their desktop to access the Web.
With a number of content discovery platforms available to the marketers, publishers and advertisers, they need not worry about a user leaving their site/blog to find further information on their preferred topics.
Here are some quick tips that will help marketers present the most relevant content in front of their targeted audience:
1. Offer Users Quality Content
Marketers must focus on providing their audience with a lot of high-quality content instead of focusing on creating just a one-off piece. Different types of content appeal to different audiences, so you have to make sure you cater to a larger audience. There have been instances when a single piece of content has gotten a huge amount of attention and helped the brand to grow immensely, but that is only momentary. By creating quality content you can reap benefits for a longer period of time.
2. Focus on Multi-Channel Strategies
Facebook can help you get a lot of attention, but the audience it caters to is not multidimensional. To expand your reach, you need to think about leveraging other channels as well. So, by designing a comprehensive content marketing strategy that includes search marketing, Facebook marketing, Twitter marketing, Instagram marketing, etc., you can benefit a lot. Once you get started you can measure how each channel is contributing to the campaign and tweak your strategies accordingly.
3. Help Others and They Will Help You
Marketers often make the mistake of promoting their own content only. By sharing high-quality content from other sources or publishers, you can offer variety to your audiences and they will be more likely to come to your site when they need information. As the saying goes, “you get what you give,” there are chances where other publishers will also be willing to share your content or mention it on their blogs/websites which will help in increasing your reach.
4. Create Content That Your Audience Will Love
Who does not love instant success? But when it comes to content marketing you can never expect overnight success. The secret is to create content that your audience will love for years to come. With a long-term content discovery strategy, you can ensure more benefits. Once your audience is engaged you can move over to measuring the performance of your content and make adjustments accordingly to ensure better results.
5. Strategic Organization Aids Content Discovery
Content silos are harmful for your overall content marketing since it creates dead ends in your engagement path. Content silos form when you group content by date or type (blog posts, videos, etc.). It is a must that you organize your content by topic, since it makes content discovery easier.
While you can make your content discoverable by using search bars, internal links and a content recommendation engine; strategic organization helps users find the most relevant content quickly and easily. Moreover, organizing content by topic, persona or account helps you measure the performance and engagement level easily by using project management tools such as Trello, Workzone, Basecamp and others. This will help you identify which content performs the best, so you can leverage it further. For instance, if a blog post does extremely well, you can then make a video, slideshow and an infographic to get a better momentum.
6. Offer Variety
Do you focus on creating textual content only? Think again. In the modern day, people consume information on the go, so they might not have the luxury to read through all the extensive articles. By offering a mix of content in your feed you can help your audience consume information in the form they prefer the most. This means you need to repurpose your content and convert it into videos, slideshows, podcasts, infographics and other forms. This will help you leverage a variety of channels and reach out to a larger audience.
Create high-quality content and use various content discovery tools to reach out to your targeted audience and maximize your ROI.
Future of Content Discovery
Attention spans are becoming shorter, so people want quick access to relevant information. Therefore, brands need to focus on delivering personalized and focused content to ensure better engagement. By gearing towards this new search model and leveraging the content distribution platforms, brands can fulfill a user’s desire to access quality content within moments.
However, this is just the start for content discovery. Content discovery is still evolving and improving so it is still not ready to replace the generic search completely. A huge number of people still prefer the traditional way to discover their desired content. But with changing user preferences, traditional search will soon become outdated and will be replaced by the modern techniques of content discovery. Therefore, marketers must be prepared to adapt to the changes and satisfy the needs of the customer.
User preferences are changing quickly. Users now want to access relevant and useful information as quickly as possible. This is not possible with the traditional search model since the users need to scour through numerous sources to find relevant information. Thus the rise of content discovery! It helps users find content at the nick of a time.
As content discovery becomes even more popular, more platforms need to be explored and tested to evaluate how they can further benefit the businesses. Online marketers should start integrating content discovery into their content marketing strategies to make sure they can retain their customers and keep satisfying them for a longer period of time.
Pratik Dholakiya is the founder of Growfusely, a content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO. He regularly speaks at various conferences about SEO, Content Marketing, and Entrepreneurship. Pratik has spoken at the 80th Annual Conference of the Florida Public Relations Association, Accounting and Finance Show, Singapore, NextBigWhat’s UnPluggd, IIT-Bombay, SMX Israel, SEMrush Meetup, MICA, IIT-Roorkee, and other major events. As a passionate SEO and content marketer, he shares his thoughts and knowledge in publications like Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, The Next Web, YourStory, and Inc42, to name a few. He can be found at Twitter @DholakiyaPratik.
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