The State of Content: Rules of Engagement report analysed the responses of 12,169 consumers across the US, UK, France, Germany, Japan and Australia who were asked about how they consume online content.
Asked about trusted sources of content, 63% said friends and family followed by content recommended by friends only (55%), content recommended by peers or colleagues (50%) and content for work purposes (47%).
Interestingly, bottom of the list is ‘content from a company whose products you don’t buy’ at 23%, suggesting that without some connection to a brand content is deemed not trustworthy. That compares with 43% consumers trusting content from companies from whom they have bought a product or service.
Business leaders (36%) and bloggers (29%) don’t fare much better, so organisations must be clear about who they ask to create content for them. Are blogger outreach programmes as effective as you think, for example?
There is some better news if you create whitepapers as PDFs are seen as slightly more trustworthy (37%).
The report says there are five ‘rules’ for creating engaging content in 2016. These are:
- Design for the multi-screen reality
- Don’t fall victims to #tldr (too long, didn’t read)
- You really need to lighten up
- In our relationships we trust
- Don’t turn up uninvited
As with all surveys, the devil is in the detail. Here we pull out some of the data that is worth acting on.
Design for the multi-screen reality
On average, consumers use five devices and 10 services. In the UK, consumers use 2.23 devices at the same time.
Action point: Ensure your content is optimised for all devices.
Multi-screen activity has its downside and consumers highlight the fact it is easy to be distracted. Thast means that content needs to be very well designed so that it is easy to consume. In the UK, 72% of consumers say that how the cogent displays is important and 54% say design, layout and photography matters too.
Don’t fall victims to #tldr (too long, didn’t read)
If con ten t is too long or difficult to view then 89% of consumers in the UK will switch device or stop viewing altogether. People prefer video over articles (64%) and prefer skimming shorter articles rather than read longer pieces (59%).
Action point: Create shorter, more visually arresting content.
You really need to lighten up
AS well as creating more humorous content, which makes organisations easier to relate to according to (71% of consumers), 75% say that companies should focus on what they are good at to be authentic. Lighter content is also more entertaining and consumers in the UL like to be entertained (65%). Make British consumers laugh and they (39%) will be more likely to share that content.
Action points: Lighter-hearted content is entertaining and will be shared more. However, create this content as a part of your overall content strategy – consumers want you to be authentic and create relevant content.
In our relationships we trust
As we have already highlighted, friends and family are the most trusted sources of content. Organisations need to be authentic and consistent in how they produce content in order that they can start to build trust with consumers.
Action point: You need to earn consumers’ trust through authentic, consistent content.
Don’t turn up uninvited
Consumers are happy to be recommended companies’ content but they are very sensitive to privacy. That means organisations need to take real care about what information they are asking consumers to share with them in order to receive information.
Action point: Respect users’ privacy and be clear and honest in how you use the information you are asking for. users need to see the value in sharing information about themselves.
You can read the full report here: State of Content report