From Zero to Millions
Creating content is a resource-intensive activity. However, the harder part is arguably getting people to view that content. If you are struggling to increase your readership and gain loyal readers and customers, you could do worse than follow the example of Quartz.
Jay Lauf, the publisher of Quartz, described during a Content Marketing World talk the challenges publishers face over recent years and how the news website grew its audience to millions. He shared some valuable tips that you could use to increase your following.
Quartz discovered that executives consume news on phones rather than desktops, and so it adopted a mobile-first approach, ensuring its target audience could access the content in the way they wanted to.
This was one of the benefits of Quartz starting out in the digital age. Other traditional publishers struggle to get their print content into a digital environment and their desktop content into mobile format. But Quartz started from the ground up with a mobile-first approach, giving it an advantage.
The result? The mobile experience is superior to many larger publishers, helping to attract more readers.
Quartz realized that content length was a major factor in getting more readers, and as a result it always opts for either long or short content, avoiding the typical news length of 500 to 800 words.
It found that mid-length content does not last long on the social web because the content is not distinctive enough. It wanted to create fantastic content that spread via word of mouth through engaging and providing value.
For short content, this means skipping the intro paragraphs and going straight in with images and infographics that convey lots of information fast, which gets rewarded with shares and increases brand loyalty.
Long-form content is then used for deep insight, often combined with a narrative story - which its readers are happy to access on their mobile devices.
This is what works for Quartz, and you will need to find out what works for your audience. But the focus on being distinctive and providing value either through long or short content is a good model to follow.
Get the Content Read in Multiple Places
Quartz established a following and then added ways to distribute content via various means, including emails, apps and social media. Crucially, it took advantage of news platforms like Google Play Newsstand to share its content.
This allowed it to get read in more places, to find readers where they were reading. And while relying on these platforms is maybe not a good idea, it shows that it can be hugely beneficial to go where the readers are and use this as part of your strategy.
Get Insights from Data
Quartz uses data to help it make key decisions. While the big ideas come from the gut, using intuition to decide which stories to create that readers will love, data is also essential.
The news website uses data to find out where people download the app, interaction rates, open rates, etc., and this data helps it make key decisions. But the focus always remains on creating stories for humans.
Grow Your Audience Using Proven Strategies
These strategies have clearly worked for Quartz, and they can work for you too. By focusing on a mobile-first strategy and creating authentic and engaging content that your target audience wants to hear, you can also grow your audience and get more eyes on the content you create.