Sticky content is meaningful and memorable. It gets referenced again and again, leading to links, traffic, and authority for the sites hosting it. The last thing you want is for a reader to glance at your content and ask, “So what?” In her article on Search Engine Journal, Elisa Gabbert poses four questions that marketers should ask themselves about their content to ensure it will matter to their readers.
Is It Surprising?
Case studies are great topics for blog posts, but they tend to be even more effective when the results are surprising. For example, everyone knows that you can increase your CTR by adding an exclamation point to your ad, so posting about that probably won’t draw much attention.
However, Ben at Plenty of Fish recently conducted an informal study where he took an amateurish and childishly-drawn ad he had created in Microsoft Paint, and pitted it against a slick, professional ad with a trust symbol and a prominent call to action button, and his ad outperformed the other by a significant margin! “If you get a shocking result like that,” writes Gabbert, “it’s case study gold.”
Will It Affect People’s Lives?
The “Sitting Is Killing You” infographic on the Medical Billing & Coding website is a good example of content that could actually affect the way people go about their lives. The Gizmodo piece demonstrating the surprising (and frightening) links between sun exposure and premature aging is another great example of potentially life-changing content.
“If you have the opportunity to publish a piece of content that could actually affect the way people live, rather than entertain them for a few minutes, do it,” writes Gabbert. “This is the kind of stuff that gets tons of views from social media shares and links being emailed around.”
Does It Settle a Controversy?
Controversy definitely sells, but providing evidence for one side or the other is a great way to make a meaningful (and memorable) contribution. Even if you can’t definitively settle the controversy, simply offering a case for one side or the other can be helpful for driving traffic and building authority.
Is It Worth Reading Twice?
If your content is truly sticky, folks won’t be content to simply reference it and pass it around. They’ll want to return to it again and again. Content such as a free (and useful) tool or a definitive guide or resource will bring visitors back to your site. Similarly, they may also be enticed to return to watch an entertaining video or to work their way through a brilliant and extensive list.
“The best linkbait is a gift that keeps on giving,” Gabbert writes, “so if you want to create content that moves people, make sure it fulfills at least one of these four ‘So what’ requirements.”