To avoid churn, keeping your members engaged should always be a top priority. However, according to a recent study from Chartbeat, 45% of your readers will be gone 15 seconds after landing on your website. And of that group, more than 60% of them will never return. Not only does this impact member engagement, but also the bottom line in terms of revenue. So what can organizations do to stop website churn? It all starts with optimizing content and thinking outside the box.
To avoid churn, knowing your audience and how they’re getting to your content is key. In most cases, this is simple, since members join associations to get pertinent information based on their industry. However, understanding your audience’s journey goes deeper than that.
For example, someone who has landed on your content via organic search is going to look for in-depth information on a specific topic. This is where having long-form guides, tutorials and well-researched content can play in your favor. Using tools like Google Search Console can give associations an idea of what their members are looking for, and then craft specific content for that search referral audience.
Of course, you’re also using existing channels like social media and email to reach your members as well. Based on research in Navigating the New Reader Journey, “data has found that mobile audiences are now more loyal than their desktop counterparts.” This audience is also looking for the emotional side of stories, so creating content with first-person accounts keeps them engaged.
The journey for your content does not end when you hit publish. One important way to start combating churn is to complete a content audit. This will give you an idea of what content you already have and opportunities for new content creation. Of course, there are other factors to consider.
After a scroll depth experiment by Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Switzerland’s newspaper of record, they found some important content audit takeaways including:
The last strategy to stop churn is to make a reader’s visit as long as possible. How? By eliminating and avoiding any dead ends. As mentioned before, mobile readership is on the rise, so ensuring your association’s website, blog or educational platform is mobile-friendly is an easy way to start.
Another way to remove dead ends from your content is to improve your linking strategy. While most platforms have tools that include relevant content at the bottom of the page, taking a more personalized approach is valuable.
According to Korey Lee, Head of Data Analytics for the South China Morning Post “We’ve also found that testing different links on high-performing stories can reveal relevancy and user interests more quickly.”
Embedding curated valuable links, guides and even videos can show off the range of your content while also giving members a more valuable experience online. This is also a simple way to get more eyes on content you’re trying to promote.
Content is always going to be one of the biggest assets for associations. Creating a journey for your reader that goes from valuable content to valuable content not only keeps them engaged but also improves the chance that they share your content too - a win-win for everyone.
By understanding your reader’s journey, auditing and updating content and preventing any dead ends, associations can take strides to avoid churn and engage members for the long term.
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Jose Triana joined the Sidecar team as the Content Manager in 2021. He is a writer and creative focused on helping purpose-driven organizations learn and find value online. When he isn't working on content, you can catch him going for a run or resting with a good book.