You want people to engage with your content. Here’s how your audience has changed.
Loyalty to particular information sources is more scarce now as online information seekers vote with their fingers after giving your content only a few seconds to engage them.
Your readers/viewers are quite likely to find your content separately from a site or app you have put together. They will find it either by direct traffic or by search.
Direct traffic is where someone will access your content directly on their own. This usually happens for two reasons. First, there are still readers who are habitual, and the habit has translated to interactive sources. So these readers will type in your URL and go to your front page and pick stories from there. The number of these readers are declining.
The second source of direct traffic is referral. This is where you see links to content in other places like your Twitter feed or your Facebook wall. This is where you content, through social magnification, can go viral. Some referral can happen from the content source, as users follow a social account for an institution like the New York Times or an individual like Mark Bittman. Other referral comes from purely social connections.
So how can you attract direct traffic? Engage in social media regularly and make it a two-way conversation. Here are a few tips:
- Actively participate in communities related to your content. Building those relationships leads to trust, which leads to clicks
- Put your URL for your content in your other delivery mechanisms like in a print version or on packaging.
- Learn from your users. Keep track of the content they follow and offer more of that. This is more appropriate for some kinds of media than others. It drives traffic, but may mean, especially in news, that there is more Miley and less nuclear proliferation.