When I first heard the term “consumption ratio,” I thought it had to do with competitive eating. When my editor told me that it’s essentially how much of an article a particular person reads (consumes), it made a lot more sense.
However, the longer your content is, the smaller and smaller that number gets. There are several different ways out there to help you get a particularly long message out to your consumers, and today, I want to share with you some of the things that keep that number high.
The most difficult part of long content is that customers just cannot be bothered to read it all. Walls of text might be at home in a novel, but that’s not what you’re writing a blog post for.
So when you end up coming up with something a bit more lengthy, having links to different parts of the content will help. If you’ve got a lengthy review of a new laptop that just hit the market, you can allow readers who just want the tech specs to click right to it while keeping them on your site.
When keeping content concise, a little preparation goes a long way.
Once you’ve got your clickable table of contents down, another way of keeping content approachable is to break down information further with lists. They’re easy to follow and keep the control in the readers’ hands: those not interested in the current numbered point can move right along to the next one.
A great example of this in action is a post from the Content Marketing Institute. They use a list-based article to explain why people who create content plans (lists of cool content ideas) for different brands should get together with other people’s lists; they can work together on making better lists for more effective content, which will undoubtedly contain lists.
Good content marketing might not be completely about making lists, but it’s a big part of it.
When you’re writing long form, sometimes it can be tempting to go off on a tangent. This is something to avoid if you’re going to keep people interested in your long form content.
People want to read what the headline promised them. You'll hurt your consumption ratio if you write off topic.
If you feel the need to rant, make sure that the readers are going to learn something at the end of it, or at least give them a little joke and a hook so they’ll keep reading onto your next point.
There’s a reason entertainment websites like TheChive and Buzzfeed can make 50-entry lists and still have people reading them all the way to the end: they use pictures. Oftentimes those lists are almost entirely pictures or GIFs. The idea of using images to drive consumption of a piece of content is an internet truism that’s not going away anytime soon.
Whether they’re on-topic single images or easy-to-consume infographics, pictures change up the reading experience. They keep the prose fresh while framing what you’re going to be saying next.
Remember: long form content can be very valuable to the brand and to the content writer who knows how to use it correctly. To increase your consumption ratio, use lists, images, infographics, and jokes to keep the content interesting and easier to navigate.
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