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.
Prioritize Your Audience and Their Journey
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.
Audit Your Content
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:
- Experiment with content lengths: As mentioned above, your audience changes based on their platform and interests, among other factors. So, create a range of content for all your members. Whether that be long-form pillar content, a quick blog on industry news or even an infographic for your social channels.
- Consider structure: If the battle is for attention span, giving your members long-form content with no visual breaks is a problem. Using elements like images, headings and lists can promote your audience to read further. Also, avoid things like unrelated imagery or info boxes that can take your reader away from the main topic of your content.
- Revamp old content: Chances are there is some well-written content on your site that is still engaging members new and old. After your audit, target a few of those evergreen pieces and revamp them. Include new data, images and information and re-publish it. Be sure to make a note for your audience to ensure transparency.
- Test with headlines: Headlines make all the difference between someone clicking your article or moving on - so make sure it’s engaging. According to data in Chartbeat’s data, after 100,000 headline tests, the original one only wins 38% of the time. So, be sure to create alternatives and see what engages your members more. Alternate what headline you post on different platforms and see what gets more clicks.
Eliminate Any Dead Ends
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.
Value Beats Website Churn
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.