The battle for online attention and engagement is fiercer than ever. Rather than trying to improve this situation with more deep content, too many marketers are contributing to the problem with a proliferation of shallow content – quick, clickbait-y articles, thinly veiled self-promotional posts, and keyword-stuffed pieces. They’re prioritizing quantity over quality.
Instead of entering the “sunset of my career” – as one person put it recently – I find my content skills in high demand right now. I am usually hired to translate some kind of industry speak (typically healthcare or tech) into optimized, meaningful, read-worthy stuff. I hope my sudden popularity means the marketing industry is starting to get the hint.
Note: Deep content also refers to a way of storing content. Here’s more info on that definition, but it’s not what we’re discussing here.
The Pitfalls of Shallow Content
As the term implies, shallow content lacks depth and substance. It’s filler material created with one aim, like driving traffic or generating clicks. It’s easier to create. Though it seems like a quick win, it has drawbacks that can be long-lasting.
First of all, it’s often just junk because it fails to provide any meaningful value. Although it might hook them with a snappy headline, it doesn’t address the reader’s actual questions, concerns, or interests. It’s like the cheap candy you got on Halloween. Readers absorb it, but it’s also the last house on the list. They don’t come back for more unless they have to.
Consistently publishing shallow content, particularly the kind that’s self-promotional, can damage your reputation. You could become associated with low-quality, unhelpful content, and that’s obviously detrimental in the long run. You’re only new once. There are only so many times you can dazzle them with your incredibly innovative solution. That’s why shallow content has such a short shelf-life and suffers declining – not increasing – read times.
You have to earn the right to sell to your audiences. Once you’ve delivered some really good stuff, your readers will feel a sense of indebtedness and more readily consider that CTA or even take that phone call.
How Deep Content Changes the Game
Deep content stands out in the digital landscape, especially when promoted through smart social shares. (Those should be deep too.) This kind of content offers genuine value to your audience. It answers relevant questions, provides a new take on the subject matter, and shows your audience that you know your sh*t. As a result, your audience – potential clients and partners – begins to see you as a reliable source. This type of high-quality, informative content doesn’t build meaningless follower numbers. Deep content builds authority.
Engagement is where the magic of deep content truly unfolds. Readers don’t just skim through it, they invest their time. They read it thoroughly, share it enthusiastically, and engage in discussions sparked by its insights. Deep content resonates at a deeper level, making people more likely to spend quality time on your site or platform.
But perhaps one of the most compelling attributes of deep content is its ability to nurture loyalty. It fosters a sense of trust and connection with your readers.
- When written with an engaging narrative, longer articles (2000 words +) hold readers’ attention for extended periods. Read times for many of my deep content articles can consistently run 10-12 minutes. (Note: Please tell me if you’re tracking this metric.)
- Longer content slays when it comes to SEO. Search engines reward deep content generously. Deep content frequently lands on page one of search rankings and generates many more backlinks.
- Social media platforms love deep content, too. Obviously, your audience will share well-researched and informative articles more often. These shares act as endorsements, expanding your content’s reach and impact while deepening your authority.
- Deep content boosts conversion rates by 15-58%, according to Profitero. Readers take action when your content provides valuable information and effectively answers questions. They trust your expertise. If you’re patient, that trust will translate into meaningful conversions.
You foster strong brand loyalty when you consistently deliver content that satisfies a reader’s need. Loyal readers aren’t just consumers of the articles. Even if they don’t become customers, they often become advocates, recommending your brand to others and helping boost your market position.
Brand Journalism and Deep Content
Brand journalism is an overarching strategy that aligns with deeper content. It resembles traditional journalism, focusing on storytelling, transparency, and providing valuable information to the audience. Building deep content under the umbrella of a brand journalism strategy emphasizes transparency and authenticity and shows your commitment to truth. Better read times, more shares, and higher engagement prove that this resonates. This is not a surprise in our current digital environment of too much junky stuff. Adopting a journalistic mindset helps create content that stands out in a sea of shallow material.
I can’t overemphasize the importance of deep content in 2024. Shallow content may yield short-term results and boost vanity metrics, but it won’t build lasting connections with your readers and potential customers. Deep content offers real value, establishes your authority, boosts engagement, and fosters brand loyalty. Adopting a brand journalism strategy with a focus on deep content is crucial for marketers who want to thrive.