Digital Marketing Trends, Part 4 of 5: Make it Stick

Warning: this content is older than 365 days. It may be out of date and no longer relevant.

As part of the daily curation I do with #the5, I get a chance from time to time to aggregate all the news I collect to look for trends. In the fourth of our 5 part series, we’re going to examine some current trends in digital marketing and what they mean for you. Today, we’re looking at…

Make it Stick

Here are a few of the choice headlines in the last 7 months worth reflecting on:

Twitter to start recycling best tweets in “While you were away”
Facebook rolls out Timehop-like new feature
Should you repost your social media content all the time?
7 Ways to Stop Pogo-Sticking From Killing Your Website’s SEO
Opens, Clicks, And Blocks In The Third Age Of Email Deliverability
Does a daily social media ask help to sell more?
LinkedIn, Notorious for Sending Too Many Emails, Cuts Back

When it comes to stickiness, there are two distinct schools of thought. The first is content stickiness – how sticky is your content? How much do people remember what you have to say? How compelling or engaging is your content? Content stickiness was best described and operationalized by Chip and Dan Heath’s excellent book, Made to Stick.

Make it stick!

The second school of thought on stickiness is algorithmic. When you look at the list above, what you’re seeing doesn’t relate directly to your content. What you see above relates to the way your content is distributed and how different digital marketing platforms try to re-attract users.

Consider this: who do you get the most email from? If you’re the average consumer, retailers, spammers, and social networks – and not necessarily in that order. Social networks fall back on email to get consumers to re-engage with content. Facebook offers its “On this day”. Marketers adore #ThrowbackThursday and schedule huge quantities of content to tie into that trend. Twitter recycles tweets. Even Google’s venerable SEO algorithm measures the stickiness of your site and how fast people come back to search results.

Sticky is the new sexy, from an algorithmic perspective. Everyone is giving favor to things that bring users back.

How To Make Use of This Trend

Obviously, your content should be sticky first, in the Made to Stick perspective. Master that first. Once you’ve figured out how to make content people actually want, the next step is to become far more proactive about inciting stickiness.

You can’t wait for a social network algorithm or a search algorithm to benevolently bestow more eyeballs on your content. You can’t leave re-engaging users to chance. You’re looking to Make It Stick, proactive stickiness. Proactive stickiness means seizing the reins and driving stickiness with your own efforts before the algorithms.

Why would you do this? To incite the algorithms to work with you and not against you. If your content shows signs of trending from your efforts, algorithms that favor stickiness will reward you even more. On the other hand, if your content seems like just a flash in the pan, algorithms will pass you by because you’re not showing any signs of bringing users back to benefit them.

What can you do? In the old days, I used to advocate that any time you sent an email, you would post on social media that you sent an email in order to encourage open rates (which improve deliverability). The reverse is also true – your emails should promote your social posts and social actions.

Another simple example: a relatively small amount of paid media spend can make content appear sticky to algorithms, particularly if you belong to an ad network. Pay $500 to promote a piece of content to a very targeted audience, and native platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn will see the increase in popularity and returning visitors. The algorithms will interpret that as more popularity, and potentially give you an added boost.

Made to Stick was the first generation of stickiness. Make It Stick is the current one. Make your content stick proactively to win.

In the next post in this series, we’ll look at some of the winners and losers in 2015 to date. Stay tuned!

Digital Marketing Trends, Mid-2015 Edition
  1. Discontent Marketing
  2. Broadcast Social
  3. Video Games
  4. Make It Stick
  5. Winners and Losers

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