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Keep customers coming back for more with content that sticks

If it's visitor retention you're after, here are 10 foolproof ways to guarantee a return to your site

If someone in the office slapped you on the back, shook your hand and congratulated you on your ‘sticky and contagious content’, would you:

a) punch them in the face?

b) wash your hands?

c) thank them?

Well, providing it was just your content they were referring to then your answer should be a resounding C. Sticky and contagious may not be the nicest two words to pluck from the dictionary, but when it comes to content you want yours to be just that. Sticky content translates as published content that keeps the user coming back for more, or holds their attention so that they spend a longer amount of time on that site. In other words, it’s memorable.

And if you’re content is contagious – also known as viral – then you know it’s being shared from one user to the next. The best sticky content has readers returning daily and there are several ways you can do this without breaking into a sweat. Here's our guide to simple stuff that sticks.

Forums

Example: American Express

An easy way to create natural, interactive, user-generated content with little input. Forums provide a platform for debates to take place and encourage a sense of community that works harder at customer retention than plain old hard sell marketing ever could.

Film Audio

Example: Giles

Film and audio podcasts offer a fresh medium to captivate users and encourage them to linger on the site for longer. A serial streaming of film or podcasts can guarantee regular visitor returns week in, week out.

Top 10 lists

Example: TONI & GUY

Highly shareable and even more so if they're funny, top tens are easy for readers to digest. Top ten lists tend to drive higher long-tail traffic over time and can easily be broken down into multiple posts to give users a reason to keep coming back.

Calendar-led content

Example: Dumfries House (what's on)

This draws the user back on a regular basis by default: they know already that new content will appear on a certain date. Think horoscopes or Vogue's 'Today I'm Wearing' fashion gallery. An easy win for businesses is to incorporate a What’s On section into the website.

Infographics

Example: Evans

The humble infographic has the visual appeal of an illustration but packs an informative punch so readers can digest facts and figures in one fell swoop.

Testimonials

Example: Desk

Entire businesses have been created by companies able to harness the power of the testimonial - two primary examples being Trip Advisor and Rated People. A testimonial adds credibility to your business providing it’s authentic, and it’s this credibility that will put your business on the map as a reliable source. Bonus points for using photographs as this will build trust.

Interviews

Example: Whistles

Similar to testimonials in the respect that they can be used as an endorsement tool, interviews with relevant figures can prove invaluable in keeping a browser on the site longer. It’s about quality (user engagement) so package them up in a design that will keep visitors interested.

Encyclopaedic content 

Example: Colgate

Cultivate your image as an authority on your chosen speciality: consumers are more likely to buy from a trusted source. The same applies to content: work on the credibility of your content and users will see you as an expert and return.

Longread features

Example: Aesop 

Often overlooked, longreads occupy a very important space in online content. Typically around 2,000 words, they offer users a chance to get lost in compelling story. While the majority of the web is designed around multi-sensory soundbites and snippets to communicate as much information as possible in record time, longreads can offer welcome respite, provided the layout is cleverly designed to optimise browsing. They can present a broader, deeper view on the topic and provide quality backlinks. Demand is so great, sites such as The Daily Beast offer a weekly round up of the best longread stories of the week.

Tutorials

Example: Toni & Guy

Tutorials work two-fold. First, they’re informative and/ or educational. Secondly, they’re presented in visual form: either a step-by-step illustration or filmed demonstration.

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