When creating content over and over again, it is really easy to get stuck in that rut of telling our audience what they should be doing. Hence, there are a bunch of articles, white papers, and podcasts with titles like “10 Ways to Write Awesome Content” and “The Super-Simple Method to Getting Better Content ROI.” Which can be totally useful.

However, what is arguably even more useful is strategies we should avoid. So, I decided this month’s round-up on content marketing will focus on what not to do.

Who says you have to make the mistake yourself to learn from it? Instead, let’s learn from other people’s mistakes.

this month in content marketing november

7 Popular Blogging Tips That Don’t Always Apply by Larry Alton

It is shocking, I know, but not all tips apply to all situations, brands, or businesses. When giving advice, we tend to make is sound like it will apply to everyone, but you need to remember your situation might be different. In this article on ProBlogger, Larry delves into some of the most common blogging advice (write every day, stay in your niche, when something works stick to it), and discusses when it might not apply.

This information is fantastic advice for newbies, but it also helpful for more experienced content creators who are stuck in a rut.

Read This If: You are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of blogging ‘advice’ out there, or find yourself creating the same type of content over and over again.

7 Deadly Sins of Blog Post Writing by Janice Kersh

This article by Janice Kersh on jeffbullas.com offers helpful tips for newer writers and those who hare experienced, but maybe aren’t seeing the returns they would like. My favorite tip from her post is #6: Trying to Promote Yourself Instead of Your Ideas. Too many writers, particularly for company blogs, see blogging as straight up marketing, when it can also be used to establish your brand as a trusted source of information.

Read This If: You aren’t seeing good results from your blogging. Particularly good for small business owners or brand bloggers trying to establish a voice for their brand.

Danger Ahead: When Content Distribution Is On Auto-Pilot by Clare McDermott

This is actually in interview of Andy Crestodina, the co-founder of Orbit Media, but it is packed with tons things to avoid when it comes to creating and distributing your content. In this interview, he addresses how to avoid putting your content promotion plan on auto-pilot. Which he defines as writing a post, share it on Twitter, share it on Facebook and call it a day.

My favorite quote from the interview is: “The gap between good and great isn’t a quality gap; it’s a promotion gap.”

Read This If: You think you are writing high-quality content, but can’t seem to get the traction or reach all the online experts say you should. Or if the phrase “Just write good content!” has ever been part of your content promotion plan.

5 Things Companies Do That Ruin Storytelling Success by Kathy Klotz

Published on Convince and Convert earlier this month, this article addresses the main mistakes companies make when trying to tell their story. Kathy is a huge proponent of being human, which is a trait many companies struggle with. The most important mistake on her list, in my humble opinion, is “The Perfect Ending”, that is when you wrap up a piece of content by giving the customer an economic benefit, like how your product will save them time or money.

But wait – isn’t that what content should do? Kathy says you should instead be looking to fulfill an emotional need instead.

Read This If: Your brand is struggling to create real, human connections with your audience. Remember, content marketing isn’t just about marketing, it is about creating emotional connections with real people, not just buyer personas.

10 Time Wasters That Limit Your Blogging Productivity (And How to Avoid Them) by Danielle Irigoyen

This article on HubSpot’s marketing blog is a solid read if you are unable to find time to blog. Some people legitimately do not have time to write. Or, it may just be that your time is better spent on other tasks. If that is the case, there is no shame in hiring a good writer or delegating the task to someone who is better suited.

But, if you actually want to write, but can’t find the time, this is a good read. Ask yourself this: how often do you check Facebook for non-work related reasons? Or, how many meetings do you sit in a week that are a complete waste of your time?

Read This If: You want to write more, but can’t seem to find the time.

The Takeaway

The point of focusing on what content creators shouldn’t be doing this month was to get those brain gears turning a little bit. It is pretty easy to get stuck in a rut, particularly if producing content is just one part of your whole job. After a while, you might find yourself churning out the same style of not-terrible content over and over again. It’s not bad, so what is the harm?

There is plenty of boring in the world. Don’t add to it. Instead, I challenge you to create content that is just a little bit more awesome than your last piece.


Featured Illustration: Created by Paulo Bobita 

In-Post Image: Shutterstock|retrorocket

Time for another data deep dive. This week we’re taking a look at how video duration impacts high level engagements. For this study we analysed videos posted on Facebook or YouTube in the last 30 days with more than 10k engagements – 24,000 videos in total. With that kind of data, we show you how to capture the best engagement through optimal video length, and what platform will work best for your content type.

Optimal Video Length: YouTube vs. Facebook

This data was just a WOW moment for us. We expected YouTubers to be making longer content, but according to the data from the past 30 days, videos on YouTube are nearly 10X longer than Facebook.

Using data from Tubular, we can confirm that creators on YouTube are making not just longer content, but WAY longer content. Some of this is certainly a function of YouTube rewarding longer retention, but it really points to the type of content each platform currently values most. Facebook tends to value short, flash in the pan type content to keep you moving and tied in to the feed, while YouTube is more focused on serving you longer, higher quality content to keep you on the site longer.

Although we keep looking at YouTube and Facebook as competitors, they may actually be on opposite ends on the video spectrum not just in duration, but in what metrics indicate a video’s success as well.

Platform Average of Duration (seconds)
Facebook 81.22
YouTube 870.89

Facebook Vs. YouTube & Views Vs. Engagement

Our previous deep dive which was specific to Buzzfeed, showed that video posted natively to Facebook tends to generate more engagement. But in this study, we see that YouTube has a lower views to engagement ratio than Facebook, which means it takes less views to generate the same engagement on YouTube.

Our gut reaction is this as an indicator for view quality. YouTube fans continue to tout the value of a YouTube view compared to Facebook and this data would tend to support that claim. It may also suggest that the type of engagements occurring on Facebook the most, namely likes, are more freely given and less indicative of meaningful engagement.

Platform Average of Views:Engagements
Facebook 31.12
YouTube 22.42

But not so fast. Analyzed another way this data would suggest that an engagement on Facebook can generate more views for a given video. It all depends on how you view video and what comes first, the view or the engagement.

For YouTube, a combination of views and engagements can help it rise in search, so there is a distinct partnership in these numbers. On Facebook, however, views are somewhat less indicative of the performance of a video – the almighty engagement actually causes it to propagate across multiple feeds, granting the video more views.

What this bit of data may really suggest is that Facebook videos may be better judged on the number of engagements they get, while YouTube seems to have focused more on the quality of their view counter.

Let’s revisit the first chart real quick, but add in the average view count as well. While Facebook is beating YouTube in views more than 2:1 on these videos, YouTube is only losing 3:4 in the engagement department. To me, this suggests that Facebook has a lot of what I’ll call “empty” views. But that also suggests that Facebook is clearly getting the traffic and may even be beating YouTube in raw traffic.

Platform Average of Views:Engagements Average of Views
Facebook 31.12 1,405,078.82
YouTube 22.42 632,056.19

Looking at this data broken down by duration categories, YouTube has clearly trained viewers to not only stay around, but interact a bit before they leave. On the other hand, Facebook seems to trend towards getting the video in front of somebody, getting a like/share and moving on.

As for optimal video length, as duration increases, the likelihood of high level engagement goes down on Facebook, where YouTube is just the opposite. YouTube engagement seems to perform the best early in the video, like Facebook, but remarkably they get more high engagement videos the longer they go. There is a definite plateau around the 3 minute mark for YouTube, which has often been used as a marker for the general attention span of a YouTube viewer. As viewers watch past the 5 minute park on YouTube, it seems that the interaction drops quite a bit. This could point to a larger issue of actual viewer retention. How mentally engaged is a viewer after a certain point?

Platform Average of Views:Engagements Count of Video_Title
Facebook 31.12 15750
<=30s 30.69 6825
<=1m 34.10 3144
<=2m 31.69 2778
<=3m 30.53 1339
<=5m 27.89 1066
5m-10m 27.28 463
10m-15m 23.95 57
15m+ 10.91 78
YouTube 22.42 6833
<=30s 34.38 52
<=1m 38.95 116
<=2m 29.63 309
<=3m 29.46 446
<=5m 24.95 1366
5m-10m 18.55 1974
10m-15m 22.46 1190
15m+ 19.69 1380
Grand Total 28.49 22583

Looking at this chart would seem to suggest the best place for a call to action is right around the 30 second mark for a video, or wait until it is just about over. Personally I’d advocate doing both if it makes sense for your content.

If you want high engagement, the sky is the limit on YouTube. The videos analyzed averaged nearly 15 minutes in length for YouTube while Facebook was just shy of a minute and a half. But if you are looking for short form content, the fleeting nature of the Facebook feed may provide you with a better place to get massive exposure. Either way, we may have been measuring Facebook video all wrong this whole time. The secret sauce may lie in their engagements and not in their views. The engagements ultimately lead to the exposure that those in video desire.

Optimal Video Length Takeaways:

  • Videos posted natively to Facebook generate more engagement – but it takes less views for YouTube videos to generate the same engagement rate
  • Engagement rate for Facebook video is a more reliable metric than view count
  • The most engaged videos on YouTube are nearly 10x longer than the most engaged videos uploaded to Facebook.
  • Short-form video content tends to do better in terms of engagement on Facebook.
  • The longer the video on YouTube, the more viewers will engage with it.
  • Best place for a CTA on a YouTube video is around the 30 second mark.

Source: What’s the Optimal Video Length for a YouTube or Facebook Video?