6 in 10 People Share Social Media Posts Without Reading

6 in 10 People Share Social Media Posts Without Reading

Content Marketing

How do you share content? Do you click on it first, read it, then share if you like it? That’s what you want people to think, but is it what you do?

Only you know the answer to this. The rest of the world’s online behavior as a group, however, is something that can be analyzed.

6 in 10 People Share Social Media Posts Without Reading

According to a 2016 study of social media sharing by computer scientists at Columbia University and the French National Institute, 6 in 10 people share social media posts without reading. These statistics are from data on 2.8 million shares.

The simple fact that you clicked on a link to read this puts you in a small crowd.

Which begs the obvious question; do people understand what they’re sharing? For most, the answer is no.

Unscrupulous marketers are getting very clever. They know most people are not reading past the title of posts shared on social media. And they are taking advantage of this. It’s not unusual to see spam advertising in the body of posts that have nothing to do with the title and description.

Not convinced yet? Here are a few real-life examples for you to consider.

70% of Facebook Users Only Read the Headline

To prove this theory, The Science Post, a satirical science news site, conducted its own study. Yes, it is a satire site, but the people who run it are Ph.D.’s and professors. There is some validity to the point they are making, which is that people simply don’t read posts before sharing.

The headline of their fake news post was straight forward, ‘Study: 70% of Facebook Users Only Read the Headline of Science Stories Before Commenting.’ The readers that clicked on the link found a post filled with ‘lorem ipsum’ gibberish. The entire post was nothing.

The scary part? The post is still there and still getting shares. Since February 2017, this fake post has generated 58,700 shares.

In fact, people are sharing it so much that the article is ranking on Google. Search “percentage share content without reading, ” and their fake news post will appear at #5 on the first page.

The people at The Science Post made their point.

Marijuana Contains “Alien DNA”

Here’s another notable example. IFLScience.com wanted to experiment on their own to test this theory. So, they created a completely fake article to see how many shares it could get with nothing but an outrageous headline.

They published Marijuana Contains “Alien DNA” From Outside of Our Solar System, NASA Confirms. In the article, they wrote, “We here at IFLS noticed long ago that many of our followers will happily like, share, and offer an opinion on an article – all without ever reading it.”

As of today, this article has 167,000 thousand shares.

Did You Actually Read This?

Consider this. How many times do you look at comments on a popular or controversial post or article and see somebody ask, ‘did you actually read this?’

It’s an important question because many of the people sharing and not reading are also commenting on these posts. Their comments are based on self-perceived ‘expertise’ instead of the actual contents of the post.

So that guy arguing with you about something you share? He might be right if you didn’t bother to read it first.

Manipulate the Headline to Increase Shares

Here is the more significant issue, at least as far as I see it. This practice isn’t only limited to spam advertisers. Let’s say your goal is to convince somebody to share your post with a certain target audience. If you manipulate the headline to increase shares, then you can fill the post with whatever content you want.

Imagine the embarrassment of sharing a political post that supports a highly controversial view opposite of your own. People will only believe the ‘my account got hacked’ lie a few times before they begin to wonder.

Just because you agree with the title of a social media post, doesn’t mean the content is the same. People need to stop being lazy and click to read before sharing.

Porn and Other Taboo Subjects

And let’s not forget about porn and other taboo subjects.

A buddy of mine recently told me a story about how his wife had shared an ‘interesting’ post without reading it first.

I asked what he meant by ‘interesting.’

He said, ‘well, the post was shared with most of her friends before somebody bothered to click on it. It was filled with ads for hardcore porn.’

I asked why nobody noticed and he said, ‘the post subject was ‘modern family planning techniques,’ and several of her friends had fertility issues. So, they thought they were passing on helpful info.’

Helpful info, indeed.

The Only Way to Fix This Problem

The only way to fix this problem is to stop it at the source. So how do we do that?

  • Before you share anything, simply click and read it first.
  • Don’t assume a post is safe to share by looking at the title and description. Both are easily faked.
  • If a friend or family member shares a post that includes fake news or worse, privately call them out on it. Most people want to know if they are sharing anything that is ‘bad’ or ‘fake’ with the people they know. Don’t embarrass them publicly. Give them a chance to fix it.
  • Look at the source. Be suspicious of any ‘news’ site that you’ve never heard of before or that isn’t considered a mainstream or major media news organization.
  • If the source is not a major news organization, then your chances of sharing fake information are much higher.
  • For example, regardless of what politician is attacking them this week, news organizations like The Wall Street Journal, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, and Fox News all work hard to be accurate in their reporting. Sharing something from these sites is safe.
  • Some former click-bait websites like Buzzfeed are also working hard to clean-up their image. Many people don’t realize that they’ve built an actual news division and filled it with veteran reporters. They are far from perfect, but much better than they used to be.
  • If you are unsure about the accuracy of something you’re reading, there’s a good chance that factcheck.org has reviewed it for accuracy.
  • If you need some more help, factcheck.org also has a video that can help you spot fake news.

As a final note, the folks over at IFLA.org (The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) put together this handy infographic to help spot fake news.

How to Catch Errors in the Content Writing Process

How to Catch Errors in the Content Writing Process

Content Marketing

I have come to the realization that I notice errors in writing more often than most people. Maybe it’s because I am so critical of my own work, but I find it difficult not to hold it against writers who make amateur mistakes in their final work. Lately, it seems like the errors are becoming more prevalent. To be honest, if you consider yourself a “professional” in the business of writing, then errors just make you look bad. So, I thought I would share some of my ideas on how to catch errors in the content writing process.

Notice I mentioned errors in “final work”. Like many professional writers, all of my writing projects go through production stages. Generally, the stages are first, second, third, proofing and final drafts. At least this is how I do it.

So here are several ideas on how to catch errors in the content writing process before your final work is submitted to a client or posted online.

Free-form First Draft

While I am in the early stages of a writing project, I don’t worry about mistakes. I just free-form everything. In my writing work process stages, I refer to this as a Free-form First Draft. Type, type and more typing. Whatever pops into my head gets typed into the document. By the time I am done with the first draft I usually have much more material than I need.

Cutting, Deleting and Erasing

So, the obvious next part is cutting, deleting and erasing. Everything that doesn’t work or flow how I want, gets cut. I don’t trash those parts though. I cut and paste them into Microsoft One Note for possible use in future projects. This has resulted in enough extra material in One Note to write a few thousand projects. I probably write too much, but it’s something I love to do.

I Prefer One Note to Evernote

As an aside here, I have used Evernote for many years. With the updates that Microsoft made to the latest Microsoft Office in 2016, now I prefer One Note to Evernote. It works seamlessly with Word and the other Office programs like Excel and PowerPoint. There are many note taking apps and programs out there. As long as you use one that works for you, that’s all that matters.

2nd and 3rd Drafts

After I am done with my Free-form First Draft and the cutting phase, I switch gears into editing mode for the 2nd and 3rd drafts. I edit, move, cut, paste, and basically do whatever it takes to make my project flow to my satisfaction.

It’s worth mentioning here that I also never complete anything in one day. I always write and then walk away and do something else. Usually downtime like playing with the kids or clean-up something around the house. Basically, anything to take my mind off the current project. When I’m in downtime mode my mind usually continues thinking about my latest writing project. I have come up with some of my best ideas during these between work down times.

The Proofing Stage

After I have edited everything to my satisfaction, I move on to the proofing stage. This is where I get serious about finding and fixing mistakes. I fire up my Grammarly add-on for Microsoft Word and let it scan everything for errors. Usually it finds at least a few issues that need my attention. For example, I have a habit of writing in passive tense and it catches when I do this. Some passive writing is acceptable, an entire document filled with it is not.

Personally, I believe Grammarly makes me a better writer. It catches mistakes, but it also explains the reasons why there is a possible error. Grammarly isn’t perfect, however, so don’t rely on it exclusively. It’s just a great tool to find and fix nearly all your spelling and grammatical errors. Your own common sense is always going to be your best tool in the proofing stage. If it doesn’t sound right when you read it, then investigate it further for errors.

My Proofing and Editing Crew

The next step is get your writing project reviewed by people you trust. I have a group of friends and family that I affectionately call my proofing and editing crew. It’s made up of my wife and some friends that are good at reviewing and catching errors. Depending on my deadline, I will send my final draft over to each of my proofing crew and ask them to review it with brutal honesty. I want them to find obvious errors like grammar and spelling, but I also like more general feedback. If they hate it or don’t understand the point I’m trying to make, I want them to tell me. That’s the brutally honest part.

This step doesn’t cost you anything and gets the people around you involved in your life’s work. Your friends and family should be more than happy to help you out. A simple email, text or call is usually all it takes. Tell them you would appreciate their help reviewing your writing projects before you post them live. Then move on to something else and give them time to do their thing.

I usually set aside one day in my work process just for the proofing crew. They are doing me a favor and it’s rude to send them something last minute and expect them to drop everything to review your writing project. Give them time to get back to you and your final product will have a much better chance of being perfect.

Internet Trolls

I’m sure most people would agree that it’s much better to get feedback from a friend or family member than a troll. Internet trolls tend to be rude and impolite. They are more interested in embarrassing you publicly than helping you write better. It’s unfortunate that people are like this, but it is what it is. You should expect to run into them at some point. So, don’t give them a reason to target your work by posting error filled projects.

Pay It Forward

In this same line of thinking, don’t you be a troll either. When I find an error in content that I am reading, I will take a few minutes out of my day to email or message the writer privately with something quick and polite. Basically, I say something like “Hey John, I really enjoyed this article, but I found an error in the 3rd paragraph where you typed “and and” so I thought I would mention it. As a fellow writer, I appreciate it when people let me know when I’ve made similar errors. I look forward to reading your next post.” Call it professional courtesy or whatever you like. I know I appreciate when other people have helped me like this over the years, so I pay it forward. I always receive a quick reply thanking me for pointing it out and they fix it. It’s simple and you make a new friend.

How to Catch Errors in the Content Writing Process

Hopefully this brief guide on how to catch errors in the content writing process will help you produce better work. Errors happen, but they don’t have to. Adding these steps to your writing process will improve your writing and build your credibility as a professional content writer.

2017 Marketing Budget Trends by Channel

Content Marketing

This article, 2017 Marketing Budget Trends by Channel, should be of interest to anybody in the content marketing business. Marketers are in the midst of impressive spending hikes in 2017 of 56% for social media marketing and 55% for content marketing. This is on top of already impressive hikes in previous years.

Content marketing remains one of the most effective methods to tell your branded story. As we mention often here at Copybrander, people remember a good story. Developing great content is all about storytelling. At Copybrander, we create unique, interesting, and memorable content for the Insurance, Benefits and Technology B2B Markets.

http://www.marketingcharts.com/online/2017-marketing-budget-trends-by-channel-74715/2017 Marketing Budget Trends by Channel Which channels are marketers going to be investing more – and less – in this year? A review of studies from Econsultancy [download page] and Gartner offers a window into marketers’ plans for this year. Hint: social media marketing appears to be ripe for further spending, and enthusiasm around content marketing remains healthy.

The latest Quarterly Intelligence Briefing produced by Econsultancy in association with Adobe asked almost 3,500 company marketers around the world how their spending on various digital marketing channels and disciplines would change this year.

The areas of broadest agreement for spending hikes this year are social media marketing and content marketing, set for increases by 56% and 55% of respondents, respectively. These aren’t surprising given the recent levels of enthusiasm for these channels, but nevertheless the results indicate that such enthusiasm doesn’t seem to be waning. In fact, content marketing and social media engagement emerged as the top digital-related priorities for respondents’ organizations this year.

Close behind, at least half of respondents will increase their spending on personalization (51%), video advertising (50%) and lead generation (50%). Personalization has become a top priority for enterprise organizations as they seek to respond to customers’ changing needs, while video advertising is set for annual increases of almost 20%/. As for lead generation, spending increases in this area are likely going to be made with improved lead quality rather than quantity in mind.

An earlier Gartner study took a look at the spending plans of 377 CMOs in the US (56% share), UK (30% share) and Canada (14% share), 70% of whom come from organizations with at least $1 billion in annual revenue.

The results of that survey indicate that digital advertising has a bright year ahead: a leading 23% of respondents projected a “significant” increase in digital ad spend this year, with another 42% expecting a “slight” increase. All told, then, almost two-thirds expect an increase in digital ad spend, against just 7% decreasing it. (It’s worth noting that digital advertising spend in the US slowed at the end of last year as some large advertisers didn’t see the returns they were expecting. This coincided with some big spenders returning to TV.)

Meanwhile, although social marketing didn’t gain quite as much spending consensus as digital advertising, fully 1 in 5 respondents said they would increase their budgets for social “significantly”. That trailed only digital advertising in terms of “significant” spending hikes, and was still supplemented by another 36% expecting a “slight” increase.

 

A Broken $50 Billion Content Advertising Business Model

A Broken $50 Billion Content Advertising Business Model

Content Marketing

Lately it seems like everybody keeps talking about the enormous potential numbers in the content marketing and online advertising world. I even read recently how our market is potentially worth $50 Billion by 2021. While it’s nice thinking about the huge potential numbers, it’s unfortunately built on the back of a broken $50 Billion content advertising business model.

Keep in mind that it was just a few years ago, that content marketing was still a relatively open market. Content writers could still be successful if you were relatively talented, could write good copy and understood the basics of both SEO (search engine optimization) and SMM (social media marketing).

Basically, we wrote good copy and it was read by a lot of people. After all, that is the reason we do this.

Cheap New Content

Poor quality content is destroying what once was a thriving world of great websites and social media. Click bait sites are desperate for eyeballs and will do anything to get new cheap content to fill their pipeline. So, they pay a few bucks for a few hundred words that nobody reads.


Small to medium sized businesses with little online experience are juicy prey for sleazy marketers that throw out stats with no basis in reality. The marketing programs don’t work because their potential customers don’t like reading the boiler template, error filled, crap content on their websites and social media platforms. When the business complains, the marketer moves on to the next victim. It’s like an online Serengeti.

When Everybody Thinks They’re Special

Today, anybody with a computer and barely a high school education thinks they’re a content marketer. When everybody thinks they’re special, nobody is. In a normal world people pay their dues, learn their craft and build a business based on good quality work. The internet has skewed this so now people believe they can be successful at anything just because. It doesn’t work that way in the real world. Never mind that you barely managed a C in High School English. Or that you should have spent money on a course in basic grammar instead of a get rich quick program. Try writing complete sentences. It helps.

Here at Copybrander Media, I own over 300 domains and hundreds of my own websites. I’ve been writing content and developing websites since the mid-90’s. It’s how my team and I know what works and what doesn’t. Writing good content may be important, but it’s woefully inadequate as the entire basis of your marketing efforts.

And no get-rich-quick course is going to teach you how to properly build a content marketing business. It takes time. Pay your dues. Learn to write. Take the time to understand SEO and SMM. It’s the same in any business.

All About Quality versus Quantity

More content isn’t the answer. Like any business, it’s all about quality versus quantity. There’s a glaring difference. Are you paying somebody $5 for a few hundred words of content just to show activity on your website or social media? Then you’re paying too much. Want to know what creates a broken $50 Billion content advertising business model? This is it, right here. Nobody is reading your cheap, crappy content. And if your stats show viewers, then I guarantee that your engagement and follow through sucks. You can argue with me until you turn blue about your thousands of twitter followers and website traffic, but what matters is engagement. If you’ve got forty-thousand twitter followers and two people like your latest post, there’s a problem.

When you can buy ten thousand twitter followers for the cost of a pizza, sadly the pizza becomes more valuable.

The Right Numbers That Matter

Numbers don’t matter without engagement. It’s that simple. Content marketing may be a game of numbers, but it’s the right numbers that matter.

The world has a finite number of people. That equates to a maximum level of possible engagement by these people. It’s basic supply and demand. Eventually the demand for content reaches a maximum tipping point where it no longer gets consumed.

Local Content is a Big Deal

This is the reason local content is a big deal. If your law firm or plumbing business is advertising to the entire world, then you are competing with the world. If you chunk it down into local, focused marketing in your home town then your competition for eyeballs is that much smaller. Here in my hometown of Pittsburgh, it’s easy to see who is rocking their local market. Check out their online footprint. Look at the website. Is their social media updated often? Do they have engagement by local potential customers? That’s how you win at this game.

A Broken $50 Billion Content Advertising Business Model

It’s time to update your content marketing priorities to focus on the numbers that matter. Stop buying the cheap content just to get activity. Move to quality over quantity. This is how we fix a broken $50 Billion content advertising business model. Google’s latest Fred Update seems to be helping with this by penalizing sites with low quality content focused primarily on advertising revenue.

It’s a start, but there’s still much work to be done.

The age old axiom of “you get what you paid for” holds true in any business or industry. And your potential customers are much more sophisticated than you think. They can tell the difference between quality content and the cannon fodder that many businesses are buying and posting today.

The right content makes all the difference. Most of these businesses just don’t know where to find the right content. It’s up to us to fix that.

The Content Marketing Genius of Napoleon Hill

Content Marketing

I had an opportunity to read an article this weekend titled “The 7 Traits of Successful Content Marketers”. It just happens to be by Joe Pulizzi, one of my favorite content marketing experts and writers. He’s also the founder of the Content Marketing Institute. I highlighted a few of my favorite passages from his article below along with a link to read the rest. I would have never thought I would write something titled “The Content Marketing Genius of Napoleon Hill,” but here I am doing so now.

Content Marketers

Content Marketers or even just marketing people as a rule of thumb prefer to point out the many differences that exist between marketing and sales. I started my career in sales and then added marketing skills as the years went on. So I’ve always enjoyed the ability to see both sides of this argument. It boils down to marketers tend to see their job as a nuanced approach to gently persuading a potential customer to buy. They look at sales people as the sledgehammer in the sales and marketing process to close the deal. Salespeople look at marketing as the people who make the brochures and commercials and not much else. Both departments have been historically indifferent to the plight of the other while completely ignoring how important the other is to achieving their end goal of selling stuff to the customer.

Background in Marketing

Personally, I don’t see how you can be a great salesperson without having at least a half decent background in marketing also. Maybe that doesn’t work for a large company that is very touchy about their sales and marketing departments blending their boundaries. But small business does it all the time. The big companies that still wall off units tend to be dinosaurs in today’s close-knit relationship building sales environment.

In this article, Pulizzi shows how an iconic “sales” book, Napolean Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich,” can help content marketers grow their businesses. I say it’s a “sales” book because it’s one of the first books that new salespeople are told to read. That and watching movies like “Glen Gary Glen Ross,” “Boiler Room” and “Tin Men.” There are many others, but those are the top one’s usually told to new recruits. I usually added a few others to my favorites list like Will Smith’s “The Pursuit of Happyness” (yes, that’s how the movie is spelled). Sales is all about persistence and being focused on a goal. There aren’t many movies that portray this better than this.

The Book that Most Salespeople Consider to Be Their Sales Bible

I spent nearly 20 years in the insurance industry, so I did a ton of recruiting during that time. So imagine my surprise as I’m reading this article and it starts talking about THE book that most salespeople consider to be their sales bible and how it’s now being applied to marketing. Sacrilege! But it’s really not. It’s a great comparison. And now that I’ve read this, I completely agree. 

It may be because I also have decades of marketing experience that I have used to enhance my sales career. Maybe some people who have always been all sales would disagree. But this also goes along well with my personal belief that Napoleon Hill wrote “Think and Grow Rich” to be one of the first self-help type motivational books. I don’t think naming his book the content marketing genius of Napoleon Hill would have done much for sales back then. At the time when he wrote it back in 1937, there was no such thing as content marketing and motivational books were also very rare. Regardless, he did such an excellent job with this classic that it’s hard to think of it as being focused on any particular career.

So enjoy the article and let me know if I’m on the right track with my thinking here. I have read Think and Grow Rich so many times that I consider myself somewhat of an expert on Napoleon Hill’s writing. But I’m also open-minded to points made during a substantial discussion regarding the merits of this post.

 

http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2017/01/traits-successful-content-marketers/The 7 Traits of Successful Content Marketers Napoleon Hill’s classic Think and Grow Rich was first published in 1937. Now, in its 80th anniversary year, Mr. Hill’s lessons are still extremely relevant and valuable.

I had the opportunity to dust off my copy of Think and Grow Rich (from 1960, with dog-eared and coffee-stained pages) a few weeks back during the holiday break. In its relation to content marketing, I noticed some clear takeaways that most corporate marketers simply do not embrace. In the book, 15 powerful chapters are helpful to all individuals, but seven chapters were spot-on relevant to content marketing. Here are quotes from the seven chapters with my notes for each one.

You can talk about all the things good content marketers should do to attract and retain customers – content strategy, content documentation, content integration, etc., but desire is numero uno. Everywhere I travel I hear the objection – most marketers simply do not have the desire to be THE informational resource for their customers and prospects – they don’t want it enough. They talk of content marketing as a chore … as a checklist of things to be done during the day, not as a core service to customers necessary for the company’s survival.

Look, you are competing not only with your competitors, but also with the media, Google, Game of Thrones, and every other distraction in your customers’ lives. To be THE go-to resource for them, you have to want it more than anything or anyone else. This is never easy, but it is much easier for smaller businesses headed by passionate people. Simply put, there is little to no politics to deal with, and a change agent can push through and make change happen.

In larger enterprises, there must be a content marketing champion who has the real desire to be the best and be given enough latitude to experiment and possibly even fail multiple times. Most large companies aren’t willing to do this, which is why smaller businesses have the ultimate opportunity when it comes to content marketing.

Wanting it is one thing, but actually believing you can be THE informational expert for your industry is another. When we started Content Marketing Institute, we firmly believed that we would be the informational resource for our industry. It was unquestioned. It was only a matter of time, energy, and persistence.

One of the biggest failures when it comes to content is a lack of specialization. I see HVAC companies blogging about the town festival. I see manufacturing companies creating articles on best HR practices. It hurts to see this.

Remember, if your content is for everybody, it’s for nobody.

“It has been said that man can create anything which he can imagine.”

Folks, there is no one way to be the leading content expert for your industry. That said, if you have the opportunity to apply resources from a number of areas, internal and external, do it. Brands doing it right have a chief content officer (leads the content strategy), a managing editor (oversees the process), content creators (internal and external), content producers, and content listeners.

Right now, we are in the midst of a marketing department revolution, where the marketing department is starting to look and feel more like a publishing operation. As a marketer, you need to not only recognize this trend, but also begin to operationalize your storytelling for the future, including developing a business model that drives direct revenues from the content you create. (Note: Robert is working on this for our next book coming out in September.)