Content + SEO
The case for zero-click content: It’s time to meet your audience where they already are
I have the best intentions when I subscribe to a newsletter. That person or brand or AI prompt really spoke to me, and I want to read more, so yes, send me those emails. Then, after I’m done blacking out, I remember how hard it is to make time to read, watch or listen to anything that isn’t already on my calendar. My best intentions inevitably result in an uninspiring click-through rate.
Still, I persist. That’s why I appreciate newsletters that can make content consumption as simple as possible. And it brings me to a good example of the form: Granted from Adam Grant. One of his recent subject lines caught my attention at a moment of relative freedom, so I opened the email. Immediately, I scanned for the link to the article—The 11 New Idea Books to Spring Into Summer—but before I knew it, I was four or five paragraphs in.
“There’s no link,” I said to myself. “It’s all here.”
I finished reading about what to read, resigned myself to maybe picking one of those, and then glanced at the next email in the box. But before I moved, I had a Marie Kondo moment. I expressed gratitude for the unthinkably unclickable content I just enjoyed. I stopped short of hugging my laptop, but somehow, I think it knows ... *cue sitcom emotional scene music*
I've personally referred to this as "in-platform content" but a much cooler (and harder-hitting) term being used is "zero-click content"—content that can be fully consumed within the platform where it's received.
Either way, I’m here for it. Here’s why.
Disruption is difficult
It’s a big ask to get people to offer up their time, especially when it forces them to go away from something they’re already doing. People have a purpose for the platform they’re in, be it Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or even Outlook. They’re there for a reason, and it’s likely that your content isn’t it. Meanwhile, they’re being assaulted by all manner of attention thieves with just as much to gain as you do. The odds are simply not in your favor.
Keeping people in platform while they consume your content removes the biggest hurdle to consumption: the click.
Train customers to expect value
Let’s assume you don’t give away any content that you’d consider worthy of content marketing, insisting that people go to your website to get it. That likely means the content you’re sharing on those platforms (social or email) has next to no value. Like cringy observance days or photos from your latest employee team-building exercise. If this is what your audience sees, it’s what they’ll come to expect. Being willing to give some of your brand’s brainpower away for free serves a relationship-building function that projects value onto the customer. This increases the likelihood of generating clicks at other points in the journey when the path to conversion is more direct.
Strengthen the top of the funnel
Content marketing is typically viewed as a mid-funnel interest or demand-gen tool, providing context to a product, service or brand within a prospect’s life. It can convert, but so can a billboard; that doesn’t make it a conversion tactic. In-platform content becomes closer to an awareness tactic with some potential for further engagement built in (likes, shares, links to other content, etc.). But because it’s content (text, images, video, animation, meme or whatever), it’s more than a billboard or a banner ad. It prioritizes consumption over conversion. And there’s absolutely a place in the funnel for this approach.
Minimal production required
This isn’t the type of content that reinvents the wheel. It’s much more repurposing and recycling the longform content you’ve placed such a high value on into something streamlined that fits the platform. In Adam Grant’s case, it was just text in an email. Take what you have and adapt it for the appropriate channel by embracing the trends that make it enjoyable for people who are on it. Try some things and find out what works for your brand and your audience.
What they want is good content, and that’s the most important thing. If the content you’re giving them isn’t very good—but you’re convinced you have good content that’s just a click away—take away the click and see what happens.
Ready to give in-platform content a go? Let’s talk.
Paul Gangarossa is a marketing strategist who is focused on identifying insights that pave the way for successful campaigns. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.