Five Rules of Engagement for Content Marketing

Showing no sign of slowing down, content marketing is a field of the future that’s going from strength to strength and is expected to be here for quite a while. Your pivotal mission, as a content marketer, is to get users to organically flock to your content and expand the reach of your content by the quality of which.

Within the field, there are commonly asked questions that newcomers are still in desperate need of an answer — e.g., “What’s next in this sector?”, “How do I make my content stand out” …

Realizing this need, Adobe has multiple reports of their own across several demographics in order to best understand consumer expectations and the way they are shaping marketers’ challenge. These reports shed light onto the making of these five rules of engagement for content marketing:

1. Design for the multiscreen reality

It’s undeniable that people are now using more devices than ever—as you yourself should have experienced since it’s more convenient this way.

According to this report, on average, 88 percent of users are multiscreen-browsing using 2.42 devices at the same time. The feelings when using multiscreen are also mixed, with nearly half of Millennials reporting a distracted feeling while the older generations are reported to be more focused.

Consumers Multiscreen
Source: The State of Content: Expectations on the Rise

This is to be expected, as the younger generations are reported to have narrower attention spans and thus, prefer content that is more entertaining and attention-grabbing. Even more true is when time is on the short side, as consumers are known to prefer videos over written formats, and opt to skim articles on end instead of focusing on one long and informative article.

For people in professional works, multi-screening is no longer a nice-to-have since as much as 57% of consumers report multi-screening is important to their content viewing experience.

display and design in content marketing
Source: The State of Content: Expectations on the Rise

2. Don’t overdo it

While your readers can be easy-going at times, there are still some criteria to be met—with most of these on the technical side, i.e., page loading time. Although this is nothing new, as consumers are known to drop any kind of content if the content doesn’t even load, there’s still some insight to be gathered if you pay attention to the data.

Design and display issues in content marketing
Source: The State of Content: Expectations on the Rise

Looking at the data, we can see that content length plays a paramount role in the making of engaging content, as an overly long and visually unappealing content might prove to be counter-effective, or even alienate your audience (38% of consumers will stop engaging with a piece of content altogether if it proves to be too long or unattractive in its layout or imagery).

The key point is, after all, to know your audience and know them well, since long and informative content might find its niche occasionally; but for a more typical type of audience, it’s oftentimes not an advisable approach.

3. Be relatable

Surely you’ve noticed brands who have their own massive cult followings before (PETA, anyone?), and it seems that, at this rate, there will only be more of them in the future. This is because brands today all try their hardest to resonate with their audience and the best way to do so is by keeping up with current political trends.

Source: 2018 Adobe Consumer Content Survey

From the data gathered, we can see that consumers are now increasingly sharing content from brands as a means to contribute their part to a good cause. And when you think about it, this way of increasing engagement by brands is brilliant in its own way, as not only does it increase engagements within your already existing audience, it also helps and fosters growths of both your brand awareness and brand loyalty. This is the reason why we’re seeing brands being almost “too human”, to the point of directing consumers’ thoughts and propaganda-like. 

Recommended reading: How to use Instagram Hashtags to make people love your brand?

4. Don’t show up uninvited

We’re in the age of personalizations when consumers expect to see product recommendations tailored to their every need, as long as it respects piracy. They are willing to share information but expect a return on value.

Digging more into this, we’re seeing that consumers are selective when it comes to the information that they choose to share, with behavioral information being the only type of information that has over 50% of consumers willing to share.

Types of information comfortable sharing with brands
Source: 2019 Brand Content Survey – Adobe

There’s, however, a huge portion of consumers (13%) who are not comfortable with sharing any kind of information whatsoever, which shows that consumers are more piracy-oriented than we previously thought. As an immediate action from this, brands can learn to — and this might come off as obvious — simply ask the customers what they want. The brand-customer relationship, after all, is cooperative in its nature which means that customers are oftentimes willing to share their information in exchange for convenience and relevancy.

5. In our relationships we trust

In this era of high skepticism, authenticity, and trust are critical. Consumers are becoming increasingly wary of online content as the current state of it is now, more than ever, saturated with repetitive content. It can even be said that trust in today’s world comes not from the brands but from peers who the consumers trust. As a consequence of this, we’re now seeing a surge in the amount of sharable content as it’s the more effective way to build your loyal customer base, as iterated in section 3.

Source: The State of Content: Expectations on the Rise

The numbers that we’re seeing here are very interesting if you really take a look at it. As much as 61% of consumers are reported to question if the news article that they’re reading is biased; and this tension doesn’t only stop at the written form, as videos now belong to the doubt spectrum where as much as 54% of consumers are reported to question if a video has been altered. It’s a tough time for brands to really come out ahead of the herd and connect with their consumers, on a personal basis in order to create a relationship with them.


The consumer priorities are now vastly different than that of years ago when personalization wasn’t the norm and single-device browsing was the case for everyone.

Nowadays, your typical consumer seems to expect the world from brands as their browsing experience now need have to be catered to their untold preferences, and brands that seem to relate to their consumers on a more personal level seem to come out ahead and ripe higher revenue as result.

Further Reading:

Mobile Commerce 2020: Your Guide to All Things m-Commerce

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A content writer with a passion for the English language.

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