So, you’ve now got a comprehensive understanding of what content marketing is and its benefits, as well as what types of content marketing you may want to include in your content plan. But now it’s time to learn some content marketing tactics that will really help you to grow your audience and drive results.
Welcome to part 3 and the final part of my Guide to Content Marketing blog series. In this article, we’re going to take a look at how to create content that creates value for your consumers – something they’ll want to look at – as well as what tips and tricks can help your content to drive real results, and even go viral.
1. How to Create Viral Content for Social Media
With an estimated 3 billion people across the world active on on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, social media is definitely the best way to engage your audience in today’s world.
It’s been carefully designed to be engaging and allows people to connect with their favourite brands, which wasn’t possible 20 years ago.
Social media offers a great way to build brand loyalty, and grow your audience.
Is Your Audience On Social Media?
The answer to this question is most likely yes. But it’s also a matter of defining your audience, and understanding your audience’s tastes and demographics.
Your choice of social media is also dependent on what segment your audience falls under.
If you are more of a B2B business, and your audience is made up of professionals or businesses, LinkedIn is probably a better social media site for reaching them.
However, if your market is mostly under 25, Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook would be better options.
You also need to consider your audience’s social media use. People under 21 tend to be hyperactive social media users who check in many times a day and interact a great deal on social media.
Older people are increasingly getting into sites like Facebook, but are not likely to use the site as much.
If this is the case, you need to focus more on delivering content to them from other channels, such as through email marketing or blog posts.
For each social media site you decide to use, it’s important to know what type of content is popular there and which content marketing tactics are likely to work.
Platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are geared more toward visual content, whereas Twitter, Quora, and Reddit are more text-heavy content.
It is every marketer’s dream to have content they’ve engineered spread like wildfire.
Viral content is kind of like a holy grail for marketing because it moves through people and creates an undisputed level of social proof for your brand.
Viral content is predominantly found in social media, where it’s easy to share content.
While it is the ultimate goal to create viral content as a marketer, the biggest problem here is that there is no way to really plan this beforehand.
Content creators usually produce viral content unknowingly. They put up something and the next thing you know it just starts exploding in all the social media channels.
The good news is; it is not difficult to engineer specific factors to improve your odds of going viral.
Viral content tends to be positive, uplifting and humorous – People enjoy content that makes them feel good and makes them look good, so they naturally want to share it with others.
All viral content evokes emotions – Negative emotions are usually much more intense than positive ones. It’s the nature of the human psyche to gravitate towards negative news.
Take a minute to think about what kind of content by others that you share on social media.
What is the sort of content that makes people go “Other people need to see this?”
One important thing to note here is that while you can produce content packed with negative emotions, be careful not to go overboard with the negativity, as people can associate bad emotions with your brand.
Look at past viral content – Sometimes, it is a good idea to look at previously viral content, such as the Dove Real Beauty Sketches video.
If one of your posts has gotten a great deal of social media interaction, try to figure out why. You can also scout the competition and check out what videos are performing well for your competitors.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of ways to go viral. Sometimes your content can strike viral gold when you least expected, so experiment with different types of content or subjects.
2. Telling Your Story and Providing Value
The best content is those that weave in a story and provide value to your audience. This value can be entertainment, or educational. It can even be a mix of both!
Storytelling is one of the best ways to do marketing, because it’s easy to relate to a story, keeps the listeners invested. It’s no secret that everyone loves them.
In marketing, creating stories is also a great way to cut through all of the dull content on the web with something a bit more interesting, something that stops someone from needlessly scrolling and takes the time to engage with.
Content Brand Storytelling
You can use storytelling in any kind of content, whether it’s a blog post, a video, or even a single image.
But you also need to create a brand story for your content brand.
A good story needs to have these elements:
Setting – When and where you started, the environment in which you started, how and why your brand came into existence.
Characters – Those behind the brand and the supporters who helped it grow.
Conflict – The problem or problems your brand set out to solve and the difficulties, challenges, or setbacks you faced along the way.
Resolution – How your brand overcame the problem to reach where it is now.
Guidelines for Creating Good Stories
Providing value to your audience
When telling stories, use your natural voice.
Let your personality come through in the story. People love reading stories in part because they can relate to the main character.
A good story will help your readers resonate with you. Another thing that will help your story resonate is to create likeable characters.
When a reader likes a character or feels an affinity with them, they root for them throughout the story and have a much more emotional experience reading it.
A great element for any story is a failure. We love stories about someone who failed or gave up, only to persevere and succeed in the end.
Don’t be afraid to admit your failures and show a bit of vulnerability. Don’t stick only to text stories. Experiment with storytelling in as many different media as possible, such as videos or apps.
If you’re going to create any kind of blog post, YouTube video or infographic, then it needs to offer some form of value.
Otherwise, you are just wasting everyone’s time!
But what does providing value really mean?
Usually, this means that you will be offering information, entertainment, news or education. Or even a mix of one or more of these things.
Whatever the case, it is critical that you do this in a way that is creative and that offers something unique.
Uniqueness is key, and this is the one thing that many bloggers and SEOs forget.
Sharing information in a blog post is easy. You could write about how to do press ups or how to do basic SEO.
But at the end of the day, those posts won’t offer a ton of value. Why?
Because your readers have most likely already heard it all before. There are countless posts out there that are very similar and are readily available.
Type in how to do basic SEO onto any search engine. You can see there are thousands of results, all offering the same advice.
So how do you as a marketer provide something completely new and different? The easiest way is to tell the story with your own words, using your own experience.
Remember, you need to offer something valuable. What better value you can offer than your experience?
It can be a case study about working with your previous client, or how your company came up with the design of your product.
After all, the number one cardinal sin of marketing is ‘Never be boring.’ So don’t be generic. Don’t be derivative.
Offer something completely new and that way you will be able to get people excited to read your blog posts or watch your YouTube videos.
Frequency, Length and Other Factors
If you want to build a following on your blog, social media page or website, then having frequency and consistency is a must.
This is an absolute priority as failure to post regularly will quickly result in your visitors losing interest and no longer looking up your site.
If they check several times and your site is the same as it was last time they looked, then this means that they will be likely to give up. Just think about when you checked the same website’s same content more than once. Probably not often, right?
The very minimum you should be posting is once a week.
But while you can get by on one post a week, this is very much not the best strategy.
What is far preferable is that you aim to produce multiple blog posts in a single day. Failing that, you should aim for at least one blog post a day.
That might sound like a lot, but the proof is in the pudding. Think of any of the top blogs that you like to read on a regular basis: how many blog posts do they have?
In all likelihood, these guys are exercising their frequency, posting multiple times in a single day or at least a single time a day. All without missing out even weekends.
Sure, they are major blog syndicates with gigantic marketing teams working under them, but that doesn’t discount the importance of having fresh content every day, no matter the amount.
So, learn to write well and learn to produce content fast.
When it comes to length of blog posts, most SEO and marketing experts now recommend aiming for longer-form content.
Anything that’s 1,500 words and over will be able to provide much greater depth and much more insight compared with something that is just 500 words.
As such, these longer posts tend to be better at creating trust and authority, and they also tend to be shared more. With anything, if you’re using a lot of words to talk about a topic, you probably have something very interesting to say about it, and internet users will probably want to read it.
Video content should ideally be using the same rule of thumb. The average talking speed is about 75 words every 30 seconds, or 150 words in 1 minute.
That means if you are speaking throughout the entire video, you should try to aim for 10 minutes or less. Anything more may make your audience tune out and lose their attention.
The biggest obstacle for most businesses is that writing one or more posts a day at 1,500 words each is quite an impossible task.
Thus, a better strategy would be to surround your 1500-word posts with several shorter posts, such as between 500 to 700 words.
Conversely, if your content varies in length, then it looks more as though you’re focussed on delivering good content for your readers without concern for how it might impact your SEO.
Likewise, it is also better for your readers as they won’t always have time to sit down and read a huge amount of text on a subject.
With shorter bite-sized information and longer posts, they can instead read at their own leisure and pick the right post for the amount of time available to them.
Scheduling for Frequent Publishing
If you’re going to be posting multiple types of content (such as videos and social media posts), then these might have to adhere to slightly different schedules.
YouTube videos, for example, will more likely be once a week (this is fairly standard for YouTube creators), while social media posts should certainly be multiple times a day.
Depending on your available time, might need to become a little more strategic in considering how you will go about your marketing.
For example, you might find that you can benefit from scheduling posts. WordPress itself and many social media platforms allow you to create posts and then set them to post at a specific time.
For those social media sites that don’t support this feature, you can use external tools like IFTTT.com or Buffer.
This way, you will be able to ensure that your site has a steady flow of new content, even on days when you don’t have the time or resource to produce new content.
Remember, if you don’t have time to write all the content yourself, then you can always use other creators to help you find the time.
You can do this either by working with partners or by using freelancing sites and webmaster forums where people will advertise their skills.
Make sure keep an eye on the quality level. It’s always better to pay more for quality and get the best content creators – than to hurt your content brand with mediocre work. As you’re probably aware, Google always prioritises quality content that provides enriching information for internet users, rather than quick content which has been pushed out and rushed.
Create the best content for your audience
Content marketing lies heavily on identifying your audience, create a narrative for your audience to relate and deliver that content to those who will enjoy it.
If your business is not doing any content, why leave money on the table and miss out on this opportunity to increase your reach?
At the end of the day, it’s all about giving your audience the content that they care about and making your business relatable to their goals.
People will always have questions, concerns, fears, interests, problems, and challenges. Your content should speak to these while also engaging and entertaining.
Only the best content meets the needs of its audience. And if you can achieve this goal, you will see higher conversions. That’s all it has to do.
If you some guidance in kick-starting your content marketing strategy? Contact me for an obligation-free chat. I’d be happy to hear about your business goals, and see what content marketing strategies we can implement to grow your audience and drive sales.