Many brands recognize that content marketing can be an impactful tool. With the rise of social media, it is possible to leverage these avenues to reach and engage individuals. When done correctly, many businesses have found content marketing can replace expensive advertising.
However, simply creating content isn’t the challenge. The challenge lies in creating the right content that encourages and ensures that those who read it will share it and make the message viral.
Here are tips to consider for creating shareable brand-themed content.
Give them what they want
According to research by the Content Marketing Institute, nine out of 10 organizations market with content and use eight tactics on average to get their message out. However, when content is not relevant, it impacts marketing effectiveness and, thus, the business overall. Being relevant engages an audience. Content marketers should make an effort to understand their audience before creating and delivering any message. This can be done by checking social media mentions to see what people are already saying about the business. Additionally, read online forums, look at trending topics, gather known audience data, send out polls and/or directly ask readers what matters to them.
Data provides direction. It also allows for personalization. Daniel Newman, contributor to Forbes, says personalization is the key to online marketing success. “Without data to drive strategy, our online marketing efforts will leave us chasing our tails…when it comes to getting real return on your marketing efforts, it is most useful for helping you get personal.” Personalized content connects the business to a target audience and provides exactly what the individual is seeking.
Continue the engagement by creating a relationship. Voting, for example, enables the audience to have a voice and make a choice. Getting readers to contribute their own content by submitting stories, photos, videos and other brand-related items helps enrich engagement. Challenging the audience with contests, polls and quizzes allows them to engage individually, but then also allows them to share results with others and encourages additional participation. In 2015, Expedia ran an Instagram campaign asking people to follow and comment for a chance to win a trip to South America. According to CIO magazine, it was one of the most memorable social media campaigns of the year, earning a high engagement score (999) on Unmetric, a social media intelligence platform. Lux Narayan, CEO of Unmetric says, “Contests generally drive high engagement on social, and here, layering on a chance to win a trip by commenting, contributed to this post’s success.”
Emotions invoke engagement
In her award-winning book, “The Unbreakable Rules of Marketing,” expert marketing strategist Cathey Armillas provides a number of concepts to help get a message across. She reminds that because humans are emotional creatures, if people are presented solid facts and figures with the intention of stirring their desires, the message is often ignored. But, people will engage when emotions come into play. “Emotions are right under the surface of every rational decision,” she says. Marketers should use emotions to motivate. Make someone laugh, pull at their heart-strings, create a feeling of fear, envy or trust. For example, Metro Trains rail service in Australia created the “Dumb Ways to Die” campaign that created massive awareness about train safety through an unexpected, funny, and emotionally jarring video that has been viewed by more than 112 million people. When people are moved, they engage.
Share at optimal times
As well as the “what” to share, it is important to focus on the “when” to post. Whatever the message, sending it out at optimal time allows for more eyes to see it and the possibility of more people engaging with it. While there’s no exact “best time,” research by sumall.com, a firm that provides data analytics, found each network has a different optimal time when their posts garner the highest engagement: Google+ 9-11 a.m., Twitter 1-3 p.m., Facebook 1-4 p.m., Instagram 5-6 p.m., Tumblr 7-10 p.m. and Pinterest 8-11 p.m..
Consistency creates a “top of mind” branding. Eric V. Holtzclaw, founder of multiple startup companies and author of “Laddering: Unlocking the Potential of Consumer Behavior,” states that consistency is a must to building and growing a business. It establishes a reputation and allows for measurement and accountability. When creating content marketing, make sure everything looks, feels, and sounds the same way. When people hear the same message over and over again, in the same way each time, they are more apt to spread the word and then those words become a powerful marketing tool.
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