Content that drives traffic and helps build an audience is the target goal of any online marketing campaign. You create traffic by engaging readers with creative, unique, and topic specific content.
A good content strategy starts with a plan. But plans take time and by the time you finish your plan to create content, about 20 million pieces of content already posted. Let’s then start with a simple direct plan – write and post. The rest of the plan will work itself out.
You’re here because you might have hit a content roadblock and/or you need some magic to make your online campaign a bit more engaging. We’ve looked at hundreds of posts from birth to global trend and put them into specific content strategies.
All have one thing in common; they connected with an audience and made them feel special by creating effective content that provoked an action or thought, some good, some bad.
A post begins with Effective content creation. This applies regardless of the type of product/service or message. The social media marketing goal is an engaged audience that will share and distribute your content to a broader audience.
Behind-the-scenes information: Reality TV has taken over because it allows the audience to connect with you. The secret is that in most cases it’s only labeled “reality” and in reality it’s scripted entertainment. But none the less, the audience eats it up because they are in a different mental state when consuming it.
Take a movie filmed entirely from a phone camera (hypothetically…), add in a few unknown actors with poorly scripted content to make it look more real and call it “real”. Why would this sell to anyone? The audience has allowed themselves to be fooled, they took in the experience as participants opposed to customers. Even the worst movie in utilizing these methods gets a positive engagement response due to the level of expectation and mental state of engagement.
Personal and upfront content opens up your audience by first changing their state of mind. This is why personal challenge posts, and experience media content get such large engagement and share opportunities. One company that has taken this to an extreme transparency level is Buffer who makes even employee salary information available on their website. Does it work for them? There followers and investors support it.
Personal content marketing tip: Personal challenges and triumphs in a storytelling format are amongst the highest viral posted content within social channels. Bring your product/service to life by projecting it as a personal challenge. Show that you are passionate about your company and clients by sharing stories that connect with your audiences need for “reality” experiences.
Exclusive invite: I have a secret to share, though quite an old marketing strategy, is still a modern content engagement success method. “Find out more by clicking here”, “login to see pricing”, “call for your private consultation”; are all methods in which make an audience personally feel they are exclusively getting special access and information not generally shared with the public. Even if this information is just to the shopping cart checkout line; “15 items or less”…
Starting a post with titles such as “just to my personal friends” engages over 70% more traffic! Why would this have such an impact? People feel they are getting access to something that isn’t public in a very public forum making this content “unique” and in demand.
Exclusive content marketing tip: Develop a plan for creating this secret linked content at the same time you create your main content. By adding a “more content” landing url you gain an additional activity engagement tracking value while directing your audience to more content engagement opportunities.
Leverage an expert: To leverage an expert you must find one and everyone should know by now an expert is anyone with something to say. But the title today when it comes to online forums appears to be all you need because if it’s on the web it must be true.
Content that provides information from a 3rd party as reference to the value of your product/service are great endorsements but might not result in driving engagement. This strategy takes a bit of creative thinking and when used in the right context can get your readership numbers up. The secret to the success of this method is that when your product/service or even yourself is referenced by someone else you just gained instant credibility and value to your content.
An expert really is anyone you can leverage to share an idea, comment, or opinion. Everyone likes to be mentioned in positive posts, simply congratulating someone or sharing someone’s content are methods in which you can begin a viral trend.
Don’t have an expert? Make one up! It’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t know who “the most interesting man in the world” is. It’s a fictitious character made of by Dos Equis to promote their brand since 2007. The campaign was so successful Dos Equis had to create a new campaign incorporating retirement of it’s expert to move one to another one.
Drop a Name content marketing tip: One benefit of mentioning a real “expert’s in your post is that they themselves might share your content. This applies well within professional business forums like LinkedIn.
Did you know: Engaging an audience in “smart” content has mixed effects. By now you have seen a few of those “how smart are you” math quizzes or photos with short statement caption’s. You’ve most likely seen the same ones many times by now because they often get shared. The unfortunate aspect of their viral path is they don’t typically relate back to the originator or a branded product/service opportunity.
Infographics are unique marketing tools that typically result in a high share exchange while providing branded content benefits. It’s important to note that an Infographic doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be 3 pages in length. Keep is simple with impact data content. Selling mints? “More than half of us wouldn’t tell a friend or colleague if they had bad breath in fear of risking a friendship” – throw in a graph or picture and that becomes a simple quick infographic.
Leverage input from others within your market or service pool to build on Knowledge statements. This also allows you to incorporate others into the story. “A question came up today…”, “while I was with this client I found out…”, are great starts to did you know content posts.
Geico is a great reference to the success of the simplicity of a “did you know” campaign. Their campaign resulted in one of the most brand recognized lines in marketing; “did you know, fifteen minutes could save you 15 percent or more on car insurance”.
Knowledge content marketing tip: Be creative in how you share need to know content. Simple facts and simple questions/answers are good policies. Leverage input to build on Knowledge statements. This also allows you to incorporate others into the story.
Trial by fire: What road did you travel to get to this point? What were some of the wrong turns or mishaps in your journey? At the end of some great movies they often incorporate clips that were not included called outtakes. Its become so successful in audience demand that many will wait through the entire credits of a movie hoping for some extra clips. Your online audience is no different, they want to know about your journey, your obstacles, your successes, and if you put a little humor and emotion into it, it will become a trend – they will stick around to just see what’s going to happen next.
This is one of the least used methods used as a direct social post marketing strategy but one in which gains the highest revisit and share outcomes. Incorporate history experiences about your journey to get to where you are today. Journey posts can be motivational, controversial, and simply tragic. But all with the same theme in mind – look where I came from to get to this point. A powerful audience attention technique that is worth exploring in your next campaign.
A challenge story you most likely heard about or even participated in but didn’t really know where it started is Pete Frates Ice Bucket Challenge. Pete’s goal was to bring attention to Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS. Pete incorporated several methods into his campaign to include his personal challenge with ALS and targeted experts, one being Bill Gates. Within days Pete’s story went viral and shortly thereafter Bill Gates met his challenge along with millions of others around the world.
My Journey content marketing tip: Begin tracking your story from good to bad. Take the notable parts and share with your online audience.
Location, location, location: One thing all viral content has in common is what every brick and mortar store strives for; location. Online traffic is no different than real-estate. If you’re selling snow cones do you setup shop on the beach in July or on the slopes in December? Location is equality key to your campaigns online success. In order for your audience to connect with your content you need to be within the right location for your target market.
Location can be all about timing. Utilizing the same snow cone example a good day on the beach might be 200 to 300 sales whereas a good day on the mountain might be 2 or 3 sales in normal conditions. But conditions change based on circumstances. It’s agreeable that the completion might be quite fierce at the beach on a clear beautiful weekend day resulting in an over saturated market even with a good product at the right location. If that day on the mountain just happened to be in the 80’s, you might find being on that mountain in December turned out to be the right place at the right time with the highest payoff in effort to benefit.
Before you start with content strategy you must first consider your space. There are several venues to choose from. Practicalecommerce spotlighted about 90, about 20 of them should be fairly recognizable. As shown above it’s not always about being in the perfect location, it’s sometimes being in the perfect location at the perfect time. Where and when to post about a specific topic is all about what is currently trending within that social venue. A great example of this if you’ve been social savvy of late, trending on LinkedIn is a series of conversations about posts from Candice Galek promoting her company BikiniLuxe. Bathing suits, less bikini’s are really not the perfect venue for LinkedIn, a professional business networking forum, but Candice leveraged the controversy of her posts at a location and time that was just perfect. Within a short period of time the controversy over Candice’s posts made them globally viral.
Location content marketing tip: Don’t focus on the perfect location, focus on making that location in which you choose perfect for your end goal.
Try, try again: Don’t assume that your audience will be where you are at the exact time you’re there. A social post is only as good as its potential audience at the moment of posting. Consider this, there are over 1.3 million pieces of content posted to Facebook every minute of every day. By the time you’ve gotten to this part in my post you’ve missed potentially millions Facebook posts that have just taken place.
Within minutes and in some cases seconds a post is lost under a rapidly growing pile of new content. The life cycle of online content is typically only minutes at best. This makes your window of opportunity very small. Before you put 2 to 3 hours into a well throughout post that has a lifecycle of minutes make sure you have a long term strategy to use it over and over again.
There’s simply not enough time in the day to explore all the available content. This combined with our short attention span gives our post content only a fleeting chance of catching someone’s attention. We think simply because we didn’t get many likes or any comments that our post was not of interest, poorly written, or lacked value. Maybe all are true for the moment in which the post hit your audience, but if you reposted the exact same post at different times and within different venues, you will find a large variance in results – one in which could lead to the right location at the right time.
Keep on swimming marketing tip: recycle your past content (as well as content from other resources) to capitalize on more than just a moment with your potential audience. Unlike in politics it’s perfectly acceptable to “change your mind” about your prior comments and create commentary to guide readers by providing additional value and a new perspective from your gained experience.
Additional tips to make your content thrive
- Create exclusive linked content at the same time as your core content:not so much a “thrive” concept as much an opportunity to drive traffic to your own venue opposed to distracting minutia that surrounds us all within most social venues.
- Mix up your content formats:Text is simply boring, don’t limit your post potential. Video content gets both viewed and shared 70% more than text alone! We all absorb information differently. Consider photographs, video, podcasts, and presentations. If you post to multiple venues change pictures, media and titles.
- Re-post & share often: If you something interesting there’s a high chance your target audience will find it interesting. Only about 2% of daily posted content, less images, are original first time posts!
- Comment on your own material. In most venues the comments equal top billings for repost and indexing this could lead to getting another chance at your moment of fame.
- Engage! It’s called “Social” media for a reason. Branding is about points of contact – make it a point to engage daily.