You create a piece of content that gets virtual cheers from your audience. It gets tons of shares and drives more traffic than your last three pieces of content put together.
But the next piece you publish flatlines.
What’s going on? Why does some content attract a crowd, while other content is virtually ignored?
The answer can be complex. But often, the content isn’t consistent. If your goal is continued success, you must follow the same standards to create a strong foundation for every piece.
1. Give your readers something valuable
What does valuable content look like?
It goes deep
BuzzSumo research on over 100 million articles found that the most average shares come from content between 3,000 and 10,000 words. People like sharing long-form content.
The internet is overwhelmed by memes and shallow blog posts. To stand out, spend time creating one brilliant article instead of three lightweight ones. Create more in-depth content of around 2,000 words.
HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:
Look at the content of your competitors and how your target audience consumes it. Where do they publish it? What formats do they use? Create fresh angles on related but unaddressed topics and publish in a familiar format or platform.
Incorporate more visual content. BuzzSumo research shows that articles with an image once every 75 to 100 words receive double the social shares as articles with fewer images.
Tell stories that make readers feel more connected to your brand.
Example: El Bolillo Bakery
This Mexican bakery in Houston created valuable content that resonated, inspired, and engaged its audience. El Bolillo Bakery shared a story on Facebook about how its bakers who were stranded in the store by Hurricane Harvey made use of the time to bake for the people in shelters, first responders, etc.
TIP: Your brand doesn’t have to be directly involved in the story. Tap into inspirational stories from around the world if they fit in with your brand’s values. Give your take on a story, share it with your audience.
2. Reflect your readers
Content resonates with readers when they can see themselves in it – their experiences, challenges, characteristics, etc.
Consider what your audience members are experiencing. How does your brand relate to their challenges? Through storytelling, your brand can help your audience members see themselves in relatable situations.
Validate your audience’s opinions
A 2018 report from Edelman found that 64% of consumers will choose, switch, avoid, or boycott a brand based on its stand on social issues.
What do your audience members value? What are they interested in? The more you know about what your audience thinks, the easier it will be to create content that reflects your shared beliefs.
The luxury British fashion clothing company Jigsaw used the rise of hate crimes in the United Kingdom as an opportunity to highlight its beliefs around diversity.
It launched a campaign celebrating immigration, using #HeartImmigration: “As a clothing brand, we couldn’t do what we do if people weren’t free to move around.” Jigsaw promoted the message on billboards, newspapers, and social media.
3. Make readers feel connected
As a marketer, how can you capitalize on this fundamental human condition of connection?
End posts with questions so readers can respond with comments on your blog and on social media.
Tackle controversial topics
Get people thinking and they’re likely to connect on that topic with people they know. Give your viewpoint and they may respond directly and ask others: “What do you think?”
Make it easier to share
Highlight quotes and stats in blog and social media posts to encourage sharing. Use the Click to Tweet WordPress plug-in or place social media sharing buttons where they’re easily seen.
Capitalize on trending topics
See what people already are talking about by looking at what’s trending on Twitter or use the Google Trends tool. Which topics are relevant to both your brand and your audience? What is your audience already saying? Join in the conversation.
Example: Dunkin’ Donuts
Do you remember “dressgate” in 2015 when people went into meltdown over the colors of a striped dress? Was it black and blue? Or white and gold? Dunkin’ Donuts reacted to this trending topic by posting an image of two donuts in the same color options as the infamous dress. The post earned more than 3,000 retweets.
Make good content
Focus on creating good content consistently. Make it inspirational, entertaining, and thoughtful. Show what you care about as a brand. And react to topical issues so that people can relate to your messages and feel that you’re traveling alongside them in a busy, confusing world.
Want to strengthen your foundation for good content? Make plans today to attend Content Marketing World 2019 this September.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute
Please note: All tools included in our blog posts are suggested by authors, not the CMI editorial team. No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).