by Tony Vidler
It takes a lot of thought and effort to create content that engages your target audience, and nothing is more frustrating than creating something which you think is marvellous (if not perfect!) only to find that it goes nowhere because nobody knows about it, and nobody shares it around.
It doesn’t have to be that way of course.
While there are a number of elements to getting this right, one of the main things is making sure you are producing content that they actually want (or are looking for). THEN you have to put it into the places where they go looking for that information.
The shortcut to figuring out what content your audience wants is to look at what they are already consuming. What is popular? What are they engaging with and commenting upon? What are they sharing with their peers and networks?
The first thing to look at is “what is popular”? Is it just videos of a cat in shark suit riding a vacuum cleaner? Or is it the latest announcement from the central bank on their feelings regarding future tweaks to official cash rates? Both of these examples are interesting of course…but for quite different reasons, and at quite different times. And where is it being found?
The type of content which is most popular in social media and digital channels is overwhelmingly graphics, or visual content. That is followed by opinion pieces, status updates and links to relevant or engaging content elsewhere.
Which of these 3 is right at any given time for your audience depends entirely on which social media channel the target audience is using (or you are using to reach them), and when they are using it. For example: content posted to Facebook should be more in the “entertainment” category as few consumers really go to Facebook to learn about smarter tax management strategies or portfolio construction. On the other hand, content being shared on LinkedIn will have a much stronger focus on either educating the target audience or providing them with tools and resources that enable them to make better decisions.
Establishing what is likely to be popular and on what channels is the most important element, but it is not the only factor required to have your content shared. The inclusion of sharing buttons with your content, enabling consumers to push the content further afield to their own networks with a single click, is critical. We cannot realistically expect consumers to engage in deliberate efforts that require multiple action steps on their part to share our brand and content, can we? Amazingly however, many professionals who are relatively new to content marketing appear to overlook this element.
The inclusion of sharing facilities to specific social media channels, or via email, or generically across multiple platforms is a relatively straightforward and cheap thing to build into your marketing platform. Whether that publishing platform is a bespoke website or a blogspot or wordpress blog site, all it takes is some simple plug-in modules or a few lines of code from the developer to take away the effort for a consumer, and enable them to spontaneously share your content while they are engaged with it.
Therein lies one of the “secrets” to getting superb content shared: remove the barriers for your target market so that they can share spontaneously. The sharing of your content needs to be something which requires little or no conscious thought, and zero inconvenience. We shouldn’t make it hard for people to like what we do, and we shouldn’t make it hard for them to share what they like.
Make it as easy as possible for consumers to want to spread the good word on you and your brand by ensuring you pitch the right sort of content to the right sort of channel, and then make it as convenient and easy as possible for them to forward it to their friends.