No matter the industry or size of the business, all content teams work with one primary goal in mind: creating quality content that inspires their followers to engage with it and share it with others. This could be anything from a relevant article to an ultimate guide on the world’s best grilled cheeses – the overall goal for any piece of content is ideally that it’s easily found in search engines and promotes actions such as sharing, retweeting, and so on.
So how can you maximize your chances of achieving these aims? What can you do to make your content stand out from the clutter on the web today?
One of my favorite Huffington Post articles, 6 Essential Ingredients to Compelling Online Content, outlines six steps to creating compelling, shareable content. I’m going detail each of these ingredients, and how they apply to how we create content here at Likeable.
1. Know your audience and create buyer personas
Something at Likeable that we’ve taken an interest in is exploring the needs and desires of our customers and understanding them on a deeper level in order to produce better content. Many businesses utilize a system of ‘personas’ under which to categorize their customers in order to better meet their needs and these personas help identify the needs of each customer which the content team can then address. When creating content for each customer tag, everything down to the font choice on a content image matters when trying to best match the ‘feel’ of that business. Understanding customers on a deeper level and delivering premium content by employing archetypes, or ‘personas’, is what allows us to create content that we’re confident our customers will connect with.
2. Make sure your content is useful and interesting
In a world where trends come and go overnight and anyone can look up anything at any time, the trick is finding content that’ll hopefully be new and insightful for the intended audience. The Huffington Post piece uses an acronym called WIIFM, or, ‘What’s In It For Me?’. Again, content should be useful and new for customers, or should at least offer a different perspective on the topic. If there’s anything we want our customers to take away from posting our content, it’s the sense that what they’re posting will establish their thought leadership, and build a sense of engagement and trust between them and their own customers. Guides, tips, lists, quizzes, and so on, can all be great resources because they benefit the customer and their audience with potentially new information and encourage them to seek out more content from us.
3. Make sure your content is visually appealing
While the Huffington Post article talks about the visual aesthetic of the paragraphs themselves (subheads, length, etc.), graphic content is equally as important. We offer tags to which our customers can subscribe, such as ‘Coffee’ or ‘Top Picks’, and what often draws them to a certain piece of content is an image that’s been custom designed by the creative team. We employ vector graphics, high-quality photographs and appealing text overlays to give the customer a sense of what each piece of content is about before they click the link. Without using these visuals as part of our content strategy, the posts instantly become much drier and readers would likely feel less inclined to share our content.
4. Include a call-to-action (CTA)
A ‘call-to-action’ is defined as: an instruction to the audience to provoke an immediate response by using imperative verbs such as ‘call now’ or ‘find out more’. We have two ways that we like to approach using CTA’s. One is to employ a traditional CTA that beckons the audience to ‘click and learn more’, similar to the examples above. Another way we like to entice our audience to explore our content are clever quips, questions, or conversation starters. An inspiring piece of content that asks ‘What’s the magic in your life?’ or a top 10 list on how to build better relationships with the caption ‘Improve your people skills’ offer different ways to engage your followers with CTA’s you can find out more. Change up the pace by using playful, encouraging CTA’s that’ll stand out from the crowd of calls to action devoid of personality or meaning.
5. Make sure your content is sharable and search-friendly
One of our core values at Likeable is ‘We are driven to create a #likeable world’ (with emphasis on the hashtag). Something that our custom content creation promotes is the use of hashtags when scheduling a post. When a customer goes to make a post, they’re given the option to alter the provided copy or add their own. Additionally, they can add hashtags which can promote a greater amount of traffic on a given piece of content. Our platform also offers the option to connect your Hub account with an assortment of popular social media sites, enabling customers to post to as many relevant platforms is what generates the greatest amount of exposure possible.
6. Analyze your effectiveness
One of the more helpful features of the Likeable Hub is the ability for customers to measure how well their posts are doing in the analytics section of the site, as well as in our weekly update emails. Not only is this helpful for customers to keep track of how well their posts are doing, but it also helps us, internally, to develop an understaning about which pieces of content are doing well, and which ones need to be retired. By analyzing which posts do well, we can create more of the same great content and constantly improve what we’re providing for our audience. Analytics allow us to keep up with all the most relevant content trends and enable us to continue to provide the best possible content we can offer.
Maximizing the traction your content gets can seem daunting at times, but these six ingredients for success are a helpful place to start – they’ve definitely made a big difference for us.
This post originally appeared on the Likeable Local blog.