Content is the name of the game these days. With the advent of slick marketing automation tools like HubSpot and Marketo, marketers are frantically creating content in hopes of moving leads into the sales funnel. Many are making content for content’s sake, and it’s cluttering up the internet with boring, unhelpful, uninspiring blogs. While this content may help your search engine optimization, it likely won’t achieve one of the primary goals of content marketing, which is engagement.
We can measure content engagement in a number of ways, but I believe the sexiest one is social media shares.
It distributes your content to a wider network of people, potentially attracting new visitors to your website, and it means your content really struck a chord with that reader. There’s a lot of cute animal videos, Trump Tweets and Tasty recipes that they could be sharing, but they still gave a piece of their feed or wall space to you.
Here are three tips for making good content that’s worth sharing.
1. Be ruthless in choosing your audience
Choose a narrow audience. I know it’s hard to say, “I won’t sell my products to this audience group,” but it’s much easier to create valuable content for a specific person with a specific challenge than a broad, nebulous group of potential customers.
Try this: picture the person who will read your content and share it on Facebook. What kind of photos does she upload? What other kind of content does she share? What does her About page say? Now choose one challenge that this person facing and you can solve. Let’s say the coffee she makes at home always tastes bitter, no matter what kind of coffee beans she buys.
Write what, in your opinion, is the only solution to bitter coffee.
2. Be opinionated in your content
A New York Times Customer Insight Group found that 50% of people share content on social media to change a friend’s opinion or motivate them to act. Therefore, if you want a reader to share your content, you must take a side in the argument they are having with a friend. That means 50% of readers will disagree with your opinion, and that’s okay. Half of the people reading this particular blog post won’t like the title, and that’s okay too. I only want to reach the 50% of readers who will identify with the content and share.
Being opinionated doesn’t mean being controversial or acting like a jerk. Simply be authentic, passionate or convicted. No one can contest your first-hand experience, so tell your own story. Tell the reader that if she really wants to be done with bitter coffee, she must throw out her Keurig. You did it, and it was the best decision of your life.
3. Set your content free
As you can see, your content does not belong to you. Once you publish it to your website, it belongs to your reader. She decides what to do with it from there. Trust the person you identified in step 1, and let her make your opinion her own. After all, that coffee-loving Facebook user doesn’t want to promote your coffee knowledge; she wants to promote her own.
There are 1,000 ways to empower readers to take your content and run with it. Have some fun and brainstorm an interactive component to your content, such as a Coffee Taste Profile survey, a French Press Lover’s social media avatar, a downloadable DIY fridge magnet with instructions for the perfect pour over. All these examples will give the reader a chance to express her opinion on social media, earning you shares on your content.
I encourage you to try these three steps the next time you sit down to create content.