If you run a website or social media profiles for a business, you need content.
The definition of “content” can be fairly broad, but it generally includes thoughts, tips, or information you share with your audience (blog readers, Instagram followers, etc.) in the form of short snippets of text, images, graphics, videos, blog posts, and more. That funny cat video your coworker is showing everyone today? That’s content.
Examples of content could include
- A blog post answering commonly asked questions about your products or services
- A video showing how to use a product
- An infographic about consumer trends in your industry
- A case study showing off your successes with a client
- A graphic with a customer testimonial
There are many more possibilities, but reading over that list may have already given you a few ideas. Of course, the first requirement for creating visual or written content is knowing who your audience is and what types of content they like and engage with.
For example, if your company sells brightly colored hair dye, you will likely find your most engaged customers on Instagram, and they will likely react positively to how-to videos and photos of how they can use the products. If your company sells warehouse equipment to other companies, photos and videos on Instagram are not as likely to attract a similarly engaged audience.
For some brands, it is tricky to identify which platforms and types of content will be most successful. To guide your thought process, ask yourself these questions:
- What types of content and platforms are working for me now?
- What types of content and platforms are working for my competitors?
- Who is my current customer? Who is my ideal customer? What kind of content do they like?
Your answers to these questions will give you a good place to start, and there’s always room to experiment with what works for your brand. But before you start thinking outside of the box, you’ll need to master these 5 qualities of shareable content:
Perhaps the most difficult quality to master, clarity is still essential. What do you want your audience to remember? Try to reduce it to 10 words or less to create your headlines. In visual materials, reduce clutter as much as possible. Use clear headlines and imagery that communicate a single, powerful idea of what the reader will learn.
Oh, the humanity. Don’t be afraid to appeal to the human side of your customers. People like to feel connected with brands, and research says that emotionally connected customers are more valuable in the long-term. They spend more with a business they feel connected to, they’re more likely to recommend it to others, and they’re less likely to switch to another business.
When the key pieces of information you want your audience to remember are buried in the middle of a long paragraph, chances are good they are not going to stick out. Substance is key, but breaking pieces into lists and adding sub-headlines help make pieces easier to navigate. Go easy on your readers with eye-friendly formatting, and you are more likely to get your point across.
People do not particularly enjoy being scolded by anyone, and that goes double for brands. Stay away from lecturing, belittling or chastising your audience. Pieces that uplift and educate readers on improving some aspect of their lives will play better than those that scold or criticize.
Keep it short and sweet. Go long if the subject demands it, but remember that consumers are impatient. While two-thirds will watch 30 seconds of a video, just 17% stay engaged for three minutes. If you can’t fit everything you want to convey in one piece, break it up into a smaller, “snackable” content series on the topic.
Once you have figured out who you are trying to reach, where and how they interact with your brand, and you have mastered the five qualities of shareable content, you will be well on your way to creating content that engages your audience and grows your business.
To learn more about how to build a content strategy, click here to download our ebook “Content + The Power of Partners.”