Word of mouth is one of the most powerful and cost efficient forms of marketing. But how do you get people talking about your content? When producing content for your brand, be that a social media post, a video, or a blog article, your number 1 goal should be to make your content engaging. Too many marketers lose sight of this and produce content for the sake of producing content. Whether your business goal is to drive traffic, sales or calls, if your content is not engaging enough you’re never going to make an impact. Well, not cost efficiently anyway.
Put yourself in your target audience’s shoes. Would you read it/share it/like it? If the answer is no, do not publish (abort, abort, abort)! Some would go as far as to say that no content is better than poor content. Content that has clearly been rushed, hasn’t been thought through or is of low quality could result in a negative comeback and could be damaging for your brand. Always try to anticipate the outcome, and if that outcome doesn’t align with your business goals, scrap it. Not every piece of content you produce will be perfect, and learning to let go of something that’s not working is a key lesson for every content marketer to learn.
There are 3 ‘E’s that will help you decide whether your content is worth sharing, or better yet to help you create engaging content from the offset. Your content should embody at least one of these (but can also spread across 2 or even all 3 if you’re really smart!).
Can you teach your audience something new? Can you wow them with knowledge they didn’t yet have? Can you inform them about something they may need to know?
Content that educates could include news, research/analysis, information on interesting people, places or products, reviews, recipes or perhaps showing your audience useful tricks, tools or resources.
National Geographic, one of the most followed brands on Instagram (60.5 million followers!), posts beautiful, educational content that exceeds normal ‘copy length’ guidelines (keep it punchy), but because the content is so informative and inspiring, their audience seem to really connect!
Other wildlife photographers are adopting a similar approach to Nat Geo – using emotive imagery as bait accompanied by factual content to educate and sometimes to entertain. The New York Times also wrote an interesting piece on this topic.
Will your content make your audience smile, or better yet, laugh? Would your target audience use this content to pass their time or use as a welcome distraction from their day to day? OK so you may not be able to validate the use of cat or baby videos for your brand marketing, but there are many ways to get your audience feeling entertained through the use of humour, connotations, competitions, games, surveys, and spectacular visual or audio delights.
Innocent drinks has an incredibly fun sense of humour, and buckets of big brand personality on Twitter. It’s extremely reactive, jumping on live trending topics such as The Great British Bake Off, and inserting their own satirical, popular culture-based content.
There are many emotions you can use to target your content: happiness, sadness, excitement, comradery, shock etc. If you can pluck at the heartstrings and get them feeling warm and fuzzy, or reaching for the tissues, then your content is more likely to get people talking.
Channel 4’s ‘We’re the Superhumans’ advert earlier this summer perfectly demonstrated how to drum up the excitement of the Paralympics with 140 athletes, musicians and ordinary people with disabilities demonstrating their extraordinary talent with scenes that wowed, oozed positivity and gave a real sense of comradery.
A recent video from American YouTube personality Casey Neistat really nailed it, hitting all 3 E’s as he visually described his €21,000 first class airplane seat experience. It was educational, as most of us have not had the luxury of travelling first class (!); it was entertaining due to the way it was shot, and Casey’s personality making it rather comical; it was emotive, as you can see from the YouTube video comments there are signs of shock, jealousy, disgust and admiration. At the time of writing, the video has had nearly 20 million views on YouTube in just over 7 days!
In short, never lose sight of engagement. The aim of every piece of content that your brand produces should be to make it engaging. How you measure the success of this engagement is up to you – be that views, time on site, likes, shares, reach… the decision on which metrics to use are yours, just ensure that the way in which you measure those metrics is consistent and achievable.