Like a first car, you want to get the most mileage out of the content you’re creating.
No matter what the goal of your strategy, if you want people to sit down to read and interact with your content, think about how you can incentivize them to do so. Why should they choose your content over the hundreds of others vying for their attention across the Internet?
We saw some big changes this past year in the way people use the Internet, with continued increase in social media use, and people engaging with content in a variety of new ways. Stellar blog posts are a good start, but it’s time to start thinking about how you can offer your readership some real value.
Use Social Media More Intelligently
You could write an entire blog post about using social media more intelligently, but what do you need to be thinking about right now?
While most big brands have a social media presence at this point, the big mistake that I see made across these channels is they exist solely to publish links to new posts, or even worse – shop listings.
It’s become something of a tired cliché to say “Social media is a conversation, not a campaign,” but no matter how many times people say it, it’s still ignored as corporate Twitter accounts shout their messages at followers.
In hindsight, building our offices over the foreboding subterranean lair of the Mole People was probably a mistake.
— Betfair Poker (@Betfairpoker) January 4, 2013
Dave Allain is a marketer in Berlin. He was doing some freelance work for Betfair Poker when he offered to take a look at the Twitter account as a way to drive traffic to the work he was doing on the main site. “My style of tweeting was not working,” Dave said of his earlier attempts. “I marvelled at the creativity of some of the people I followed and came up with the idea of a fictional character who tweeted anything but poker in the hope of increasing the follower count and gaining some awareness of the brand.”
The plan worked, and Betfair Poker went from a relatively unknown on Twitter to 24,329 followers (as of January 2013). But more importantly, according to Allain, many members of the broader poker community and media follow and retweet material Betfair publishes. This is not only great for branding, but also has knock-on effects for Betfair Poker — one example being more prominent display on affiliate sites. The account has had a positive impact on the Betfair sports betting brand as well.
Betfair managed to find a unique slant for their social media marketing that fits their audience’s interests and drives viewers to their content. What we can really take away from this, is that Allain identified what wasn’t working, and wasn’t afraid to try something new. Content marketing isn’t an exact science — don’t be afraid to try something novel if you’re not getting the engagement you want.
Think about how you can use social media to add more context to your blog posts:
- Share some of your additional thoughts on a post you’ve recently published.
- Link to content from an outside source that adds something to a recent post.
- Repost a few gems from your archive.
Try using social media to build interest in the content you’re delivering while showing your followers a flash of personality.
Target your social media presence well; it’s better to have no Facebook page at all than to have one filled with poor content and a muddled identity. Don’t be afraid to pare down your social accounts if they’re not used.
Recycle Evergreen Content
If you’re lucky enough to have some well performing evergreen content on your blog (which hopefully you do as part of your content strategy), why not repurpose and recycle it for your readers?
Kevin Gibbons wrote a great post on identifying your best performing content. From there, creating something special with strong content is easy, as long as you play to the content’s strengths:
- Data-intensive posts could make great infographics.
- A solid case study could be republished as an e-book or white paper with extra information.
- If you’re feeling brave, you could pitch a popular blog post as a presentation or podcast.
For example, YouTube repurposed data collected on user interactions with videos to make attractive content like this infographic produced for their end-of-year review. Visual Economics regularly pairs up research with infographics to make the sometimes dry topic of economics more palatable. If you’ve done it right, you’ve delivered two great pieces of content for one idea, which is a win-win situation for you and your audience.
When it comes to delivering this “bonus” content, use it to work towards a goal:
- Encourage subscriptions by offering exclusive content only to subscribers.
- Promote liberally on social media with the aim of boosting brand awareness.
- Tap a whole new niche with retargeted content.
- Attach the content to your brand’s new e-book so people want to download and share it, furthering the reach of your content.
Encourage Your Community
A great community that engages with your blog posts is one of the more valuable assets a brand can have. But you’ll need to give your readers value before asking them to interact with your posts via comments or shares.
While you could have many reasons for wanting to harness and engage your community, I’ll assume here that it’s solely to build a strong following around the brand. To do so, you’ll want your followers to share your stuff, enter your contests, and link organically to your content. For many digital marketing agencies, this is usually a good indicator you’re doing something right, rather than the artificial vanity metrics like followers and “likes.”
Encourage reader buy-in by turning the last sentence of your post into a textual call to action, where instead of selling to them, you ask for their opinions or feedback around the topic covered. You want to get your readers to add their own voices to the mix. Once you’ve got this conversation going, keep talking by responding to comments and sharing thought-provoking comments via social media.
Finally, in this emerging community, keep an eye out for your key influencers and embrace them. Don’t be afraid to offer them something valuable in return for their help. Using a select few key influencers brought big success for the PR team behind the wizarding world of Harry Potter.
The firm decided to make their initial outreach to online Harry Potter communities rather than traditional media. They invited the owners of the ten biggest Harry Potter fan-sites to a live webcast where they announced the new park. Because they had targeted the enthusiasts directly and offered them exclusive, valuable insider information, they received attention from both their target audience and the mainstream press, with more than 1000 articles appearing internationally within 24 hours of the announcement.
Ford had similar success with their Fiesta Movement, putting the new cars in the hands of 100 people and letting them promote the car for them via blogging and Twitter. Mashable reported that after a six-month period, the campaign had achieved more than 3 million Twitter impression and they had 50,000 interested customers, 97% of whom didn’t own a Ford at that time.
Leveraging support from the more vocal members of your community could be a great way to make waves while also showing your community that you care.
What Are You Waiting For?
No matter what you’re hoping to achieve, make this the year you bring a unified content front to the table, and bring your blog to life.
What are your tips and tricks to get people passionate about your blog?