Social media is a hungry beast. The social networks require constant feeding. They need to be thrown a diet of content that keeps readers and viewers coming back for more.
This is one of the biggest challenges if you want to do social at scale.
Finding ideas for content then leads to the resource intensive process of creating, publishing and promoting that content. Solving this problem is an integral part of your social media marketing strategy.
The Content Foundation
There are four main types of content that you should be considering creating:
1. Educational content
2. Informative content
3. Entertaining content
4. Inspiring content
Content is Multi-Media
Content on a social web also needs to be multi-media rich, including media such as:
The rise of Pinterest and Instagram has fed the desire and demand for beautiful imagery and high definition photos. No longer are people happy with a wall of text that says “boring”!
The problem that most companies and bloggers have is finding the inspiration to come up with the different types of content and information that keeps the blog fresh, the Twitter stream pumping and the Facebook page flowing. Ignore this, and the crowds slowly disappear and the tribe loses interest.
Here are some ideas to create content
1. Create lists
I can hear some of you yawning. The reality is that in a time poor world, giving people a list of things to do, or for example a headline like ’10 marketing and advertising trends to focus on in 2013′ are the types of articles that people click on. Packaging and putting in list/point form tells your reader you aren’t wasting their time, and it is easy to read and view.
Creating this type of content still works, and works well.
2. Go negative
It is sad but true but most people prefer to hear bad news or know about things that they shouldn’t be doing or avoiding. Take the negative angle to a story or learning, and be surprised by the traffic.
The last two years has seen the rise of information that presents complex data and information with a combination of text and images. It’s called “Infographics”
Infographics are a media that has a propensity to get shared on Pinterest and passed around on Twitter.
4. Curate content
Take a topic and find some of the best articles on it when you do a Google search. Package it up and serve it to your readers. You have saved them time and effort by putting all that information in one place.
5. Provide “How To’s”
It never ceases to surprise me the appetite for simple instructions that take people by the hand and shows them where to start and the steps along the way. Provide a “how to” framework that makes it easy to read, understand and implement.
People want to know what is happening, whether it is in their industry, city, or the world. Help them find it easily and quickly. Create, publish and promote this content fast. It has a nasty habit of becoming outdated and irrelevant very quickly!
Provide research backed facts wrapped up in a well structured article, whether it is a singular or multiple source and they are printed off (or emailed) and put in front of the managers and CEO’s eyeballs. If the university research says it is true… it is!
Many people want proof before they make that first step of action.
8. Case studies
Research is great, but real world case studies are the real proof that it works. Provide a multiple list of case studies, and it will be lapped up and shared by your advocates on the social web.
9. Evergreen content
The web demands fresh news and content every minute of every day. In this frenzy of informing it is often forgotten to tap into the power of content that is just as relevant in 2 years time as it is today. It is content that can be continued to be promoted and shared with your readers for a long time. Create content that is a framework or covers first principles and you will give it longevity and endurance.
Create content that takes screenshots or uses images to convey an idea, concept or story. It provides emotional impact and they get shared on Facebook more than any other content type. A tool that helps me do this is Snagit and it is now an indispensable part of my content creation and optimising toolkit.
Images can take your content from average to awesome!
When creating content, you can share your story and ideas many ways, but as online video now streams easily on the high speed internet it needs to be included in your content marketing mix. It can be a direct to camera video, a video capturing your screen (such as the Camtasia software), sourcing videos from YouTube or even creating your own with Viddy or Twitter’s Vine that enhance your story.
Slideshare is the YouTube for Powerpoint presentations. It is often underestimated as a means of making your content accessible and attractive. It is also a very visual platform that displays ideas and concepts quickly and easily. You can take your articles, research papers and blog posts and put them into a Powerpoint that can then be uploaded to Slideshare.
In the last year I have used it more extensively and views of my Slideshare account are now averaging from 25,000 to 35,000 views a month and total views are now over 330,000.
It is a format for your content that should be seriously considered.
13. Top 10 lists
People love to know who or what is on top in almost any category or sector that you care to name. Create content that displays this and watch the traffic spike.
Example: 10 top Pinterest boards
14. Tool or application reviews
Everyone is looking for better ways, tools and apps that make life easier in what is sometimes seen as a complicated web world. Make it easy for your readers to find and download the software.
15. Solving problems
Provide step by step instructions about the major issues that plague your industry. This content adds enormous value to your readers and great content creation is always about adding value.
16. Statistics and facts
Content that outlines the latest statistics and facts are always an option that produces clicks and shares. People are intrigued by the bigger and better, and articles about this are always a hit.
Put a quote on Twitter or Facebook and watch the “likes” leap. Nothing like an inspiring quote to put a gleam in someone’s eye to start their day.
Example: Stephen King on what is required to be a good writer “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”
Podcasting was big a few years ago but it is making a resurgence. Technology is making it easier than ever before to create a podcast. Not only produce content that is a podcast but take your old articles and turn them into podacsts. Same content, different medium. This media can be downloaded and listened to as people drive, commute or sit on a park bench.
Example: Marketing is dead
Turning content into an eBook is a great way to make your content spread. Use them to build your email lists by acquiring a name and email for the privilege of accessing an eBook that offers valuable information.
Example: In my ebook on Amazon “Blogging the Smart Way” a lot of the chapters used blog articles as the foundation for the content.
Transcription services are now low cost and easy to do. This takes your podcast or video and turns it into a document.
What about you?
What ideas have worked for you in the past. Have you tried podcasting? How is the visual web treating your content, sharing and liking? Are there some you would like to try?
Look forward to hearing your stories in the comments below.
Want to learn more about how to create compelling content that your audience wants to read, view and share?
My book - ”Blogging the Smart Way – How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” - will show you how.
This article was originally published on jeffbullas.com
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