How I Develop Shareworthy Content
Updated: Nov 24, 2020
The power of the pen, well, in this case, the power of the cursor rules, and the saying still reigns true that “content is king.” Roles in content strategy, content creation, user experience (UX) writing are on the rise because businesses see value in brand storytelling (marketing), selling a personalized experience (customer experience), building meaningful relationships with their customers (customer experience and marketing), and creating a clear conversation between the user and the digital product or service (user experience).
Transferable Journalism Skills
For this blog post, I want to focus on my marketing wheelhouse and discuss the steps I take to curate shareworthy content. I’ve worked in various capacities of marketing communications for more than 10 years, and my roles were anchored in my ability to produce quality content and formulate successful shareworthy strategies. Leveraging my educational background in journalism, I saw opportunities to use transferable skills like researching, interviewing, lead (the hook sentence) and headline creation, story development (the angle), editing, and copy creation as the ingredients to build good content. As my career in marketing evolved with technology advancements, I became more knowledgeable and savvy on creating shareable content and how to get the right content, to the right audience, on the right channel, and at the right time.
My Secret Sauce Recipe for Shareworthy Content
I’ve managed to summarize my content creation process into six steps, and I hope you find this information helpful when you think about your next content project.
Inspiration: The core of my inspiration comes from the audience that will benefit from the information. The inspiration phase is all about ideation, and that can come from anywhere. Becoming an objective content producer is less about what you want to write but more about why you feel this particular content piece would be beneficial, timely, and relevant to your readers. Additionally, it is good to assess what the business objective is for this content piece. Are you writing to inform your customers about a new product? Are you writing to promote a new event to encourage new registrations? It’s imperative to establish your why or your purpose in wanting to create this content. Establishing intentionality behind your content is helpful for your customers to build trust with what you are trying to convey to them. Ultimately, this type of trust can translate to a higher return of investment in your company building meaningful relationships with its customer base.
Research: Research is probably one of my favorite phrases of the writing process because I enjoy finding the facts and sources that will make the content credible and shareworthy. Good research tells the story of your strategic abilities, and it takes time to curate a process that will yield quality results. To have good research, it requires additional legwork to validate the information that is going to be used to shape your content. Investigative research includes a mix of understanding of the latest industry trends and themes while incorporating your research findings from your audiences. It is so easy to miss the mark on not having enough supportive research to build shareable content, and you’ll know based on how your content performs when it goes live. Knowing your audience has to be at the forefront of your mind. I use both quantitative (Google Analytics, SEO keyword reports, surveys, etc.) and qualitative (interviews, the voice of the customer, focus groups, social listening, etc.) research to build content that will meet or exceed customer expectations while also meeting the business objective.
Write: Depending on the subject, writing can come naturally, or it can be arduous. The most important thing to remember when creating shareable content is to place yourself in the readers shoes. What do you want your readers’ to take away from your content? Is there a pertinent call to action that should be taken by them? Also, with most readers having the attention span of goldfish, which is 8 seconds, it’s also good to lay out your content in a way where it is digested into small bites versus a running page of content. Adding sub-headlines, bullet points, lists, etc. are great techniques to ensure your readers are getting the most out of your content and it also increases the likelihood of them sharing your content on other platforms.
Review & Revise: The iterative step of writing! It can be challenging to nail down what you are trying to say, but it is critical to give yourself some time to live in this step. Depending on your channel of choice, it’s imperative to make sure that your content is written in the best format to hit your key points while also aligning with the digital style of that particular platform. For example, if you are looking to share a blog post on Twitter, you wouldn’t post the full blog on Twitter as-is. Instead, you would decide to pull out a profound pull quote or highlight a key sentence that you could leverage as the “hook” to get people clicking on the content. Sometimes you might hit big in having a post go viral, or you might miss the mark, but keep reviewing and revising until you find a style that suits your target readership goals. Keep in mind, most people consume content in many different ways (like bold graphics, info-graphics, even emojis), but mainly, video content is winning. According to Wordstream 2017 video marketing statistics, “82% of Twitter users watch video content on Twitter, and 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week.” Video content can seem like a lot to produce, but there are a few digital tools out there that can help you create something easily on-brand.
Test: I find this step also to be a missed opportunity in most content creation processes. Most often, people feel rushed or pressured to turn around results in less than 24 hours, but that isn’t a true testament to how shareable your content is. Now and then, you may strike gold with your post going viral, but it can be challenging to keep up with the pace of life when content changes by a nanosecond on most digital platforms. If your goal is to establish a reputation for share-worthy content, then the best advice I have is to test your content on multiple channels at different times. For example, a blog post can be repackaged into a Facebook post, Twitter tweet, or Instagram post --- it just depends on where your audience is most likely to engage with your content. Additionally, scheduling your content to go live different days of the week and times could make a difference in how effective your reach is. The more you test your content, the better you can improve future content as well as make enhancements in your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.
Results: Your quantitative metrics will be the best source of information to conclude what channel worked the best. Impressions and actual shares of content are excellent behavioral data to use to calculate overall reach and engagement. Additionally, your quantitative data could also give you new insights into future content creation. Search engine optimization (SEO) keywords should be incorporated into your future content strategy. An enhanced SEO content plan increases the chances of your content being seen and ranked on top U.S. browsers like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Additionally, qualitative feedback is important, too! Digging into the comment sections of social platforms or examining community group discussions about your content is an excellent way to measure the impact of your piece.
Creating shareworthy content isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. By far, your audiences, users, customers are your source of inspiration and your biggest critiques on what you decide to produce. Building a successful strategic content plan requires good research, testing, and data to support your approach. When in doubt, stay open to the review and revise the process --- it’s the best way to ensure you are hitting your content goals with your customers while also meeting your business bottom line.