Monday, 18 April 2016

6 Essential Ingredients to Content Creation

No matter the industry or size of the business, all content teams work with one primary goal in mind: creating quality content that inspires their followers to engage with it and share it with others. This could be anything from a relevant article to an ultimate guide on the world’s best grilled cheeses. The overall goal for any piece of content is ideally that it's easily found in search engines and promotes actions such as sharing, retweeting, and so on. But how is there a guarantee that a piece of content will do well in a day and age where anything and everything is available at our fingertips?
What makes content stand out from the clutter on the web today? One of my favorite Huffington Post articles, 6 Essential Ingredients to Compelling Online Content, illustrates their six steps to creating compelling, shareable content. I’m going detail each of these ingredients, and how they apply to how we create content here at Likeable.

  1. Know your audience and create buyer personas.
Something at Likeable we have taken an interest in is exploring the needs and desires of our customers and understanding them on a deeper level in order to produce better content. Many businesses utilize a system of ‘personas’ under which to categorize their customers in order to better meet their needs. These personas help identify the needs of each customer which the content team can then address. When creating content for each customer tag, everything down to the font choice on a content image matters when trying to best match the ‘feel’ of that business. Understanding customers on a deeper level and delivering premium content by employing archetypes, or ‘personas’, is what allows us to create content that we feel our customers will connect with.

  1. Make sure your content is useful and interesting
In a world where trends come and go overnight and anyone can look up anything at any time, the trick is finding content that will hopefully be new and insightful for the intended audience. The Huffington piece uses an acronym called WIIFM, or, ‘What’s In It For Me?’. Again, content should be useful and new for customers, or should at least offer a different perspective on the topic. If there’s anything we want our customers to take away from posting our content, it’s the sense that what they’re posting will establish their thought leadership, and build a sense of engagement and trust between them and their own customers. Guides, tips, lists, quizzes, and so on, can all be great resources because they benefit the customer and their audience with potentially new information and encourage them to seek out more content from us.

  1. Make sure your content is visually appealing
While the Huffington article talks about the visual aesthetic of the paragraphs themselves (subheads, length, etc.), graphic content is equally as important. We offer tags to which our customers can subscribe, such as ‘Coffee’ or ‘Top Picks’, and what often draws them to a certain piece of content is an image that has been custom designed by the creative team. We employ vector graphics, high-quality photographs, and appealing text overlays to give the customer a sense of what this piece of content is about before they click the link. Without using these visuals as part of our content strategy, the posts instantly become much drier and customers may feel less inclined to share our content.

  1. Include a call-to-action (CTA)
A ‘call-to-action’ is defined as: an instruction to the audience to provoke an immediate response by using imperative verbs such as ‘call now’ or ‘find out more’. We have two ways that we like to approach using CTA's. One way is to employ a traditional CTA that beckons the audience to click and learn more, such as the examples above. Another way we like to entice our customers to explore our content are clever quips, questions, or conversation starters. An inspiring piece of content that asks ‘What is the magic in your life?’ or a top 10 list on how to build better relationships with the caption ‘Improve your people skills’ are different ways to engage your followers with CTA's. Change up the pace by using playful, encouraging CTA's that will stand out from the crowd of call's to action devoid of personality. 

  1. Make sure your content is sharable and search-friendly
One of our core values at Likeable is ‘We are driven to create a #likeable world’. Emphasis on the hashtag. Something that our custom content creation promotes is the use of hashtags when scheduling a post. When a customer goes to make a post, they are given the option to alter the provided copy as well as add their own. Additionally, they can add hashtags which can promote a greater amount of traffic on a given piece of content. Our platform also offers the option to connect your Hub account with an assortment of popular social media sites. Enabling our customers to post to as many relevant platforms is what generates the greatest amount of exposure possible.

  1. Analyze your effectiveness
One of the more helpful features of the Likeable Hub is the ability for customers to measure how well their posts are doing in the analytics section of the site, as well as in our weekly update emails that are sent out. Not only is this helpful for customers to keep track of how well their posts are doing, but it also helps us internally to know which pieces of content are doing well, and which ones need to be retired. By analyzing which posts do well, we can create more of the same great content and constantly improve what we’re providing for our audience. Analytics allow us to keep up with all the most relevant content trends and enable us to continue to provide the best possible content we can offer.

Maximizing the traction your content gets can seem daunting at times, but these six ingredients for success are a great and helpful place to start! They’ve definitely made a big difference for us.
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