What is content worth sharing?
We all know it when we see it, but being asked to produce it seems an impossible task.
Isn't it all subjective anyway?
What makes me laugh might not strike the same chord with you, but with over 3.5 million views and almost 7,000 thumbs up, it's clear that Cheerios have done something right, with their ad above.
While there may not be a mathematical formula for creating content worth sharing, memorable pieces seem to contain at least one of these five elements.
1. Where possible, include original data
This works best for written content, like white papers, emails and blog posts.
We all love to quote statistics and if you've been able to create some from your own customer data, then that's something worth shouting about. If not, find the most credible source to illustrate your point and refer to it, always remembering to give credit to that author and a link back to the original piece.
2. Link it to already newsworthy topics
Recognize that at certain times of year, our world gets filled with love hearts, sporting fixtures, music festivals, witches, snowmen, etc and build on what your customer is already thinking about.
You can be more subtle by using locally or internationally trending topics, to help you join conversations already happening and so gain even more exposure.
3. Provide a fresh perspective, new idea or in-depth analysis
In the advert above, Cheerios could have easily told us the nutritional facts to convince us of the difference it's new cereal could make to our lives, but you have to agree that making their advert a celebration of fatherhood first and then mentioning they have a product to sell, has much more impact.
Whenever you produce a piece of content, ask “so what?” While we all crave new, none of us really wants information. Inspire, challenge, entertain or even enrage your customers and they'll reward you with attention and engagement.
4. Appeal to the eyes with charts, illustrations, video etc.
Back to our Dad above to clarify this point. His monologue coupled with the familiar family scenes helps us see ourselves and make an emotional connection with the character - hey, he's just like me, I should forward this to my wife ...
There are are host of video applications to help even the most creatively challenged, (I count myself here), produce something appealing. Donna Moritz has produced a great round up here.
5. Leave an impression
Even if you don't have the Cheerios advertising budget, the content you produce can attract people to your brand as long as it leaves them with a positive feeling.
As a marketer you need to build a connection with your audience which helps them know you understand their problem and have the solution. Content that paints a picture of how fantastic the world will be after they've made their purchase, helps endear customers to your brand and ideally leaves them wanting more.
Couple this lasting impression with a clear outline of the next steps they should take e.g. download this, register for that etc. and you'll be well on your way to making something of value to your audience. Additionally, make it as easy as possible for them to share their new find with friends and family - even if they're not on social media (is there anyone left who isn't?!).
All companies are now content publishers who happen to produce something else as well, so think like the Editor of your favourite magazine and you're half way there.
What's the best piece of content you've seen?