There’s the downright intense lead like Man Tries to Cut Off His Arms at California Home Depot. Then, on the flipside, we have Mom Captures ‘Theo’ the Puppy, ‘Beau’ the Baby Napping story. Both instantly drive the viewer to act and click through courtesy of the emotive use of language. For morbid fascination or for the cute factor, it doesn’t matter which way you look at it, your headlines are king and are the first point of contact. Couple this with striking imagery of, say, an oozing-with-cheese and dripping-with-bacon super burger and crunchy fries and the user is hooked. This is connecting with content.
Be brave and daring, but be smart and use puns and intelligence. Meanwhile shock and awe tactics need to be carefully thought out, otherwise the user will turn on you and the content. Take a look at almost every news service that broadcast the distressing imagery of TV presenter and hunter Melissa Bachman posing with a male lion that she shot and killed in South Africa all in the name of ‘hunting’. There has been widespread condemnation of the over-use and over-share of this image, but it is highly newsworthy and trending on social media like wildfire. In situations like this, however, you have to get in quick to capitalise on the report.
The point is, be one of the first two or three to break the story or forget it, as content is consumed at a rate of knots and spreads like the proverbial. Putting up a post or reworking an angle days later, particularly of this nature, is too late. The ship has sailed and your intention to drive traffic will actually have the reverse effect. People get sick of the same thing rather quickly when they see it bombard their newsfeed for days on end.
According to data from the 2013 B2B Content Marketing Report, B2B marketers are spending 33 percent of their marketing budgets on content marketing. The same time last year (November 2012) it was 26 percent, so the upswing is considerable. SEO (search engine optimisation) content marketing programs and analysis feature highly when communicating and tracking content. From visible social media metrics on tweets and ‘likes’ to trends and targeting keywords, it is imperative that your business be across everything – from how the content is communicated, via daily e-news or targeted eDMs, for example – but it is equally important that you continually err on the quality over quantity side for best results.
All this means is having a strategy and executing it. Read the play and stats on what is getting the hits and cater accordingly, rather than entering the realms of ‘blah’ and forging a path into the unknown. Online polls are a smart way into your target market’s heart, but make them relevant. A post or survey about ‘what’s your favourite beer?’ or ‘who serves the best burger in Australia?’ strikes well, especially if it’s a hot day for the first, and around 11:30am for the latter. Punters can’t help but immediately post back or engage with the content when they are drawn in on a psychological level. Timing is everything.
Consumers are connecting with content everywhere. Online, smartphones, through print, social media… you name it. So push out original content to all spheres. A good story should never die. Content, now more than ever, needs a multidisciplinary approach. Be engaging and ask questions of your audience on Facebook and Twitter, as these have the reputation for social reciprocity. Social is a juggernaut with recent stats showing that Facebook has exceeded 750 million users, LinkedIn has gone public, and Twitter is generating one billion tweets a week. Google’s own social network, Google+, attracted 10 million users barely a month in. Use all these avenues when connecting with content. Don’t be shy.
Content curation has also been huge of late, in terms of pooling together trending stories and repurposing, but the key is always mixing original content with curated content to have the most success when it comes to SEO. TV shows are another medium that can help you connect with the viewer – this time at home by running competitions and having consumers ‘vote on their phones’, chiefly on reality programs.
Forums on Twitter and online, and a healthy engagement with bloggers also build a community voice and keep the conversation alive, and that’s what it’s all about… keeping the conversation alive.