How To Write Shareable Social Content

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

A content strategy is a well-thought out plan for writing and publishing content to the web. It’s also essential to any type of social media marketing, especially if you plan to incorporate more than one site. With more and more avenues to choose from, there is the opportunity to post more content than ever before. But you can’t just post whatever and whenever you feel like it. Each piece of content should work towards achieving one or more goals.

Publishing content is faster than ever before, thanks to one-click posting on sites like Facebook and Twitter. This makes it even more important for marketers and brands to think before they speak.

Creating Branded Content Patterns

While it is not advisable to copy and paste email content into a landing page, Twitter post and Facebook update, current content should work together and support each other. This helps fans know when to check back for new posts and build excitement around updates.

Create patterns or topics for days of content and tweak slightly for each channel, without reinventing the wheel with each piece. Having set topics for each day will help you get the ideas flowing and trim down a daunting task.

For example, if you have a website and corresponding social channels about shoes, there are hundreds of topics and styles to talk about. But if you’ve designated Monday as high-heel day, you just gave yourself a place to focus.

This also helps your audience get to know you better and tune in on their favorite days. A sneaker fan might not always want to read about high-heels on Monday, but they always check in for Tuesday’s talk about running shoes.

Cross-Promoting Content

A complete content strategy spans across multiple channels and plays to each one’s own specific strengths and areas of interest. This might be a website or blog, a Facebook page, Twitter account and newsletter or email list.

One general content idea can be used across all four channels, but in different ways. The main piece of content will live on the website or blog. The email can summarize it, to varying lengths or degrees, and drive people to the full article. The Facebook status update should be a quick snippet that’s easy to share, like or comment on, and may link to the full article on the site or through a Facebook application like Notes or Social RSS. And finally, the Tweet, which is the shortest of all and should get right to the point or headline, with a link to the full article.

Driving Discussion and Engagement

The content strategy doesn’t stop there of course. On social channels, you also want to foster discussion by asking questions. (As well as answering or commenting on responses.) You also may want to repost the link to your article later in the day, with a different hook, to hit all time zones effectively. This will help your content spread and increase your visibility on the web.

Social Media is playing a larger and larger role in content creation and promotion. These platforms are quick and easy to update and are becoming an integral part of search results. My advice is to always cross-promote your content, from website or blog to email, Facebook, Twitter and any other channels you have found that work for you or your audience.

Crowdsourcing Your Content

People use social sites differently, so you may need to experiment with what type of content, phrasing or timing works best. Often, you are using Facebook or Twitter to promote external content on your site. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t give each post its own unique spin. Every sentence, no matter how short, is important. It’s all content, and it all drives back to your site and represents your brand. Put as much thought into a Tweet as you do a headline.

This extends to answering questions and engaging in discussions on these sites. Your response is content, too, and should be treated with care. And really listen to the responses and comments. This feedback can drive future posts and really help guide what kinds of content your audience wants–and what they don’t.

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