Now that you have created your keyword list and come up with some amazing blog post topics, it’s time to start shaping that content. First, consider your target audience. Whose problem does your product solve? What works for a group of high school kids might not be helpful to a group of business professionals. Create 3-4 audience ‘buckets’ to target.
The Udemy blog, for example, focuses on social media, design, programming, and startups. Most of our audience is likely to read articles about at least two of these topics. Going back to our small business accounting example from the keyword post, we know that their demographic includes small business owners, startups, and bookkeepers. Always keep your demographic in mind when shaping your content and titles.
Create Pillar and Viral Content
Your content should be 80% pillar posts and 20% viral posts. Pillar content is tutorial, how-to content that teaches your audience how to solve a problem. It keeps people coming back to learn more.
Viral content is more ‘bubble gum’ content that’s sticky and shareable. It might not be directly related to your core focus but has elements of facts and humor.
Flowtown, for example, a social/gift marketing company published an infographic called ‘The Evolution of the Geek’. It had no direct relation to their service but got people asking what Flowtown did and had an astonishing 24,000 Facebook likes. It was a perfect viral post. But note, again, that most of your content needs to be directly related to your focus.
During the process of creating your content, think ahead of all the people that may be interested in collaborating on the piece. If you’re creating an infographic on small business accounting, think of the big players in the industry that could compliment your promotion.
For example, if you have a well-known startup as a customer of your small business accounting software, reach out to the founder and ask if they would be interested in sharing the promotion of the piece. In return, you could include their logo or mention them in the infographic. The purpose of collaboration is to expand the post’s reach. The more people you have involved and sharing, the more likely it will go ‘viral’.
Prime the Pump
Get your team to share the content from your blog before you send it to media outlets. Having more tweets and likes will give the content social proof and make readers more likely to share it. If a large publication interested in working with you sees that a few people have already started sharing the content, they will most likely share it as well.
Seed the Content
There are many ways in which to seed your content. You can offer an exclusive with a larger publisher for the first 24 hours. Then, open it up to anyone to re-post. Share it with your friends via email and ask them to share it also. You could even post a link in a relevant Quora thread or in a comment on a related blog.
The most important thing is to create a repeatable seeding model. You can do this by:
1. Creating a shared Google doc with your entire team so they know the process for sharing the content.
2. Emailing the entire team to start sharing the content immediately, directly from the post.
3. Reaching out to your influential blogger list a few days before the post goes live to ask if they’d be willing to re-post or share it. Giving them exclusivity may make them more likely to help.
4. Using Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Digg. You can start by submitting your posts to these sites, but be weary, if the same five people are consistently submitting all the content, it can severely affect its chance of virality. In this case, make a list of all the possible people who could share your content including your team, vendors, and friends. Then have them take turns submitting your posts.
Tweet much? Start using your keywords as hashtags in your tweets. For example, #SmallBizAccounting. Start by searching current active hashtags to see what others are using and either use those as well (to participate in the current conversation) or create your own. Whichever you decide to do, be consistent and only switch up between a few different ones.
Use Amazing Images
There is nothing more eye-catching than a really great image. Make sure that the photos you use are fairly large and relevant to the content. Co.Design, Fast Company’s design blog, does a great job of this:
As does SocialFresh:
The above examples also show the importance of big headings. After your image, the heading is the next thing readers will see. Sure, the photo may get their attention, but the heading is what makes them stay as they’ll know what kind of content to expect.
Keep your headings short and concise. Headings that work best include:
2. Numbered lists [7 Ways To Increase Your Twitter Followers]
3. Social proof headings [Social Media: Will It Change Your Business?]
4. Threat plus a solution [PR Nightmare: Tactics to Quickly Fix A Disaster]
Creating great, shareable content is time consuming but well worth it. It’s better to post fewer really great articles than to post many ok posts. You want to be respected as a knowledge leader in your industry, and the only way of getting there through content marketing is to have the best content possible. If you are not a writer and don’t have any on your team, consider outsourcing this to a professional and working with contributors known to create great work.