Tag Archives: Social Content

Headlines that went viral and what you can learn from them

Buzzfeed example of a headline going viral

Here is a quick link to a blog post from Jeff Bullas that lists the headlines that went viral and how you can implement some of the techniques in your own content marketing. Here is the gist of the formula:

  • Create a solid mechanism that enables people to share your content on social networking websites. Remember that it isn’t always about your headline or the content it contains. It is also about the sort of people who share your content on their timelines. The sort of people sharing your content can have a big impact on your headlines going viral.
  • The blog post states that David Ogilvy once wrote down 100 headlines for one advertisement. The editorial team at Upworthy creates 25 headlines for every piece of content they publish. Create multiple headlines for your blog posts and articles and then choose the most appealing one.
  • There is nothing wrong in creating long headlines contrary to what is normally advocated by social media marketing experts. Even longer headlines can go viral as long as they are making the right impact.
  • Try to create a sense of curiosity in your headline.
  • Pak a bunch of emotion

5 ways to make your content social media friendly

What exactly do we mean by “social media friendly” content? There was a time when people knew of Internet by email. Many people thought that if you were checking email, you were “Interneting”. Yes, they were familiar with the concept of websites, but it was mostly email. The same happens with social media these days. It is so prevalent that many people, people who haven’t used the Internet much before, think that it’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube that are Internet rather than millions of websites. This means that social media and social networking websites have grown into a totally separate entity and for the purpose of content marketing ignoring these websites is like ignoring the telephone or the email while trying to do business in the contemporary world.

Just as you need good search engine rankings to promote your content, you also need to optimize your content for social media and this is what you mean by making your content “social media friendly”. Your content is social media friendly when

  • People feel like sharing it on their timelines (Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn)
  • They don’t need to modify your headlines and descriptions in order to share your links
  • Sharing your content is just a matter of a couple of clicks

For a very long time I have been thinking of dabbling with infographics. I recently tried to work with a neighbourhood graphic designer but although she is good at using image manipulation tools like Photoshop and Illustrator, she was terribly lacking on the creative side. We were working on a project and I had to tell her practically everything. The only blessing was that whatever I told her she was able to accomplish it.

Anyway, this is the infographic that I have created titled 5 ways to make your content social media friendly. It isn’t much but it’s definitely a beginning.

5 ways to make your content social media friendly

The five ways are:

  1. Create compelling headlines: Your headlines are, as far as optimizing your content for social media goes, are the most important aspects of your content. Compelling in this context means they should invoke strong feelings, so strong that people should be driven to share your content on their timelines.
  2. Publish irresistible content: In my daughter’s social sciences book there is a headline that goes something like this, “one man’s garbage is another’s treasure”. It is about the garbage collectors who make money off the garbage we through away so thoughtlessly. So what is irresistible and what is not depends on individual need, but catering to your niche, create content that is highly useful and valuable. It should solve some purpose and this is why people will share your content. When sharing your content people must feel that they are doing a service to their friends and followers.
  3. Use social buttons: It’s easier to share content when you just have to click a button. I like the way you can share certain portions of blog posts and articles published on Medium. The relevant, share-worthy portions have a Twitter icon nearby. You just need to click the icon to broadcast that particular sentence.
  4. Use social optimization tags:
    These tags normally reside in the header area of your web page. In a typical web page there are already title, description and keywords tags. You can also have dedicated tags for Facebook and Twitter to instruct various social media and social networking channels to automatically pick up customised headings and descriptions rather than using the default ones. If you are using WordPress to manage your website or blog, you can easily get plug-ins to achieve this.
  5. Choose publishing time carefully: You will need some time to figure out during what time of the day your target audience is most active on social media and social networking websites. Publish your content when there is greatest chance of it being noticed and shared.

What is viral content and how to use it to get more traffic to your website

Content going viral

You must have come across the phrase “this has gone viral” especially when it comes to some amusing video or an image or even a meme (remember Kim Kardashian’s break the Internet?”). When your content goes viral, it means it is being shared on the Internet in general and social media and social networking websites in particular like crazy. Millions of people may share it on their blogs, on Facebook, on Twitter and personal websites.

There are two ways you can use viral content for content marketing and consequently, get more traffic to your website:

  1. Create viral content yourself
  2. Create content that is somehow associated with the content currently going viral

There is no exact science that explains what sort of content goes viral although there are some fundamental ingredients that may go something like this:

  1. Your content is outrageously funny or outrageously, well, something
  2. Your content is some breaking news that can change people’s perception or can give them a totally different point of view
  3. Your content is something that gives a new twist to an existing piece of information
  4. It captures attention immediately
  5. It encourages people to create their own content based on what you have created
  6. It should have global relevance

How can you make your content go viral in order to generate traffic to your website?

Remember there used to be Digg? The website is still there, it is not as popular as used to be to make content viral. Every start-up would dream of appearing on the first page of Digg. Once you had reached there, you could rest assured that your content would go viral and even if it didn’t go viral, the massive traffic would stall your servers.

There were many ways you could get Diggs for your link, but the best way was to be friends the so-called Digg power users. They were a part of an inner circle that could push any piece of content to the front page. In fact, this also proved to be the undoing of the website. All sort of shitty content was being pushed (because a small group controlled which content would reach there) and eventually they had to back up. Anyway, this is how content used to go viral back in those days.

Listed below are a few ways you can make your content go viral:

  • Keep creating content: Since there is no exact science to know exactly which piece of your content can go viral (even if you apply the above-mentioned fundamentals) keep producing as much interesting content as you can. If you don’t have much content, there is no chance of your content going viral although in rarest of the rare cases, the first-most blog post or an article written and published can go viral but then again, it’s a once in a million chance. Most of the websites and blogs whose content goes viral have been publishing for many years on an ongoing basis.
  • Properly know your target audience: I’m not sure when Kim Kardashian posted her epic butt-thrusting photograph she knew it would go viral or not – maybe she knew because if you know that millions of people are following you, even if a very small percentage reacts, it can set off a chain reaction. But one thing is clear, she knew that her fans would love the photograph and they would share it. What turn it took (according to the Mashable link given above), maybe even she hadn’t expected that. What matters though is, it went viral and as many claim, it actually broke some servers. So knowing your audience helps.
  • Be spontaneous and don’t invariably worry about your content going viral: Again, since there is no exact science to predict whether a particular piece of content will go viral or not, you cannot specifically create content for this purpose. Just keep following the fundamentals because they should anyway be followed for writing, creating and publishing valuable content, use the appropriate channels to promote your content and then move on to your next piece of content. Something triggers the viral effect. It is unknown exactly what triggers it.
  • Keep in mind that visual content has more chance of going viral compared to textual content: This is not some rule that is written in stone, but visual content always has a greater chance of going viral.
  • Network with influencers: Influencers, merely because they are influencers, wield more influence compared to people who are even more talented than them. This is a hard reality of the world. Even if you are a PhD in philosophy, if Kim Kardashian, even with her Internet-breaking butt thrust forward in full glory, says something philosophical, it will get more attention and more responses compared to you. So it would make sense if you somehow convince Kim to promote your content rather than you promoting it yourself.

Creating content that is associated with the content that has gone viral

This may seem like piggybacking, but sometimes, some content that is associated with a viral content also can generate massive traffic. I remember once I wrote a blog post about a herd of buffaloes rescuing a calf from crocodiles as well as a group of lions. A few years ago that video had gone viral. I just blogged about it, wrote a couple of paragraphs and then embedded the video from YouTube. I still don’t know how it happened, but in a couple of days, I received 25,000 visitors to that particular blog post. It was my literary blog and aside from making me some AdSense money (around $15 every day for almost a week) it didn’t give me any business benefit but the blog post still remains one of the most popular posts on that blog.

How viral content can generate more traffic for your business

Remember that if your content goes viral and nobody knows who originally the content came from, it is going to go waste. There has to be some association. If it is one of your images that is going viral, somehow people should be able to know that you are the originator of that image. Maybe there is a prominent photograph of yours or your business product or service. Maybe there is some branding message that makes it easier for people to know that it is from you. Maybe it is your company name that appears with a photograph. If it is a blog post, then it should have links back to your website or blog, If it is a video, there must be some information or some tag that lets people know that you are the one who has created it.

How to draw maximum benefit out of social media content marketing

Social media content marketing maximum benefit

A content marketing strategy without taking social media into consideration cannot hope to achieve much these days because pretty much everybody uses social media and social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and LinkedIn. If you are into consumer goods or something like fashion accessories, your best bet would be Facebook. If you want to immediately provide support to your customer and client base, Twitter can work wonders to your content marketing strategy. If you want to reach out to the B2B market then there is nothing like LinkedIn. So what I’m trying to say is, for every sort of content marketing need, there is a platform available to you.

This Social Media Examiner blog post lists some ways you can increase your influence by strategically posting content on social media websites according to their core users. There are some basic traits that are common to all social networking and social media websites because basically, as the name suggests, they are “social”.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while posting content on social media websites:

  1. Post content for readers, not buyers: When you try to target buyers, your entire tone changes. People on social media and social networking websites don’t want to be bothered by marketers and businesses. They are there to interact with the existing friends and make new friends. They are there to share all the cool things they are doing. If they want to buy a mobile phone, they would like to buy it on their own and then be cool about it, also, on their own.

    Let us use my example. I provide content writing and content marketing services. If I want to target people on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, I won’t constantly badger them with my marketing messages. They will be put off and soon they will start unfollowing me. My best bet would be to raise awareness about publishing high quality content on websites and blogs and what is the benefit of marketing such content. Obviously if they are interested in this topic they will follow me and they won’t mind hearing about this topic again and again. This way, whenever they need a content writer, they will know whom to approach.

  2. Stick to your niche to stand out: If I’m continuously publishing helpful content about content writing and content marketing than people obviously know what I do and what is my expertise. If I go on posting everything under the sun, they won’t be able to make out exactly what I do. This goes for any profession. If you are marriage photographer and if you want people to know that you are available for the same service, you should post lots of content on such photography rather than simply posting cute marriage photographs or cuddly animals playing with each other.
  3. Keywords also matter on social media and social networking websites: I think as long as people use textual cues to carry out searches, keywords are never going to go out of fashion. If someone searches for “business content writer” on LinkedIn or Facebook, they should be able to find someone like me rather than a morning breakfast supplier. Unless these specific expressions exist in the content that I post, how are people going to find me?

    Keywords also make an unconscious impact. When you come across my content and repeatedly read about content writing and content marketing, unconsciously these keywords are continuously stored in your brain and this will ultimately have an impact on your decision when you are looking for a content writer for your website or blog.

  4. On social media and social networking websites it’s important to know what your audience wants: And then post content accordingly. It doesn’t mean if my audience is more interested in morning breakfast suppliers or marriage photographers then I should start posting content on these topics – it means I’m attracting wrong sort of audience and which further means, I’m doing something wrong with the sort of content I’m already posting. This should be changed immediately. I should post content for an audience that is interested in knowing more about content writing and content marketing and more importantly, an audience among which someday I hope to come across my clients.
  5. Use data to add value:
    People love to know facts. They will love to know that 62% B2B marketers prefer to use content marketing rather than knowing that “more and more people are using content marketing”.
  6. Regularly engage with your audience: Content on social media and social networking websites should never be one way because then it defeats the entire purpose. Encourage people to respond. You cannot always do that, but occasionally, ask interesting questions from your audience. This will also tell you whether they are actually paying attention to what you are posting or not. Engaging your audience will make it easier for them to remember you for what you do.

What to take care of while posting content on Facebook and Twitter

Social networking content marketing

As a business marketer do you take special care when posting content on social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn? In my case I’m not very particular about Twitter because there I exchange all sorts of views including content writing and content marketing, politics, religion, literature, philosophy, and pretty much everything I find amusing, interesting and worth sharing. If you want to follow me on Twitter for a particular reason, I’m afraid you’re not going to get it. These days I am mostly followed by either those who somehow discover that I post lots of stuff on content marketing and content writing, or the Indian right-wingers because of my political leanings.

On Facebook, on my personal profile I rarely post content marketing-related content. It’s mostly personal, political, social or religious and yes, literary.

On LinkedIn it’s strictly business. I use my LinkedIn profile to promote my blog posts, articles and other content writing and content marketing related webpages. I’m happy that, due to this, I have got some nice assignments from my LinkedIn connections.

Google+ is a mix of business as well as business-related interesting stuff. I don’t share my political opinions on Google+.

On Twitter I have a separate profile to handle my business content, though. Even on Facebook I have created a dedicated page to promote my content writing and content marketing services. But unlike my blog, I’m not very regular with my business profiles on Facebook and Twitter, although, I must dedicate some time to it.

Jeff Bullas in his recent blog post rightly says that not all social media networks are equal. He says:

Social media is a great way to attract that attention. But that doesn’t mean you can just throw your link out there and people will come flocking. If you want your content to succeed on the major social media networks, you must consider who you are sharing it with. Then, you can write the perfect copy and produce the best content and optimize it for each social network to lure them in.

He also explains, comprehensively, what sort of content is appropriate for which social network and which sort of content elicits the most vibrant response.

How do I write content for my clients for their social media and social networking platforms?

Yes, I do take up assignments for writing content for my clients for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and even Tumblr. How do I decide what to write?

Just as Jeff has explained, I choose different content for different social networking profiles. I also carry out a study of their connection profiles. For LinkedIn you can be sure that only professionals are going to exchange information but a platform like Facebook can be capricious. You can find professionals as well as colleagues and relatives. For instance, in the fag end of the previous year I got a very plum assignment from one of my Facebook friends. Even before that I got 3-4 good project from Facebook. So it also depends on what sort of people you follow and what sort of people follow you.

Fortunately, all the clients who have approached me are not as casual about their social networking platforms as I am with my Twitter profile. They normally post very focused content and this is what they want when they hire me. I carefully go through the content they have posted so far, and the content their followers and friends have shared, the nature of the content that elicits greater response (Likes, Shares, Plusses, Retweets and Favorites) and the frequency with which their users and friends use the platforms. Accordingly I formulate their social media content strategy.

Whereas I have got work from Facebook and LinkedIn, surprisingly, Twitter, where I am the most active, I have never gotten work from.