With Facebook’s latest declaration that memes are “not quality content”, it got me thinking… what is quality content and who is judging it to be so? How do we, as companies, make quality content that our users actually care about and content with which they will engage? Here are 6 basic tips:
- Go back to the basics. Who is your target audience? Do you REALLY know them? I’m talking about what they, as individuals, are interested in- not what they want to buy from you. Do you know if they like technology or enjoy pop culture or appreciate fine arts and wine? Knowing what makes your audience tick is what will enable you to create content that will please them. Yes, they will want to get some business information from you, but you need to get their attention by making it relevant to them. Marketo does a great job of making their business posts fun by attaching funny memes or photos that will appeal to their key audience.
- Determine the Call To Action. Next, figure out what you want to get out of that content. Are you trying to drive leads or are you simply delivering information? Are you trying to entertain or do you want someone to take an action? Starting with your end goal enables you to determine exactly what type of content to build. For instance, no one is going to give you their contact information just to look at a meme, but they may fork it over for a valuable stat sheet or whitepaper. I like to follow an 80/20 rule where 80% of the time you are offering free content for your audience and the other 20% asking for them to fill out a form or give you information. No one likes the company who is constantly asking for something and never giving back.
- Decide how content will be delivered. Once you’ve figured out how you want people to react to your content, you need to decide which vehicles you are going to use to promote it. Do this BEFORE you create the content. Why? Because social media sites (Facebook, in particular) cater to certain kinds of content and you don’t want to waste your time on something that will never be seen.
- Don’t guess- test. Create different versions of your content and test until you get a good idea of what is resonating for YOUR audience. This doesn’t mean you have to create a completely different concept each time. Different versions can be as simple as changing the title of an article, picture on a landing page, subject line in an email, or wording of a social post. The metrics won’t lie, so be sure to look at specific posts, trends, days and times of week, channel used to deliver the content, and how many conversions (whether it be a lead or simply a view) occurred.
- Reuse & repurpose. Now that you’ve got a great whitepaper, take snippets and use them as quotes on Facebook. Take your photos and make them into a slideshow. Take your powerpoint and make it into a Brainshark. Make an eBook from the data you just gathered in your last survey. Write a blog about your webinar. Think of all the different ways you can use the content you already have and put it into different formats for people to consume. We all know people learn in different ways, so why only offer your content in one form?
- Listen to your customers. They will tell you what content they like, even if they are telling you through silence or non-action. Engaging with your customers on social media is a great way to gauge their interests and to even overtly ask them for feedback on a campaign before launching widely. Testing through social ads may even be a good way to see if the content resonates before spending a fortune on SEM or remarketing ads.
Make no mistake, this is not an easy process, nor is it one you will master overnight. It will probably take months of rigorous testing and tweaking before you really hit the sweet spot with your audience. I find this is even more the case in a B2B setting. With consumer marketing, you get an idea about a person from the items they buy from you. However, in a B2B world, individuals are acting on behalf of companies, so it is much more difficult to target their true interests and to provide content that is relevant and timely to their needs. If you take the time to get to know them, however, you will eventually win them over and gain a loyal following that will not only take the actions you want, but will encourage others to do so as well.
So, Facebook omniscience aside, ultimately, it’s up to your audience to decide which content works and which content doesn’t… and it’s up to you to listen. Over time, this will lead you down a path to create better content- content that will resonate with your audience and content that will generate the actions you want them to take.