Social Content: Incorporating It in Your Blog for Improved Success
Developing strong, engaging content is not a guessing game. There is actually science behind it, with several key factors involved in leading to the sharing of the content. Ultimately, the content needs to somehow speak to the reader in such a way that they feel sharing it will somehow nourish their relationships. This might be through sparking emotion, entertaining them or otherwise bringing some type of value. There are many motivating factors that lead to people sharing the content as well, including affinity, validation and social expression.
Unfortunately, when the majority of your blog is dedicated to informational topics, it is more difficult to emotionally engage with customers and lead to social sharing. Adding emotion to an informative blog can sometimes just come across as manipulative and have the exact opposite response. Luckily, using social content can help you.
What Is Social Content?
Social content is content that bridges the gap between social media posts and blogs, infographics and other marketing content. It involves the audience and your social community to create a more authentic and personable content. Rather than focusing on going viral, you are developing authentic relationships with the community that helps build true emotional connections with others within the community. There are a few different ways to easily incorporate this type of content into your blog.
Elicit Emotion By Repurposing
Eliciting emotion is an important component of getting shares. When people read something that makes them laugh, cry, get angry or otherwise feel, they are more likely to share it with others. Stories that make people feel awe or that are positive are also more likely to get people to hit that share button. You do not have to be the one to create this information; it is also possible to repurpose or curate content to elicit the emotional response you want.
Just think about popular sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy. They get tons of shares, but much of their content is not exactly original. Instead, they take third-party content and then write something new using a fresh perspective, rather than simply regurgitating it. Their success comes from providing a perspective or comment that leads people wanting to share your piece, rather than heading to the original.
Create a “Best Of…” Post
In a similar way to curating content, you can also round up informative articles from a bunch of different sources to create a “best of” post. This puts all the information together into one easy to read piece, while also showing that your ideas are supported by influencers within the industry. Just be sure that you always include the relevant citation. Authoritative links and resources impart authority to your content, which improves your reputation as a trusted source. Round up pieces take this one step further. By creating pieces that bring together a lot of information together provides value to customers who might be looking for this type of one-stop shop for information.
Highlight Your Customers or Readers
An easy way to integrate social content into your blog is to feature your readers or customers. There are many different ways to do this, such as testimonials and case studies. However, sometimes, these might not elicit the exact response you want. For example, case studies often appear too scientific, which leads to many customers not engaging with them. Testimonials have a role, but they only provide a small aspect of the overall journey. Customer spotlights provide a happy medium that works well as social content.
These are similar to case studies in that they show the journey and how your company fixed a problem or provided a solution. However, they are told from the customer’s point of view and tell a lot more of the story. This makes them much more interesting and engaging, especially when you add photos or use video. It also involves customers and lets them share their emotions and insights during the journey. You also will find that you get automatic shares from that person and many of their friends.
Look to Comments
Integrating social content into your blog is not just about highlighting actual customers or eliciting a response; it is ultimately about providing value that goes above and beyond the normal. One way to do this is to create blog posts that will engage customers. To find engaging topics, look at the comments of your previous posts and find ideas on which to write. Perhaps a question continually pops up again and again.
Another place that opens up a way to create engaging blog posts is to simply ask your audience what they want to read about. Go on your social media accounts and post a question about a particular topic. You can run a survey or simply state a question. Then, use the answers to develop a blog that matches what they want to hear. You can even do so in the form of a roundup or curated content, an infographic or some other type of content that is not just a single blog. You might even find that you can create a whole series on your blog integrating a lot of different types of content, including social content. As an added bonus, you also demonstrate that you are interested in engaging directly with your community and that you listen to your customers.
Although social content plays a key role in creating shareable content and thereby growing your audience, you also want to be careful about over-using. In many cases, it should not take over your blog; instead, it should be incorporated as one aspect of a versatile blog that provides value to your customers in a variety of different ways. Finding a balance between providing answers to customers and otherwise imparting information with building your relationships creates a much stronger blog that will provide you with the benefits you want.
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