Building a great web presence for your local business is about more than simply creating profiles on social media sites, claiming your business listing on sites like Google Places, and making sure you have a good business web site. The foundation of having an active, value-added social presence is creating engaging content that gets people talking, interacting, and sharing online. In fact, a recent survey of marketing executives reported by MarketingProfs showed that creating compelling content is the most important factor in increasing online influence.
What is Engaging Content?
Essentially, engaging content moves people to act – by leaving a comment, sharing the content with their network, liking or bookmarking an article, etc. There are many schools of thought about the formula for engaging content. Some say it should be entertaining or controversial. Others say it should be practical and actionable. According to recent research at the University of Pennsylvania which studied people’s likelihood to email an article, people like to share articles that are: emotional, positive, in-depth, challenging, or surprising, among other factors. The important thing is to prioritize for creating engaging content by trying a few approaches and discovering what works for you.
5 Tips for Creating Engaging Content
So, here are five easy tips you can try today for creating content that encourages people to get talking and sharing online.
1) Write great headlines.
Writing a compelling headline is one of the most important parts of creating messages that people will share. After all, the job of the headline is to grab the reader’s attention. Experts say you should spend as much time writing your headline as you spend developing the content itself. And, in today’s saturated media landscape, many people may not read much past the headline before they decide whether or not to share, comment, or like your article. Need help writing headlines? Try these tried-and-true headline formulas to get started.
2) Optimize for retweets.
Twitter is a very powerful platform for getting people to engage and share online. To encourage readers to share your content on a site like Twitter, try creating content targeted specifically for Twitter sharing. You can use a tool like the Most ReTweetable Words Finder to find words on any topic, and then include your favorite recommended word in the title of your post, video, or photo, or use it to retweet your own content.
For example, we took one of the words from the title of this post “tips,” and ran it through the analyzer. “Smart” came up as the top retweetable word. So, we added the word “smart” to our title to boost its likelihood of getting shared on Twitter.
3) Offer killer deals.
If there’s one thing people love sharing online, it’s a great deal, coupon, or discount. The widespread popularity of sites like Groupon and LivingSocial are a great example. But, you can also create and promote deals yourself. You could simply share current deals you have going on or consider developing an online-only deal, contest, or promotion.
4) Involve your fans and followers.
An easy way to get people talking or sharing is to make develop content that includes them. Do you have loyal customers, fans, or followers online? Recognize them in your content – and they’ll be likely to return the favor and talk about you. For example, you could ask a question on your blog, Twitter, or Facebook page and then write an article that highlights interesting comments you received, linking to the social profile of those who responded to give them credit. Make sure to give respondents a head’s up you’ll be sharing their feedback elsewhere! Or, consider creating a poll or survey for your readers, so you can analyze the results.
5) Have the guts to ask.
One of the most overlooked yet powerful ways to get people sharing your content online is simple: just ask! Ask readers to leave a comment on your post, share a video on Twitter, or subscribe to your blog so they’ll keep coming back to engage.
Have you tried one of these tips for creating engaging content? Have other tips or tricks you use to get people sharing your content online? Let us know in the comments, or send us a Tweet!
About the Author
Tiffany Monhollon writes about social media, marketing, and small business success as the lead blogger for ReachCast, a service that helps local business owners develop their web presence.