Villing & Company

10 Tips for Creating 'Wow-Factor' Content

Bill Gates said that content was king back in 1996. Few things are the same as they were 19 years ago, but I think it’s a safe bet that this is one of them. Content is what drives online traffic, and creative content that engages is ideal.

So how do you generate engaging content that will wow your online audience? Here are 10 simple tips that can help you create memorable content.

1. Listen and Gather
How can you generate content that will engage your audience if you don’t know what interests them? How will you know what the important issues affecting your industry are unless you pay close attention? Listening and information gathering are vital to the process of creating good content. They provide great starting points for developing your content, but the process doesn’t end there.

2. Be Nice
So far, this post sounds like a childhood lesson from my mother. Hopefully my mom reads this, because she would be so proud. Seriously though, giving back and being generally courteous can go a long way, especially on social media. A 2014 report from Nielsen says that 44 percent of customers in the U.S. said they would be willing to pay more for products from companies that give back to the community. Examples such as JetBlue's attention to detail on Twitter show that simple customer service techniques can go a long way.

3. Take a Stance
What I am NOT saying is that you should dive into the latest controversy and assert your opinion. That would be on the “10 Ways to Create Horrible Content” list. However, people aren’t especially eager to engage with content that is bland or cliché. As I said in Tip #1, listening and gathering information from what others are saying is only a starting point. Your content shouldn’t just be a regurgitation of what others have said. Take a stance (diplomatic of course) and stand by it. Your audience may not always agree with you but they are more likely to be engaged in the conversation. And that is its own reward.

4. Be Consistent
This is true, not only of social media, but of all areas of marketing. A consistent day-by-day approach to content creation is best. However, that doesn’t mean it has to take up all your time. At Villing & Company, we use this consistent approach for both our blog and for our social media channels. For example, we use Sprout Social – a social media management app – to collaborate as a team in real-time and keep our social media content on schedule. Sprout is just one of many social media management tools out there. No matter how you do it, the fact remains that it is vital to stay consistent. That way, your audience sees that you take them seriously.

5. Don’t Over-Promote
Especially in light of Facebook's recent changes to the News Feed, over-promoting has become a huge content no-no. Sprinkle in different types of posts on social media. Sure, if you have an event coming up, let people know about it. But also include photos of your staff, an original video or even an article from another source shared on your page. You need to create and share content that other people will want to engage with and share themselves. That isn’t necessarily the post telling people to sign up for your newsletter. Again, I'm not saying you shouldn’t share those types of posts, but they should be just one part of your total strategy. This applies to Facebook as well as other forms of social media.

6. In Fact, Barely Promote At All
Some people believe social media is free promotion. What you have to remember, though, is why people sign up for Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts in the first place. I’ll give you a hint – it wasn’t so they could see promotions from brands. The bulk of your content should be focused on engaging your audience. Asking a question has become commonplace, but even doing that is better than being overly promotional. Establish yourself as a thought leader in your area by posting a reaction to a recent major event in your field (that would cover both listening and taking a stance). Post a list like…ahem…a top 10 list. (I know, but, hey, you’re reading this right now so it must be interesting content!)

7. Tell Your Brand’s Success Stories
Here is how you can sneak in some free promotion. An earlier article from our president, Thom Villing, hits it right on the button – storytelling is the best approach when talking about content. Maybe one of your employees just won an award or maybe you’ve reached a major milestone as a brand. Instead of simply promoting, frame it in a story. By giving it a human element, people will be much more willing to interact with you.

8. Be Willing To Admit Mistakes
Social media is made up of humans, and we make mistakes. However, people don’t want to engage with a brand that tries to cover up mistakes or pretend they’re perfect. I’m not saying you should air your dirty laundry, and I’m not saying you should broadcast every minor detail of your organization. However, if handled correctly, mistakes can become huge social media successes.

9. Let Employees Have a Voice
Your audience will only connect with your brand if it connects with your people. To do that, maybe try having your employees be your brand ambassadors on social media. This means more than just having them share your content. Why not share content from an employee on your brand’s feed? Again, this shows that you are a brand made up of people, and that is much more attractive. However, be sure to provide oversight to create one, cohesive company voice and train employees on what should and should not be posted.

10. Learn to Say No
There are many platforms out there, and even within those platforms there are many topics you can discuss and use to engage with your target audience. You need to filter out the fluff and find your brand’s focus areas. You also need to decide which social media platforms allow you to best connect with your audience and discuss those focus areas with them. This means you might have to say no to some opportunities. Let's say Vine doesn’t exactly fit with your goals as well as Twitter does. Then focus on Twitter. But make sure that the platforms you use and your focus areas give you the best opportunity to connect and engage with your audience.

[cover photo by 10ch]

Filed Under: Social Media, Content Marketing

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