Anatomy of Highly Shareable Marketing Content

Marketing content has two functions: to make the reader react, and then take action. But that action isn’t always to purchase directly.

When the goal is to spread the word about your products and services, there’s no better vehicle than word of mouth. Marketing content that truly influences your audiences’ lives gives them more than enough reason to Tweet, post on Facebook, or otherwise share your content.

But how do you create that level of influence? Specifically, how do you write content that’s worth spreading the message?

Here’s our advice.

Sell with Satire

When marketing content gets too serious, it may become boring. Truth is, it’s not what you write about, but how you write that makes products and services more compelling.

Even if you sell car insurance, cabinet installation, or yard work services, you can convey your mission with an audience-friendly tone.

To harness that kind of atmosphere, you don’t have to always wear your serious hat. While it’s important to educate the reader, and give her or him no-brainer reasons to share, it’s difficult to do that with strictly informational marketing content.

If you find that your prospects doze off while reading your content, throw them a curve ball with a little humor.

For example, let’s say you sell garage door openers and sensors. The benefit of your product is that it provides a safety barrier for children and pets. (Your customers protect their family.)

While that’s a serious feature, a garage door opener also allows customers to juggle groceries. That’s where you have an opportunity to inject a little humor, and make your content more shareable.

Write a story about a customer who broke all her eggs, bruised her apples, and soaked her French bread with Italian soda—all because she dropped her grocery bag while fiddling with the garage door.

Go get a stock photo, or work with a designer, to use an exaggerated and obviously satirical image of your lead character. Add a comic thought bubble that states “Even only the garage door opened with a button!”

The better the image, the more shares you’ll receive.

As long as it’s appropriate for your market, and you don’t overdo it, satire wakes up your readers, gets them nodding their head yes, and makes your content shareable.

Try Picture Blogs

Tumblr is great. Our team makes almost daily trips to Diary of a Content Strategist.

Whether you use Tumblr or not, picture-based messages are shared more easily. If you want customers to share your message on Facebook and Twitter, keep their attention spans in mind.

Because you have seconds to grab attention with your marketing content, the same rules apply when it’s shared. When one person sees something their friend would like, they’ll subconsciously consider how quick the shared content will make an impact.

Grabbing attention fast—that’s where images count.

Here’s an idea: document your latest conference trip with photographs. But center the content over what you learned while there. Create a headline above each image, so that the shared content has greater context.

At the end, create an appropriate call to action. Even though the shared content intends to be entertaining, you still leverage product or service offerings.

Answer Questions that Competitors Refuse

When it comes to shareable content, fresh and relevant content is the determining factor. Even if you work in a highly saturated industry, there is one fireproof way to create content that’s shared across social media networks and elsewhere.

That method: answering the big questions.

Not just any question. To spread your message beyond your existing base, answer the one question that none of your competitors will. Call it renegade marketing, but the strategy works big time.

So once you find the one question no business in your niche dares answer, be the person who finally does it.

Here’s an example: imagine you’re a content strategist and consultant. While your competitors offer clients in-depth analysis of website, blog, or other marketing content, they do so with sheer diplomacy.

Translation: they sugarcoat the facts (even though they mean well).

What question will you answer?

This one: Why does your content suck?

In this kind of scenario, write a landing page where you offer a one-hour Skype consultation, where you promise to tear apart the client’s content. Brand the offer something to the extent of “A Brutal Attack on Your Content…That Actually Helps!”

Go further by stating that your advice should be taken literally, and that you refuse to dance around the facts. Don’t forget to splice in a little humor to take the edge off. Try something like, “I’ll Take the Suck Factor Right Out of Your Website.”

When you harness a fun tone, and set yourself apart by taking on a previously unanswered question, your content will be more shareable.

Make Sharing Easy

This is the most basic element of highly shareable content. Believe it or not, it often gets forgotten. With a slew of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and LinkedIN buttons available at no cost, it’s easy to make the share factor more visible.

According to recent report from KISS Metrics, the more clicks a reader makes, the harder it becomes for you to make any kind of conversion. The same rules apply for both sharing and purchasing.

That said, share buttons alone won’t do the trick. If the ultimate goal is to spread your content beyond your existing base, then be clear about your intentions.

Whether it’s a blog or a landing page, state that you mean for the content to be spread around. Use a call to action, or even a headline, that asks readers to give this information to their friends.

Honesty always works.

For marketing content that gets shared, check out our copywriting services.

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