Content is one of the most important elements of any online business, but creating unique, original, and engaging content that receives thousands of likes, links, and shares can be a difficult task. The vast majority of content published online gains little to no attention, while a small percentage gains a significant amount of traction across social media platforms.
Why is it that some content succeeds where other content fails? In this article, we’ll present the top five most effective elements your content should incorporate in order to achieve maximum shares, links, and likes.
1. Trending Topics & News
The dynamic, fast-moving nature of the online zeitgeist creates an environment in which novelty is highly valued. User searches are primarily focused on recent trending topics, so incorporating content that covers recent news stories, product releases, and current media topics draws more attention to your content and delivers more shares.
There are many powerful tools that can be used to keep your finger on the pulse of social media trends. Creating a Twitter stream that combines popular social media hashtags with those relevant to your specific niche is a highly effective method of scouting the current social climate, as is following key social media influencers in your industry. Google Alerts also provides marketers with a powerful way to remain updated on key industry terms and trends.
2. Strong Opinion & Debatable Perspectives
Controversial perspectives drive consumers to engage with content and express their opinion. Posts, blogs, and articles that present a strong argument for a specific argument in a common public debate are some of the most successful types of content, delivering maximum engagement and cross-platform penetration.
Data collected by the Wharton Business School demonstrates that people prefer to discuss relatable, low-sensitivity content that divides readers into two distinct groups without creating uncomfortable socio political controversy. As a general rule, strongly opinionated content and debatable perspectives should cover the “Three B’s”- Behaviour, Belonging, and Beliefs- in order to stir up discussion and create buzz.
3. Accurate Data & Unique Insights
Well-researched content that provides highly accurate data and informed recommendations ranks as one of the most successful forms of content. GE Capital’s Major Purchase Shopper Study recently published data that demonstrates more than 80% of online shoppers conduct extensive research before committing to a purchase, seeking out detailed product reviews and advice via search engine tools.
In addition to detailed, informative reviews, consumers also seek out original how-to guides and tutorial-based content, with the online fitness and health market demographic the biggest consumer of research-oriented guide content. Providing your reader base with unique insights and comprehensive instruction is a powerful way to elevate your market penetration and enhance your conversion rate.
4. Emotionally Engaging Content
Cutting through the noise that makes up 99% of the content published online is virtually impossible without creating an emotional connection between the reader and the content. With more than 5.3 trillion display ads presented online every year, 400 million tweets sent every day, and almost 200 million individual pieces of content shared via Facebook every hour, it’s important to leverage emotional drivers to spark interest in readers.
The emotional tone of your content plays an important role in determining its success. Research published by the Harvard Business Review indicates that negative emotions are less prevalent in highly viral content, with the most successful emotional drivers found to be curiosity, amazement, interest, astonishment, and uncertainty. Emotionally engaging content should identify an issue that troubles your target demographic and relate it either tangentially or directly to your product or brand.
5. Solution-Oriented Content
Providing useful information that delivers actionable, educational solutions to problems or presenting guidance on a buying decision has been demonstrated to yield an extremely high ROI in content marketing. Solution-oriented content should provide your target demographic with no-nonsense advice that reinforces the credibility of your brand and aligns your product or service with the audience.
Statistics published in the Kentico Digital Experience Survey has demonstrated that while consumer trust in content marketing is high, there are several factors that can severely impede the authenticity and credibility of your brand. While 74% of the public trusts solution-oriented or educational content to provide unbiased information, finishing an otherwise objective guide or post with a product pitch can lower credibility by more than 29%.
Similarly, solution-oriented content that can’t be corroborated with an alternative external source causes consumer trust to drop by 46%, while biased content that doesn’t address alternative perspective lowers brand credibility by another 17%. When creating solution-oriented content, it’s essential to provide well-researched, neutral, and relatable information that engages the reader while delivering functional, practical advice.
While there is no “secret formula” to creating the perfect storm of shareable content, incorporating the above elements into your content marketing strategy will deliver a significant return on investment and elevate the exposure of your platform, in turn increasing conversion and profitability.