Creating Shareable Content


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Ashley Tate's presentation from SMX Israel 2014.

Are you creating shareable, engaging content for your brand? This presentation walks you through the six steps to creating shareable content using BigDoor's recent rebrand as a case study.

BigDoor used the six steps to creating shareable content to grow their social shares from 0 to triple digits in less than a month. By following the steps, your brand can achieve similar results, and get your content in front of the right consumers.

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  • I'll talk about how we grew our blog from close to zero shares to triple digit shares in one short month. When I started at BigDoor on August 26th, the average number of shares our blog content had was 2. One month later, on September 26th, one of our blog posts hit 260 shares. I'll highlight what type of content we created and how we created it, how we distributed the content, and what type of audience we targeted to get our share count high.
  • In today’s digital landscape, creating content has never been easier. According to Nielsen in a 2013 report, there are over 173 million blogs existing on the Internet. That is CRAZY. And blogs are only one type of content! We haven’t even scraped the surface on eBooks, webinars, videos, guides, etc.
  • Even if you’re new to content, it’s easy to create. There are so many different guides, tips, and tricks for you to create unique, insightful work. And after all that, if you still don’t feel like you can create great content, you can have someone create it for you (just look at that sidebar!). These days, it’s possible to create content under any budget, at any size company.
  • And that’s a good thing, because all of this content is being consumed by the millions. Just look at how many readers are engaging with and sharing content on Facebook and Twitter. There are literally MILLIONS of available eyeballs who want to read this stuff, and to share it with their networks.
  • These days, I’m sure it feels like everyone you know creates incredible, viral content. For example, look at these stats. These brands have had some practice, but nonetheless, their content is carrying their companies. (Except maybe Chipotle, because their burritos are fabulous as-is.)
  • But sometimes, all of this content becomes too much of a good thing. There is a line that separates amazing, shareable content, and content that gets tossed into the junk pile.There is so much content being created that it’s easy for your work to get lost. Readers can get so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content that exists that they will never get the chance to engage with it.
  • As a content consumer, sometimes it may feel like you’re trying to drink from the content firehose. We are bombarded by content day in and day out. How do we choose what is valuable enough to read, let alone share? Content is merely storytelling, and as humans, we are drawn to stories. We crave stories like we crave water. Drinking from this massive hose of content is impossibly painful, yet we want the water anyways.
  • So how does your brand create content that will stand out above the junk to be engaged with and shared?How do you build shareable, engaging content that helps grow your community and drive advocacy? That’s what we’re talking about today.
  • My company, BigDoor, just went through this process. And I’ve created a 6 step plan to creating shareable content you can take back to your teams to start increasing your content shares by your community.
  • Before we dive into the steps, let me set the stage a bit: *Give background off screen *Talk a bit bout the rebrand and how it effected content, specifically. - Messaging, post topics, site content, taxonomy, social tone, everything changed.
  • I started at BigDoor on August 26th, 2013. On my first day, this is what the shares on our blog post content looked like. This screen should probably be just a big sad face instead of stats. Now, keep in mind that BigDoor had already existed for 4 years when I started. I had 4 years of regularly published content that looked like this to dig through to figure out what when wrong, and how to get us back on the right track. We were starting from 0’s across the board. Before I dove in, I decided to map out a plan. The 6 steps to shareable content is the plan of attack that I took to get our content from unbearable to sharable.
  • So Step #1: Do a content postmortem
  • Content postmortems are great for creating a floor for the rest of your plan to build upon. It may sound cheesy, but you really can’t figure out how to start if you don’t know where you’re starting. In BigDoor’s content postmortem, we looked at the last 4 years of content What did the content analytics look like? What were the topics? Who created the content? What types of content were created? What did the best? How was the content being distributed? Once we were able to answer those questions, we were able to build our plan from a solid base. Which leads us to #2:
  • #2: Create audience personas. Like I mentioned earlier, content is merely storytelling. Half of your story’s success depends on whether or not your audience is even interested in the topic. To figure out who your targets are, you must create audience personas.
  • Audience personas are fictional characters created to reflect audience groups. Personas help with shareable content because they make content creators think about the WHY of their pieces before deciding on a topic. If you don’t understand why people are reading your content, it’s not likely that you’ll create content that’s worth reading, much less sharing. Think of your personas as inclusive character profiles for your content consumers. By the end of the persona, you should be able to put yourself in their shoes and connect with their needs.BD example: - We have 3 customer personas: Enterprise Publishers, Retailers who have had experience with loyalty programs, and Retailers who have never experienced loyalty programs. Within those personas, we have many audience personas: the marketer, the lead gen driver, the sales team, the loyalty decision maker, etc. You can have 10, even 20 personas. Write for all of them throughout the year.
  • Next up, #3. Do a topic brainstorm with your team. This is, indeed, as simple and straightforward as it sounds.
  • During your brainstorm, think about your company’s “big picture” and figure out how you can champion those efforts through storytelling and content. Map out your end goals (i.e. share counts, social distribution channels, publishing format, etc.) and work backwards to find topics that will drive those results. You should also have your audience personas complete, so pull those in as well. At BigDoor, we pulled a big group into a room and hashed out our Q4 goals. From there, our content team (um…me) worked backwards form our goals through the shares we wanted and our preferred social distribution channels. After all that, I set topics to each “big picture” goal we decided on. It’s amazing how many teams forget this big step of the content curation process. Don’t be one of those teams 
  • You’ve done your research, set a plan, mapped your content back to goals. What’s next? Before you start writing, #4: Get top-down support.
  • If you haven’t already, make sure your executive team is behind your efforts as content takes time and resources. Many times, executive teams don’t see the value in content right away. Be sure you can tie your content back to revenue before going into this meeting. - You can do this through traffic, leads/conversion through content, LTV, etc. Content is no different than any other company initiative. You need resources, budget, and time to do it right. If it’s not making money, you have no business dong it on your company’s dime. Speaking of sharing content, your executive team is probably packed with thought leaders in your industry who have massive social circles. Get them to have a stake in sharing your content, and have them share with their social circles, email lists, and more. At BD, I was lucky enough that our team was totally on board with content. But you bet I still tie everything I do back to our overall goals and revenue.
  • Now that you’re ready to start creating content, it’s time to:#5 Set an editorial calendar If you remember one thing from this presentation, it’s this: Please, live and die by your editorial calendar. It’s the best tool you have in your content arsenal.
  • Content calendars are The Holy Grail of content success. They give a window into the world of content at your company. - This makes working cross-functionally to source great content much more fluid for everyone. Include everything content-related on your calendar(blog posts, ebooks, whitepapers, guides, webinars, videos, etc.) Schedule at least one, no more than three months out in advance as the industry changes; you don’t want to get caught talking about things that are no longer relevant. You can use whatever program works best for you; doesn’t have to be fancy. At BD, we just use a shared Google calendar.
  • Now that you’ve planned everything and have created some great content, it’s time for the most important step: #6: Smart content distribution
  • The most important part of making your content sharable is how you share it yourself. There are so many sharable distribution channels for content; not all of them might be right for you. Before you start, look at where your audience is. Take advantage of organic gatherings. But sharing doesn’t stop with organic social shares. Leverage the power of paid sharing to help really boost your content, especially when you’re first starting out. Also be sure to identify influencers for your content. Who has a great network that matches your intended persona(s)? Ask these influencers for feedback throughout the creation process, and let them know right away when you publish so they can share. Make sharing easy for them by crafting a few tweets or shares. Another big thing: don’t just share your contentonce; you have to continue to share it over the course of weeks.
  • So back to where we started. I told you I was going to show you how to get from 0 to triple digit shares in one month. Did we accomplish our goal using the 6 steps? You bet.
  • This image was taken a couple of days after we published a post on Sept 26th, one month after my start date. Check out those shares! 363 total! That was a HUGE milestone for us, and I owe it all to the 6 step plan.
  • But our success didn’t stop there. *Read stats
  • Our shareable content plan has affected our overall traffic. You can see our top 20 highest trafficked pages. Note that 10 out of the 20 are now coming form our blog.
  • And although correlation might not be entirely causation, there is an obvious parallel between out traffic and improved content creation/sharing.
  • So let’s wrap this thing up. Before you take off, remember these two points: This process is a long-term play, peppered with short-term wins. Your results will be steady, not overnight. 2. Always, always, always watch your data. Make sure everything else on your site is running properly before banging your head against the wall wondering why your content isn’t working. I’ve made this mistake many times throughout my career, and the more you can keep an eye on things, the better off you’ll be.
  • And obviously, remember the 6 steps to creating shareable content.
  • Creating Shareable Content

    1. 1. By: Ashley Tate Content Manager, @BigDoor @ashtate
    2. 2. Over 50,000 articles and 5,000 videos
    3. 3. Look at your: • Current content analytics (traffic, shares, comments, community interaction, etc.) • Content topics • Content types (blog posts, video, eBooks, guides, etc.) • Distribution funnel
    4. 4. Persona name: #1 Demographics Who are they? Background What is their job? What is their company like? Needs What do they want out of your product/service? Goals How will you solve their problem?
    5. 5. Remember: Continue to share over multiple weeks.
    6. 6. Total posts: 21 Total social shares: 4,812 Average shares per post: 229
    7. 7. Most trafficked pages from Aug 26-Sept 26, 2013
    8. 8. Traffic correlation is obvious.
    9. 9. 6. Smart content distribution
    10. 10. @ashtate