Oct 15, 2015

Getting Your Content To Spread

It’s very clear to see. Human beings are social creatures.

On August 27th Facebook crossed an incredible milestone: one billion people logged into Facebook in a single day.

Mark Zuckerberg wrote, “We just passed an important milestone. For the first time ever, one billion people used Facebook in a single day. On Monday, 1 in 7 people on Earth used Facebook to connect with their friends and family.”

He continues, “A more open and connected world is a better world. It brings stronger relationships with those you love, a stronger economy with more opportunities, and a stronger society that reflects all of our values.”

With the rise of social media we live in a golden age of communication. You can meet and connect with people from all over the world. You can build relationships, and generate referrals for your business. It’s truly a remarkable time to be in business.

Being heard, on the other hand, is becoming a lot more challenging.

Lost in the Social Media Feed

Facebook’s massive growth highlights a reality of content marketing today. It’s where people go to consume content.

Users are logging into their preferred platform — whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or something else — to get their daily dose of content. Posts are curated and served up by your network and by the advertisers trying to reach you. And for the vast majority of users this flow of content works just fine.

As Mitch Joel points out, “The half-life of a blog post is tragic. People used to catch up on their blog reading over a weekend, now we’re all consumed with our feeds. So, come the weekend, whatever is in the feed wins.”

Create Content for the Feed

In the good ol’ days of content marketing — you know 2004 to 2007 — a business could rely on a few content channels: blog, email newsletter, and a social network or two.

That’s just not a sound strategy anymore.

“It’s not about blogs these days, it’s about blog posts,” says Jay Baer. “The day-to-day audience that reads a particular blog every day, fed to them by email and/or RSS, is fading away. Instead, we have enormous competition to create ‘hit’ blog posts that break out and find a larger-than-usual audience, fueled by social media and search engines.”

Creating hit posts is elusive. A thought provoking article with a catchy title may do well, but the feed also plays a large role in how far the article will spread.

Creating a hit requires understanding the audience in a given feed:

  1. Who are your connections on LinkedIn versus Facebook?
  2. What types of content resonate most in that feed?
  3. Who are the influencers you can poke and engage offline to get them to share your content?

You are more likely to create content that spreads if you write for that feed.

Post Directly into the Feed

Your blog may be holding your content back.

If you want your content to travel post it directly into the feed. LinkedIn and Facebook both provide tools to share long form content: LinkedIn Pulse and Facebook Notes. Content posted directly into the feed goes further than a link to your blog.

I have been experimenting with LinkedIn Pulse articles for over a year, and I am always surprised by how far they go. My post, “Stop Hiding Behind Email. Pick Up The Phone“, generated 361 Likes and 67 comments. This is far more interaction than I would generate on an average blog post.

I am not advocating that you stop blogging or posting content on your website, but I don’t think you should ignore LinkedIn Pulse or Facebook Notes. These platforms connect your content directly to the feed.

Content Is Everywhere

The irony of the new social media landscape is your audience is both fracturing and coalescing at the same time.

Content is everywhere. Actually, we’re drowning in it. Every corner of the internet is chock-full with a continuous supply of new ideas, pictures, videos, and stories. As a result, people are selective about what they consume in each of their feeds. And users move on if a post is not immediately captivating.

Even though content is everywhere you know where your audience will be: one of their feeds.

The key to getting your content to spread is to create content for the feed. Choose the platform you want to engage, and build a strategy to make your content resonate within it. This doesn’t mean every post will take off. What you’re trying to do is improve the odds so that your content will spread.

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