ADOTAS – One of the most encouraging aspects of being an online content creator can also be one of the most discouraging: Anyone can create web content, but getting it seen is another story. So, while the tools to create and upload content are as easy to use as ever, there is a glut of content that makes it difficult for it to stand out. On YouTube alone, there are 60 hours worth of content uploaded every minute. Do the math: A lot of that content is going unseen.
As a content creator, what good is it to have that $30,000 video finally completed when only 300 people (many of whom may be friends and family) are going to see it? This becomes especially daunting when social media channels are becoming just as noisy as the traditional web — Facebook alone has 30 billion pieces of content shared each month, and there are 700 YouTube videos being tweeted out every minute on Twitter. Even in a time when content production far outpaces our collective capacity to consume it, however, there’s actually a way content producers and marketers can harness the tools of this seemingly noisy environment to set themselves apart from the pack. By knowing how best to position your content, you can actually let the intimidating vastness of the web do a lot of your heavy lifting for you.
Content Marketing 101: Know and Grow Your Social Media Presence
The first rule of content marketing is to follow the sequence of distribution. In that sense, any content marketing has to start with social media, the first point of distribution for just about any content these days.
Social media platforms — whether they’re Facebook, Twitter, or even blogs — are the easiest way to pass along content and “tell a friend” (like the old Faberge shampoo commercial) in a way that is quickly viral. In fact, it will probably be very difficult for your content to go viral without some social media push.
Here’s why: Not only does Facebook have the single largest audience of any platform, with a whopping 900 million users (about one in nine of the earth’s total population), but it also is an outlet particularly conducive to online sharing. According to a December 2011 study, Facebook accounted for 52.1 percent of all online sharing. The power of this statistic was revealed anecdotally earlier this year when the Kony 2012 short film became one of the most viral videos of all time (going on to over 90 million views). With effective storytelling, an underlying altruistic cause and celebrity support, the video spread like wildfire, especially over Facebook, a haven for both compelling content and grassroots campaigns that appeal to our better angels (neglecting, for a moment, the subsequent issues with the Kony campaign).
Twitter is no slouch either, with 340 million 140-character sentiments being produced every day. Not only does Twitter have one of the most impressive social media user bases, but with a format that keeps interactions short and sweet, as well as one that encourages easy public sharing, the potential viral potential of content is enhanced, whether that content is a controversial story or the latest “Call Me Maybe” lip dub.
By tailoring your content so that it can be easily consumed and shared on these platforms that are so completely encouraging sharing, the more likely it is to be shared across all parts of the web.
To The Blogosphere!
Outside of social media, blogs are another great online distribution channel. The blogosphere is rapidly growing, containing 164 million blogs, and blogging remains a popular outlet for anyone who wants to be an unmediated, published author. Thoughtful blog posts that offer compelling ideas transcending the shorter and more ephemeral nature of social networks can also have their own viral impact. Take Mary Meeker, a pro at evaluating and predicting the technology business. Every time she creates a presentation, it instantaneously goes viral in the business community, precisely because her analysis contains such depth, and the persuasiveness of her arguments are so significant. A thoughtful and well-crafted presentation like this is the kind of content most likely to provoke even more ideas, discussion and opinions from the blogosphere’s many pundits. It’s a more pervasive, slower-burning viral fire. You don’t have to be a Mary Meeker, but aspiring to that level of discourse in the environment of the blogosphere is another way to create some traction and mindshare for your content.
Stoke the Engines of Online Discovery
The fact is that no one — even if they had all the time in the world – is able to possibly sift through every piece of content that passes through the internet’s many pipes. We rely not only on our friends and loved ones to point us to engaging and diverting content, but also to other forms of content curation that are designed to help us find the kind of material that will be most relevant to what actually interests us.
One such example of this type of discovery engine is StumbleUpon, which presents content recommendations based on user interest. In April, it was announced that there are 25 million registered users currently “stumbling upon” content. Reddit is another example of a content discovery engine, but it works as a social news website with user-submitted content, which is then voted on by the Reddit community, determining its placement on the page.
Just as on social networks, content with “meme value” is most likely to be shared and re-shared. Creating a clever or provocative story, or keeping information brief and paired with great visuals, are some surefire ways to popularize content on these content discovery engines. It’s also worth it to see what specific content is being highlighted day-to-day and tailoring your content to that in a way that is organic and unforced.
Check back tomorrow for the second and final part of this article.