If yours is a brand that strives off of content marketing, you are in dire need of good content ALL THE TIME. (I hear you, mister)
But to be fair every brand today needs a focused content marketing circle in the organization, at least every brand that hopes to make it big on the digital space. To push through the internet abyss, you need amazing content cross your digital properties and that’s a solid, clearly underscored fact you cannot deny.
Let’s do a quick brand reality check here. The following condition holds true for almost all brands, quite literally:
The Aspiration: Be the champions of viral-worthy content across the digital space.
The Challenge: Creating super sticky content, and regularly too.
Every time the content team writes something, the underlying hope is that a whole mob of people swarm towards it like moth to light, resulting in content success. But banking on hope will get you nowhere. Increasing the odds of getting your content the attention it deserves is better served with a plan of action than blind optimism.
Now, I know we have spoken of content marketing before, but I figured a refresher never hurts and this time, I wanted to focus on something I came across every recently – the art of creating sticky content.
Sticky content is one that resonates with your audiences in a way that it serves the entire circle of AIDA model – gets you attention, creates Interest, induces a Desire to know more and drives a positive Action in favor of the brand.
Now, at this point you may argue that maybe some SEO magic will serve the cause better when it comes to getting your content the “ranking” and (ergo) the eyeballs it deserves but let’s be honest – there is no competing with a truly remarkable piece of messaging, even if its I born without the jab of all the SEO juice. SEO can help your content push through the noise and get it in front of your audiences, but does it ensure consumption and drive action? Nope. But hey, the quality of the content sure does.
If it sticks, it sells.
Let’s talk about how you can master the not-so subtle art of writing sticky content for making sure what you’re selling, gets sold.
Being sticky resonates
What’s a sticky piece of content?
I recently read through the master class that is the book “Made to Stick” by Chip and Dan Heath. The premise they are selling you on is that creating amazing content is a thing that can be taught and outcomes replicated over and over again with a few tricks mastered and kept up your sleeve.
I loved reading through this book. It was my copy writing 101 and to be honest they did manage to sell me on their idea.
There is a lot you take away from this book. I managed to pull out few things that content marketing teams across the world can put in practice and hopefully, someday, we will create a world where content creation isn’t quite transactional and business driven (as SEO has caused it to be), but truly transformational.
Transformational content sells itself. It starts replicating in every way possible – through word of mouth, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, whatsapp and the likes – the moment it sticks with the audiences.
Is there is a cheat sheet for creating sticky content?
Well, no and yes.
There isn’t a universally applicable content creation cheat sheet that you can follow. You can always create one that works for you and your team – one for promotional copy writing, one for blog, one for social media and just about any marketing communications related project activity for that matter.
But just as theories can be adapted for various applications, sticky content theory can be molded in various ways. Just remember to trail few basic must-haves:
1. Find contagious ideas
That’s 70% of your job done right there.
There are two ways of pursuing an idea – You can tell it straight or you can put a spin on it that makes it so much cooler to consumer. An unpretentious way to put a spin on something is to answer the “why” behind it. Here I’d like to quote Simon Sinek from his infamous TED Talk about how great leaders inspire action:
People don’t buy what you do, but why you do it.
Contagious ideas communicate the “why” and this “why” excites and resonates with people – emotionally and intellectually too. Especially if you are pushing a new-fangled idea in the market, speak for its “why” – why should someone use it, why should it be a part of their lives. It is guaranteed to permeate far better than a rational, straightforward argument.
2. Work it like Don Draper: Keep it Simple and Striking
Remember back in the day when parents would tell you these creepy stories about how a boogey man would come to take you away if you did not finish that meal? Why did you think the trick worked?
One, it was an idea simple enough to understand – a cause and effect relationship based on fear. And it stuck like industrial strength glue because the outcomes were so clearly expressed by mom. (It’s hard to not pay attention to someone when they say you could be abducted by evil itself).
If you can tell it as story, why say it any other way.
3. Share your content with the right people first
Do sending happy thoughts into the universe work? Maybe.
Does sending happy thoughts in a targeted way to a relevant universe work? Almost always.
If you have just created a super sticky piece of blog, let’s say, don’t let the effort go to waste by just hoping for people to come read it on your page. That hardly ever happens.
If you want someone to pay attention to you, go stand in front of them. Suit up and show up. In our domain, we can’t afford to be arrogant and hope for things to simply turn in our favor. Reach out to the right people and get them to consume your latest undertaking. Send out e-mailers, post your stories on social media, or speak about it at an event.
Clever distribution is just as important as creating clever content.
Be conversation worthy
What is scarce in today’s world is connection. And that’s what people are chasing. They want to own something they can connect with. Gone are the days when a shiny new gadget did it for young folks. Today, it’s about what the gadget represents, what that grocery store next door is all about and if a purchase is really environmentally conscious. Let your content speak your brand and if the content sticks, so will the brand.
Meeta Sharma is an independent writing and editing professional from digital marketing domain. Loves marketing and everything about it.