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9 Steps to Compelling Contagious Content for Your Social Media Marketing

Why do you turn on the television? Why do you open a magazine? Why do you read the newspaper, whether it is online or folded and crumpled on your coffee table?

9 Steps to Compelling Contagious Content for Your Social Media Marketing

We want to be entertained, amused and educated and the reason you open the laptop, turn on the tablet or browse on the mobile, is that we are seeking information and it is called content.

Google earns $30 billion a year indexing and helping you find information and content.  In an information age, creating content should become the focus of your marketing, whether it is for the consumer or for business.

The Difference Between Success and Failure

Content comes in all types of formats, shapes and styles and often the creator has only a few brief seconds to entice you to go beyond the headline or the opening line.

Creating compelling contagious content can be the difference between success and failure of any media marketing venture whether it be social, mass media or traditional.

So where do you start?

Well for one it’s not about you, it’s about “them” your prospects,customers, viewers and readers.

Step 1: Find and Define your Target Audience

There are many questions to ask here and if you are a large organisation or brand then your advertising agency will certainly tell you who they are. They could be female and aged between 25 and 34 or they could be male and be in the 40-50 bracket.

But you need to know much more!

  • What television shows do they watch?
  • What magazines do they read?
  • What words do they use?
  • What events do they attend?
  • What fashion do they like?
  • What music do they listen to?

If you are creating content for a B2B market then you ned to consider 3 core topic categories

  1. Solve their problems
  2. Educate and inform them
  3. Keep them updated with News

If you are marketing to a consumer then they will want to be entertained, informed of specials and up coming sales and also to be educated about the product.

Step 2: Identify Your Customers Social Networks

There are so many social networks and social media channels that it makes your eyes blur and your mind turn to mush. You need to ensure that you are publishing and placing your content where your customers hang out.

There are a few no brainers that should be in your mix.

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Twitter

Other channels such as Slideshare (the “YouTube for Power Point Presentations) and LinkedIn are important if you are communicating with the business crowd.

Step 3: Establish Their Media Preferences

In an information age of rich multimedia, just going with text or words is not enough any more. To reach the widest audience possible you need to publish the same core content on a variety of media formats and types such as:

  • E-books
  • Images (Flickr and Instagram)
  • Video (YouTube, Vimeo and other online video networks)
  • Audio (Podcasts)
  • Presentations on Power point – Slideshare
  • Infographics

Mixing these up into hybrid content formats as a package or selection can ensure that everyone receives their preferred media type.

Step 4: Find Ideas for Creating the Content

Writers block is real, it happens to everyone!

So how do you keep those ideas flowing to create that compelling content?

  • Read other top blogs and develop content on industry Trends – where is the industry going, what are the emerging hot segments
  • Write about customers successes – Write up a case study about a clients successful project.
  • Publish content on what not to do! – highlighting where something hasn’t worked
  • Create a video blog post by interviewing a successful client – this can a powerful providing authentic evidence of authority and credibility for both you and the client.
  • Subscribe to the top industry blogs in your market, both company blogs and personal blogs for ideas and view them in one place with an RSS reader such as “Google Reader”
  • Look through your latest news releases for ideas

Step 5: Create the Content

Creating content does take time and effort but you must remember that you are building up online assets that will continue to provide value well into the future. A “How to Video” that is published on the web will educate customers and prospects while you sleep.

Blog articles can be the outline for creating an online video or a PowerPoint presentation. So don’t forget that re purposing content is a very efficient way to build your media library.

If you are considering crowd sourcing content such as inviting guest authors for your blog then you may need to set some standards and writing guidelines.

  • Length of article such as 1,000 words
  • Images to be supplied
  • Subtitles

Creating video content can be as easy as interviewing someone at a Cafe with an iPhone!

Step 6: Optimize the Content

So if you think that by just writing and hitting the publish button on your blog is enough then you need to take a deep breath… because your job has just begun!

You need to optimise your content. Some core elements are

  • Headline – learn to write an enticing headline that will make people want to click on the link in Twitter
  • Structure – Write sub titles that break your content up into bite sized chunks and draw your readers into the article. Write for skimming and scanning
  • Search – Write articles using key words and phrases that customers would use to “Google” you. Also if you are publishing images on Flickr, Videos on YouTube and presentations on  Slideshare (or any other social media channel) then make sure that you optimise the content by writing a headline, including a description, enter tags (Keywords)
  • Social – make sure you have social media sharing buttons wherever you have content. You want people to share. Don’t make it hard for customers to share and spread your great content!

Your challenge is to be everywhere! – Be ubiquitous.

Step 7: Make it Mobile

Laptops and personal computers are not the only devices that your customer, prospects and readers are using today. So ensure where resources and budget allows that your content can be viewed on the various mobile platforms

  • Android Smart phones
  • Apple iPhones
  • iPad’s or  Tablets

Step 8:  Monitor and Measure

This can be really simple to monitor, such as measuring how many hits the blog post receives or using Facebook Insights to measure its virality on Facebook. Other paid  tools such as Meltwater’s  Social Media monitoring tool “Meltwater Buzz” can provide in depth statistics on  your content’s performance and virality.

Step 9: Repeat What Works

This is not rocket science and if an article about a certain topic is shared many times or receives a lot of hits and traffic, then create more content for that topic.

Give them more of what they want, with the topic and media type that resonates.

What successes and challenges have you had with your social media content?

More Reading

Image by Sanofi Pasteur

Jeffbullas's Blog


  • Thorough article and catchy title! You have outlined an effective multi-media campaign for businesses that want to make the most of mobile marketing. The importance of marketing is being increasingly recognized by those who need to get the word out about their products and services. It doesn’t matter how great your business is if no one knows about it!

    • Thanks for the comment Carolyn. Yes, content is great but if no one knows it exists then it is a bit pointless. So create and promote!

  • Sometimes so simple and so right on. You teach well, and that’s why I follow and more importantly, READ.

    • Thanks John for your very positive feedback and glad I am hitting “the spot” 🙂

  • Thanks Adam for your kind comment and I hear things are going well at Temple and Webster

  • Great article Jeff. With regards to Step 4: Find Ideas for Creating Content, TrendSpottr (http://trendspottr.com) is a powerful tool to identify content that is trending and has a high “contagious” or viral factor. Content found on TrendSpottr is not only timely and relevant but also has a very high engagement factor that is likely to resonate with your target audience. Our users have found that using TrendSpottr as a content discovery and content marketing platform has significantly improved their social media presence by allowing them to easily find and publish “contagious” content. Hope you give it a try! 

  • Great post Jeff! 

    I will try to use your ‘publish content on what NOT to do’ next since I haven’t tried that before. Regarding making your content mobile there is a great Word Press plug that I use on my blog. It’s called WP Touch and it works like a charm. (No, I’m not their affiliate…). Check it out here:  http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wptouch/ 

    BTW, what’s the name of that cool plugin you use when I roll-over your images?


    • Jeff Bullas

      Thanks for your comment and kind remarks. The image rollover is created by using the Wibiya app/widget you see at the bottom of the screen

  • Great timing on this, Jeff. I just wrote a similar post to offer readers ideas on what to blog about. I love sharing your stuff because it’s always right on time. Thank you!

    • Thanks for your comment Pam and glad to hear you are sharing 🙂

  • Pretty much the 9 commandments, nice clear step by step for social media marketing at any level, thanks for sharing Jeff.

  • I especially like tip #3. It’s doubtful that all of your target audience members like to receive information the same way.  Mix it up and create content in different formats in order to appeal to a wider audience.  

  • “Headline – learn to write an enticing headline that will make people want to click on the link in Twitter.” I find this to be so true no matter what social network you use. It can be the greatest post in the world (everyone you write is, Jeff), but if the headline is a bomb, no one will click. I come here often 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment Mike! Yes, we all need to learn the art of seduction and it starts with the headline

  • Anonymous

    thank you for this valuable info! I want to use it with my skicare biz and personal use as well! your such a genius, so generous with your time and resources. I am captivated…

  • Thanks for this blog really great keep up with it. specially the way of writing your blog is awesome and fabulous.

  • very insightful. Optimizing content seems to be my issue. Should I use sections and sub-headings even for shorter blog posts of around 400 words?

  • very insightful. Optimizing content seems to be my issue. Should I use sections and sub-headings even for shorter blog posts of around 400 words?

    • I would recommend that you try it. Even if it is only 400 words. Optimize for “Skimming and Scanning”

    • I would recommend that you try it. Even if it is only 400 words. Optimize for “Skimming and Scanning”

  • good tips 

  • @swheaton247

    This is one of the most helpful and comprehensive pieces I’ve come across. Thank you for the article!

  • Great article! Thanks a lot.

  • Marsha Ingrao

    You write great posts. This was another very useful post. It gave me several ideas for projects for some of our organization’s projects. Thanks! 🙂

  • Timeless advice…I did not even realize this post was too years old till I got to the comments. Thanks for laying it out in an easy to understand manner– sharing it as well!

  • Great ideas!

  • Petar Cuk

    Great post Jeff, when using media monitoring tools i always like those that can calculate the virality index of the articles, for example like Mediatoolkit.com