Please forgive me for the title, I couldn’t resist. But I would like to think it is apt in some ways. The creation of influence in content is no more formulaic than the influence in business is.
Being kind, helpful, likeable… these are all principal factors in making content that genuinely attracts readers and builds your authority beyond the scope of the piece.
Don’t worry, this is not going to be some carbon copy of How To Win Friends and Influence People made or the modern digital age. You can find that sort of thing all over the web. Instead, I am going to give you some basic, effective tips for creating content that really influences the reader.
(Special thanks to the brilliant Dale Carnegie for giving us a piece of work that is almost always relevant to reference.)
Catch Their Eye Immediately
Admit it, the title of this post caught your interest right away. That is because it was something you couldn’t ignore, due to its reference to such a well-beloved piece of classic non-fiction literature. I managed to catch your eye and interest right away.
Using a snappy title will help you do that. This has also been called “clickbait” in the past by the more cynical, or “sensational headlines” by the flat out sneering. I don’t like either term, because they sound so negative. There is nothing wrong with a title that makes you want to read, as long as it is honest about what you will get.
Demonstrate With More Than Words
We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words, yadda yadda. But you might not realize just how important solid media is for the success of your content. Even content that is primarily text-based.
Let’s look at a few stats:
- Xerox found that readers are more than 80% more likely to actually read a piece if it has color images.
- KissMetrics found that content with relevant visuals get 94% more views.
- Syndacast found that email headers with “video” in the title increased open rates 19%, among several other benefits.
- Massplanner found that infographics are liked and shared 3x’s more than other media on social platforms.
- Buffer found that visual content is 40x’s more likely to be shared on social media than text posts.
These are only a couple snippets of the data released this year about the importance of visuals and media in successful content.
Give Figures and Facts, Not Fantasies and Folly
You may notice in the above tip I shared some information with you. That info came with sources, data and hard numbers. I could have just told you my reasons for thinking that visuals are really cool, maybe provided some anecdotes to convince you. But would it have been as impressive? No.
Some content creators have made the wrong assumption that since most of their readers are laymen, they are going to be happy with the fantasy, and have no need for the facts. So they give their word and lean on their authority as an “expert” to sell it, never realizing that they are actually undermining their own expertise and annoying their readers in the process.
Influential content has figures, facts, data, and hard evidence to support its bolder points. Of course, not every post is going to require proof, because it isn’t making an argument. You should know when to post facts, however.
Incorporate All Those Social Platforms (The Right Way)
You don’t have to keep your content in one place. Expanding beyond is a great way to bring what people want to read directly to them, and to catch their eye no matter where they are throughout the day.
My favorite example of this is LinkedIn blog posts. People will connect with others in their industry by creating well-written posts that end up being shared not just on LinkedIn, but across the web. Facebook also gives you this ability, thanks to its loose word limit.
Or you can use tools like Periscope, Instagram, Vine, etc to stream or create videos and loops that will make their way around the Internet.
My point is that there is no shortage of options for you when it comes to the now massive social web.
Post Content All Day, ‘Err Day
Consistency is pretty important these days. I used to recommend people post content maybe three times a week for steady growth. But that isn’t going to give you the amount of influence you are looking for, so I am not amending that statement and giving some fresh advice.
I think you should post content every single day, several times a day. The important thing to note is that I don’t mean the same kind of content.
A thorough article or blog post can only be posted maybe once or twice a week, unless you have multiple writers at your disposal. The same goes for well-made videos with heavier production value/scripts/etc, which may only be posted once a month or less.
But you can also engage with mini posts, collaborative posts, master list posts, short video clips, casual video clips, interview pieces, transcripts, and much more.
Be Very Careful with Memes!
The common wisdom I see is to use memes, but only if you are sure you are using them the right way. I maintain that brands seldom use them the right way. It usually comes off looking tacky, and sometimes just flat out misses the point.
Here are a few ways to use memes the right way. Brands has less freedom with using memes: They always run into a risk of being politically incorrect or offensive which can backfire and turn into a reputation management disaster. Train your team to avoid memes altogether if you are not sure whether they will be able to do that correctly.
Do you have any tips to share? Do you know how to win over readers with influential content? Let us know in the comments!