Wearable Content

Wearable = Shareable: Create (and Ignite) Compelling Content—A Hiebing Book Report

May 19, 2017by hiebing2021

Content marketers today are faced with a unique challenge, where audiences can find the information they crave without being drowned out by waves of irrelevant stuff. So, what’s a savvy content marketer to do? Strategize.

According to The Content Code author Mark Schaefer, the key to becoming a phenomenal content marketer is to follow this four-step process:

  • Understand the concept of “content shock”
  • Create “wearable” content
  • Distribute and amplify that content
  • Build your alpha audience

Sounds easy, right? Well, there’s more to it than that.

Understanding (and overcoming) Content Shock.

The first challenge content marketers face is what Schaefer calls “content shock.”

In the current landscape of ever-evolving social platforms and the general internet of things, there’s a ton of content distributed every day—and consumers and content-sharers alike devour hundreds of stories, posts, videos and more each day.

Not surprisingly, this can be overwhelming and cause some to experience content shock.

So, how do you get someone to take notice of your content and compel them to share it? For Schaefer, the solution comes down to quality—which means resonating with your target in an authentic way.

In other words, it should be wearable, like a heart on a sleeve or a pin on a jacket, worn (or shared) for all to see.

The Psychology of Sharing.

Before you can create wearable content, it’s important to understand what and why your audience shares.

Schaefer references The New York Times, which conducted a study of people that are most likely to share content and why they did. In short, people share content …

  • To be useful. More than 90% said they carefully consider if the info shared will be useful to their audience.
  • To reflect an image. Nearly 70% said they share content to give people a better sense of who they are (and perhaps what they feel).
  • To build.  About 80% share info online to help them stay connected with friends (70% to create new bonds).
  • For self-fulfillment. 70% share to feel more involved in the world.
  • To advocate. Over 80% share to rally around a cause, belief or idea.

Now that you understand why people share, how can you create content for them?

Start with research. If you can’t afford qualitative research for your audience, look to your social channels to see what people are liking, commenting on or sharing; study Google Analytics to see what is driving them to your site and where they go once there; do reverse web searches using keywords with tools like Google Keyword Analyzer to see what people are researching on your topic.

Creating Wearable Content (Wearable = Shareable).

Think about the last time you shared something on your social channels or summarized a recently read article to a friend.

Essentially, this content you were compelled to share was “wearable” to you (yes, just like the shirt on your back), because it aligned with an aspect of your personal brand or perspective of the world.

The best content (which compels people to share) harnesses a sort of truth by entertaining or inspiring its audience. It taps into an emotion to the point that the audience feels they must share it with the world.

 “If an infographic is published and no one shares it, did it even exist?” –Brian Solis

Distributing and Amplifying Content.

What content marketers need to do next is amplify their content with paid support. Without online ads driving to content on a website, emails driving to blog posts or paid social content encouraging audience members to share the information, there won’t be any lift.

In addition to paid support, there are some best practices to get your audience to share, share, share.

  • Bring down the walls. Depending on the industry, anywhere from 25–90% of customers turn away when content is “gated” by things like newsletter sign-ups and personal info prompts. So, consider providing your content for “free” to anyone who is interested in what you say.
  • Be visual. Read a piece of information and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65% of it. Why wouldn’t you make your content as memorable—and sharable—as possible?
  • Put “life” into your headlines. In a study of content with at least 1,000 shares, 85% had words like “food, home and lifestyle,” while just 14% had words like “business, tech and news.”
  • Social cognition. Another study by The New York Times found that more people are inclined to share content when it reminds them of someone in their own lives. Help your audience help others by tapping into themes that resonate in someone’s day-to-day life.

Building Your Alpha Audience.

Ultimately, the process outlined above is done for one reason: building an alpha audience.

This is your truest fan base, the bull’s eye of your target—the people who subscribe to your emails, follow your social accounts and attend your events. They cannot be overlooked. As for those with whom you already have a solid relationship, you do need to stoke that fire to keep it burning, otherwise they’ll look elsewhere.

Lucky for you, an alpha audience is typically rather small and easily managed. But don’t let that distract you from the power they wield. A Facebook study found that people considered “consistent sharers” of a brand’s content made up about 5% of their total audience. That same study found 90% of what we hear on social media stems from less than 30% of the most vocal sharers!

That’s a few people making a lot of noise.

By building and nurturing an alpha audience, you create a team of advocates that will begin to trust you and your content, which can go a long way.

Ready, Set, Ignite!

So let’s take it back to the start: First, you must remember that creating content is just the beginning.

Content must be able to tap into your audience’s emotions, which makes it “wearable” and compelling to share, helping your brand break through the noise and the clutter.

Finally, amplifying content for distribution will float your message to those who want to see and hear it, all the while reaching and resonating with your devout alpha audience … all of which will help you do what we at Hiebing like to do: inspire brand devotion.

Book reports are one of the many ways we at Hiebing stay curious and hungry for knowledge that betters our work and ourselves. Check back to read about our next book report.

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