It’s the No. 1 type of social media people share
Want to write content marketing pieces that get shared?
Before publishing content, make sure it’s entertaining. That’s the No. 1 reason people share content, according to Chadwick Martin Bailey:
- Because I find it interesting/entertaining: 72%
- Because I think it will be helpful to recipients: 58%
- To get a laugh: 58%
(Another approach: Reach readers on an emotional level, according to a study of most-shared content at The New York Times.)
Want to write high-quality content that gets your stories read and your organization followed? Here are three ways for making all kinds of content marketing efforts more interesting and entertaining.
Steal from the FBI.
That is, steal techniques for writing entertaining tweets from @FBIPressOffice.
OK, granted, the FBI material is great. You’re probably not writing about bad cops, undercover stings and dog-fighting rings. But here are some tricks any of us can use:
1. Write mini-heads. When used with captions, two- to four-word “catchlines” draw attention and increase readership. I suspect the clever, feature-y mini-heads on these tweets — “Gotcha!,” “A Dangerous Betrayal” and “Bodies of Evidence,” for instance — do the same thing.
“Gotcha!: Bad Cops Caught, Part II: Five cops go bad in Memphis, Tennessee, and the FBI worked with police. http://bit.ly/d4M1h”
“A DANGEROUS BETRAYAL: The Case of the Cash Hungry Contractor: An undercover sting helped prevent a federal energ… http://tinyurl.com/lzvnrp”
“CANINE CRUELTY: Five-State Dog Fighting Ring Busted: A year-long multi-agency investigation results in approxima… http://tinyurl.com/mffmh6”
2. Find the drama. You’re sharing a story, right? Not just promoting your products or services?
If so, then something interesting must be happening here. If not, your problem isn’t the writing, it’s the content. Reconsider your tweet.
“CRIME FROM BEHIND BARS: The Case of the Con Turned Con Artist: Inside a two-year identity theft and bribery scheme … http://bit.ly/c4AfNq”
3. Push the verb. Remember, the verb is the story. Verbs like “go bad,” “busted” and “exploit” tell good stories. Verbs like “announce” and “introduces” just point to the noun.
“Fraudsters Continue to Exploit Telecommunication Relay Services http://tinyurl.com/n6jkdg”
Plus, research by Dan Zarrella shows that tweets containing novel words tend to be retweeted more often than those that don’t.
4. Choose interesting nouns. Verbs are the story, but nouns help, too. “Sting,” “ring,” “bad cops,” “body farm” and “fraudsters” are fascinating nouns.
Phrases like “Year-long multi-agency investigation” are not. Use Visual Thesaurus and other tools to choose more like the former and fewer like the latter.
“BODIES OF EVIDENCE: Part 1: FBI Trains at Body Farm: Every year, 40 Evidence Response Team members arrive on a w… http://tinyurl.com/kjla6l”
5. Model the masters. Follow @FBI to find ideas and inspiration for your own tweets.
Tweet like WADOT.
The Washington State Department of Transportation Twitter feed brings a sense of humor to public service announcements and other official communications. Take a tip from these tweets when creating content of your own:
“@blowdart Doh! We’ll do better next time. We feel the same way about ‘daylight-saving time’ – hyphenated, no S.”
“PSA O’day: It’s not the luck of the Irish that’ll get you home safely; it’s a cabby or DD. Don’t drink and drive. #stpattysday”
“Thunder, lightning, hail & rain, oh my. http://twitpic.com/49trz5 Be sure to leave extra space btwn you and the cars in front.”
“Expecting busy weekend for @wsferries. Pack patience if ferry trip planned for this wknd. Ferry alerts: http://bit.ly/9EfdcV”
“Slightly giddy watching tug pull the 1st pontoon, then reminded there are 76 more to go: http://bit.ly/S7COZL #followthetug”
“There’s a breakdown worth gawking at … a couple of gorgeous classics on SB I-405 exit to SE 8th. http://yfrog.com/ocxk8ktj”
Blog like Alex Robinson.
Alex Robinson, CIO of Norwich Union UK, the world’s sixth-largest insurance group, brings the humor to his internal IT blog. You heard me. I said humor … IT blog. Here are a few of his pieces:
Instructions like this make me feel trapped. “Uh oh! I’m in an automated process”. There is no way out unless you follow the instructions…
I read the rules for creating my new password:
- The password must be between 6 and 8 characters inclusive
- No single character can be repeated more than twice
- There must be at least 1 alpha and 1 non-alpha character in the password
- Passwords must include at least 4 unique characters
- You can not re-use old passwords for 24 months
- Passwords can not include your username
- Passwords must have at least 4 different characters from previous password
It was harder than soduko. Like many people I struggle to remember all my passwords … so I tend to choose passwords with a theme to make them more memorable.
This one was fiendish. What theme could I use that would include a non-repeating cycle of 24, as well as having at least 4 different characters different each time and still not exceeding 8 characters all together?
What about the names of my childhood pets plus the phone numbers of my former girlfriends in sequential order? … No, that wouldn’t work … I didn’t have 24 different pets (shame I didn’t bother naming all the Guinea Pig’s offspring) … Or enough girlfriends.
How about the registration numbers of all the cars I ever owned or drove? … No, still not 24 and too much repetition …
I pondered the problem. I went to get a cup of coffee. I came back.
Got it! …
I could use non-consecutive numbers in the Fibonacci sequence combined with the 15 noun declension case endings in Finnish based on the Finnish word for “Password.”
Write entertaining content marketing campaigns.
To reach your target audience, use these techniques for all of your content creation? Good writing is good writing regardless of the types of content, whether you’re writing a blog post or a brochure, a tweet or a treatise.
So write interesting, entertaining, funny digital marketing pieces. That’s one of the best content marketing strategies there is.
 The Content Marketing Institute agrees!
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