How to Create Share-Worthy Content That Leads to Sales
By Sandra Manzanares
About Inbound Marketing
What’s driving your sales? Even if you’ve got some amazing listings in great markets — and that’s generating business right now — you still have the potential to hit a rough patch. The hope that your product or service will generate organic interactions limits the control you have to reach a mass amount of consumers, generate valuable leads and increase sales. So how can you be proactive and guarantee leads for your business through any market? Through strong content marketing.
We’re no longer in an age of yelling at the consumer to get them to listen. Striking content engages, leaves a lasting impression and has the ability to make people buy. Enter Wren, a small (four employee) Los Angeles–based womenswear brand and content studio. In early March 2014, they released a video of strangers kissing that went viral in a day, and according to Wren’s Founder and Creative Director Melissa Coker, their video’s viral traction increased site visitors by 14,000% and increased their sales by 13,600% within weeks of its release.
Let’s examine its growth:
- Wren quietly launches their video on Style.com
- Employees and participants send link to friends and colleagues via e-mail and social networks
- That evening it appears on the front page of reddit.com
- The next day the video reaches 2 million views
- It inspires parodies (including one by Jimmy Fallon)
- In less than a month, the video and its movement are covered by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Adweek, Fast Company, etc.
And the story continues to grow: At the time of this article’s posting (a little over a month after its debut), the video has over 78 million views on YouTube. Crazy.
Wren’s success is another win in the viral video market — along with powerhouses like Dove and Volvo — that is changing the nature of marketing, where the power of content is put at the center of brand awareness, and where organic sharing can impact a company’s sales numbers. This method (plus or minus shock value) is how real estate professionals should be thinking about their content marketing strategy.
“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
— Steve Martin
How to Make Your Content Share-Worthy
Many people theorize on what makes strong, shareable content — and even more so — what makes it go viral. Here we consider some fundamental characteristics and how to add your own special sauce of creativity and share tactics:
Crafting Your Message
Messaging that builds brand awareness is one of the most effective ways to connect with consumers. If you can find a way to communicate your brand story without pushing your business goals, you build familiarity and trust. This a skill that takes honing. While your goals may include increasing leads, closing leads, or increasing your brand following, you certainly don’t want your audience to feel that in your content. Identify what your customer is attracted to and what problems they may face. Use these ideas and your solutions to jumpstart your brainstorm: Find ways to show you support or solve these, always considering how you would work in conjunction with your customer and make them willing participants in your content. This will increase the likelihood they will make the decision to share it and potentially side with your brand in a consumption situation. You might ask, “What does a womenswear clothing brand have to do with kissing?” Well, nothing and, yet, lots. Other than the models who wear the brand’s clothing in the video, the project is simply an experience they believe their customers would find appealing and worth engaging with. Above all, it doesn’t scream desperation.
Appeal to Emotions
Every piece of viral content appeals to emotions, whether that’s humor, sadness, sentimentality, fear, anxiety, stress, love, companionship, or lust… and the list goes on. That’s because emotions stick with people long after they view content. Those pieces that choose and focus on one clear emotion are the most successful. Selling that perfect home? Maybe you want to focus on the stress of the experience and your take on how to make it easier and enjoyable. Or you might consider love, and how a house is a monumental step for families.
Once you consider your intended emotion, think about the other content and ads you’ve experienced. Brainstorm how to make something that people wouldn’t expect, but will really enjoy. If everyone is simply showing the inside of a house, consider how you might spin that experience differently. Think like Wren: It’s usually uncomfortable to watch people kissing, let alone strangers, but they knew that most people might find this intriguing to watch alone. Shock can work to your advantage. Video of a whacky original song? Virtual scavenger hunt that uses TV show references? Standing out from every other generic website and social media feed will make clients remember you. And often, that personal connection is what sells.
Remember, this type of content does not overtly sell anything. It’s about offering an experience that aligns your standards and goals with that of the intended viewer. The best content doesn’t ask for anything. There may be no call-to-action. There may be no product. Rather, it invites you to experience something new. Wren deliberately set out to create a film, not a commercial. Think about how to communicate your brand’s values without putting sales jargon or product pushes at the forefront.
According to Boston.com, “The human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text and 90 percent of the information transmitted to the brain is visual.” This means that visuals will take center stage in your content. That same article noted that, “Viewers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video,” so video is your strongest bet, but infographics, slides and strong photography are still solid content pieces. Make sure that your visual content is of high quality and interesting to the eye.
The greatest pieces of content typically took some time and resources to compile. Whether this is research, preparation, editing or money, you’ll have to put in some honest effort to create something worth sharing. This makes sense, though: If everyone could create good content, they would all be viral successes. The good news is that you don’t have to use a major agency or spend tons of money. Many successful campaigns have launched from small, organic, and small-budget projects that implemented hard work (Wren’s own video production cost around $1,300). Scale your content based on your resources and push it as far as you can.
Step back from your content and think to yourself: Would you share this content, and would this content inspire an interaction with your brand in the future? If you’re hesitant in any way, take notes of what could be stronger and add these features. If you’re too involved, feel free to ask a colleague or close friend for honest opinions. If you’ve gone the route of hiring a creative agency, make sure you’ve offered as much input as possible during the brainstorming stages and that you’re making critical edits that support your content’s shareability.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
— Maya Angelou
Your Share Strategy
Effective search engine optimization will ensure that your content will rank highly for appropriate search terms. This becomes even more important when your content is widely shared, so people can easily locate the one you posted first in their searches (because if it’s good chances are it will be duplicated or replicated).
The Power of Word of Mouth
You know who’s willing to repost and spread your content. Use them. By now you probably have a strong network of colleagues, family and friends, and even happy clients. Make them feel special by sending content their way first (before you blast on social). Don’t forget to say, “thank you”!
How You Distribute, and When
The next step is spreading your content on social media. How’s your social media strategy? Sometimes distribution is based on internal factors (a product or site launch) or external (an upcoming holiday or market trend). Prioritize based on your goals. Just make sure that the content is distributed in the same way it is branded. Social taglines shouldn’t scream, “buy our new product!” In fact, viral content’s distribution typically includes catchy and emotive language, not ad language accompanied by links to sales pages. If your content is good, making it eye-catching and constantly present on social media primes it for engagement. You may also opt to send your information to major channels to see if it gets picked up. Make sure that your pitch is descriptive and has alluring details.
Wren’s video debut was hosted by a larger media entity, Style.com, as part of an initiative to help small brands. This is a great model for how you can use guest posting to add share potential to your content. If you have creative content that could be valuable to other sites’ users, you may consider pitching it to them to post for their large following. This creates content for the host and builds exposure for your content.
Measure Success and Strategize
Analytics and Engagement
Is your post being shared, and where? Is the social response what you had hoped? Has your follower account increased? Are you getting referral traffic from lots of sources? Has the amount of unique visitors to your site increased? If most of these are yes, that means your content is doing what it should. Be warned that your website may experience a high bounce rate. This could simply mean that your audience loved your singular piece of content but may not be in the market for your product or other site content (right now). Fear not, though: This still builds important brand awareness. Folks exposed to your content may not be currently in the market to sell or buy a home, or even in your area, but you want to be the one they think about when they are.
The next obvious step is looking at the volume of interest in your listings and, eventually, close rates and sales. This will let you know if your messaging is in line with your products, and if they’re filling the right market needs. It may also highlight whether it’s your messaging or sales procedures that may be in the way of your growth. This could be an immediate spike or something that takes a few to several months to determine.
If neither of these areas sees growth, or maybe one area sees strong growth, but the other doesn’t, then it’s time to go back to those guidelines and see how you can rework your content so it will communicate your brand message better and resonate with audiences. If all the stars align and it’s a hit, celebrate and take note of what made it work.
Is your content worthy of some love? To guarantee shares that pack lots of sales potential, put the sales lingo down and consider how strong storytelling in your content can draw people in.
What are your favorite pieces of share-worthy content? Let us know in the comments!
Published on April 17, 2014
Written by Sandra Manzanares
Writer, editor, and marketing manager with a passion for helping brands enhance their content marketing strategy. I'm a firm believer that creative storytelling is an essential part of the way we communicate. Constantly striving to fill my head with as much creative and analytical information as possible.