Conventional marketing wisdom has always believed in the effectiveness of word-of-mouth advertising. People trust their family and friends. But “word-of-mouth” is no longer limited to conversations over coffee or cocktails.
Increasingly, “word-of-mouth” influences come to us digitally through content shared on social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Twitter. Your challenge as a marketer is to create website content people will share, giving you that powerful word-of-mouth referral that makes a big difference.
How much of a difference?
ReferralCandy.com collected data from a number of studies and surveys that universally showed the power of word-of-mouth, including this finding: A 2013 BCG survey of more than 32,000 consumers in Europe and the U.S. show that 66 percent of the respondents consult friends and family and 50 percent consult consumer opinions online before purchasing—two to ten times more often than they consult the media, for instance, and more than they refer even to company websites.
Shareable content is just the beginning. Download our 25 Website Must-Have For Driving Traffic, Sales and Leads, and create your online marketing to-do list for the rest of 2016.
Are you ready to create website content people will share? Here’s how.
1. Make it useful
Useful content gets shared because it helps your readers—aka prospective customers—solve their problems. Create content that addresses your customer personas’ pain points, answers their questions, and helps them do something better, more easily or more quickly.
Useful content could include everything from how-to blog posts to on-site calculators or downloadable checklists.
2. Make it interesting
Surveys show that more than 60 percent of people who share things online, share them because they are interesting. What makes content interesting?
It could be original information readers can’t find anywhere else, such as the results of your own surveys or research.
JONES partner HubSpot has recently introduced an entire website section dedicated to research: https://research.hubspot.com/. With its “Stat of the Week” and a growing library of reports, HubSpot is continuing to build on its reputation of expertise about the marketing industry with interesting content your colleagues would love for you to share.
Content is also interesting when it includes great storytelling that draws the reader in by giving them a person to root for. (Here are 3 foolproof ways to give your content character.) If you are in B2B marketing, you may think it is difficult to put life into your content, but it can be done. Just check out how Cisco made information technology interesting by telling the stories of its customers here.
You can do the same with written case studies that tell a story of a problem, a solution and the partnership that led to success.
3. Make it fun or funny
Content doesn’t always have to be serious. People like to have reasons to smile, too. In fact, 43 percent of people say they share things online because they are funny. I’m sure your own Facebook feed is probably full of the proof of this truth. (Click to Tweet)
Writer and content marketer Eric Deckers offers a few tips on how to use humor effectively in your content—because it can also fall flat (or worse) if you aren’t careful.
As Deckers mentions, humor often works best if you can laugh at little at yourself. HubSpot, populated by plenty of “word nerds” like any of the self-respecting marketing departments who partner with it, recognizes that our obsession can be just a little punny. So why not laugh a little with a round-up of great plays on words?
Fun content can also include games and contests that give your website visitors a taste of competition or an opportunity to win.
4. Make it visual
People respond to, and remember, what they see. They are also more likely to share visual content.
From a marketing perspective, the move to video is inspired by data that shows shoppers who view a video are 1.81 times more likely to make a purchase.
Video content can take on any number of formats, from product reviews to customer testimonials and how-to guides. This infographic from Yeah Local offers up even more ideas.
Speaking of infographics … did you know that these Pinterest-ready images, full of information, statistics and more, are liked and shared on social media three times more than other visual content? (Source)
5. Make it easy
Another key to creating web content that people will share is making it easy for them to do so. Sure, you and I know that copying and pasting a link from one browser window into another isn’t really that hard, but every extra step is one more barrier.
Make sharing your content one-click easy with on-page buttons for top social media networks and email. You can even provide “Click to Tweet” buttons that pre-populate a tweet with the same information your reader just found, saving them a few more keystrokes.
Blog posts, images and infographics, SlideShares, and videos should all have easy sharing options from your website. So should the landing and thank you pages visitors encounter when they convert to a lead by downloading a content offer. After all, if they like your content, you want to them to share where they received it with others who could benefit.
Still need ideas for your blog and website content? Check out these blog posts:
- Content Variety is Essential to a Successful Website
- Secrets to Great Content and SEO From the Industry’s Best
- Ten Ways to Spice Up A Business Blog
- 25 Offers to Appeal to Every Stage of the Buying Cycle
When you create website content people want to share, and make it easy for them to do so, you can capitalize on the 21st century’s version of word-of-mouth.
What else does your website need to complement its shareable content in order to generate leads online? There are 24 more essentials outlined in our 25 Website Must-Haves for Driving Traffic, Sales and Leads ebook. Download it today and see how many you can check off — and how to put in place the must-haves you are missing.