Just a few years ago, the term “spreadable content” may have referred to a jar of mayonnaise or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Now, of course, it refers to media that’s specifically designed to be shared as many times as possible.
According to the recently released Public Relations Generally Accepted Practices (GAP VIII) study published by the Strategic Communications and Public Relations Center at USC, creating spreadable content is a top priority for communications professionals and the organizations they serve.
Here are some factors to keep in mind as you create content:
Remember your audience. Engage with them first to discover who they are, what they need and what they want to hear from you. In anything you create, you want to ultimately highlight those aspects about your company that work well.
Have someone recognizable. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a movie star or sports hero, just someone connected to your message in a relevant way. Some examples include authors, community activists or top business professionals in your field.
Be authentic. Create content that you believe in and that speaks to your audience. Otherwise, you run the risk of creating something wonderful and viral, but no one connects it to your company. If you remain true to your brand, your passion will show through, so even if it doesn’t go viral, it will still be a success.
Always provide value. If people aren’t interested in what you have to offer, they’ll be more likely to pass on it instead of passing it on. Typically, people want to appear knowledgeable and be informed about the latest news and trends. In addition, when your company is a thought-leader in a particular area, the probability that your content will be shared increases dramatically.
Know what sentiment to express. Research has shown that people are more likely to share information that elicits some type of emotion. Decide whether you’re trying to make people laugh, tug at their heart strings, astonish them or get them riled up enough to do something. No matter what emotion you’re going for…
Stay positive. News organizations tend to follow the mantra that if it bleeds, it leads, but this does not hold true when it comes to social media sharing.
Make sure what you create will be shared for good reasons. Several companies, such as Volkswagen, have earned criticism for creating content viewed as racist. While you want to stay away from offensive material, sparking conversation is a goal to aim for, like that surrounding the Cheerios commercial featuring a mixed-race couple and child.
Remember that once you hit “Send,” the content you’ve created may no longer be yours and you have no control over where it goes. Since your company’s name and brand are on the line, make sure all content is worthy of the good reputation you have worked so hard to build. However…
Don’t let fear hold you back. Often, when we try to exert too much control, the content becomes boring or methodical. If you don’t make it shareable – both socially and technically – it won’t be.
Choose the right platform. Go where the people are. One of the findings from the GAP study showed that Twitter use has grown, while the number of companies using Facebook is unchanged.
At Axia, our strategic communication initiatives and Blogosphere service will help to make the most of your content and get your company noticed. Contact us today to learn more.
Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter at @axiapr.
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