An effective digital marketing strategy is more important than ever for companies to achieve their business goals. Planning your content strategy enables you to reach existing target audiences and tap into new communities like online influencers, who can have a hugely positive impact on your online presence.
Recently, I wrote a blog post on behalf of the American Statistical Association’s This is Statistics website, which exemplifies the content marketing plan we have put into action. The post was brief, 425 punchy words on Florence Nightingale: nurse, statistician, data visualization pioneer. A few days in, it was clear Nightingale was going to be popular. Online influencers in our community and beyond paid attention to the content. The Aspen Institute recognized the content as one of their “5 Best Ideas of the Day,” and Open Culture wrote original content based upon the post as well as sharing it across their social media platforms. Additionally, the infamously anonymous Twitter influencer @pourmecoffee tweeted the content out. When heavyweights with social media networks of over 200K followers each start sharing your content, your strategy has paid off.
Fast-forward one month, and the post is the most visited page on the site this month. So how exactly did the Lady with the Lamp get her day in the sun? Here are three key elements to creating eye-catching content.
Share a Fresh Perspective
The subject matter of the blog post resonates so well with readers because it is at once familiar, new, and relevant. The story presents a unique twist on a well-known historical figure. Everyone knows of Florence Nightingale, but they may not know she was a data nerd. Nightingale pioneered work in statistics for ladies, made hospitals healthier by using applied statistical methods, and designed charts we still use today. These details not only illustrate what an incredible lady Nightingale was, they have particular relevance in today’s career landscape. Data scientist and statistician top the charts of the most in demand and highly paid jobs of 2016. Creating a connection between a compelling story and everyday relevance engages readers in new ways.
Leverage Quality Visuals
Including images when publishing digital content increases engagement. This goes for blog posts and social media. It is essential to consider the quality of the images you select, remembering the visuals are part of your content too. Think of the images as a partner for your written content. When we selected images to include with the Florence Nightingale post, we knew a high quality image of her famous data visualization—the coxcomb—was indispensable. The chart is colorful and intricate, and we found a version which included her handwriting to provide extra historical allure and personality. All these elements add up to impactful imagery.
Build Your Social Community
Social networks should be social. Programs that automate content and schedule posts are convenient, but there is no replacement for directly engaging with your community. We actively and regularly engage with our social networks on Twitter and Facebook straight through the platforms, no bells and whistles necessary. When you build a strong community, you have a potentially large group of readers poised and ready to receive your content.