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A 15-Step Guide to Creating Viral-Ready Branded Content

Content Marketing

Content marketing is hot. As consumers increasingly use major search engines to discover brands, companies who provide high-quality information are able to capture interest, and business. 33% of the average B2B marketing budget is currently allocated towards custom content creation. If you haven’t designed a content strategy, it’s high time to get started. We’ve compiled our favorite steps on how to succeed:

Step 1: Realize a Content Strategy Isn’t Optional

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If your brand isn’t actively working to implement a content strategy, you risk falling behind your competitors. 91% of B2B organizations are currently using custom content for marketing. 90% of consumers find branded content to be a useful tool for researching products and services. If your website hasn’t published any fresh material in several years, your search rankings and sales pipeline could be suffering.

Step 2: Carefully Source Brand Voices

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The voice behind your company’s content will represent your brand to prospects and customers. Hiring a content creator isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. Outsourcing is currently used by 44% of organizations, but it’s essential to ensure you’re paying for subject-matter experts who have the knowledge and writing chops to educate your audience.

Step 3: Be Original

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As organizations worldwide discover the efficacy of custom content creation for generating leads and converting customers, it’s essential to develop an innovative strategy that will stand out in an era of content abundance. The average B2B marketer is currently using 12 forms of content to connect with their audience; and the most-common forms are social media, blog articles, case studies, videos, and guest blogging.

Step 4: Act Quickly

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Before the internet made everyone with a wireless connection a publisher, marketers could afford to move slowly, and analyze consumer insights before making brand decisions. Today, 2 million blog posts are published every 24 hours. The brands who succeed are those who take a more-nimble approach to marketing, publish more content, and apply consumer insights in real-time.

Step 5: Stop Worrying About Failure

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Despite the fact that content marketing is a relatively new phenomenon, marketers can’t afford to let a fear of failure stand in their way. 54% of marketers are increasing their budgets for custom content in the year to come. As American Entrepreneur Seth Godin puts it, “Change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late.”

Step 6: Be Relevant

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Your content marketing won’t be everything to everyone, and that’s fine. It shouldn’t be. Focus on developing profiles of your ideal customer, so your brand can develop ideas that are closely related to their needs and priorities. Social media thought leader Gary Vaynerchuk has stated “if content is king, context is god.” No one has time to muddle through irrelevant material.

Step 7: Focus on Your Audience

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When a content marketing strategy is approached correctly, it succeeds at educating and informing consumers. If you don’t know their primary FAQ about your product or service, make time to sit down with your sales and customer service teams to learn.

Step 8: Forget Old Formats

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The reason that branded content is such an effective tool is that consumers are a little bit jaded against traditional forms of interruption advertising. The average person is more likely to survive a plane crash then click on paid banner advertising. Forget the formats that may have worked 10 years ago, and recognize that the modern consumer is savvier than ever.

Step 9: Cut the Corporate Speak

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Less than ½ of modern consumers trust television or radio advertisements, or print advertising. Cut the corporate, sales-driven language, and shift your focus towards educating prospects. Only 4% of first-time website visitors are ready to buy. Your content marketing should answer questions at every stage of buyer awareness.

Step 10: Tell Stories

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Your content doesn’t need to take the form of a fairy tale, but you should introduce elements of traditional storytelling. Focus on highlighting conflict resolution, resolving challenges and other principles that are familiar and compelling

Step 11: Don’t Be Boring

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Even if your company’s product or service is very technical or specialized, your content marketing doesn’t need to be boring. One of the most-viral campaigns of all time, BlendTec’s Will it Blend, managed to make heavy-duty blenders humorous and worthy of being shared.

Step 12: Provide Free Value

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There is an abundance of free, high-quality information available online. To connect with the modern prospect, your brand needs to offer value for-free. 61% of marketers are currently using eBooks, whitepapers and webinars to attract and convert leads.

Step 13: Embrace Metrics

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Metrics and analytics are the modern marketers’ best friend. Use website views, shares, downloads and conversions to determine the topics that resonate best among your audience, and continually refine your content strategy.

Step 14: Realize Creating Viral Content Isn’t Simple

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There’s no set formula for viral content. If there were, every brand would have articles and videos with 100,000 views. If your first attempts at content marketing don’t go viral, do not become discouraged. Continue to create compelling content, analyze metrics, and build relationships on social media, and your content will definitely become viral.

Step 15: Don’t Be a Spammer

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Distributing your content on social media channels is essential to get noticed and build an audience. However, it’s essential to avoid being perceived as a spammer. Share others’ work, comment on blogs, and focus on relationships as well as promoting your own work.

Brands who build an online audience and successfully convert organic search traffic into customers are those who embrace content marketing wholeheartedly. Creating something you are confident of, you have all the chances to produce potentially viral content. Be innovative, be original, and continually work to improve!

What do you think about creating viral content? Do you have any personal secrets of creating content that goes viral? Please share idea with us in the Comments section below.

Image credits: cartoons by Tom Fishburne on his site and Bruce Ryan via 4Syllables.

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