Social Media Optimization: Making Content That Travels Well

By Ric Shreves, Michelle Krasniak

A content distribution strategy for social media is nothing without appropriate content. That said, coming up with appropriate content doesn’t have to be difficult. Although you can always create content specifically for use on specific channels, odds are that you already have suitable content that you can use with just a little additional effort.

When you’re preparing content for use on third‐party sites or in your newsletter, keep a few things in mind:

  • Write short, snappy titles that pose a question or plant a seed. The title “Content Management Techniques,” for example, isn’t nearly as compelling as “Ten Easy Tips for Creating Great Content.”

  • Write a strong intro teaser that can be used independently. If you keep your teaser to a reasonable length, you can use it without editing when you post the content to Facebook or social bookmarking sites.

  • Make sure you include links inside the article. Help people find this content on your site, and help them discover other content on your site.

  • Use images. If you’re creating text content, make sure that you also use images. Effective image use increases sharing dramatically.

Repurposing content for use on other sites

Don’t have any PDFs, PowerPoint slideshows, or videos to publish? No problem. Just make some out of your old content! It’s perfectly acceptable to recycle your old content by freshening it and formatting it for a different type of media.

Repurposing your old content can give it new life. You can go about this task in several ways. The simplest approach is to take one of your old articles and freshen it with new data. Bring the article back to life by updating the underlying research or by folding in changes that have occurred since the original article was written. Publicize the updated post as you would a new post. Here are other ideas for bringing your old content to life:

  • Break an old article into smaller pieces and dive deeper into the details.

  • Use an old article as the basis for a presentation. Put the slides you create on SlideShare.

  • Use an old article as the basis for a video. Share the video on YouTube.

  • Create an e‐book, and give it away on your site or sell it on Amazon. Either way, pull out samples and post them to your favorite document‐sharing sites.

When you’re refreshing existing content, try to keep the original URL intact. The original URL is already indexed by various services and may even be bookmarked by some people. If you absolutely have to create a new article, make sure that you link the old and new articles.

Creating teasers

A teaser is a short excerpt from a content item designed to achieve two goals:

  • Tweak the interest of the reader

  • Promote your key phrases

The ability to create great teasers is an essential content marketing skill. A good teaser should inspire the reader to click through to read the entire article. Writing great teasers is more art than science, and developing the skill can take some time, but it’s not hard to do. You’ll quickly discover that crafting a purpose‐built teaser saves you a ton of time as you promote your content on various channels.

A good teaser

  • Is short (no more than one paragraph)

  • Arouses curiosity

  • Makes a connection that inspires action

  • Doesn’t give away the punch line

  • Doesn’t overpromise

  • Avoids clichés

  • Calls for action

Use your teasers in the following locations:

  • Facebook when you post a link to the content

  • The entry page of your blog (assuming that your blog entry page shows only excerpts rather than full articles)

  • Description content on YouTube, SlideShare, Issuu, and similar sites