How to launch a successful second career. Develop engaging content

How to develop engaging content a key skill for those considering a post retirment career,

The most important thing to consider about creating content is context. It’s not enough to think about the best message; you need to think about who will read it. It would be best if you also thought about what platform they will see it on. What device will they read it on? What time of day will they read it?

Part 1 – Context

What platform?

Social media comes in many different flavours. You have your B2B LinkedIn, your short-form content on Twitter, your multi-media Facebook posts, and your image-heavy platforms like Instagram. Beyond that, there are messaging apps like Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. Each of them has different challenges and appeals to a different audience. You need to choose the platform most likely to reach your audience.  

Most people will choose Facebook because messenger apps are harder to advertise on. Image-heavy apps like Instagram require a non-traditional creative approach to use successfully. Facebook has more than 2 billion active users. If you create an ad on Facebook, you should be aware of the Facebook Audience Network.

When you advertise on Facebook, you don’t just advertise on Facebook; you can track your chosen audience across devices and across social media platforms. Your ad doesn’t just appear on the desktop but on the mobile feed, other websites, in-app ads, and side banners. More than that, it can also appear on Facebook Messenger and Instagram.

When putting out content on a platform, it needs to appear natural. If you are going multiplatform, you need to provide a solid visual component for Instagram. A short, to-the-point message for Messenger and in-app ads. You can select where your advert is seen, you may want to create a small campaign with a native-looking advert for the key platforms. Focus on where your audience can be found

What device?

In some countries like Argentina and Japan, 16-24-year-olds have gone past the tipping point they go on the Internet more on mobile devices than on any other device. This is a trend that is only going to continue. Across all demographics, more people search and consume social media on multiple devices than use desktops or mobile alone.

That means you must ensure that the content you put out reads clearly on the small and big screens. If your desktop content has much amazing information, it’s not likely to do you much good if that copy is cut off after three lines on a mobile feed. An image that looks great on the desktop may also not be bold enough to be read on mobile. Not all people have a flagship modern phone, so a bold image that still works at low resolution is something to be considered – especially if you want people to pay attention and share.

What time should you post?

Many sources on the Internet claim things like you should post at 3 pm on Facebook and Instagram. Or that Wednesday is the best day for engagement. That may be true for the majority of posts, but it won’t necessarily be true for your audience. Kids return to social media after finishing school in the 3 pm hour, who may not represent your demographic.

The best thing to do is to change the times you put out content, and a look at the results with a tool like Facebook Karma. You can also use this to test how many times you should post. The rule of thumb is you shouldn’t post more than once a day on Facebook. Even once a week can still create an effective social presence.

Twitter tends to need higher engagement than Facebook, with people recommending between five and fifty daily tweets. It depends on the nature of your business. You need to find out what works for your brand and audience.

How much interest do they have?

The answer to this should be – as much as possible. Having an audience already interested in your content means they are much more likely to read and share it. That means you need to select your audience carefully. That means working out personas and demographics, but it also means using an HTML code Pixel to track people already interacting with your business.

With this, there are various tools across social media platforms that will allow you to create custom audiences based on this data. Yon can then use those custom audiences to create lookalike audiences who share the same demographic information as people who are already interacting with your business. Depending on your other web traffic, you can put different Pixels on different web pages to track people at different stages in their customer journey.

Related: 4 Signs that you’re Getting Positive Responses in your Content

How much interaction have they had?

It is essential to put a sales funnel in place. Your message should change based on how much interaction the audience already has with your business. Initially, you don’t want to sell to people and turn them off – you want to attract and interest them. At the top of the funnel, you should focus on brand awareness as an objective, not conversion.

Once people have interacted with your top-level content, gauged by things like the percentage of people who watched your video, present them with a middle funnel piece of content. Something to help them make a decision and to choose you. This should be something that shows off your unique selling points and also demonstrates your comparative advantage.

At the bottom of the funnel, you want to drive the customer into an action. Depending on your objective, this can be as simple as watching a video, going to a website, or up to book an appointment for a consultation. It would be best if you had a strong call to action and an incentive. This can be a special offer, a ticking clock in terms of limited time (or spaces left) – or even just pointing out the disadvantages of not using your product or service.

At each point of the sales funnel, the message needs to be different to push people to the next stage of their customer journey. If they don’t yet know they can trust your company, you don’t want to hit them with the hard sell. If they are ready to take action, a top funnel piece of content helps to cement your brand’s reputation and values but probably won’t convert a primed lead.

Part 2 – Purpose:

What is your objective?

It can be tempting to feel that you need to put out content to have a social media presence rather than considering the quality of what you are putting out. It is better to put out one good post weekly than five poor posts a day. One way to have a clear focus is to ask about your objective for every piece of content.

If you have a clear sales funnel, your objective should be clearer – but you still need to work out your end goal. If you ultimately want to drive conversions, your approach at all levels of the sales funnel will be different than if your objective is to drive web traffic.

There should be a thorough line for the customer journey. Look at what your ultimate objective is and work backward. Suppose you want to get conversions, what offer or incentive will engage them? What information do they need to make that decision? How can you attract their attention and interest in a way that still links to your final objective?

What is the audience’s objective?

The purpose for people going online usually fits into one of the ‘Three Es’: entertainment, education, and engagement. People want to find something out – even if it’s only somewhere good to eat locally – that’s education. Otherwise, people seek content that will entertain them, such as cat videos or social media posts.

Beyond that, they are looking for engagement – genuine connections with people. If a friend has lost their job and posts about it online, it can be considered education – but it’s not entertainment. You interact with them because you desire to engage with them, celebrate and commiserate with them.

You may have a clear objective, but unless it matches your audience’s aim to be entertained, educated, or engaged – they will skip past your content. By carefully selected your audience, you will probably be educating them about a product or service they are already interested in.

Entertainment, education, and engagement map well to the top, middle, and end of the sales funnel – which means unless you think about the audience’s objective, you may be meeting them at the wrong point of the funnel. Entertain them to get their attention and interest, educate them to help them make a decision, and then engage with them directly to ask them to take an action.

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