Anyone can create content, but creating content that gets people talking and engaging with your community is a different story. Reaching your target audience while getting your customers to chat about your brand is the challenge. Last week, Dan Willis was our guest on #SEMrushchat; he and our community provided suggestions and insights to help businesses create content that will spark conversations that are beneficial for the brand.
As always, there were many great tweets to choose from, but we can only choose six answers per question for the recap. We hope the tweets we chose will give you a variety of insights and tips you can use. There is a lot to learn.
You can retweet any of the tips below by clicking on the Twitter logo next to the quote.
You're creating content that adds value to a conversation, not just stating your opinion. People inherently want to engage, not to be talked at.
A more engaged community. Warmer leads from those contributing to the conversation. An opportunity to express yourself as an expert. Gain attention/exposure from peers.
Conversations take place on the Web, and it is often best to be part of conversations that are about you & the Industry you are in, then watching those from a distance, because it gives you a chance to make those positive and make a good impression on people.
Content that creates conversations also creates customer loyalty, brand awareness and higher retention. Given that it is 5x more expensive to acquire new customers, invest in good content to retain and build your customer base... simple!
Content that drives conversations means that a community can form around your brand. People are asking questions, which gives you the opportunity to gain trust and credibility. It also gives you insights into what people think/want and how you can improve!
Building trust is the number one benefit of investing in content that drives conversations. Conversations lead to relationships. Relationships lead to being liked. People do business with you when they trust and like you.
The key is personal connection. The discussion needs to resonate with the reader and center around a problem they are seeking to solve or a cause they believe in. And the tone needs to be welcoming to ensure an authentic conversation.
Ideas and questions that force me to self-reflect. If/when the writing gets me thinking about my own situation while I'm reading... if I can see myself in it... then I'm more prone to jumping in the conversation. As opposed to just being told what to think.
It not only needs to peak my interest but also gets me thinking. Cover topics that haven't been covered before, dive deep into ideas and strategies. Those discussions really tickle my fancy.
I tend to join in a discussion if i think I can add to it in some way. Others tend to do it to get themselves noticed, to push an agenda or to annoy people. All can get a discussion going but some will fulfill Godwins Law quicker than others.
Points I disagree on. Questions that are asked. When a piece asks for opinions. When I feel as if I have something to add to the piece.
My mood. The community. Fun. Business benefits. The theme. Interest. Who else is in the conversation.
Listen first! Social listening is so key when you are trying to create conversations. @Agorapulse and @Talkwalker are my secret weapons when I am trying to actively listen to my social media networks for ideas.
I know firsthand that imposter syndrome screams 'it's already been written.' The fact is that other opinions and even some data points aren't authoritative or comprehensive. Take a position that: 1) helps somebody out there and 2) you really believe (not just SEO).
Talk-provoking content topics: What are contentious issues within your niche? What insights do you want to glean from interacting with your audience? (User-generated content!) Current events - what's happening that is relevant to your community?
If you want people to talk about your content, you need to know your audience and write for either their pain points or the topics they care most about.
Social listening,PAA's, trends, comments, competitive recon, and simply asking followers what they'd like to know more about.
Be connected to your audience! Stop strictly playing the money collection game and offer value. If you’re a part of the community you serve, you’ll know what is interesting. You’ll genuinely have opinions and want to learn of other opinions too!
Before publishing a controversial opinion you must ask: Is this opinion in line with what my brand stands for? Is being controversial in line with my brand's voice? Is this a topic where our brand has a right to comment? Don't do it just because.
ALIGNMENT IS EVERYTHING! Controversy can blow up in your face in a big way! Know your community, know your brand's voice and ethics.
It really depends on the intent…do you want real engagement and conversations to help bring change and awareness or are you just looking for clickbait? They can both help or hurt a brand and it is a fine line to walk.
Controversy exists. Conversations can be enlightening when the discussion helps in resolution or raises consciousness. Handle with care.
I would have to say that it depends on the topic and participants. Drama for drama's sake is tiring and childish. Taking the time to correct a wrong or repeat a fact is cautiously fine. Other than that, manufactured controversy is a waste of my time.
It really depends on the topic and the brand's values. However, it can be done, it just needs to be executed the right way.
Ask a question. Ask users to engage. Post videos. Respond to the comments you get. Post more frequently.
Involve people in the process. Run some polls for instance here on Twitter. It can be a great way to get people talking about a topic before the content is fully created. Then tag people who’s ideas appear in the content afterwards.
End with a question. Respond and reward insightful comments. Ask for comments. Build a community with your replies. Welcome first-time commenters. Share the comment policy. Write content that deserves comments.
Don't stray too far from your topic roots. Choose leaders to help start and model good behavior. Good moderation is a must. Be prepared with facts about topic. Ask good questions. Use proper forum to build trust. Revisit topic to get some new activity.
Set a schedule (ie. scheduled chats). I think we can all agree that showing up for #SEMrushchat is easy because we know a time, we know the expectations, and we've all committed. Keep it simple for users.
Get the ball rolling! Answer your own question first. Also never let a comment go unanswered! Conversations are a two way street. Every comment should get a reply.
Do You Have Any Suggestions for Sparking Conversation?
If so, please share them in the comments below. We also want to thank everyone that participated in the chat. We will be looking for your expert insights this week; SEMrushchat starts at 11 am ET/4 pm BST on Wednesday, September 25th.