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Give Them Content: Part Two

Kelly Giles
Director of Marketing

Last time, I wrote about how to generate great content (if you missed it, check out Give Them Content: Part 1). So, now what? Get it to your audience!

You might find yourself in this situation: your institution is tech-savvy and socially connected. You know that your target audience spends loads of time on social media, so your social media coordinator posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and maybe a few more social network platforms. And you have a blog. And you send periodic email blasts. And you run paid advertising online. And that’s only your digital marketing! (If you’re not in those places, and you’re wondering if or why you should bother, check out Leading Edge.)

Repurposing content across different platforms is a great way to utilize time and resources, like writers or photographers, efficiently. Especially when trying to get the most out of original material. It’s like starting with vanilla ice cream (your content)  and topping it with hot fudge when you serve it up to your Facebook fans. Then, when you serve it up to your Snapchat followers, drizzle caramel sauce on it instead! Bonus, in this scenario you never run out of ice cream. Yum!

Each platform has a unique language, or taste in the previous metaphor. While copying and pasting from email to tweet is better than not posting at all, it won’t achieve the strongest impact that it could. An alumni email has a much different tone than a Snapchat story and both are very different from Linkedin. While the content itself should remain the same, since it is on-brand and therefore relevant for each audience, the presentation changes. For example, Twitter audiences respond well to emojis.

Texas A&M took the same video and presented it to two different audiences on Facebook and Twitter. 

Note the “whoop!” in the Facebook post, and the emoticons and hashtag in the tweet.

Connecting with your audience improves engagement, and on social media that can translate to a broader reach. These tips will help you present your content in a way that grabs attention on each platform:

  1. Pair it with an image. This is a great rule-of-thumb across all platforms; visuals grab attention.
  2. Write like a human. There is a time and place for formal, APA-style paragraphs. In face, we love that time and place – the formal classroom is the bread and butter of what we market. But it’s not your university Pinterest account. This is social media, where people come to digitally interact with other people.
  3. Take your “human-like writing” a step further by using the tone of the platform. For example, hashtags are most relevant on Twitter, and Instagram posts tend to have a bit of an attitude. If you’re not sure what type of voice to use, spend ten minutes immersing yourself in the platform. Read what other people are posting and pay attention to language. In a situation like an email or blog, imagine the language you would use to speak to someone face-to-face, and mimic that style.

There are a couple presentation pitfalls to avoid, regardless of platform. Doing these is akin to loading up your ice cream with ketchup- fewer people will be interested in the content, and some might even avoid it all together.

  1. “Here is” syndrome. Readers or viewers should know what’s in it for them before they click for more. Consider these two options and ask yourself which is more compelling: “Here is guide to choosing a major,” or “This guide will help you find your future career.”
  2. While teasers are ok, “clickbait” will cheapen your content and earn an eye-roll from your readers. Clickbait is a deceptively intriguing suggestion about what a reader will find in the post or article, and doesn’t reflect the true content. Sometimes, it doesn’t even relate to the content. The most classic (and overused) example is “You won’t BELIEVE what happens next!”
  3. Sometimes, images don’t translate well from platform to platform. Crop and resolution requirements are often different, and images end up distorted. Since most see the image (and make a judgement based on the image) first, that’s a problem. You may need to use an image editing tool to make sure the interesting part of the image appears how you planned.

Syracuse University also nicely repurposed an article when three alumni won Tony Awards.

The tweet: 

The LinkedIn post:

Syracuse University LinkedIn

Now, don’t let your content, or your creamy vanilla ice cream, go to waste! Present it well by appealing to the unique tastes of the platform, and your engagement levels will reflect your efforts.

On another note, here is an opportunity to from a master! Dr. David Peck from Azusa Pacific University is the 2014 International Brand Master! Learn from him and ask him some questions. We will compile your questions and Dr. Peck’s responses for an upcoming blog! Post your questions in the comments of this Facebook post.

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