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How to create engaging content that gets shared

Author: Lilach Bullock, Social Champion

In my last post I wrote about the importance of listening – communicate with your audience – not at them! This flows nicely into the old adage of “Know your customer”. By understanding your customers you are much more likely to be able to provide them with content that they actually want to read. In turn, they will be more willing to read, re-visit your blog, comment on posts, and share your content.

But with the rise of social media platforms we’re also seeing an increase in content – both written and visual. And whilst content is ultimately at the heart of any good social media strategy we’re also being overwhelmed and, indeed, saturated with content. Which of course makes it harder to get your content heard above the infinite noise online.

So how do you create content that engages with your audience? In truth there are so many variables to creating a “killer post” that not only provides value but also creates the viral effect.

Let’s take a step back

Before you embark on creating new content it’s worthwhile having a look at your existing content and how that’s performing. Having a clear understanding of what’s currently working (or not working as well as you would like) will help you improve your content. Take the time to measure your metrics – simple things like:

  • How many shares did the post get (it’s worth digging even deeper here and analysing which social network generates the most amount of shares for you)
  • How did you promote it – via which social channels? How often? Were the social networks you leveraged the right ones for your audience?
  • Did your social broadcasting get many click-throughs or RTs or replies?
  • How many comments did the post get (if none, did you ask for comments? And if yes were they positive?)
  • What calls to action were included (if none, why?)
  • What was the response rate?
  • What was the conversion rate?
  • How many visits did the page receive? (Again compare against other pieces of content.)
  • What was the bounce rate? i.e. were people staying to read the post or were they bouncing off quickly – this is where creating headlines is crucial and can often be more important than the body of the article. Did the headline deliver what it said it would? There is nothing worse for a reader than being disappointed that the article didn’t promise what it would say in the headline.

Quality vs quantity

It may sound obvious that quality content wins every time but it’s all too easy to create “filler” pieces of content. You will receive much better results from posting quality content that really resonates and engages with your audience than populating your blog with lots of content just for the sake of it. It’s far better to produce less content but that the content you do produce provides as much value as possible.


Content planning plays a big role in the creation of content, particularly for larger companies. It’s rare (and often lucky) that an article with no thought process will suddenly generate huge engagement and shares.

Think about:

  • Is it relevant?
  • Useful?
  • Does it educate?
  • Strike a debate?
  • Make them laugh (for the right reasons!)
  • Make them go wow!
  • And, ultimately, leave them with a sense of “I learned something from this.”

Creating a content calendar will also help with this, particularly if there is a team of content creators or if you use an outsourced agency (like ours!) It will make the collaboration process, project management, and output deliverable deadlines much smoother.

It’s important to be flexible though, particularly with upcoming events or trends so that you can write about them as and when they happen rather than the following week or a month later!

It’s useful experimenting with different types of content too. We recently created a 101 series of posts. The strategy behind it was three-fold – we wanted to:

  • Provide huge value to our readers
  • Generate a ton of shares/engagement/traffic
  • Get on the radar of certain companies (which we targeted by including them in our lists)

To give you some more background behind it: the posts were also much longer than our normal ones. Certainly longer than the industry standard (with some of them being over 3000 words).

But there was a clear logic to this: We were going against the “rules” and wanted to be different, and to encourage people to bookmark the post and keep coming back to it. We didn’t want each post to be a one-hit wonder! Instead, they provided immense value and were themed so our audience could see that there was a series of them coming out. For example: 101 Twitter tools, 101 Facebook tools, 101 traffic tips etc.. We didn’t just list the tools but wrote a review of each and every one of them in the article (we actually took the time to research and use all of them – as you can imagine a timely but worthwhile task!)

So don’t forget – you get out what you put in.

Our strategy was fulfilled – many readers were bookmarking the page and revisiting over and over – and continue to do so to this day! So much so, that they have achieved more than 118,000 shares and 270 comments – not bad for 4 blog posts!! :-D

The success of the posts also meant that we generated additional clients (which wasn’t our intention but hey who are we to say no to that?!) and reinforced our credibility in the market place.

So, that’s the theory and also some tangible examples of how the theory creates fantastic ROI. We’d love to hear how your content planning and execution is carried out and how well you think it works (or not!), so do please share this post across all of your networks!

Did you enjoy Lilach’s blog? Vote for Lilach Bullock as your favourite Social Champion below!

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