Anatomy of a Perfect Post

Posted by on Feb 04, 2015

Anatomy of A Perfect Post

Sitting down to the the perfect Facebook status or blog post can feel like an intimidating task. That’s why we put this article together – to provide a solid outline to use when writing for your brand.

Catching and holding your audience’s attention is more challenging today than ever. There has been an explosion of growth in online marketing and people are constantly inundated by ads via email, pop up ads, Facebook, and a multitude of other marketing channels. Your post has to compete to be seen by the people you want to see it  with absolutely everything else in their life – not just other marketing channels. Fortunately, the billions of posts made every day over the last few years have been effectively analyzed by some of the smartest marketers out there. What they’ve found is that there is a template to follow for writing the ‘Perfect Post’ on every marketing channel.

Below is a handy reference for creating a new Blog post, Facebook status, Twitter message, Instagram post, Pinterest pin, Google+ update, and LinkedIn message. While not a magic bullet, these suggestions have been indicated as the most effective way to elicit a response from your targeted audience.

If you’re feeling lost with any of the terminology, you may find it useful to read our previous articles first. These articles cover much of the jargon and topics that make up Digital Marketing in depth. You’ll find part 1 here and part 2 here.

 

 

your blog

  • Use images to support your message! It’s not just to visually show your users what you’re talking about, but to hold and keep their attention throughout the article. It’s generally best practice to start your blog post with an interesting and visually appealing feature image that relates to the topic at hand.
  • When writing a blog for SEO purposes, it’s important to vary the uses of the keywords you’re trying to improve rankings for. Google has become increasingly reliant on Latent Semantic Indexing, which is the practice of extracting the conceptual content of a text using associations between terms that occur in other, similar, contexts. Showing variations of the phrase in question can be an excellent way to further demonstrate to Google what your website is all about.
  • For every post try to write upwards of 700 words per post. By ensuring your word count is above that limit, it’ll increase the variety of longtail keywords and phrases that appear in your writing and allow users to find you with a greater number of different searches. There is a sweet spot for word length in a post, too. Try not to exceed 1500 words – unless you absolutely have to. If you do go over this length, it’s okay, it won’t harm SEO, but make sure that your extra content is awesome and continues to contribute to your post, rather than something to just keep visitors reading.
  • Include a snappy title. Your headline should be around 6 words or less, and it should succinctly describe what users read in the article. Don’t focus too much on this, but remember that people are most likely to read the headline of the article without ever actually reading the content.
  • Use subheadings so users can quickly skim your article to see your main topics/points. These should be descriptive 1 to 4 word phrases that describe the upcoming section.
  • Be sure to break up sections with images. As we mentioned, images can help break the monotony of a large post, and they make it that much easier for your audience to digest your post.

 

linkedin

  • On LinkedIn, what you say is just as important as how you say it.  Stay on target, and be sure that your posts are all business related. LinkedIn is ideal for offering your expertise as establishing yourself or brand as an authority in your field.
  • Don’t be too wordy, but make sure your post has some heft. 2-5 sentences are the perfect amount of content to offer before dropping a link here that leads offsite. You want people to have an idea of what they will read after skimming the beginning of your post.
  • LinkedIn offers a thumbnail preview of links as they’re posted, so be sure to use eye catching pictures with your post. The image itself is what will generally grab the attention of the user, and your message will encourage them to follow the link. There is also an included link shortener within LinkedIn, so don’t worry about using bit.ly or any other service to make huge URLs manageable.
  • Be sure to respond to the comments and messages received. The people leaving a message with you are engaged! So don’t let their curiosity go to waste by inaction. The whole idea of posting on Social Networks is to speak to engaged users. Each of them is an opportunity, and not taking the time to speak to them can lead to a lost connection.
  • One of the best ways of getting engagement through LinkedIn is to join and engage with various networking groups within your industry. Since LinkedIn was designed for B2B purposes, these groups will contain individuals with similar experiences and professional insights and goals as you.

 

facebook

  • Write positive posts! Facebook is renowned for playing social experiments with their algorithm that serves news in feeds, but one thing is sure – Positive posts see more engagement. Use this positivity to inspire and excite your users.
  • The perfect post for Facebook is roughly 85 characters with a link or an image attached. The image/link thumbnail serves to catch the users eye within their newsfeed, while the text should capture the users interest and encourage them to follow the link off of Facebook. This is similar to what happens on LinkedIn, however, Facebook does not have a built in link shortener.
  • Keep in mind that a majority of Facebook users will be active on Mobile NOT just desktop. It’s best to keep your message short, concise, and with an eye catching image to hold their attention. This way, when your users idly check their phones while they’re on the go, you have an increased chance of gaining their attention
  • Use links!! Facebook will give you a huge thumbnail for links within status updates. You don’t even need to post the full link URL, either. Simply copy and paste the link you want to use, wait for the thumbnail to be displayed, and then you can erase the link and hit send. Facebook will display the thumbnail for the link, as well as any message you’ve written.
  • Provide useful information! But don’t disclose it all up front. The end goal is invariably to have users leave Facebook and follow the link you’ve provided. You can accomplish this by using ‘click-bait tactics’, or essentially teasing the users curiosity to the point that they feel they have to click it or else they feel like they’re missing out on something.
  • Investigate your Facebook page’s Insights (analytics) to determine when your audience is most heavily engaged with your posts. This will give you an idea of what times you should schedule making your posts.
  • Don’t just post, remember to respond to comments and mentions from your audience! Engaging with people and building positive relationships online are at the core of what makes a strong social media campaign.
  • Make sure to include pictures! The best way to get a strong reaction from your audience is to force them to see what you want them to see. This can be accomplished by including images with text, or just big beautiful images that catch the eye.
  • Don’t be worried by a low post reach. Shifts in the Facebook newsfeed algorithm have made it so that brand pages see an average of only 2% organic reach. That’s to say, if you have 100 followers, a post will only naturally reach 2 of those followers. This reach can be increased by paying for Facebook ads, but be sure to consult your social media manager before creating a PPC or Boosted Post campaign to make sure that you get the most value from your paid campaign..

 

twitter

  • Using hashtags is is a great way to increase that maximum reach of a tweet.  By using relevant, high-traffic hashtags, you’ll be able to piggy-back onto current conversations and create a way for new users to find your stream through focused keywords.
  • Don’t overdo it with hashtags. Use only 1-3 a message, and try to hashtag only the most important points. It can look tacky and unprofessional to overuse hashtags.
  • Write a clear “Call To Action” or give your readers a clear idea of what you want them to do after reading your message. “Click to read more!” “Retweet to show support”, etc…
  • Twitter only allows for messages up to 140 characters, so it is best to keep your tweet somewhere around 100-120 characters. This way, you leave room for followers to retweet and have space for their own comments. It can be hard to squeeze a message down to 100-120 characters, but try not sacrifice spelling or grammar in order to accomplish it.
  • When possible, try to avoid using any abbreviations or writing messages using capslock only. THERE’S USUALLY NO NEED FOR YELLING, SO WHY WOULD YOU TYPE LIKE THIS? Sometimes there’s no choice but to abbreviate a word in a tweet, so the best practice is to try and make sure that abbreviation is as clear as possible.
  • When you come across relevant content to your audience, retweet and leave 20 characters or so of space so that other users can add their input.
  • Always shorten links. Space is scarce within a Twitter post, so maximize it by using a service like bit.ly or tinyurl to take a regular link and shrink it down to a manageable size.
  • Including an image or a video will make your post stand out on a users feed. Consider creating images or videos that will enable your brand to speak effectively to your users.

 

pinterest

  • Use long pins! Images that are taller than they are wide are repinned more frequently.
  • Use trending hashtags to reach a broader audience, and rich pins to advertise specific boards, pins, or even brands.
  • Write concise descriptions that describe the images in a way that will engage readers and encourage them to actually click the link (remember, we want people to go back to our website from Pinterest, not just have them repin our awesome pictures).
  • Use RED pins, rather than blue. Images that have more red tones are repinned more frequently.
  • The more color used, the better. Multiple colors in an image tend to get much more repins than pins with just a few.
  • Avoid using images with people’s faces. Pictures with faces are not shared nearly as much as pictures without.
  • Try and use images with little going on in the background. Pictures that have the object in question in the forefront tend to see more engagement than images with lots of distractions in the background.

 

instagram-logo

  • To succeed on Instagram, you have to start with a good, high quality, images or videos. Try to keep in mind the rule of thirds – the eye is naturally more attracted to images that take up roughly 2/3rds of the screen.
  • Unlike Pinterest, blue images tend to see more engagement. Red and Orange tones are not nearly as popular on Instagram as they are on Pinterest.
  • The attached message should be short and concise – don’t worry about including the ‘ideal keyword’, just write in a way that appeals to your audience. You can also use the message to drive a reaction from your audience. Asking questions can be a great way to get followers to engage with you!
  • Use hashtags to reach bigger circles with your message. It’s wise to thoroughly investigate hashtags to make sure that using the hashtag won’t be a gaff. (link an example of a gaff). Try to be industry relevant with your hashtags.
  • Don’t forget to tag your friends or employees! Address their account directly with the ‘@‘ sign. This can be a great way to reach not just your audience, but the audience of the individual you’re speaking to.
  • You can’t hyperlink on Instagram. If you want to specify a url , make sure you’re using very short urls that your audience will remember (ex google.com). You can also use a link shortener service (like bit.ly) but anyone who wants to follow a link will have to manually retype it in his or her browser – mobile or otherwise.

 

Google-Plus-Logo

  • Use hashtags to tag brands and people. When tagged, they’ll receive a notification and may choose to engage with your post.
  • Google+ is the most rewarding platform for long form posts. Ideally, posts on Google+ will be between 3-5 sentences.
  • Using hashtags, you can get involved with real-time events and show that your brand is keeping up with current happenings. This can also be a great way to increase your brand’s visibility.
  • Images on Google+ should be large, and high quality. Big images (ideally 800×600 px) really stand out on the page when compared to smaller images or even thumbnail previews.
  • Google+ thrives on communities, and there is always one that is relevant to any niche. By joining these communities and contributing content, it is very likely that you’ll see a marked increase in Google+ engagement. Why? Because you’ve found a place to directly speak to people about what it is you have in common.
  • Google+ is unique, in that it’s a small community, and one that isn’t necessarily the most active, but responding to comments as they’re made can encourage engagement with your brand. Comments and responses are also very public, and very long lasting on Google+, so well thought out responses are important and necessary.  In sum, the single most important Social Network to respond to your customers on is Google+. The reviews stay around for a considerably longer time than Facebook, are easier to find, and will show up when a customer does a ‘brand search’ or searches directly for your companies name.

Keeping these tips in mind will allow you to easily, and efficiently, create content on a variety of platforms without distorting your message. Each platform has its different strengths and weaknesses; with these suggestions you’ll be able to fully maximize each platform.  However, there is no silver bullet for content writing, and one thing we didn’t touch on is how important it is to write for your audience! You can’t hope for success by just posting – Social Media is a conversation, and listening is as important as speaking. It’s also difficult, particularly as a brand, to gain traction in an online environment that’s becoming more and more saturated. With this in mind, start with these guidelines and experiment until you find a formula that works for you.

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