Posted by Carol S. Valdez on Jun 20, 2012
By Carol Valdez
It’s 6 minutes after 10:00 on Monday morning and the meeting is supposed to start, but the person in charge is struggling to get everyone’s attention. Of course she is; the attendees would rather gab with their peers than listen to the veep talk, even if the presentation is perfectly polished, or maybe because it is. It’s human nature.
Real people and their stories tend to be far more interesting because they give us unique insights and perspectives. They’re also more believable. And, best of all, there’s a chance that we’ll be surprised by what they say.
As content strategists, creators, and marketers, we’re like the meeting leader trying to get people to pay attention to our well-packaged, predictable content. While there’s definitely value in such content, to stay fresh and engage users, injecting some reality into your content can go a long way in terms of engagement.
Apply a Healthy (Content) Strategy to Boost Engagement
This is particularly true when you’re trying to get someone to try something new, change an old behavior or get motivated to adopt a new one. Health and wellness is a perfect example. Tossing out facts, figures and “must dos” can come across as talking at the reader. But sharing a real story of a real health problem or personal advice on how to be healthy suddenly connects the writer and reader, and gives them a shared goal.
Three Principles of Peer-to-Peer Engagement
This type of peer-to-peer communication is what Canadian physician, Dr. Mike Evans, advocates that doctors use. To get patients engaged, he advices keeping these 3 principles in mind:
- Stories trump data
- Relationships trump stories
- Individuals trump organizations
Dr. Mike asks doctors: “Is what you’re saying ‘infectious’? And will somebody tell it to a loved one?” If not, nobody will listen, he warns. (Watch him speak on this topic.)
Where to Look for Infectious Content
So where do you find this sort of infectious content?
Ask your customers and followers. The dialog and conversations around the content you’re broadcasting can be prime user-generated content. People tend to share their best stories with their social networks, so it makes sense these channels can be a gold mine for juicy content. Use your insight into your particular audience to figure out what gets them talking.
And then comes my favorite part: filter, curate and package these real stories to fit your business goals. Lee Odden’s book, Optimize: How to Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing, offers some good pointers on the topic.
This post was contributed by senior content strategist and health media content expert, Carol S. Valdez. Thanks, Carol!