Once you’ve created your “sun” content, around which everything else revolves and gets its energy, you create planets (blog posts) and moons (social media posts). When you do those things properly, and target the right audience, you’ll get the “stars.” What you’ve created is your “owned content”. You created it or paid someone to create it, and you own it. You can publish and repurpose it all day long. What you cannot control, but should always be aiming for is the stars: earned content.

Earned content is what happens when someone else likes your content enough to create their own content that points back to you. Like the stars, it’s a beautiful thing. Here are 5 things you must do in order to reach the stars and earn the earned content.

  • Know your audience – Who are they? Where are they? How do they engage? What types of content do they eat up or ignore? Talk to them like you talk to your existing customers, which requires that you actually talk to your existing customers.
  • Create compelling content – “Compelling” is vague. Take a stand. You might make people uncomfortable, but that’s ok. If your organization is truly solving a problem for a large market, then making your audience uncomfortable with the status quo is good.
  • Engage your audience – Don’t make this harder than it is. Ask questions. Dig deep into what makes your audience tick. If you know them, you know what they like, don’t like, and are passionate about. Talk about these things.
  • Respond within the channel – When someone emails you, email back. If they DM you on Instagram, DM them back. Use the channels that your audience uses. Go where they are. Engage them the way they engage you, whatever that is.
  • Make it easy – Have you ever tried to find a phone number on a small business website, only to find that the only way to contact them is via the crappy contact form on the Contact Us page? That means they don’t know you. Find out how your customers engage, and make it easy for them to engage.

Is earned content guaranteed if you do these things? No. But it’s a guarantee that nobody will ever engage in any of your content if you don’t do these things.


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