This is Part 4 of a four-part series. For more insight into the Three S Model, check out this introduction, complete with a handy infographic, as well as Part 2, which features a deeper look at making content searchable, and Part 3, which looks at creating snackable content.

No doubt, consumers today are very social in their information gathering. Facebook alone collects almost 3 billion likes and comments per day, and Twitter reports a daily average of a half-billion tweets. As companies develop content marketing programs, user engagement is becoming a top indicator of success. Therefore, marketers must ask: Is this content something our community will share? If each piece speaks to the passions and interests of the community, then that answer is yes.

At last month’s Content Marketing Summit, hosted by Rise Interactive and my company, Skyword, leaders from IBM, Rise Interactive and Norton by Symantec gathered to discuss strategies for producing “shareable” content to generate brand awareness through search and social media. I’ve included their insights below.

Know thyself:

Before you develop content, identify what sets the brand apart from the rest of the crowd. According to Jon Morris of Rise Interactive, the content journey starts with a clear understanding of self. To do this, Morris suggests following these steps:

  1. Determine where your company’s voice ranks in your industry and community.
  2. Measure the degree to which new and existing customers engage with the brand’s existing content.
  3. Map out the areas of strength and weakness within your content performance compared to competitors.

This exercise is key for understanding which content efforts and distribution channels bring the most return and areas for growing brand awareness.

Partner with influencers:

Another tactic that will help to boost a brand’s social standing is strategic engagement with industry influencers. By engaging with experts who have developed powerful networks, brands can offer customers deeper insights and leverage influencers’ social following. Leslie Reiser of IBM’s content marketing program, which serves midsize business owners, recommends inviting influencers to contribute to your brand’s content program. Who within your industry does your audience look to as a trusted resource? Once you have a solid list, Reiser recommends the following steps for strategically recruiting contributors and building long-lasting relationships:

  1. Make initial correspondence personal, meaningful and positive.
  2. Treat influencers like you would media.
  3. Offer something of value.
  4. Follow with questions in a timely manner.
  5. Expect to be challenged.

Use the right tools:

When you produce great content, it’s important to understand the tools you can use to optimize its shareability. Skyword, for example, helps companies develop the right kind of content for their brand and then encourages writers to share the content they write within their own social profiles. The platform allows content program managers to reward their writers based on content performance. Travis Wright of Norton by Symantec listed numerous social sharing and optimization tools for identifying topics and optimizing content performance, including Sysomos, Unmetric and Simply Measured.

The post is by Patricia Travaline, vice president of marketing at Skyword. Follow her on Twitter @travwin.

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