Your English teacher was only half right.
If you had an old school teacher, they probably taught you the following writing formula: Say what you’re going to say, say it, then tell the reader what you said.
But let’s be honest, writing formulas can sometimes feel like an unnecessary constraint on your creativity. However, what if we told you that formulas don’t hinder creativity? In fact, they can help guide your organic social media content ideas to their fullest potential.
If creating viral content is what you’re aiming for, we’ve got a formula for that too: What, How, and Why. And we’ve got the perfect reference for you: Mark Rober, who has perfected the formula.
First things first – figure out ‘what’ you want to say. During your brainstorming phase, make sure your ideas pass the following criteria. Firstly, the format must be highly shareable – how do you know this? Extensive research. Secondly, make sure the content appeals to the masses and not just a small niche audience. We call this the generalist approach, which counters conventional marketing practices, but triggers the algorithm to serve your content to the widest possible audience. Lastly, take your unique spin on that format and add a layer of unexpected cleverness, which we define as smart plus unexpected.
Plan your ‘how’ with intentional execution. You can’t just throw an idea out there and hope it sticks. Research your chosen format inside and out to gain insights on how to hook your audience in the first three seconds and achieve a snappy cadence with deliberate editing. Create tension and a satisfying payoff for your viewer.
Last but not least, provide your viewers with a clear ‘why’. Give your content a purpose and add value that will make your viewer think, “I’m glad I watched that.” In other words, your viewer should know why it was worth their time to watch your content all the way to the end. Work backwards from the lasting impression you want your content to achieve, then craft your content to bring about that result.
Creating viral content can be a daunting task, but by following the What, How and Why formula you can set your content up for success. Your “What” should be highly shareable and appeal to the masses. When it comes to execution, plan with intentionality and create tension throughout your piece. Finally, provide your viewers with a clear “Why” and add enough value that they are glad to have watched.
So there you have it – a modern take on an old writing formula. You can thank us later!
Want help with your social media strategy? Connect 1-on-1 with Brendan’s team here to see if we are the right fit to work together.