Taking 80/20 to the Next Level: Engagement Content

We've discussed that about 80% of your online posts and comments should be generous, giving useful and interesting information, with self-promotion only making up the other 20% or so.

Let's take that to the next level: engagement content.

What is Engagement Content?

As nonfiction authors our impulse is to teach, to share practical and actionable content.

Guess what—the 80/20 principle can help here.

Yes, make 80% of your 'giving' posts usable tips, educational content.

The other 20%? Engagement content.

In other words, personal, friendly, sharing, about-you-but-not-self-centered content.

Your day at the beach. A great movie or band you saw or plan to see. A beautiful sunset. A kind act someone did for you.

Why?

Because your goal is to be social and get noticed.

Even at a business mixer or a client meeting, don't you discuss Pat's new puppy or Sawyer's trip to wherever? Of course you do. We're people, and we engage most with people we like.

Give your followers, not just something to learn, but something to like.

Math geek alert: this would make "engagement content" 20% of 80% or about 16% of your overall content. Don't sweat the precision.

The 80/20 Principle in Social Media Marketing

How does the 80/20 principle apply in social media marketing? In short, it means that about 20% of your messages are self-promotion, ‘buy-my-book’ messages and 80% of your messages are generous, sharing what your audience finds valuable and informative.

This is important for authors trying to promote their books. If your audience sees the majority of your messages are self-promotion, they will quickly lose interest. Turn that around. Make the majority of your messages generous, information sharing.

Ask yourself: what does my reader want? What does my reader need? Then share! What you share can be tips from your book. That will encourage your audience to buy your book whether or not you specifically promote it. Also share links to other helpful information provided from other sources.

The 80/20 numbers are not carved in stone. It's not a rule. It’s a principle. The important thing is to remember this principle in all your social media marketing.

Share more than you promote.

Note from Joel

While this is not really an application of the Pareto Principle wherein most of our results come from a small portion of our effort, it's convenient to reuse the numbers 80 and 20 partly because they'll be easy to remember. But hey, perhaps we'll write another post about applying the Pareto Principle in your marketing efforts, because it definitely applies.