By Steph Jones

The key to creating content that gains traction

March 28th, 2023
4 min read

Creating great content is key to growing your social media profiles. But having a great business or cool story to tell isn’t enough to stand out from the crowd and be heard over the noise. Sometimes there are one or two missing ingredients when it comes to creating pieces of content that generate traction. In this post, we’re exposing the key to the viral content game.

Creating great social media content

To get your content to go further, you need to attract post engagements. These post engagements put your posts in front of more people and the effect of this is exponential due to the algorithmic impact. This means, whatever your ultimate goal, your content must compel individuals to take action on it, whether that’s a like, share, comment or clicking through to something beyond.

The compulsion to act may be brought about in many ways but it usually relies on some kind of mental impact being made on the individual in question. This impact may be through humour, interest or emotion, and that generally relies on content resonating in some way with that person. The best way to create content that resonates with someone? Understand them. Empathise with them. Create something that you know they’ll appreciate.

So the process for creating effective social media content is simplified thus:

Empathise > resonate > compel

Let’s break these down:


As in many aspects of life, empathy works as a kind of superpower. Being able to appreciate the point of view or situation of your prospective audience gives you the perfect foundation when thinking about your content.

The visual creative and messaging of content must be crafted with an understanding of the context in which it’s going to be received. Knowing how your content fits into the news feed and the consciousness of your viewers informs how you’re going to resonate with them.

In order to empathise with your audience, you must first know who that audience is and understand them. As a good marketer, you’ll already be familiar with your audience, what they like and dislike and what motivates them. If you’re not sure about who your audience really is then empathising with them is going to be tricky.

Empathy should help inform:

  • The general themes and topics of your content

  • The voice of your brand in that content

  • How your products or services are presented


We use the word “resonate” often because it sums up exactly what brands are required to do with their social media content. People stop and engage when they feel like content really “speaks to them”; that a brand “gets them”. In order to create content that resonates, it really is paramount to first empathise with your audience.

Content that resonates is a manifestation of your powers of empathy and your ability to put that into words and imagery.

Content that resonates doesn’t necessarily pander to the audience and it certainly doesn’t condescend. Individuals hate being stereotyped or generalised and brands trying to be over-familiar or too cute. Demonstrating you understand your audience is key to getting buy-in from them and it will help you consistently share content that resonates with them.

Resonate by:

  • Including topics important to your audience in your content

  • Adopting visuals that appeal to your audience

  • Sharing timely, topical and relevant content

  • Using language they relate to


Relatively speaking, empathising and resonating are the easiest things to accomplish. Creating content that actually compels someone to take action on that versus all of the other content they see is a whole other challenge.

To compel someone to take action, you really need to have generated significant feeling towards your content. It could be humour, disbelief, joy or any other strong emotion that stimulates a need to engage with the post. Likes, comments and shares are all going to help your content go further. These send powerful signals to the social networks that your content is resonating with people.

Compel your audience by:

  • Telling a story

  • Wowing them with imagery

  • Making them laugh, cry, think or tell others

Another type of compelling content is one that gives a timely opportunity to the reader to grab a bargain or limited edition stock or enter a competition. In an instance like this, compulsion is driven by the urge to act quickly. This kind of engagement is just as powerful in increasing reach and influence if not in such a meaningful way.

Final words

Your social media success is underpinned by the way individuals interact with your content. It’s important to appreciate that social media users are human (mostly) so your content needs to make a human connection. If you can traverse the internet and compel fellow humans to take action on your content en masse, you will find success.

Steph Jones.
Steph Jones

Head of Social

A hands-on Head of Social, with extensive experience across Charity, Retail and eCommerce, both agency side and client side, with brands such as WWF, Virgin Pure and Purity Brewing. Steph considers all facets of the customer journey through social and paid media, as well as creating engaging content in line with the business goals to capture attention and convert audiences.