If you’re a content marketer or creator, then obviously what you’re after is to get as many eyeballs on your writing as possible. And nowadays that means making sure people actually share your content through social media.
The problem, of course, is that while everybody is trying to do exactly that only those who are actually good at it benefit as some things get shared a lot while most content doesn’t get much attention at all.
Therefore, if you’re in the middle of the pack you’re probably not getting enough attention to actually warrant your content marketing. You need to stick out, you need to move to the head of the pack for that to happen.
But how do you do that? Well, let’s take a look at some useful insights that might just turn what you’ve got from something middle-of-the-road into something that actually gets some serious traction.
1. Know your audience
Your first step is to know who you’re writing for. You see, people don’t just share anything and everything. Obviously, if it’s in any way boring or run of the mill then it won’t get anything more than a shrug, but even if they like it they might not share it, because it makes them uneasy or because it somehow does not represent their normal set of beliefs or ideas, they won’t share it.
And so, if you’re serious about getting something shared, you need to make certain that they can actually identify with it. They have to think ‘this is what I want people to think about,’ or ‘this is what I want people to associate me with.’
Naturally, that changes per audience. If you’re writing for cat lovers, then it’s going to be interesting stories about cats that will strike a chord. If you’re writing for young democrats, then it should probably be about Sanders and his movement.
Whoever your audience is, you need to understand them and what they like. What’s more, you need to appreciate that it isn’t necessarily what you like. You’re going to have to deal with that. They won’t share what you like. They won’t even care. All that matters to them is what sparks a reaction between their ears. So make certain you know what that is.
2. Have the right titles
The entire decision to click on something and see if it’s worth reading is the title and the image. For that reason, you have to write catchy titles and have great images. Let’s talk about the titles first. Some just work phenomenally better than others. The thing is, there are many sites dedicated to helping you out here. So don’t reinvent the wheel. First of all, it’s a lot of work and secondly, you’re just not going to do as well!
3. Use images
Using images helps. It helps a lot. For example, research shows that if you have an image you’ll have 94% more views and, if that image is colored then readers are 80% more likely to read your content. And that’s just any image. Imagine how much powerful having good images versus a bad image will have? 46% of marketers say photography is critical to their current marketing and storytelling strategies.
So, when creating content, don’t leave finding that image as the last job and certainly don’t rush it. Heck, consider paying a bit of money to make certain you get something that really pops. Often it will only cost you a few bucks and it can make the difference between a few views and a few thousand.
4. Have the right format
Some formats are just going to earn more backlinks and generate more likes than other formats. We already covered that a few weeks ago, but here is the gist of what was said:
Use listicles and how-tos as these are far more likely to get read than other types of articles.
5. Use positive emotions
Yes, maybe when we watch the news we like to be outraged, angered, frightened and disgusted. The same does not hold true at all for online content. For that reason, it is vital that if you want your content to be shared, you use (and provoke) positive emotions.
As OkDork reported, in the top 10,000 posts on the web, positive emotions far outranked negative ones, with them collectively mapping onto 72% of the posts, while negative emotions only got about a tenth of that.
No other negative emotion even registered as large enough. These all got lumped into other.
This probably has something to do with people using sharing on social media to define themselves – and people don’t want to be defined as angry, sad, or frustrated. So make sure your stories contain positive elements!
6. Connect by making it personal
If you want to connect with us, you’ve got to tell us about you and your hardships. The best way to do that is through stories. “But nothing interesting ever happens to me!” you shout. That might be true, but I never said the stories actually have to be true, did I? They can be anything you want, really, just as long as they give your content a human element.
We like to have our heartstrings plucked and nothing does that better than your average story of hardship overcome, or lesson learned, or insight gleaned. The basic story goes:
Preamble -> problem -> hardship and suffering -> resolution -> joy and reflection
So, I have never been very good at washing my face, then I got this big zit, everybody laughed at me and I refused to see the world, then it popped and now I’m so happy I can hang out with my friends again! I’ll definitely wash my face every day!
Now if your resolution ties in nicely with what your site is actually about, you’ll be killing two birds with one stone, as not only will your post be more sharable, but your product will be more enticing as well.
7. Use accessible language
You want your story to be highly-sharable? Don’t use incomprehensible jargon! If you do, then you’re immediately making certain that a smaller percentage of people who will look at your content will actually end up understanding what you’re talking about.
Now, this does not mean you can’t use any words related to the trade. Just have the courtesy to define them, for those that are new to your area. So don’t talk about CTAs without first explaining that that means Call to Action. It isn’t hard, doesn’t detract from your argument and makes it that much more likely that your audience sticks around.
Oh, and in case you thought using lots of jargon and incomprehensible speech made you sound smart. It does not. Using big words needlessly makes you look dumb. So, unless your ambition is to get people to share your content to point out what an idiot you are, don’t go down that route!
8. Know what’s trending
It isn’t actually that hard to know what’s actually trending out there. So take a moment to see if you might not be able to connect to it in some way. Now, obviously, this won’t always work. If you’re in automobile design and the current trending topic is summer dressed with polka dots, you might be hard pressed to write something that contains both concepts.
Still, it can’t hurt to take a look, just in case you can connect it or simply just reference what is going on. It will make you look knowledgeable, hip and will significantly raise the chance people will share what you’re doing.
9. Make it easy to share
If you want them to share your content, make certain it’s easy to do so. That means, don’t just have buttons at the beginning of the article, but also have them at the end, as you’re going to lose a lot of people if the button isn’t immediately accessible at the moment they actually decide a story is worth sharing.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for them to share! It will make a difference. Heck, if those email popups work (and they do, bringing in 1375% more subscribers according to one study) then why shouldn’t ask people to share? Even if you don’t make it one of those annoying pop-ups (please don’t) even if only 1% more people end up sharing because you asked, that can most certainly make the difference between a post that peters out almost immediately and one that has legs.
Now let me be clear if you don’t have good content, none of this will work. Your content quality has to be high. That means it’s got to be original and actually contain information that they couldn’t have found anywhere else. Content marketing simply doesn’t work if you don’t have that content part nailed down. Implement all these tips and you will see a result in the number of shares, backlinks etc. Also, to hear your readers and costumes provide a reviews page as shown in the example and communicate with them.
But you knew that already.
After that, it’s just a matter of trying out different strategies and different ideas to push at the percentages, so that the chances that people view what you’ve got and then share it if they like it are raised slightly, because tiny changes like that can be the difference between something that peters out after a few days and something that has real legs.
Image credit : Quiksprout