Don’t you just hate it when you work hard to deliver a stellar blog post, only to find that a related post (that’s half as creative and informative as yours) gets triple the amount of likes and shares? This proves yet again that shareable content doesn’t have to be the best or most complete. There’s just something about shareable content that makes it easy to love and shared with others. It’s something that all marketers want to achieve, but how in the world do you get your content to this level when you appear to be the underdog?
Making Your Mark with Shareable Content
Creating shareable content is a lot like being in the right place at the right time – that sorta concept. Say you’re launching an interior decorating business and you go the whole nine yards in promoting your brand: trade shows, colorful brochures and infographics, a professionally designed website, informative content, etc. Business is still slow despite the fact that you’re following all the basic rules of business startup 101.
Then one day, everything changes. You’re at a home interior store and a shopper asks for your advice. Your expertise impresses the person, and she hires you on the spot. She then spreads the news to her friends, social networks and so forth. Now you’re in! It’s a classic example of being in the right place at the right time. That one fortuitous encounter really jumpstarts your business.
Shareable content works in the same way. It often takes one or two pieces of content to be shared to fuel this trend for future content. Oftentimes, firms go months or even years producing great pieces of content that just never seem to make it out there. And then just like your chance encounter at the home interior store, one piece of content gets shared and readers start checking out other posts from the company. From that point forward, the brand continues to evolve as a trusted authority with great content that people look forward to reading.
Let’s take a look at a few basic adjustments you can be make to create content that is share-worthy.
Make Sure it Looks Good
One of the first things you need to do is make sure that the content looks good when it’s shared. This may seem obvious, but many firms fail to take the extra steps to do this. It does involve some light meta-tag coding, like including the <HEAD> of your html page. The codes will provide instructions to networks like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest by telling them which image, title and description to use when the post goes live. Also, don’t be afraid to use plugins that will preview your link and customize link profiles. Good ones to try include the JetPack plugin and the Yoast SEO plugin.
Write Emotional Headlines
Headlines are very important; it’s a shame that so many content writers throw something ordinary together at the last minute. A lazy headline indicates lazy content! With so many great pieces of content on the Web, readers sift through headlines and choose those that look most interesting. Taking the time to create a compelling headline makes your content share-worthy right off the bat.
The best way to make your headline stand out is by adding something emotional in there. Research shows that headlines with Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) are more likely to be shared online. In fact, you can even measure the EMV of your headlines with the handy Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer.
Before you start analyzing your headlines, start with what emotions your headline is intended to invoke, such as:
- Feeling assertive and confident.
- Feeling vital and energetic.
- Feeling pampered.
- Sense of belonging.
- Sense of accomplishment.
- Feeling in control.
- Feeling wealthy and powerful.
- Feeling smart.
- Feeling safe.
- Feeling respected.
Make It Easy to Share
This one goes right along with making sure the content looks good. Many marketers miss the memo when it comes to adding social sharing buttons and other share tools to their content.. The key is putting these tools into the right spots so that readers are more likely to spread the content with their social networks. Any extra effort will likely deter them from finishing this step.
The best way to make your content shareable is by adding social sharing buttons, which seem to perform best when they are placed on the top/left side of the page. Content typically loads on this side of the page, so the eyes are naturally focused on this area.
Another way to make content easy to share is by adding a Click to Tweet plugin, such as the one created by CoSchedule. It’s free for everyone and allows you to add tweetable content to your posts so that readers can tweet bits and pieces to their social networks. If you aren’t a WordPress user, try the ShareThis or AddThis buttons.
Publish at the Right Time
According to Kissmetrics, there are “best” times to post content to social media. Of course, you need to find what works for your audience, but here are some key pointers to go off of:
- Most blog content is read in the mornings. It’s possible that people settling into the work mindset, especially after the weekend, appreciate a few good reads in the morning.
- Monday is the best day of the week for content.
- Most blog posts see the most traffic around 11 a m.
- Saturday and early morning visitors (9 am) tend to leave more comments.
- Monday and Tuesday are the highest drivers of inbound traffic.
Add Visual Content
It takes a bit of extra time and effort to include images in your content, but it’s worth it. Visual content spices up the text and makes it more fun and exciting to read. You can include images that expand on the content or are simple and humorous. Either way, adding delightful photos, GIFs and memes is much more attractive to the eyes than a huge block of text. Just be sure that the images load well on mobile devices.
Video content is emerging as well, so don’t hesitate to include a link to a YouTube video in place of an image. A video can expand on the content and add a dash of personality, plus it’s the preferred way to access information for mobile users.
Content that includes visuals is more likely to go viral. Posts with images are more likely to be shared. Infographics are some of the most shared pieces of content. Are you starting to see the trend? Visual = shareable.
Choose Relatable Topics
A final way to make your content more share friendly is by choosing topics that people will want to share with their social networks. For instance, people LOVE lists. Why? We’re not exactly sure the science behind it, but we can assume that a listicle provides the reader with information before they even open it. They have an idea of how long the content is (4 things or 20) and know that the text is divided up into easily digestible bites of information, perfect for people who love to scan.
Other examples of compelling content include trending topics, infographics, posts with videos and content that includes emotion or humor. Sometimes, it helps to create the content and include what you want to say, then go back and personalize it with your brand’s input and unique sense of humor. And be objective when asking yourself if your work is worth sharing. Think about how it will stack up to the competition.
An Ever-Changing Marketing Strategy
Your content marketing strategy is a work in progress, and part of this strategy includes your distribution method. The key is distributing your content at the right time, to the right people and on the right social networks. But first, you must have shareable content, which starts with the basics: having content that looks good, can be easily shared and is worth the commission.