We all want to create content that’s of real use to our intended audiences, providing them with information, opinion or advice that’s not easy to find elsewhere. Content that really resonates does better in search, gets more clicks and helps build profitable relationships. It also gets more social media love.
People have plenty of choice when it comes to what they share on social media. If you want them to choose your content it needs to stand out from the crowd by finding a unique angle on a popular topic or offering a new nugget of information that everyone else has missed.
And while some people view the social shares a piece of content has received as nothing more than an ego boost there are some real benefits to creating content that people want to like, post or retweet. As well as expanding your potential audience, social shares are a good indication that you’ve got something right. If people are choosing to promote your content to their social media followers it means you’re getting a reaction.
So, what makes someone want to share your content? These days with the sheer amount of content already out there it just won’t cut the mustard to create something that’s just “okay”. There is no shortage of “so what” content on the web that’s largely factually correct and typo-free but doesn’t bring anything new or special to the party.
If you want to produce something for your brand that’s superior to this endless stream of average and gives people reasons to help promote what you’ve created here are five tips you can try…
1. Invest some time in your headlines
Your headline is the first thing that audiences will see and is usually the deciding factor for whether they choose to click through and continue reading. In fact, approximately 80% of people browsing the web don’t read past a headline.
Of course it is important to accurately summarise what your content is about, but doing it in a way that’s eye-catching and enticing will increase the chances of your audience deciding to read on (an obvious first step when it comes to getting your content shared).
Research performed by BuzzSumo, a content analytics company, identified a number of characteristics that headlines with big like and reshare numbers had in common. These five elements include emotion, promise, content, format and topic.
Quite often content creators will meet one or two of these criteria, but the true success lies with covering all bases for a truly impacting headline. Giving a little extra thought to how you construct your headline could make all the difference.
2. Tell your audience a story
Once you’ve hooked your readers with a brilliant headline, you need to deliver on what you promised. Now is the time to break out your storytelling skills, because telling a story is one of the best ways to hold the attention of your reader.
That doesn’t mean crow-barring your products and keywords into your favourite fairy-tale or bedtime story. But some of what makes a really good story readable and memorable applies just as well to your blog and website content.
Telling a ripping good yarn not only keeps your reader reading, it also increases the chances that they will feel they got something valuable for the time they spent on your site.
In the long-term, your reward is a new customer. In the short-term maybe you’ll settle for some social media action.
3. Keep it relevant and keep it trendy
Relevance is key when it comes to getting your content shared. Riding the wave behind a popular news story or a big event gets you involved in conversations that your target audience is having right now.
Brands that are aware of what’s trending and are nimble enough to respond quickly can practice real-time marketing. This responsive marketing tactic can be a really effective way of getting attention and it can also drive up your share count.
If people view the way you’ve attached your brand to a trending topic as clever, innovative or amusing there’s a good chance they’ll give you some free promotion. This can of course backfire if it comes across as cynical, overly-contrived or in poor taste.
4. Mobile-friendly content is shareable content
Unless “under the big rock” is part of your home address you’ll know that tablet and smartphone use is on the rise.
With more and more eyeball time going mobile, your content had better be mobile-friendly. If your target audience can’t easily access what you’ve created then it won’t get seen nevermind shared.
Ideally you want your users to have the best possible browsing experience regardless of the device they use. When it comes to making your content shareable that might involve checking how the share buttons work on smaller screens or just reformatting the text on the page by breaking up long paragraphs and bringing up the size of the font.
5. Make it 10x better than anything else on the same topic
10x content. You will have heard this term being thrown around ever since it was coined by Rand Fishkin, founder and former CEO of the inbound marketing company Moz. The idea is to create content that is (wait for it) ten times better than what’s already out there.
Fishkin says that if you want your content to stand out – and certainly if you want it to be shared – it needs to be better than okay. There are literally millions of blog posts floating around the web. Pick a topic, any topic and finding blog articles won’t be the issue.
The depth and quality of those blog articles is another matter entirely.
When it comes to your blog, particularly the topics that really matter to you, go big. Don’t just create something that’s inoffensive and fills up the quota of words. Take a look at what’s out there already and see if you can go one better (or 10x better).