Content sharing is an important aspect of content marketing strategy. The reasons are quite simple.
- Shared content equals brand visibility
- Shared content lends visibility to social profiles
- Shared content increases direct referral traffic
- Shared content builds and enhances online reputation
As content marketers, we are well aware of these facts and make it a point to create, curate and publish content to invite maximum shares from our target audience. However, there is only so much that we can do. Once the content is published, there is nothing much left for us to do except twiddling our thumbs and expecting the content to get shared, to go viral.
And here lies the catch.
What happens when your content doesn’t get any love from the target audience and ends up missing out on the key benefits provided by shared content? Instead of pondering over ‘what just happened’, take a look at some pointers, which will help you create shareworthy content.
Pique up interest levels
More often than not, people use social media channels to explore their interests and end up sharing content that reflects their views or tied-up to their interests. It can be anything ranging from topics related to your industry, a list of quotes, memes on a trending topic, facts and so on and so forth. Basically, you need to ensure that the content published is in-sync with the interest levels of your target audience.
Curate and create content, which entertains, educates, informs or revolves around a recent topic (which may be controversial in nature). Think of what all makes people laugh, smile, think or even shed a tear and establish a connection.
Take the case of the recent Miss Universe goof-up, which has become a trending topic on social media. Memes related to it are making people laugh and they are sharing these memes left, right and center. Or maybe, the recent Star Wars movie, which is the talk of the town these days. And let’s not forget the ‘Dressgate’, which happened not very long ago!
Image via: Memegenerator
These are a few instances of topics, which people would like to talk about and share gladly with others in their network. Follow suit and you will end up getting your content shared without much of an effort.
Lead a horse to water…
The next thing on your ‘to-do’ list for increasing the number of content shares is to lead the proverbial horse to the water. In other words, make your content appealing at the very first glance itself so that the target audience, at least, click on the content and take a quick glance before sharing it.
Begin by working on creating a stellar headline, which will definitely make them sit up and notice.
You need to push the envelope and create the best headline possible. The internet is abuzz with endless write-ups that offer valuable tips to write catchy, shareworthy headlines. Here are some tips, which will give you a better idea.
- Offer a benefit to the users by stating exactly what they are going to derive from reading the content.
- Everyday content such as how-to articles and listicles seem to work with users, although they have already been used by content creators a thousand times over. They always work. Always.
- Keep it simple. If you want the audience to read and share a post on say, ‘the best surfing beaches in the world’ work on a title that doesn’t deviate much from the topic and simply states what information it is going to provide.
- Clarity is a must-have in the headlines. Don’t be ambiguous or beat around the bush when the headline is concerned as this may baffle the readers and make them lost interest.
- Generate curiosity. Make use of puns, cultural references and current trends so that your target audience can relate to it and go ahead and read it.
- Idiot’s guide, the lazy person’s hack, lifesaving tips and tricks…these are some titles that connect with people. If applicable, make headlines along these lines.
- Draw attention to failure. Twist your headlines to educate people on how to avoid failure or stop making common mistakes.
…and make it drink
Now that you know how to create a compelling headline that draws the attention of your target audience, the next step is to make them read it.
Because almost everyone is pressed for time and have no patience to go through paragraphs of text on their mobile devices, people tend to skim through the content.
Short, to-the-point content comes to your rescue in this situation and this is where you need to separate the wheat from the chaff or eliminate any kind of fluff in your content.
A well-researched, to-the-point content is a winner and gets shared by readers. If they are impressed with the content and find it credible, they will surely read content posted by you in the future and share it with their network. For instance, if you are quoting something within the content, don’t forget to mention the source and lend it authenticity. Similarly, if you are using photos and videos, do mention the sources of the same.
The content can be in any form such as an interesting link on Twitter, an image on Instagram, a tutorial on Pinterest or a gif on Facebook. Take your pick from endless varieties of content and customize it in such a way that it appeals to your target audience.
Alternatively, you can make any content an easy-read by:
- Using negative space or whitespace
- Sticking to one idea per paragraph
- Making use of interesting subheads
- Providing information as a list
- Using videos, images and statistics
- Formatting text by using different typefaces and styles
This, of course, will take time and efforts. But at the end of the day, it serves your purpose.
Don’t ignore long-form content
Content marketers may go gaga over short, precise content which readers can’t skim through, but this doesn’t prove that long-form content too has no takers.
An analysis of top 10% most shared articles by OkDork.com highlights the importance of long-form content and brings to the table some surprising facts.
- The length of the content determines how many shares it will get.
- 3000-10000 word content gets 8859 shares on an average
Also, let’s not forget that the internet is flooded with an endless number of short-form content leading to content oversaturation for the readers. Long-form pieces come as a breather in this scenario, especially for those who gladly love to dig into pieces that offer an in-depth perspective and stimulate their intellects. This means by settling for lengthy content, you are naturally eliminating competition and standing out from the crowd.
If you are still not ready to make the transition to long form, you can always settle for the best of both worlds by having a mix of short-form and long-form content for publishing. Take a cue from Buzzfeed, which has an eclectic mix of content that readers find shareworthy.
Brevity may be the soul of wit, but the long-form content is a clear winner when it comes to getting more shares online.
In terms of content marketing, one size doesn’t seem to fit everyone and it is essential that content marketers curate and create tailor-made content that keeps their target audience hooked. This perhaps is the sum of all the pointers in the write-up and will ensure maximum shares for content in the near future. What advice would you like to share in this regard? Post your comments and let us know!
Kunjal Panchal is a Digital Marketer at E2M, the fastest growing digital marketing agency in India. She is a social media geek, a complete foodie and enjoys trying varied cuisines. A perfect day for her consists of reading her favorite author with a hot cuppa coffee.