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You have a brand, and you have a marketing strategy in place to get your message out to the masses. If you're like many of us, what you don't seem to have, unfortunately, is whatever piece of gadgetry Nicholas Cage's character used in National Treasure to decode all that nonsense; because you could really use that thing to help unlock the secret to getting people to not only check out your content, but also like it enough to share it with their friends. The good news is this: plugging in a few strategies and tactics can make your content more shareable, even though people are constantly inundated by content, images, and ads.
Below are six steps to help make your content more shareable, some of which I've personally used on my own blog in the past. I was fortunate in that a combination of deploying these tips and folks finding the content helpful landed the blog on a handful of those "Most Shared" and "Top This or That" lists within a couple different niches.
So read on, and let's start creating content that gets your message out even farther so that you can help even more people, which is what it's all about in the first place.
You know those posts that you see go down your feed every once a while? The ones that read something like, "I was today years old when I learned..."
They're usually somewhat humorous, and they're usually about some product that we've all been using incorrectly forever. And now that we understand how to actually use it—surprise, surprise—it works even better!
The reason this sort of post works so well is because people like to feel like they're solving a problem—whether it's theirs or someone else's—and they like sharing that feeling with others.
Bonus points if this sort of content is humorous.
Curiosity is a great motivator; just ask our dearly departed feline friends. Curiosity plays a key role in everything from child development to educational excellence. (And be honest — how many of you sent "pew pew" to one of your friends just now...)
Then the question for us becomes:
How do we create curiosity with our content? What can we do that will make folks who come across our content just have to check it out? And not only do we want them to check it out, but we also want them to share it.
Well, one way we do that is with information gaps. Now, if you want a deep dive on information gaps and how they affect decision-making, you can check out stuff like this; but in the meantime, let's just think of an information gap something more akin to a trailer for a movie that's coming out. A teaser.
It tells you there's something coming; but it doesn't give you the entire story, and it doesn't give you all the details. It does make you want to see more.
People share content that expresses their particular point of view. It's that simple. So don't be afraid to create content that takes a position on something.
What does your taking a position on something have to do with people sharing your content? Think about it like this.
When you're online, what sorts of things do you see other people sharing? And what do you share yourself?
Often, it's going to be things that reflect or in some way communicate ideas with which you agree.
Advocate for something. Do you think people should be doing something? Are people missing out on something because of decisions they're making? Create content that communicates that.
Folks who have done far more research than I tell us that all else being equal, longer posts get more engagement, traffic, and shares than shorter posts. And by "longer" posts, we're talking in the neighborhood of 1,500, 2,000, and 3,000+ words or more.
I know, I know. That's a lot. So allow me a few caveats.
Caveat #1: Not all shareable content is longer form. One thing many, if not most, of these studies mention is that short form content can still rank/get shared. It just has to be really, really good; and it has to be seen by the right people, etc.
Caveat #2: Not all content is conducive to long form format.
Caveat #3: Not all organizations have vehicles for longer form content, and that's OK. Maybe you don't have a blog at the moment, or maybe you do, but it's lying dormant on account of not having anyone to write for it.
Caveat #4: This is probably the biggest one, so hear me here. A good content marketing strategy is going to have a mix of short and long form content. A mix. That means across your different platforms, you're going to be putting out both shorter and longer form content.
Now, that said, there are some benefits to longer form content. One of those is its ability to frame you as a thought leader within your industry.
Erika Varagouli, who creates global content marketing strategies at SEMrush, frames it this way:
Long-form content helps to position you as thought-leaders in your space and a voice in your industry. It is only natural that your audience sees you as a market leader if you regularly produce content that educates, informs, and helps them make decisions.
Noah Kagan and Buzzsumo worked on a massive study of over 100 million articles, and they found that instead of folks' short attention spans needing shorter articles to consume and share, the opposite was true.
What they found was that on average, the longer the content, the more shares it got, even though there were far more shorter form content pieces created and published.
A final benefit I'll mention—and I'll be brief before we scoot along to more secrets of shareable content—is that long form content tends to generate more backlinks from other sites.
And of course the more backlinks the better, from an SEO/search perspective. But that's a post for another day.
This type of content is made for someone, right? That's why it's so important that it consistently reflect your brand personality.
You've previously identified a target audience, so you're essentially communicating with them when you publish your content. What is it communicating, though? We mentioned above about content taking a stand, but that's not exactly what we're getting at here.
[bctt tweet="The most shareable content speaks to things that matter to your online community: to their aspirations, to their obstacles, and to the hero they have inside. And you have to be compelling, humorous, and human simultaneously. #contentmarketing #socialmedia #brandstrategy" username="mattmonge"]
Want to know if your content is measuring up? We can help with that.
People, organizations, and other social media accounts that get followings online often get those followings for one of two reasons:
1. The content is unique. They provide content that is unique, interesting, and different from everything else out there.
2. The approach is unique. The content they provide isn't necessarily unique, but how they present it is unique. It's different, interesting, makes you do a double take, etc.
Everyone did beer commercials.
Then Budweiser did beer commercials that had talking frogs. Followed by iguanas, after which there was some chihuahua telling us he wanted Taco Bell.
(And now I'm hungry.)
One sure-fire way to ensure your content is unique is to make sure your brand personality shines through in every, single piece of content you put out. Done well, that's something as unique as a fingerprint. It's part of your organization's DNA, and will affect your content's voice, tone, colors, and everything else.
Need a hand with that? Happy to help.
Now, use the above as a checklist. Does your content check the boxes?
If yes, awesome! Let us know which ones you feel like are your strong suits and drop some links below so folks can learn from some great examples!
Give us a shout. We're happy to help!
I mean, what kind of post on sharing would it be if we didn't have a CTA like this? :)