Creating content is good, but making your content sharable is even better. This concept was proven out at the recent Social Media Marketing World conference, where attendees spent days focused on learning new ways to break through the noise.
Some of the amazing statistics provided at the conference include:
- Content is doubling every 9-24 months online (via Derral Eves)
- Data will increase by 500% by 2020 (via Mark Schaefer)
- 85% say reading content that other people share helps them understand and process brand information and events (via Mark Schaefer)
One of my favorite quotes of the conference was this piece of wisdom from Mark Schaefer:
Great content is no longer the finish line – it’s the starting line
So let’s get beyond the starting line and create a winning strategy. Follow the five critical steps below and you’ll be on your way.
1. Add Sharing Buttons
If sharing your content is a challenging, no one will share it. If a post looks bad when visitors hit your sharing buttons, no one will share. If you don’t provide sharing buttons at all, no one will share. Are you sensing a trend?
Every blog should include sharing buttons.
There are tons of options out there, such as:
Whichever buttons you choose, make sure they are easily accessible, whether they are at the top of the blog, following along as you scroll, animated, or static.
2. Test, Test, Test
Test to see how each button shares your content. You can never simply assume that everything will go right. As you click each sharing button, make a list of things that might stop your viewers from sharing your post – and then fix any issues you find.
As you test how your blog post looks when shared, things to watch out for include:
- Correct attribution – Ensure that when a visitor hits the Twitter sharing button, your handle is automatically included in the post. Some plugins (especially free ones) will include their own handles in the post. Make sure that isn’t happening to you.
- Vertical picture – Include a vertical picture that can be picked up by the Pinterest sharing button. Pinterest posts have a very long shelf life (several years!) so it’s very important to take the visual medium into account.
- Look good – Ensure no strange characters are being picked up when visitors hit social sharing buttons.
- Check metadata – Did you add metadata to your page? If not, make sure you do so in order for your social sharing buttons to pick up the information you want to be included (try using the Yoast SEO plugin, which is good for easily adding metadata as well as improving your page performance).
3. Add and Personalize Graphics
In addition to ensuring that social media sharing buttons are in good working order, make sure your content includes a graphic that will be picked up by the social sharing buttons. Visual marketing helps build stronger connections with your audience.
Include a relevant title for your graphic as well as appropriate alt text. Moreover, personalize your graphics. They should never look like bland stock images.
For instance, include the following on your graphics:
- The title of your content piece
- A link to your website
- Your logo
Worried that getting awesome photos will be a financial burden? Don’t be. Sites with photos that you can legally use without paying a cent include:
And of course, you can always take and use your own pictures!
4. Do Your Share
You wrote a wonderful post. You made sure your sharing buttons were in good order. You added spectacular graphics. You hit publish!
Sorry, you’re not done.
After your post goes live, share it on your various social networks. For example:
- Pinterest – Try pinning your article to a single relevant board to begin with. A few days later, pin it to a second relevant board. Repeat as often as it makes sense. However, add relevant keywords in your description and be sure that your pin leads viewers back to your original post with the appropriate URL.
- Twitter – Don’t share your post just once on Twitter. The average Tweet only lasts for 20 minutes. Try posting once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once in the evening. Then post it again at least once a day for the next week. After that, post it a few times a week for the next two to three weeks. When you post, be sure to include the name of the piece, the URL, and appropriate hashtags and attribution.
- Facebook – Post your piece to Facebook several times, but be sure to space out when you post it. Repurpose your content on Facebook Notes, the blogging platform that is similar to Medium and LinkedIn Publisher but which leverages Facebook’s 1.59B users. For each Note, create one additional image, include a synopsis, and then link to the full article. You can also create a summary of several of your posts using Facebook Notes. Be sure to utilize tagging (profiles, pages, and groups) in order to build relationships and interest.
- LinkedIn – Post a link to your piece and encourage the other employees at your company to do the same from their own accounts in order to broaden your reach. You can also repurpose your content on LinkedIn’s publishing platform, but be sure to include a link back to your original post.
- Medium – Similar to LinkedIn’s publishing platform and Facebook Notes, Medium is a great place to repurpose your content. You can also apply to become a writer for a Medium publication, which will help you grow your audience.
5. Share Often
As you can see, there is no such thing as “post once”. The truth of the matter is that different people look at their social feeds at different times and often not even once a day. If you don’t post multiple times, your audience will be very small.
Concerned that you will spend your whole life posting again and again? Not to fear – you can automate some of the sharing process using any number of cool tools.
For example, you can try:
At the same time, remember that you can never automate the entire process. You must respond to anyone who comments, shares, or reposts your piece. Building and strengthening your relationship with your audience is key to ensuring success and loyalty.
In addition, when others share your content, it increases their understanding of your offerings, improves your believability in the eyes of their followers, and grows your audience reach by leaps and bounds. The least you can do is show your appreciation in return.
Content Marketing: Are You In It to Win It?
Follow these tips and you will make your content infinitely more sharable. At the same time, don’t forget that it’s not always about you. Sharing your own content and encouraging others to do the same is vital. But you must also be sure to curate and share other people’s content as well.
Do you have more tips for ways to increase the chances of your content being shared? Let me know in the comments below or Tweet me up at @HollyChessman.