Content marketing has become extremely competitive over the past few years. People currently publish over 2 million blog posts every day along with other forms of content. Top bloggers and content marketers know this, so, they spend more time promoting their content than writing it.
If you want to drive traffic and convert it to leads and sales, just writing quality posts won’t do. It needs to be accompanied by a stellar content promotion strategy that includes generating backlinks and content shares.
As basic tips on how to increase content shares like adding share buttons to blog posts, sharing them on your own social media and conducting outreach have already been extensively covered, I am going to stick to advanced tactics you have probably never used.
Read this post to find out what they are and learn how to use them along with other basic methods to boost content shares…
When we associate incentives with content marketing, the first thing that pops in our minds is lead generation. We have become so accustomed to using lead magnets as incentives to generate leads. But there are other ways in which lead magnets can be used, one of them is to incentivise sharing.
You can do this by simply creating a lead magnet your audience will like and then offering it to people in exchange for a social media share instead of their email address.
Matthew Woodward was able to get 43,094 shares by using this technique.
The best place to use it is on blog posts like Matthew did. Just follow the content upgrade strategy where you create a lead magnet that is highly relevant to the blog post and place an optin form that gates it. Only difference is that here you will use a gate that unlocks the content with a share.
Of course, it won’t have the usual effect of converting traffic to subscribers, but you can use other methods like popup forms to convert the traffic.
Another option is to place the content upgrade at the top of the post and offer it in exchange for a sign up, place it again in the middle and at the end of the post and offer it exchange for a share. Readers who want the lead magnet, but do not want to give you their personal details will be happy to share it to gain access.
For details on how to set it up check out this post from Matthew, Get Thousands Of Social Media Shares With My Social Locker Trick he includes everything from which lead magnets to give away and the plugin to use to set it up.
Make employees your brand evangelists
Did you know that there are already people in your company who regularly post social media updates about your business?
They are your employees. According to a report, 50% of employees post social media updates about their employer. They also have an average of 420 Facebook friends, 400 Linkedin contacts and 360 Twitter followers.
The sum of followers of all your employees will probably be more than all the followers of your company’s social media accounts.
The only problem is their current method of sharing updates will be scattered. But with an employee advocacy strategy you will be able to drive shares and traffic to the pages that matter most. All you need to do is to keep them regularly updated with your strategy and your latest content.
To execute your strategy, you can use media like Facebook groups and email newsletters. But as these platforms are already crowded with other content, a great alternative would be to use a software like Smarp.
On this platform you can post your latest content and employees can share them to networks like Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter directly from the Smarp app. This tool can encourage more of your employees to share and it lets you gamify the process with incentives and leader boards.
Split test headlines
When it comes to increasing social media traffic and shares, the headline plays a key role. This is why the editorial team at Upworthy writes 25 headlines before picking the perfect one.
You should follow a similar process. But instead of just selecting one, select a few and split test them. This will help you figure out which headlines drive the most shares and brainstorming a shareable headline will get easier in the future.
For split testing your headlines you can use a tool like Thrive Headline Optimizer. It split tests your headlines to find the best and then displays the winning headline.
Optimize posts with visuals for different networks
The 2 networks that drive the most traffic to publishers are Facebook and Pinterest. If you want to drive traffic from these 2 networks, optimize your posts with visuals. People can only pin pages that display an image at least 100 X 200 pixels to Pinterest and posts optimized to display the large thumbnail image on Facebook will get more attention in the newsfeed.
To optimize your content for Pinterest, add a tall image. Pinterest recommends you use images 600 pixels wide and 900 pixels tall. But I have found that most tall images and sometimes even square shaped images perform best. Just make sure you avoid using a landscape image.
To optimize for Facebook attach a thumbnail image to your post. This should be 560 X 292 pixels as it will ensure the image appears on both mobile devices and desktops.
After that set the share buttons to pick the correct images when you share.
An example can be seen on Donna Moritz’s, Socially Sorted Blog. When I click on the Facebook share button, a Facebook optimized thumbnail appears…
…and when I click the Pinterest save button a Pinterest optimized image appears.
This way of optimizing blog posts with different visuals for Facebook and Pinterest ensures that Donna’s site gets maximum social media traffic from these 2 sites.
Donna sets her social share buttons to pick specific images by using Social Warfare, a WordPress Plugin. Using this plugin you don’t need to display the images on the page. This can improve the loading speed.
Add share buttons to more than just landing pages and blog posts
Most people already add share buttons to pages and blog posts because they know they drive more shares. But here are a couple of other places you can add them to drive more shares…
In lead magnets
Adding share buttons to pages is a great idea. But adding them in the lead magnet is a terrific idea. People will be more likely to share the content while they view it. This is because if they share it before they view it they could ruin their reputation as they have no idea how good the content is.
This is why you should place share buttons next to the content so people can share as they read it.
In thank you pages
Also add share buttons to your thank you pages. This is the page people are redirected to as soon as they sign up. If you thank people for signing up, ask them to share the content and make it easy to share with share buttons, many of them will share it.
Bryan Harris integrated the thank you page share strategy with incentives and found that 54% of the people who opted in for the content shared it. This generated 3,498 visits and 349 extra email optins.
Try this out yourself to see if more people share your content. It can be very useful especially when using ads to generate leads as more people sign up because of the shares. You will have a higher ROI.
Now implement these strategies for boosting content shares…
These are the strategies you can use to get more people to share your content. A great place to start is by creating content upgrades for all your popular posts and then offering them in exchange for shares instead of an optin. While you optimize with incentives you can also employ other techniques like adding shareable visuals, brainstorming variations of your headlines for split testing and adding ‘share optimized’ thank you pages.
As the above techniques begin to take effect you can create your employee advocacy strategy and execute it. Social media shares from your employees combined with these simple techniques will create a powerful snowball effect which will drive a lot of shares and traffic.
What advanced content marketing strategies do you use to boost content shares? Which one has worked best for you? Which social networks and content mediums seem to work best for you? Please leave your comments below so that we can all learn from all of our collective experiences.