It takes effort and isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do.
The problem is that simply writing something that is ‘great’ doesn’t mean that it’s going to get any views.
There’s a lot more to it than that.
In this post I’m going to share a number of things that I do differently when I write content. Using these tips I have been able to generate thousands of social shares on a relatively new blog.
Identify a problem and solve it
In recent years the bar has been raised thanks to the level of quality content that other writers are producing.
The easiest way to compel your audience to share your content is by identifying what problem they are experiencing and then solve it.
When people have been searching high and low to find the answer to a problem and they finally find it, they can be very appreciative.
Get the timing right
Sometimes timing can be a big factor.
A great example is when Google first announced that Google Reader was closing. The keyword ‘Google reader alternative’ became incredibly popular overnight.
Within a short amount of time there was an incredible number of blogs writing about the topic which meant that the competition went up dramatically.
Although the first few blogs to cover this would have seen significant increases in traffic, mostly from organic search.
Also, one thing that I noticed was that even the blogs that were late to cover the topic generated an above average level of social shares.
This type of thing is often referred to as news jacking because that’s essentially what you’re doing.
If you publish a blog post just before journalists are scrambling for information then you have a great opportunity.
David Meerman Scott also published a great book on the topic, learn more about it here.
Keep it easy to read
Readability is an important factor and it’s important to keep your articles at a level where everyone can understand them.
Breaking your sentences up into smaller chunks, writing clear sub headings and utilising formatting are all a good way to do that.
A very helpful tool that I found recently was the Hemingway App that grades your articles readability and offers ways to improve it.
Add value and come up with a unique angle
Before you start writing anything you need to think about how you can add value to your content.
Check out what other people have wrote about the topic in Google and find out what’s missing:
- Do you have a unique perspective on the subject?
- Can you add more detail and make a more comprehensive resource?
- Is there a content type that isn’t used?
There are plenty of things to think about but what you need to identify in most cases is the content gap.
By finding what’s missing you can make sure that your content fills the gap and becomes what people have been wanting.
Mention influencers and tell them about it
There is a form of marketing that is trending right now.
It’s known as influencer marketing.
The idea is marketing directly to those that influence your target audience rather than directly marketing to your target audience.
I’ve found it to be very effective but another thing it can really help with is content distribution.
By mentioning influencers in your content and letting them know (using Twitter, Google+ or email works fine) you can skyrocket the amount of social shares for your content.
People love it when other people say awesome stuff about them.
There are a lot of tools on the market that can help you, but as a starting point I’d recommend giving BuzzSumo a try. It’s free to get started while the tool is in beta and it’s very straight forward to use.
Contacting influencers works best from a personal account even if you’re working on behalf of a brand – the personal touch works best. Something Jennifer Hanford covered here.
How to incorporate influencers into your content
Simply linking out to influencers can work great and for a lot of people it does.
There is a way to get more influencers to share your content.
That is to involve them directly in the creation of the content – you may have seen this referred to as group interviews or crowd sourced content.
The end result is the same – a group of influencers contributing content and because of that they are more willing to share the content.
Here are a few examples that have generated an impressive number of social shares:
- 40 Experts Share Their Favourite WordPress Plugins
- 101+ SEO Experts Reveal Their Favourite SEO Browser Plugins/Extensions
- The Most Actionable SEO Tips Ever
The reality of influencer marketing
Instead of my websites or my clients starting out and having no audience whatsoever we have used this to put tap into the established audience of market influencers to put their content, their brand and their message directly in front of their target audience.
It’s not an overnight strategy, it does take time and there are more steps involved, but that’s the same in any form of real marketing.
Clicking publish doesn’t mean the job is done
The biggest mistake that I see bloggers and marketers make is spending an incredible amount of time creating a really great piece of content but don’t put the time into promoting it.
The truth is that clicking publish maybe all you’ll need to do if you are Tech Crunch or Mashable but most of us have got a fair distance to go until we reach that point.
I’d recommend checking this post out because it goes into a lot more detail (and it’s a very large topic) but ultimately after every post is published you need to spend as much time promoting it as you have done creating it.
Think about your target audience and where they hang out online. Then put your content directly in front of them.
Don’t do it in a spammy way or just drop the link in online communities but actually engage with your audience and start building a discussion.
Engage with your audience, be present and help them.
Soon enough you will develop your own influence.
There are plenty of ways to help get your content shared, this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means.
Now I’ll put the question to you – what do you do to help make sure people share your content?
We would love to hear more in the comments below.
Guest Author Blog Post:
Adam Connell is the Marketing Manager for a UK based marketing agency; UK Linkology. In his spare time Adam trains people to get better results out of content and social media.
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