As a publisher, your goal is to get your content the most exposure possible. This is why your focus should be on not just creating great content, but creating shareable content. In this post, we’re going to look at seven strategies you can use to create sharable content for your audience and beyond.
Learn from the Pros
Chances are, no matter what industry you are in, there are some top publishers in those industries that stand out due to the sheer volume of content they create and the number of shares their content receives. In the general interests niche, it’s sites like Upworthy and BuzzFeed. In the tech niche, it’s sites like TechCrunch and Mashable. In the business niche, it’s sites like Forbes and Entrepreneur.
Now if you try to subscribe to any of these sites, you’re going to be flooded by content. While most of them are popular, even these networks have content that stands out above the rest. Your job is to find out what those pieces of content are, study them, and find out how to create similar content for your publication.
A great tool to use for this is Social Crawlytics. You simply enter the domain of a publication, and in a few hours, this tool will analyze its content so that you can find out what content has been the most shared. You can sort by total shares, or shares by a particular network if you want content that gets the most tweets, likes, pins, etc.
Best thing about this tool is that it is (currently) free to use!
Make Sharing Easy
You have to make sharing obvious and easy for your readers. Even if they have their own “Pin It” button on their browser’s bookmark toolbar, having the Pin It button under your images is a great way to remind people that hey, this is an awesome image that you should share.
Let’s look at some publications that follow the rule of making social sharing easy. First, there’s Upworthy, the site that gets thousands of shares per piece of content. They use bold buttons above and below their content.
Then there’s BuzzFeed. They use simpler buttons, but for more networks, both above and below their content.
Mashable has sharing buttons when you hover over article summaries on the homepage, as well as on the content pieces.
CollegeHumor is not all fun and games either. They make social sharing a priority too.
As you can see, optimizing the opportunities where readers can share your content is important to broadening your reach.
Create Shareable Headlines
Headlines can make or break the share-ability of an article. Even if people share a piece of content, yet if no one else clicks on it, then it won’t have the chance of gaining more exposure or becoming viral.
There are tried and true formulas that generally work when your goal is to create something shareable. Numbered headlines (like 7 Creative Ways to Create Sharable Content), how-to headlines (like How to Create Shareable Content), and you-must-find-out-what-happens-next-headlines (like Want to Create Content That Gets Shared by the Tons? Here’s the Secret…) are some examples.
You can also go back to learning from the pros in your niche for more ideas. One way to do this is to subscribe to the top blogs in your niche using Feedly. As you scan down the list of latest posts and see which headlines are getting the most social shares as indicated by the number to the left of the headline.
As major publishers shift towards different headline styles to generate more shares of their content, you can follow their trends simply by looking at your Feedly subscriptions periodically.
If you’re really stuck, you can also try topic generator tools. These tools usually take the keywords you want to write about and stick them in crafty headlines. These tools include HubSpot’s Topic Generator and Portent’s Content Idea Generator. The latter tool is especially useful, as you’ll get a few extra tips about how to really make a particular topic suggestion more successful.
Cover Trending Topics In a Unique Way
Trending topics are hot, and jumping on the bandwagon can make your content shareable. Of course, if you are just saying the same thing everyone else is, then you’re not necessarily going to get far.
You only have two options – be first, or analyze your competitors and say something unique. If you’re not a news organization or have behind-the-scenes access, you’re likely not going to be first, so aim to be unique. Then create a headline that reflects your unique angle. Take Wired’s simple explanation about the missing Malaysian jet.
While everyone is talking about hijacking, terrorism, and conspiracies, they went with something that is a little more plausible while everyone else is just theorizing. As you can see from the social shares, the unique angle is a hit.
Be Sensitive – and Helpful
One thing to watch out for when jumping on the trending topic train is to be sensitive. You don’t want to capitalize on other’s misfortunes. People are not going to be happy about a post on marketing lessons we can learn from the latest disaster that has led to thousands of lives lost. So first, be sensitive of what trending topics you are trying to take advantage of in your content strategy.
Second, find a way to be helpful if you are going to mention something tragic or disastrous. Use your content as a way to direct people to reputable places to donate or share other ways people can help, and then turn it into a case study about how you are helping. People love to read – and share – things they feel will help.
Include Shareable Media
There’s more than one way to make a piece of content shareable. Instead of just focusing on the sharing of the main piece of content, look at ways to include shareable media as well.
The first, and most shareable piece of media is images. As mentioned earlier, a great image plus Pinterest button, like the combination used on the Architecture Art Designs blog, can help your image bring more visibility to your content.
Videos are also highly shareable content. If you can create a video that is shareable and supplements your content, it will lead traffic back to your original content, can share it.
Other shareable types of media include infographics, presentations (think Slideshare), and embeddable widgets (think the mortgage calculator by Zillow). All of these are types of media you can use within your content to encourage your readers to share your content on their own websites, thus giving it more exposure.
Mix In Shareable Tweets
Last, but not least, are shareable tweets. Not just the retweet button at the top and bottom of your post, but actual tweetable bites from within your content. Clicktotweet is a free tool you can use to create prepopulated tweets – visitors to your website would just click on the link provided by Clicktotweet and the tweet you crafted will appear in their status update box.
You can use a tweet this link next to quotes, statistics, and other shareable bites throughout your content. Someone that might not have tweeted the post as a whole might just tweet one of those bites. Just be sure that you have included the link to your post in your Clicktotweet setup.
As you can see, there are many creative ways to make your content shareable. Some require a little bit of inspiration, and others require ingenuity, but once you incorporate these tips into your content strategy, you should see an increase in the share-ability of your content!