Content marketing is a low-pressure yet effective way to earn attention from your target audience by offering useful insights and expert advice.
Over time, repeat visitor engagement produces high-quality leads who already know and trust your brand. When they’re in the market for your product, you’ll have a loyal customer.
That’s no doubt why 79% of marketers say generating leads is their top goal for content, but 83% say they use organic traffic for judging success – outshining lead metrics by nearly 20%.
But you can’t earn traffic and leads without first earning someone’s attention. As we all know, that’s not easy to pull off today online. Why is that?
Every time you publish a fresh blog, video, podcast, or any piece of digital content, you’re competing for attention with the rest of the internet: every app, social feed, meme page, and cat video. Your industry competitors usually aren’t the ones distracting your blog readers with dopamine-boosting push notifications.
Imagine reading a dry and technical yet thorough blog about why companies in your industry are all switching to one algorithm from a slightly different one for an important process.
Is the topic useful? Absolutely.
Interesting enough for readers to resist the allure of notifications from Reddit or YouTube?
- Well, let’s see what the truncated part of this Reddit post says first so we can get that out of the way and focus on the algorithm thing.
- Then we’ll open YouTube just for a sec to save the video for later and…
- Hey, weren’t we reading something important?
- Oh yeah, the algorithm thing!
- Eh, we’ll just Google it later when it comes up.
- Maybe someone else will publish a blog on the same topic that’s not such a snoozefest in the meantime.
We’ve all been there. Both sides.
You need two basics in every piece:
- Innate value to the audience without asking for anything.
- Strategy for distributing the content where the ideal audience will see it.
For creating shareable content so engaging that notifications feel annoying, that innate value must offer something important to the reader – something they’ve never learned or considered before. In other words, not the same 5-item listicle as everyone else already ranking for the keyword phrase.
Now, if you want your audience to actively remember and seek out your website for more content and even trust your content enough to share it with their audience, you need to make sure that your content entertains and inspires.
Look at links in your feeds. Shareable content is never overly technical or dry.
So, how do you stand out from the noise and win a customer’s attention?
1. Analyze Your Audience and Understand Their Needs
Before approaching the process of content creation — social media or otherwise — you need to know who you are writing for. People won’t share your piece if they don’t care about the topics you cover and the solutions you provide. These are the questions you need to impose to yourself:
- Who are you writing for? Who would read the content? College students, travelers, teenagers, unemployed people, or business owners? Speak their language!
- What problems does your audience have and which solutions can you offer?
- When can you reach the greatest number of people? You need to publish in a moment with high social media activity.
2. Offer Something Useful
People love getting tips that solve some of their problems. For example, you needed to find out how people can share your content more, so you started reading this article that offers proper solutions. Once you identify the problems of your audience, you should offer effective tips that they can implement into practice.
The key to social media content management is creating useful articles, blog posts, and social media updates. For example, if you’re selling clothes, then you can offer tips on how to fit a trendy piece into a harmonious outfit.
3. Engage the Audience
Social media is the place where you can interact with your fans, followers, and customers. If you don’t achieve high level of audience engagement, you won’t reach great popularity on social platforms. When you create content, don’t focus solely on the piece you’re about to publish! Think about the discussion it would encourage. Will it impose questions? Will the readers want to comment on it? If you get plenty of comments, more people on social media will see the post. Thus, you’ll get more shares as well.
Ask questions! That’s a great way of generating conversations. Of course, you need to respond to the comments if you want to gain appreciation. Have you noticed the effects of Oatmeal’s responses on his reader’s comments?
4. Awaken Some Emotions
Play the card of provoking emotion! When your content awakens happiness, astonishment, sadness, hope, sadness, or any other emotion, the readers will relate to it and they will recommend it to their friends. It’s best to make the topics and recommendations positive and fun, but don’t forget that emotions of disappointment from society will also get you tons of shares.
Again, think about your niche and the needs of your target audience, and you’ll surely realize which emotions you can awaken.
5. Create How-To Blogs and Tutorials
Showing and teaching people how to do something may not be a novel idea, but it certainly still an effective tactic for creating shareable content.
It does what content is supposed to do unapologetically: inform and teach audiences.
Investigate Google’s “people also ask” section for your primary keyword to get inspired – and keep digging.
6. Publish Listicles That Exceed Expectations
Nielsen Norman Group broke the internet back in 1997 with their eye tracking studies revealing that people don’t read every word in blogs and web pages – they scan. Over 20 years later and a repeat study showed audience behavior hasn’t changed.
Website layouts sure have though.
Content should help eyes bounce around the screen, and listicles work brilliantly here because they have:
- Bulleted lists
- Lots of subheadings
- A logical format
- In-line quotes and stats
Shareable content is easy for readers to skim through in a matter of a few seconds and find what they want. That’s why listicles are an effective format to drive readership and sharing. People can easily scan the list and read the sections they are most interested in if they are short on time.
Listicles can be informative and educational, but they can also be fun and entertaining, which adds the viral factor to help drive sharing for your content. Just keep your full list on a single page rather than a page for each entry.
7. Make Use of Statistics & Facts
Some of my most popular posts of all time include interesting facts and industry-related stats that my readers appreciate. Our top blog doesn’t mention anything about stats in the title, but you’ll find plenty inside:
8. Use Infographics
Infographics were hot in 2014 and while some folks just aren’t fans, infographics still earn traffic and shares. Just look at Google Images results filled with nothing but infographics for many keywords:
You can create your own infographics and write blogs around them. You can also take infographics created by others and add your own insights or ideas to freshen it up.
9. Use Authentic Images
There’s a reason stock images are called “stock” and why most people don’t like them – or most products with the “stock” attribute.
They just don’t look or feel real, robotic even. That’s the opposite of what you need from shareable content. You need to humanize your web presence. Raw authentic photos always work well.
10. Don’t Pass Up Videos
Have you noticed Google’s looked a little more animated lately? Certain searches – especially for how-tos and DIYs – include dynamic and interactive videos right in the SERPs.
Google says it has more tricks like this up its sleeve coming with the Core Web Vitals update for digital experience. Don’t pass up an opportunity to reach wider audiences when Google hands it to you.
Consider beefing up your multimedia library of quality shareable content so you have relevant and engaging visuals to optimize in every post.
11. Rely on Experts
When you’re maintaining your own website or business, you can hardly find the time to analyze the audience, think about their problems, discover solutions and create awesome content that would get tons of shares. That doesn’t mean you can neglect this aspect of content marketing; you should simple delegate it to someone who can handle the responsibility.
For instance, you can use writing service that offers assistance by talented writers and editors. You simply provide the instructions and wait for your custom-tailored content to be ready on time.
12. Make Your Content Personal
Readers over the age of 30 will no doubt remember the days when sharing basic personal information, like a photo and first name, online was considered extremely dangerous. Not so much anymore.
If you are willing to reveal and share something personal with your fans or just tell a story, you’d be surprised by all the free, crowd-sourced marketing they can get you.
13. Stoke Curiosity with Headlines
If you google “effective headlines,” you can easily find hundreds of tips and tricks for writing a killer title.
Some say you should keep your headlines simple, direct, and short for creating shareable content that won’t get shortened in search results. But don’t count longer headlines out for sharing and engagement either.
Vice runs plenty of longer headlines when the situation calls for more conversational tones, and this one sits at 12 words. It’s clever and effective at teasing your curiosity, and it makes you want to click to find out more. Do an experiment to see what clicks with your audience.
14. Put Effort into Long-Form Content
While long-form content isn’t always a viral sensation, it will remain relevant and valuable for your target audience over time. Plus, you can easily adjust and build on long-form blogs as needed.
Done right, your long-form content will continue earning reads, shares, and rankings in search results when combined with SEO techniques.
Timely, fun, or topical blogs also have their value. Pick a trending topic and link to your relevant long-form content throughout. Even a surge of traffic to one viral blog for a few days can temporarily boost your rankings site-wide. Why not take the chance?
15. Use Tools to Make Images for Social Media
Twitter isn’t the most visual platform, but you can use it to your advantage with the right types of images. Regardless of platform, people gravitate toward visual content.
Using photo editing tools like Canva to turn quotes into visuals can help increase your social sharing.
16. Use Hashtags on Social Media
Hashtags make you popular! The more people find your content, the more shares it will get. This simple promotional tool is functional across many social platforms. Use popular hashtags and start your own trend that will engage the audience.
People who use hashtags are more likely to get involved in social conversations and promote your brand in front of their friends. Be as creative as possible, since hashtags can get you in the wrong direction if you don’t know how to use them.
17. Provide Convenient Sharing Options
If someone reads a great piece of content on your site or blog, he will immediately search for the social sharing toolbar. No toolbar – no shares! The reader doesn’t want to waste time copying the link and pasting it into social media; it’s just too much work for something so simple. Make it easy for your visitors to share each article you publish!
Feature the social sharing buttons on a prominent position at the top or underneath the content. This simple addition will quickly lead to a great increase in shares.
Find Your Formula for Creating Shareable Content
Creating shareable content requires some nuance. Scroll through Twitter and LinkedIn for just a few minutes, and you’ll see plenty of content screaming “please share me” but with a desperate tone you definitely want to avoid in your content.
It all starts and ends with value. What value can you offer via your expertise? Can you add fresh value to the topic’s current conversation in SERPs? What would your audience find valuable on the topic and what are they sick of hearing?
You might not charge money for access to your blog, but readers still pay for your content with their time – a finite resource. Keep that in mind every time you create content and see how it changes your approach to value.
Feel like you’re not driving the best value from your current content marketing investment? Our custom Content Builder Packages earn clients 138% YoY organic growth on average, and we can help you get there, too.