All marketers have a common goal – and that’s to create the type of content that gets shared endlessly. But what exactly makes content worth sharing and how can you make yours more likely to go viral?
Take a look at the tips below to ensure you’re creating the type of content that can catapult your brand into the online – and offline – spotlight.
Determine Your Content’s Value
Does your content teach your audience something? Does it really, though? If I’ve put even a speck of doubt in your mind, it’s time to go back through some of your old blog posts and read them thoroughly. Ask yourself these questions while doing so:
1. Have I conveyed my message clearly?
2. Do I not only sound like a thought leader in my industry but also back up my statements with facts, how-to examples, or clear explanations?
3. What will my readers learn or take away from this post?
Basically, what you want to stay away from is writing ‘fluff’ pieces that your readers won’t even consider sharing. You know, the type of blog posts that make you think, “Well, that was a complete waste of time.” You can avoid this by making sure your blog posts don’t just tell people why they should do something, but show them how to make it happen.
For example, if you’re not an expert on a certain subject, why not find someone in your industry who is? This way you can interview them to get an authority’s opinion on the subject while creating a much more in-depth and valuable blog post for your readers.
Don’t have enough time to contact anyone personally? You can find countless reputable sources online to quote from that’ll add credibility to your blogs and provide a great platform for your readers to learn (and share) from.
To make your search quick and easy, try these tips courtesy of Jill Hoffman, Scott’s Marketplace’s senior director of marketing and media:
You can use any of the searches below to find sources to quote from. We used the example of ‘Twitter tips,’ but you can replace it with any subject to get targeted results:
- Find articles with Twitter tips in the title by using = allintitle: Twitter tips
- Find articles with Twitter tips in the URL = allinurl: Twitter tips
- Find articles with Twitter tips in the text = intext: Twitter tips
- Find articles with Twitter tips in back link anchor text: inanchor: Twitter tips
- If you’re searching for reports, find PDF files by using: filetype:pdf Twitter tips
Is Your Marketing Hurting Your Marketing?
As Tom Fishburne of the Marketoonist says, “The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” With that quote in mind, think about the past content you’ve created. Do you talk about your brands or products constantly? If your content sounds like a sales pitch from beginning to end, you’re pretty much guaranteed it’s not going to get many shares.
So how do you create the type of content that’s worth sharing? Sam Scholfield for StuffedWeb suggests you focus on the following elements:
- Relevant Topics: Write about the problems your readers are facing and the topics they want answers to.
- Educational Content: Provide detailed instruction on a topic to show your readers how to complete a task or learn something new.
- Easy to Consume: Make sure your content is easy to read with short paragraphs, subheadings to break up the content, and images to support it.
- Prompt Conversation: Always finish your blog post or article by asking a question about the topic and encouraging your readers to comment.
Take Content Risks – If You Dare
The great thing about taking risks with your content is that it can be executed to a variety of different degrees to fit within the confines of your brand.
For example, if you’re a more conservative brand, you already know that inappropriate language and risqué images aren’t going to go over well with your readers.
That doesn’t mean you can’t still spice things up a little, however. Using edgier — even provocative — headlines is a great way for you to test out what works and what doesn’t with your target audience. Note: Being offensive is different than being edgy, so tread the line with caution.
For example, instead of using this headline: ‘3 Biggest Marketing Mistakes,’ you might opt for this headline: ‘Why Your Marketing Plan Sucks’ to see if it resonates with your readers.
Personally, I used this in-your-face blog headline: ‘Your Employees Hate You and It’s Probably Your Fault’ to see if a slightly edgier tactic would work with our readers – and it did! It’s been one of our most read and retweeted blog posts to date.
If you’re going to try this tactic, make sure you use analytics to gauge effectiveness. Did using an edgier headline get you more views? A higher average time spent on page? More retweets? If so, it’s working. If not, try again until you find the style that makes your readers want to consume – and share – your content.
What are your best tips for creating content worth sharing?
About the author: Shannon Willoby is a blogger/marketing specialist at Scott’s Marketplace.