Creating content that your readers will feel compelled to share on social media is crucial to reaching a wider audience.
Nevertheless, content marketers can sometimes overlook the importance of this kind of organic exposure when putting together a strategy to gain visibility.
This is mainly because sharing is out of their hands. No matter what tactics you use, you can never bank on a certain number of readers liking, tweeting, or posting a link to your latest article. What you can do, however, is everything in your power to ensure that the content is as share-worthy as possible.
One of the main objectives for any content team is to ensure that readers are so captivated by what they are reading that they can’t help but think: “Hey, you know who else would love to read this? Everyone who follows me on Twitter and all of my Facebook friends!”
To make this happen, you’ll first need to come up with a topic that is interesting and extremely relevant to your readers. You can even forget about getting someone to click on a headline that doesn’t speak to them personally, let alone share it.
Then, you’ll need to create content that is insightful and engaging. You don’t just want to provide information that your readers haven’t already read a dozen times before, but you want to do it in a way that makes them genuinely enjoy reading the piece.
Digital marketers and content specialists would disagree. There’s no paint-by-numbers approach to creating share-worthy content.
While the combined experience of skilled content strategists and writers can get you close to this goal, it’s an excellent idea to do some research into various tools and mechanisms that can assist them.
Or, you can just read the rest of this article. Because we’ve done the research for you.
Here are ten things you can use to make sure your content has a solid shot at going viral.
1. Rethink Your Content Topics
The guys and girls over at Hubspot know a thing or two about good content. This NYSE-listed marketing-software company has been around for 14 years and boasted annual revenue of over $650m in 2019.
When it comes to tools that help with social media marketing, content management, and SEO, few companies are as knowledgeable.
That’s why we place so much stock in their awesome Blog Topic Generator. It’s a free tool that allows you to enter up to five nouns that act as topic themes and then automatically generates 250 blog titles based on what you’ve provided.
While you may not copy the titles exactly as provided, the topics will go a long way to help you rethink your current approach to content creation. It may even break you out of a creative rut that’s hurting your ability to engage the audience.
2. See What Your Competitors are Doing
Ahrefs’ Content Explorer has long been the go-to tool for some ethical spying on your competitors.
With Ahrefs, finding out what the top-performing content pieces are for a specific topic is an absolute cinch. Simply by entering a keyword or keyword string, you’re shown hundreds of thousands of results sorted by a variety of extremely helpful metrics.
One of these sort-metrics is the number of shares that a particular piece enjoyed on three different social networks: Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Using this sort feature, you’ll be able to easily spot similarities between share-worthy content and copy these strategies in your content conceptualization and creation efforts. You may find that articles in a list form outperform in-depth think-pieces when it comes to being shared. Or that posts exceeding a certain word count aren’t shared as often as shorter pieces.
If you take content marketing seriously, we wholeheartedly recommend delving into everything Ahrefs has to offer.
It’s an awesome tool. Start using it asap.
3. Stay Informed
If you’re responsible for conceptualizing or writing share-worthy content, you’re going to need to stay on top of your game.
One of the best ways to hone your skills is by regularly consuming top-quality content. Not only does reading make you a better writer, but it also keeps you in touch with content creation trends and keeps you inspired to do your best work.
But sadly, there are only so many hours in a day, and finding time to read content that you stumble across organically isn’t always possible.
Enter Pocket – a content saving and curation app that lets you compile everything you want to read and watch, keeping it in an organized space for whenever you’re ready to enjoy it.
Say goodbye to clumsy bookmark management or whatever outdated methods you used to “save something for later.” Keeping yourself up-to-date and inspired doesn’t get much easier than with Pocket.
4. Get Scientific
Is it necessary to mention the importance of writing an attention-grabbing headline again?
Yes, it is.
Your headline is the first thing every single reader (or potential reader) is going to see of your content. If it doesn’t make them want to click or continue reading, all the effort you poured into writing the piece itself was wasted.
Obviously, an experienced writer is going to be knowledgeable enough in this area to come up with a sufficiently compelling headline. But it never hurts doing a bit of extra analysis in this area.
Advanced Marketing Institute’s excellent Headline Analyzer tool assesses the headline and gives it a score based on its Emotional Marketing Value (EMV).
Based on a proprietary formula developed by the institute, a content specialist can instantly see the headline’s overall effectiveness expressed as a percentage.
The tool goes even further by also allocating a helpful descriptive term to your headline, indicating the type of emotional response the reader is likely to have when reading it.
5. Stick to the Point
Ernest Hemingway was a notorious advocate for simplicity. The Nobel Prize-winning journalist believed in short sentences and simple words that communicated only what is absolutely necessary.
This idea is the backbone of the extremely helpful tool Hemmingway Editor – an app that analyzes large sections of text to help writers simplify their work.
If readers have to wade through unnecessary descriptive terms or use a dictionary to simply understand what you’re trying to tell them, you’re failing at keeping them engaged.
From identifying long-winded paragraphs to suggesting less pretentious alternatives to complex words, Hemingway editor helps writers create content that’s engaging, compelling, and ultimately share-worthy.
It’s extremely simple to use, and its suggestions are clear and easy to implement. It’s also available as a desktop app to make the editing process even simpler.
6. Get Inspired
There are several reasons why you should be using infographics and other visual elements in your content. One of the most relevant of these is that infographics are shared three times more often than every other type of content on Social Media.
If you’re creating a data-driven piece of content that can be expressed in visual format, seriously consider creating something that is far more share-worthy than a traditional article.
As any decent graphic designer will tell you, however, converting a complex set of concepts into an engaging graphical element is no easy task.
Fortunately, Pinterest is a fantastic resource for inspiration. Simply searching for any topic and including the search term “infographic” in the search term yields thousands of well-curated results.
There are some brilliant designers out there creating highly engaging, share-worthy infographics. Head over to Pinterest and have a look at what they’re creating. You’re sure to come away with a bunch of excellent ideas.
7. Be Visually Creative
Following on from our point about the importance of using visuals to make content more share-worthy, let’s look at a tool that helps regular folk create high-quality graphics.
Canva is a free, web-based app that’s been designed specifically to enable people without graphic design skills to create appealing visuals for a variety of uses.
From beautiful header images that entice your audience to engage with your content, to complex infographics, Canva makes the entire process simple, fast, and affordable.
Canva’s selection of premade visual elements means that its learning curve is minimal and massively reduces the effort and cost required to create share-worthy content.
8. Make Sharing Easy
Most of your readers aren’t even going to think about sharing your content if you don’t let them know it’s an option.
Even those readers that are extremely motivated to share your content will need to copy the page URL and paste it into their social media platform of choice. This is a clumsy process that can easily be bypassed with the correct tool.
ShareThis offers a suite of products that boost audience engagement, with their Share Buttons being the flagship tool.
All you have to do is select the style of share buttons most appropriate for your site, select the content management platform that it runs on, and follow the simple integration instructions.
Including visible yet unobtrusive calls to action that make sharing as easy as a couple of clicks will see your sharing statistics skyrocket.
9. Be Hyper-Relevant
It’s one thing creating engaging content that appeals to your audience when you’re hoping to see it shared.
But it’s another thing entirely to zoom in on a very specific topic that’s captured the internet’s attention at a given moment and capitalize on its popularity.
Using Google Trends, it’s possible to see the most popular news stories and search terms over the past 24 hours. It’s even possible to drill down to a specific country if you want to create content that appeals to a particular demographic.
Bear in mind that your content team will need to be capable of converting these trending topics into fresh perspectives that are relevant to your site. They will also need to do so very quickly to leverage the world’s momentary obsession with a particular issue.
Creating and publishing content that’s super relevant at a particular time isn’t easy. But when you notice and manage to make the most of it, it will have a very positive impact on your content’s share-worthiness.
10. Take Care of Yourself
We’ll end our list with something that’s often overlooked in articles like this one: your general state of mind.
Doing everything we discussed in this article correctly – and having the continued motivation to do so – depends on a high level of creativity and mental stamina.
There are many ways that you can alter your habits and lifestyle to ensure that your mind is performing at maximum capacity. Let’s take a look at some of them.
The correlation between a good night’s rest and improved mental performance has long been established. Making sure you get enough hours of sleep on a comfortable bed is essential to being able to function at your creative peak.
In his book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, psychiatrist Dr. John Ratey explains how breaking a sweat and lifting your heart rate has a profound effect on increased mental capacity.
By exercising frequently, you are allowing your brain to balance the neurotransmitters that affect your brain’s ability to concentrate and perform at its peak.
So get that tennis racket out, start jogging, or join a gym. It will have a remarkable impact on your performance at work.
- Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Do whatever you can to stop measuring your workplace effectiveness based on the number of hours you work. If you want to continue being successful at your job, it’s essential to find that fine balance between the time you spend working and relaxing.
Writing for the Harvard Business Review, Eric Garton suggests that a poor work-life balance and resultant burnout is more often the fault of the employer than the employee.
If you’re in a position to influence your company’s culture in a way that prioritizes employees’ mental wellbeing, do what you can to motivate staff to work a healthy number of hours per week.
Creating share-worthy content doesn’t just come down to hiring the right people for the job.
While expertise alone does help with creating captivating content, it’s vital that content strategists and writers arm themselves with tools that help with the various elements that drive virality.
Many companies have tapped into this need, providing their teams with information and functionality that’s critical to maximizing the chances of seeing content shared by readers.
By combining these tools and ensuring that skilled content teams are mentally prepared for the challenge, site owners are certain to see spikes in their organic traffic stats.
Travis Jamison is an investor, search engine nerd and proud pug-parent. He founded Smash.VC, to provide bootstrapped online business owners the type of investment partner that he wished he had early on in his entrepreneurial journey. You can reach him on Twitter and Linkedin