You’ve heard a lot about content marketing over the past few years. You know it’s a great way to get your message in front of people without going the traditional advertising route. However, most people don’t really understand what it is, even though shareable content is one of the top trends in digital marketing.
The key to content marketing is creating great content that people will share. The word “viral” may be a bit much in this case, but you want to make sure your content makes it through the ecosystem of the people you’re trying to reach.
These 10 no-so-secret tips will help you achieve great shareable content.
1. Create Genuinely Great Content
This may seem like it’s not a very big secret, and that’s because it isn’t. Everyone should know that creating valuable content makes it infinitely more shareable by now. However, the amount of garbage content out there says otherwise. If you were to print out the amount of bad content created daily, you’d need several landfills to deal with it all.
Great content doesn’t mean anything more than combining relevancy with quality. Ask yourself these two questions with the content you create: Is it relevant to my audience? And is this the best quality I can do? Those two should be the first steps in creating all shareable content. (Interested in reading more on this topic? Neil Patel recently put out an article sharing how to create better content for your customers.)
2. Bite Sized Works Best
If the content is too technical or in-depth, you can lose the reader/viewer. If you lose them, they’re unlikely to share it with their friends. This doesn’t mean your content can’t be a 2500-word article, it just means you need to make sure how it’s shared is digestible.
Just like this article, make the headline clear and have a good summary. Also, try to break your longer articles up into subsections so people can skim and still get the point — similar to the way we’ve done here.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Dive in Deep
Of course, there is such a thing as offering too little information. If you’re trying to educate someone on a topic, you don’t want them to feel like you didn’t answer their most pressing questions. This goes back to relevancy as well. If you want to them to share it, you’ll need to answer these questions. If you do go deep, just remember the previous tip to make sure it’s broken into bite-sized pieces.
4. Get Visual
Your suspicions are true – visuals get more engagement on social media. As HubSpot correctly points out, studies show that Facebook posts with photos get about 87% of all engagement. That’s no joke. That’s a big difference. This doesn’t mean you need to get hire an illustrator or build an infographic for everything, just make sure you make it visually appealing. This can be as simple as having a header photo or Facebook thumbnail that’s relevant to the material.
5. Add A Dash of Surprise or Shock
If you can enlighten people with something amazing, they’re likely to share your amazing information with other people. For example, did you know a pound of beef takes 1100 gallons of water to make? That little-known fact is from the movie Conspiracy, and it’s a fact that is shared time and time again just because it’s absolutely shocking. If you can shock or surprise with your content, it’ll take it to new heights.
6. Infographics Are Awesome
This ties into visuals but deserves a section of its own. They’re not always cheap or easy to create, but they can be a major part of your strategy for creating shareable content. It nails several of the secrets of shareable content in one go: it’s visual, it’s easily digestible, and they create those “wow” moments by helping people visualize how big or small something is. “Infographic” isn’t just a buzz word, it’s an important part of any content strategy. It can really help people understand what you do – and if it’s interesting enough, it’s super easy to share.
7. Get Analytical
This should be obvious, and yet the number of clients that don’t track their shareable content is astounding. You should be tracking every single thing you do.
The best way to create new shareable content is to build on what worked well in the past. Every audience is unique depending on the niche, so this is the best way to find out what’s working for you, and what isn’t. By analyzing your pics vs. posts, and your infographics vs. animations, you’ll see patterns emerge.
In a previous post on the 60 Second Marketer, we talked a lot about using analytics to help you justify your video marketing budget. You can apply the information from that article to all of your posts.
8. Don’t be Funny. Unless You’re Funny.
Humor is one of the hardest things to pull off properly. Unless you have a great sense of what is funny to your audience, don’t try to create funny things just for the sake of creating them. This can often fall flat. In fact, it can actually shrink your audience if it’s super cringe-worthy content.
If you’re a funny person or have one on your team, by all means give it a shot. Just remember the landfills of dead content that are filled with things creators thought would be funny.
9. Be Genuine
This may be the most important tip after creating great content. People can smell a sales pitch from a mile away. If you’re trying to force things that maybe don’t belong – just because you have an agenda – people will notice and it’ll end up in the same landfill.
It’s also important to note that content from companies is no longer set aside. It can be just as brilliant as a work based on pure creativity. People reward honesty and love to see the genuine side of things. They know when they’re being played. Just be honest, have fun, and let the company be itself. You’ll win more often than not.
10. Give a Call to Action
This can’t be said enough. If the content lives on your site, make it easy to share. Add social buttons, highlight the ability to share, and just flat out ask people to do it if they liked it. Just this one simple action can make your content more shareable without changing the content itself.
Bonus Tip – Interact with Your Audience
Once you’ve created the content and released it into the wild, don’t just follow it around – get involved. This can expand the lifecycle of your content as well by creating meaningful interactions with the audience that finds it valuable. It’ll also help you see where the holes are. People will often add their two cents when sharing or retweeting, and you can that two cents and use it to create more great content to follow up with.
These 10 secrets of shareable content aren’t really all that secret. You’d think they were though by the amount of people that don’t seem to hit a single one of them. Use this as a checklist. You don’t have to check them all, but if your content knocks a few of them off, your content will have a great shot at being shareable.
About the Author: Diana Beyer is experienced and self-driven media expert who is passionate about writing. Her purpose is to share values amid those interested. She is always seeking to discover new ways for personal and professional growth. Connect with Diana though Twitter.