As you know, the consistent creation of shareworthy content requires equal parts luck and skill. Since the luck portion is uncontrollable, there’s no sense in focusing on this aspect. However, it’s worth everyone’s time and energy to look at the skills, characteristics, and features that make content highly shareable.
1. Nail the Headline
“While an 8-word headline of a 1300-word post represents less than 1% of the content, I’m 99% sure it will be the line that dictates the destiny of your post,” content marketing strategist Barry Feldman says. “Whether appearing on a blog post, the subject line of an email, a Twitter update, or any of the zillion places your content may appear, your headline prompts three potential responses.” Those three responses are: nothing, click, and share.
The goal is to get readers to both click and share. However, if you’re missing the mark with your headline, you’re significantly damaging the potential of your article, even if it’s well-written.
2. Take a Provocative Stance
Safe content often goes undetected in a social media landscape that has a love affair with sensationalism. The only way to create shareworthy content is by taking a provocative, bold, and sometimes controversial stance on safe subjects.
“Every single day, I get inspiration for more stuff I want to write about and reveal and share my opinion on,” says Tim Sykes, a successful penny stock trader and coach. “Sometimes, I purposely put forth a very strong opinion to get a reaction from people and create the debate. To start a fire you need kindling.”
Review all of the content you’ve published and shared over the past six months. What percentage of the content is safe and which portion would you label as being bold? If there isn’t a lot of provocative content, this is a sign that your current content strategy will never produce a sizeable return.
3. Get the Intro and Conclusion Right
Did you know the majority of people read an article’s introduction, skim the middle, and then read the conclusion? Understanding this common reading pattern, you’ll see why the intro and conclusion of an article are the most important parts. This isn’t to say you should neglect the middle, but do make sure the bookends are getting a sizeable amount of attention.
The intro should draw the reader in and encourage them to continue reading. Use strong language, ask questions, and leave the reader hanging. The conclusion should do a nice job of wrapping things up and encouraging the reader to share the article.
4. Use the Right Visuals
While the value of a blog post may be found in the written content itself, the fact of the matter is that many posts get shared on social media based on the headline and accompanying image. We’ve already discussed the headline, but let’s take a look at the value of images.
“Pictures are more eye-grabbing and interesting than words on a screen,” says blogger Elena Verlee. “We can grasp the meaning from an image faster than we can read sentences, so visuals can be a shortcut to communication. Perhaps most important of all, images stimulate emotions much more effectively and quickly than words.”
Are you using the right visuals alongside your content? If not, now is the time to shift your strategy to account for the average social media user’s demand for compelling visuals.
Maximize Your Content’s Value
Left alone, your content is pretty worthless. In order to maximize its value, you must ensure it gets shared across social media.
Try new strategies and techniques until you find one that works for you!