Good content doesn’t always mean more shares
“Content is king” is a common mantra of digital marketers.
And to an extent, it’s true.
Most of the content you find on Google, click through from social media, or receive via email is useful, engaging and entertaining.
The quality content always tends to float to the top.
But, especially if you have a small web presence, it’s difficult to get eyes on even your best pieces.
This means hours and hours of content crafting, only to end up with a few views and maybe a couple of social shares.
This article will give you the insight to drive a whole lot more social shares on your content even if you’re just starting out.
Although my blog is only a few months old, I’ve managed to rack up hundreds of social shares on my articles.
The strategy below is exactly how I went about it.
Create good content (aka shareable content)
As if this isn’t obvious enough…
The success of this entire strategy is based on having a great piece of content to drive shares on.
“Shareable” doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be long form content or that you have to include a bunch of statistics.
It simply means that what you’re creating is good enough that someone will want to mention it to friends or colleagues.
Get to the drawing board and develop an understanding of what your audience wants.
What do they read, share, talk about? What questions do they have? How does what they want align with what you do? Look for pain points and areas of confusion that you can resolve.
Your value proposition comes in the form of entertainment or information. If you aren’t being selfless in your content creation, you’re doing it wrong.
Always be evaluating the purpose behind the work. Are you writing weekly blog posts just for the sake of getting content on your website?
Or are you answering someone’s question, saving them time, helping with a common problem, or even making them laugh…
You want people to read your article and say to themselves, “This saved me so much time” or “I didn’t even realize this solution existed!”
Once again, your content is all about providing value for the reader, rather than promoting your offering.
Let me give you an example…
At this point, you should have a quality piece of content that you know your audience will find useful.
Time for some bootstrapped content promotion!
Examples lead to understanding, so I’ll cover how I did this on a recent article I published.
For the past couple months, there has been a large buzz around chatbots and their use in digital marketing. As someone that is intrigued by AR/VR/AI, I was naturally curious and was looking to learn more.
Furthermore, I knew a lot of other people were curious as well. Are chatbots useful? Should I waste my time trying one out? Will people stop using email marketing and switch to chatbots?
I knew other marketers and small business owners were asking the same questions. There could potentially be a massive opportunity here, but people are stricken with inaction because they aren’t sure.
This is when I step in and lent a helping hand…
I created an influencer roundup article so that I could get experts’ thoughts on this buzzing topic.
After all, they know a heck of a lot more than me.
I made sure to get a diverse panel, with both digital marketers and founders, men and women.
The article came out great, but now that it was published, I needed to get eyes and more importantly, shares.
Here’s how I went about promoting this piece of content and driving nearly 200 social shares in just a few days with very little traffic.
Find related content on BuzzSumo
BuzzSumo is an awesome tool, but at $79/month, it’s a bit more than I’m looking to spend at the moment.
Don’t worry though. You can do a few limited searches a day for free, which is all we need for this content promotion tactic.
Go to BuzzSumo with a set of keywords that your article is built around. Even if you aren’t expecting to rank in Google anytime soon, pretend that you are.
Search BuzzSumo for these relevant keywords and filter by date so that you can find recent articles on your topic.
Finally we’re getting somewhere!
Try to narrow your search to find the most relevant articles, but also find articles that earned a lot of social shares. The more, the better.
Not only is the content appealing to your audience, but you’ll be able to pitch your piece to more people.
With a couple searches, you should be able to collect several articles that are similar to yours.
Save the articles in an excel document or just open them up in a separate tab within your browser.
Ideally, it would be nice to see who shared these article, but that’s a paid feature.
No worries, there’s a way around that!
We are now going to grab the article URLs and go to Facebook and Twitter to find out who shared them.
We’ll start with Facebook first.
Grab the article title and paste it into the search bar on Facebook. Make sure to filter by “Posts”.
As you can see here, we can now see many of the people and companies that shared this piece of content.
Simply right click and open each page/profile in a new tab.
Give the people what they want
Now, open up your notes or Word doc and write out a message that you will use to quickly pitch a bunch of companies and people at once.
Something similar to this:
I noticed that you recently shared a great article on [insert topic] by [publication name].
Recently I published a useful piece on [insert topic] as well and I thought you might enjoy it.
I would love to get your feedback on it if possible. Furthermore, if you enjoy it, I would totally appreciate a share on social 🙂
Here is the awesome resource: [link]
Have a great day!
Instead of simply saying, “You may enjoy it,” try adding in a value proposition, or an enticing call to action so that they actually check out your article and give it a share.
“My article will save you time on [topic]” or “Here’s what all the experts think you should do about [topic].”
Now paste that message either right into their messenger or click through to their website so that you can email them or fill out a contact form.
If your piece is high quality, you should be proud to share it with so many people. Ultimately, they will decide how useful it is 🙂
Let’s do the same for Twitter:
Login to Twitter and type in the headline to the relevant article you found via BuzzSumo.
If there were a lot of shares on the article, you might be looking at hundreds of Twitter accounts.
Start right clicking and opening all these Twitter accounts, both people and companies.
If it’s a very popular article with too many shares, I simply go through and find the tweets with the best engagement rates.
Now you have a whole bunch of people and companies to pitch your piece of content to.
You can send them a DM, or if they have a website, visit it and email them or submit a contact form.
Key tip: At the bottom of your pitch, include this:
“P.S. I followed you on Twitter :)”
It’s one more point of contact and it shows that you actually checked out their profile. This has been an effective little tactic for higher rates of response.
After your hard work is done, you’ll most likely get a good amount of emails from people, either thanking you or yelling at you for spam (Just kidding, this barely ever happens).
Ultimately, the more value you provide, the better the response will be.
Ready to bootstrap more shares?
This technique is tedious. It takes several hours to do a solid amount of outreach.
Regardless, I’ve found it to be a great strategy for getting your content and name out there without spending a dime on advertising.
Furthermore, it’s an awesome opportunity to develop relationships with people interested in your industry.
These random connections from outreach have lead to guest posts on other blogs, backlinks to my articles, an appearance on a podcast, and even some much-needed technical help with my website.
Remember: At the end of the day, you’re approaching people. The more genuine and selfless your approach, the better your results will be.
What outreach strategies have worked best for you? Let me know in the comments.