Create Highly Shareable Content Ideas
Way back when they were grad students at Stanford, two guys named Larry and Sergey were exploring how links could be used as the basis of a quality measure for Web pages. They figured that if a page gets incoming links from other pages that it has to be pretty decent. Tally them all up and popularity begets quality. Zoom forward and the two of them did pretty well founding a company called Google, but as that’s exploded into a blue chip stock, their algorithm needed to evolve to keep up with the ever-changing World Wide Web.
Today, people no longer show their appreciation for a Web page by linking to it from their own Web pages, MySpace profiles or diary-like blog posts. Nope, nowadays the big buzzword is “social signals” and it’s all about people both engaging with your content and sharing it on their social networks.
That’s true whether you target Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus (which is still alive, reports of its imminent demise to the contrary), Pinterest or similar.
Which leads to the obvious dilemma for any information publisher in 2017: How can you create shareable content for your visitors and readers?
Want to learn how to attract new visitors using social media and online communities? Try this article on ethical content creation.
Shareable content is easy to share
One obvious way to help encourage social sharing is to have social sharing buttons on your content pages. Seems incredibly obvious but it’s surprising how many sites omit this most basic of functions or have sharing links that require your readers to set up an account with a third party tool publisher or similar.
It’s so unnecessary when there are a range of terrific solutions including the Jetpack social sharing plug-in on Wordpress sites. With a half-dozen clicks, every page on your site now has a super easy social share feature.
For best results, you’ll also end up having to dig into Facebook’s Open Graph system. Without it, shares are probably going to look dull and omit any sort of graphics or images Start by checking a few of your pages with the Facebook OG Debugger and if there are problems, ask your Webmaster to fix ‘em.
Keeping readers on your site
The more time someone spends on your content, the more likely they are to like it and share it with their social and professional circles. This is crucial for developing shareable content ideas. How do you do this?
Engaging content, thoughtful development, and lots of it. An article that’s 250 words and includes one stock photo isn’t interesting compared to another with 800 words of thoughtful prose and a half-dozen images. Better yet, don’t just include photos, add contextually relevant embedded videos and infographics too.
Heck, infographics are a perfect example of an image you can include with your own content that can be widely shared unto itself. One way to encourage this is to use a plug-in that adds “pin it” buttons to all of your graphics on a mouse-over, though if your audience isn’t a match for the Pinterest demographic, that might be less effective than you’d hope.
Another advanced strategy for creating highly shareable content is to embed a presentation from a site like Slideshare. Just like with a video, users are drawn into the content and stay on your page even as they go through dozens or even hundreds of presentation slides.
You could even simultaneously publish content in multiple media. Having a slide show and narrated video embedded in an article that presents the same content as prose ensures that whatever sensory modality your visitor prefers you’ve got ‘em covered!
Make your readers content evangelists
A third area to consider when thinking about how to maximize shareable content on your website is whether you’re encouraging engagement. Visitors often need a gentle prod to share content, so a phrase like “agree with me? share it with your Facebook friends!” can be a simple way to increase your shares.
In a similar vein, I always like to ask questions in my articles, particular at the end of the article. This encourages the reader to, well, answer the question, with the result that you garner more comments. Do you ever use this tactic in your own content? Tell us about it in the comments!
Turn your Web pages into part of a woven web too: whenever possible, link to other articles on your site to highlight just how great all your content is and how much people can learn from their visit, even if they were only thinking about one specific topic. For example, did you know we recently published articles about assessing your content’s quality, how to use Google’s Pagespeed Insights to speed up your site, and even how long it takes to generate revenue from your Web site?
Do your research before pressing publish
Venture Capitalists talk about the Better Mousetrap Problem, and it occurs again and again in the startup world: a team builds something and then believes they will sell millions of units simply because it’s so cool or so well designed.
Every Web publisher faces the same challenge: people aren’t going to show up on your site and share the content simply because it’s good. You need to be smart and strategic about what you publish, how you write about topics and the nuts and bolts of what you have on the article page to encourage sharing and social engagement.
Now go back and check out your own site. Are you savvy about how you’re creating highly shareable content and encouraging your readers to share it on their favorite social networks? And, for that matter, what other tricks or techniques are you using to encourage readers to share your content?
Tyler is an award-winning digital marketer, SEO veteran, successful start-up founder, and well-known publishing industry speaker. Tyler also serves as the host of Pubtelligence, a publishers-only event hosted at Google offices around the globe. Tyler describes his core competency as learning. He has composed content for some of the world’s top publications and has over a decade of experience building businesses in the digital space. Tyler is currently the Head of Marketing at Ezoic and serves as an SEO and marketing expert for start-up competitions across the U.S.