Marketing today for any business or organisation means many things, but for me, being relevant and useful to your target audience is one of the most fundamental parts. With so much competition today in nearly all sectors, being relevant is absolutely key, and is something that Grant Leboff discusses in detail in his excellent book, Stickier Marketing.
Being relevant is one thing, making sure others are aware that you’re relevant, is another. As I’m writing this blog entry, the ideal result for me is that you’ll like it, share it, and my audience will grow beyond any levels I could achieve myself. That’s the whole point, we write blogs to share our knowledge and show the world that we are the bees knees when it comes to whatever it is we do.
Knowing that having your content shared is vital, you have to make sharing it as easy as possible. You could write, create, record or release the best piece of content ever, but if nobody shares it, it’s pretty much a total waste of time and talent! So what can you do to give your content a high chance of being shared?
The first thing to ask yourself is, “would I share that?” If the answer is no, start again! I listened to Jeff Bullas at a recent event, and he emphasised the fact that “Done is better than perfect” when it comes to content. He’s absolutely right, and we shouldn’t hold back from creating content because we’re scared of getting it wrong. I actually fell that having a certain “fear” is important, as it means you care enough to create something pretty damn good!
So, what else stops people sharing your content?
1. They didn’t know it exists…because you didn’t distribute it properly!
There’s two main ways people discover your content – from favourite sites they check most days, and ones they stumble upon whilst surfing through social media. Publishing great stuff to your website and then waiting for that invite to speak at TEDx simply won’t happen. Be findable! If people don’t know your blog exists then you’re beaten from the start, so make sure as many eyes can see it as possible. Social media and great SEO are your tools!
Start by sharing and distributing your content yourself, and make sure your colleagues, friends and family muck in by giving it a like, share, thumbs up, retweet and favourite! Sounds obvious, but lots of marketers don’t help themselves, yet expect others to.
2. They don’t know who you are
In order for people to share your content, they have to know who you are and trust you enough to share your opinion. If you think about it, sharing your content is kind of like giving you a recommendation, and people are really hesitant to do that if they don’t know you and trust your opinions. Think about the huge amounts of shares celebrities get – people know who they are, they (rightly or wrongly) trust them and therefore trust their content.
Not knowing you or your company, and not being able to find out easily who you are is a massive barrier to sharing your content, no matter how compelling it is! An easy fix to this is having some easy to find information about yourself or your company on your blog, not forgetting your constant SEO strategy!
3. You haven’t put enough thought into your headline
This is one of the most (in fact, I would say the very most) important things when it comes to ensuring people actually open or click on your content! All headlines can be better, including this one, but considering five times as many people read headlines as read the body of content, you really need to take time to ensure your headline is attractive, succinct, and enticing.
A good headline suggests what readers can expect in the main content body, and it must attract attention. In most cases, the headline is the only nugget of information people get before they click on the link (or don’t click). A dreary headline will kill your chance of getting shares. Remember the first point…would YOU share that?
It’s also vital to make sure your headline is relevant and on-point with the actual content it supports. If you betray your audience with a catchy headline that your content doesn’t relate to, you’ll not only have zero chance of your initial readers sharing; you’ll never hear from them again.
4. KISS Language – Keep it Simple Stupid!
Blogs and content creation aren’t English Literature exams. Also, people don’t want to wrestle with long words that need a lot of thought. If they did, that last sentence would have read “Content readers choose to circumvent multifaceted language necessitating extensive considerations”, and who on earth wants that!?
5. You’re not making it really easy to share your content
Can you imagine an e-commerce site not having an “Add to Cart” button? If you don’t use clearly identifiable “Share” buttons throughout your content, you’re doing exactly the same. People might love your content and really enjoy reading it. What they won’t do is take the time to copy and paste your link, headline and maybe even your social media profile to share. They just won’t, so don’t expect them to.
6. You’re not using Images in your posts
Including images in your content and on social media can increase your share rates by over 600%. There’s very little else that needs said here, so I won’t barter on. Just remember that one image may not suit all your various social media channels, so make sure you re-format your images across the various platforms your content is published on. Don’t be tempted to plaster content with images for more sharing – this doesn’t work and will only compound your readers’ load times! Make them relevant, quirky and of course – safe!