How Do I Create Shareable Content? (28.2+ Clever Ways)
AS featured on Quora
with intro/extro added
Creating shareable content is about connecting and adding value to the lives of others.
Sometimes it seems like this should be easy for someone in a niche or business.
But it isn’t always that obvious, even to the professional SEO content writer. Knowing how to create shareable content within a niche takes knowledge, research & analytics skills and practice.
That said, there is a formula that works consistently. Read on to learn everything you need to know to start generating more shareable content for digital marketing.
What Does Shareable Content Mean?
Shareable content is any type of media that causes a sudden and overwhelming urge to share with others via sharing channels like email, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
When content is shareable, it creates a ripple effect among those who see the share, consider it a "recommendation", view it, and share it. Shareable content can rack up a number of shares fast and go viral.
1. Meet Your Content Marketing Goals
Content doesn't have to go viral to be shareable. In most content marketing strategies, reaching an extra 100, 1000 or 10,000 people in a day is huge. You can then use content marketing and inbound marketing strategies to convert that sharing into website traffic, signups, and other important metrics.
And we're just talking about one post. You'll have many.
2. You Raise Awareness of Your Site
All marketers want to increase their brand exposure. When people share, they get your site and brand in front of other people who may also be your target audience.
This awareness, visibility, and repetition build trust and authority.
3. It Creates Authentic Interactions
These are real people who decided to interact with your brand and found it valuable enough to show it to others. This is a step toward building a more engaged and authentic relationship with your audience.
4. Social Shares Can Impact SEO
Social shares are not a ranking factor. But don't dismiss them. They do a lot of things that are great for SEO:
Increase website traffic
Generate natural links
Cause repeat visits
Establish your authority online
Signify your content's relevance to your audience
While correlation does not always equal causation, A Cognitive SEO study suggests websites that rank high in Google also have a lot of social engagement.
A separate study from Searchmetrics also shows a strong correlation between social views and organic rankings.
5. People Trust Content Recommended by Their Family/Friend
Shares are a form of personal recommendation. It's free advertising, but even better.
What Makes Content Highly Shareable?
Content people pass on often has several elements in common. It may not do all of these simultaneously, but using one or more of these makes for shareable content.
1. It's Practical
It gets straight to the point and provides clear value.
2. It Entertains
People share stuff they think would be valuable, so they can help solve others' issues. But they also spend time online as a form of entertainment, even when they're technically working.
3. It Promises Rewards
Incentive theory is elementary: peoples act on rewards. If they think you're going to give them something, they respond for themselves and often share it with others.
This could be a contest, promo offers, free eBook, juicy secret, anything that the audience finds valuable.
4. It Affirms Causes and Beliefs
People respond to things that tell them they're right. Confirmation bias is strong. They also share things that support their beliefs with others, sometimes to prove they're right, other times to get a like or share.
5. It's Easy to Share
You make it easy for them to send your posts to others with Click to Tweet, share button, etc. Place these strategically on a blog post so they can when someone has an aha moment and wants to send it to someone.
What is the Most Shareable Content?
People tend to spread visual content around before written. It's no wonder. Users understand a visual 60,000 times faster than text. So make sure you always accompany written content with videos, infographics, stunning imagery, etc.
How Do I Create Shareable Content?
Learn what people share. But not just any people. Let's start by considering who your target audience is. Build a Buyer Persona, and when you create content, imagine your sharing specifically with that person.
Armed with this clear picture of who you want to reach, let's look at how to create content that people want to pass on to others.
29 Ways to Create Shareable Content
1. Find Trending Topics
Trending content is a lot more likely to get shared due to its instant relevance. Many social media sites, including Twitter and Facebook, offer pages dedicated to trending stuff. Just go there to see what's popular.
Create content that ties in, but be careful not to hijack a trending topic in a way that seems all about personal gain. This can backfire on you, negatively impacting social sharing.
SaaS tools like BuzzSumo can also help you identify the people talking about a certain topic. Here you can identify influencers and follow hashtags to stay abreast of what people are talking about in a certain industry.
You can also follow hashtags through a tool like Hootsuite.
Finally, check Google Trends to find keywords that are getting a lot of traffic this month. If you can quickly create some great content for your audience, you can capitalize on the trend.
You need to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, to focus your efforts on the most share. To do this, give yourself some criteria, and don't go for the trend if it doesn't align with your brand.
You’re looking for topics that:
Answer important questions about your business/industry
Get a lot of views and follows
Are answered by thought leaders & influencers (people with lots of followers). If a thought leader answered it, then it’s probably important
2. Use Share Psychology - Why Do People Share
Creating shareable content is more than just finding the right topics. You need to use share psychology. Why do people share things? People share to:
Be first to show someone something new
To prove a point
Emotionally connect with the message in the post
Feel like a part of something
Relate to your brand
Stay connected with others
Have others “get” them
Be helpful to others
When creating content, both web content and social media posts, keep these in mind.
3. Use Share Psychology to Create Your Social Media Headline
A recent study finds 59% of links on social network sites were not even clicked before being shared. That's okay because if it reaches more people, you still have a higher number of real people clicking.
An engaging headline is vital to shareable content.
Use strong and emotional language.
Advanced Marketing Institute's Emotional Marketing Value tool is a great place to test your language before posting.
20th-century marketing legend David Ogilvy said that 80 cents of every dollar should go to creating the headline because 80% of people will see the headline while only 20% will take a closer look.
In 21st century concepts, this includes email subject lines, social media posts, meta titles.
Invest some time into creating a headline that deserves a share even if the person doesn't actually click through to view further content.
59% of content is shared without the person even reading/viewing any more than the headline.
Social Media Headline best practices include:
Avoid Clickbait -- search engines and social media are cracking down on misleading headlines and images used to earn clicks. Besides, these don't invoke trust. You need trust to earn a customer.
Avoid Worn Out Socks -- It's okay to use templates as long as you mix it up a lot. But most people just glaze over when they see another headline that says the Top 10 reasons you...
Be Unique but Familiar -- People respond to uniqueness, so vary your titles and avoid overdone ones. Unique titles make people pause to take a closer look. The title should have lots of words that connect with people because they're familiar, but the title shouldn't be overdone. These are 11+ things I learned the hard way in my 1st year in HVAC.
Keep it short
4. Test your Headlines
Share the same content with a different message. See which perform best.
Track performance over time to continually improve.
5. Relate to a Basic Human Experience
Monday's are the worst. Puppies are cute. Long meetings suck. These are so cliche often forget that these are hot topics.
There are some things that most people can agree on because they're basic human experiences. Try to tap into these.
6. Tell Stories
We never outgrow a great story. Give your readers the stories they want to get more shares.
7. Do a Pop Culture Tie-in
Successful content creators use pop culture references to educate, entertain, and expand on ideas. Always consider your audience when deciding which to use.
8. Build Hype for Something You'll Launch Soon
Creatively hype your next release to get people talking about it. An example, Netflix gets creative with emojis to get people talking about an upcoming show.
Get people guessing what the new hot product will be.
9. Do Interviews
Interview influencers in your industry and create content. That's highly shareable.
An you're also likely to earn shares from the person you interviewed as well as links.
10. Do Competitive Research
Follow your competitors. See what works for them. Replicate it with appearing to straight copy.
11. Pay Attention to the Current Event
There's usually something that's happened to you on the news that will help inform your industries. Explain it at a level your audience understands and keep them informed.
12. Read the Comments
Read comments on your content and posts to uncover things your audience wants to talk about. If more than one person is discussing it, chances are you have many more where they came from.
13. Don't Be Afraid of Length
The research is detailed. Long-form blog posts get shared more than short pieces of content, especially in B2B digital marketing.
Be sure it's killer. Not filler. Answer all the important questions on a topic. Use a content optimization tool like make sure you cover the topic thoroughly.
Call it a complete guide, ultimate guide, or something else to express its magnitude. And ramp up the word count on your blog posts to increase the number of shares.
14. Appeal to Your Audience's Values
People get emotional about their values.
March of Dimes
Identify what matters to your Buyer Persona and leverage those values to create one highly shareable blog post.
15. Add Shareable Video and Images
Marketers with in-house design teams will not need to worry about this. For the rest of us, creating unique shareable visuals can be a challenge.
But to make content shareable, you have to make use of imagery on social networks.
Find free HD images, graphics, and videos on Pixabay. And anyone can build graphics on Canva.
16. Get People Inspired
People love to be inspired to do things, even if they don't actually take that advice. And they like to inspire others.
So as you work with each different type of content, try to inspire people to inspire social sharing.
St. Jude's Children's Hospital is a great example, they shared, "I'm inspired by the power of the hospital's patients." What a beautiful sentiment!
17. Nail your Topic
Whatever you're talking about in the post, nail it. Even if 59% of people share without clicking, you'll always perform better in marketing when every piece of content shows you value the time of your audience.
Take feedback and then go back and make it even better. Share that social media content again.
18. Include infographics
65% of people learn their learning better from visual media. Infographics are highly shareable and can add some much-needed variation to your content.
But makes sure you have an eye for detail. Clutters and confusing infographics will insult your audience. Not great for your marketing strategy.
19. Create a Controversy
This may seem counterintuitive. But think about it?
How do you get the most eyeballs on a piece of content? Say something that not everyone will agree on.
Some people share, comment and bash you. Others come to your defense. You're starting a conversation. Social media sites and people love it.
Avoid topics that could get you skewered or cancelled. But there's certainly a fine line you can walk to get a lot of views on your content by stirring up opinions when you share your content.
20. Place Sharing Buttons Where They'll Be Seen
Make sure everything you publish has share buttons. They allow you to make sure everyone is clicking and sharing in one simple button.
Your social media buttons can go wherever in your content. But the less visible they are, the better.
For example, Social Media Examiner's social share buttons are situated on the left of the screen and follow the user while they scroll down the post.
21. Add Social Sharing as a CTA
People on social media are social within the context of the platform. If you ask someone to share something, a certain percentage will. So ask for your needs.
About 95% of the visitors who read a post will see the call-to-action (CTA) text. We can't say as much about a blog post.
22. Embed Quotes from Influencers
57% of marketers recommend content using influencers.
Some people are so obsessed they will share anything that has to do with their favorite online personalities. Leverage this to get your own shares of your content.
You might even get the attention of influencers. And they share your content. Social shares from influencers--great for your marketing strategy.
23. Opt for List-Based Content
Lists are highly shareable content because they set clear expectations and usually deliver on their promises to readers. You need a variety of content, so don't get hung up on one format to make content shareable.
But you can definitely increase social shares through list posts.
24. Make Your Content Useful
Bottom line: To get people to share content, it's essential that the audience finds it useful. Each article is related to the challenges and goals of your reader.
90% of the user will evaluate the content's usefulness before sharing it. And no, that's doesn't contradict the 59% sharing without viewing the actual content.
Most readers can assess this from your social media post. Make it easy for them to decide that something is useful by appearing helpful in the topics you choose and the words and images you use.
25. Get Your Audience Involved in Your Content Creation
Survey your email subscribers, followers, and readers to come up with better content ideas for your articles to increase engagement and website traffic.
26. Go Through your Mail
See what kinds of things website's you've subscribed to are sending to you every day. You can learn a lot by just paying attention to things like headlines and engagement.
You can often learn more here than reading a marketing article or taking a course.
Apply what you learn in your next article, blog post, email, or marketing campaign or any type of content your readers will love. And share your content with the world.
27. Use Performance Analytics
It doesn't have to be a scary word. In fact, it should be a content creator's best friend.
Despite what professional SEO content writers & strategists would like to claim, every piece of content creation isn't golden. But what we can claim is that we utilize industry analytics tools to identify which pieces are getting the most action.
We then identify what sets them apart. And we create more content like it.
Some of the free tools of the trade include:
Social media analytics tools (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc.)
Google Search Console & Bing Webmaster (same tool but for different search engines)
28. Validate your Audience's Opinion
Content that validates the perception of the audience can be shared quickly because people find it proven through a reliable source.
You listen to your readers. They know it. Readers trust you to write quality content.
Some people may even use a tool to automate sharing this content without ever laying eyes on the social post.
Find ways to show you hear them by interacting with people on social media and creating content marketing content they've said they want.
You'll always win with you listen to your readers and continually strive to write the posts they're looking for.
The reader can tell this new tips article is shareable from the headline and image. And they don't even have to go further than that.
Hitting that share button is the next step.
That's your strategy at work.
What would you add to tips on creating more shareable content? How have these tips served you as a content creator? I'd love to hear from you.