There’s nothing worse than pouring your heart and soul into a blog post, only to get a lukewarm response. You’d much rather have a really enthusiastic response that results in plenty of social media shares… right?
Of course you would. And that’s why you’ll want to check out the following five tips on how to write blog posts that gets shared like crazy. These include:
- Evaluating the Audience
- Engaging Readers
- Editing for Length
- Ensuring Easy Sharing
- Encouraging Sharing
Take a look….
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Evaluate Your Audience
Let me put it to you bluntly: you need to create something that your audience really wants.
Not what you THINK they want. Not necessarily even what they NEED. No, you need to give them exactly what they want.
This part is important. Because for starters, you can’t guess about this, as you may guess wrong. That’s why you need to do your market research to find out what type of content your market is wild about.
Secondly, you need to understand that what people need and what they want may be two different things. Don’t confuse wants and needs, or you’re going to end up with a dead blog.
For example, while an overweight person may NEED to lose weight for their overall health, the reality may be that what they actually WANT to simply become more energetic and feel more comfortable with their body.
So, if you are pushing weight-loss information to this particular audience, you’re going to end up with a lukewarm response. So again, turn to your market research so that you know what people really want.
Third, if you’re a part of your target market, then of course you can use your own experiences and insights to create content for your market. But never forget that you are NOT your market. Just because you want something doesn’t mean that your market wants it too.
For example, maybe you’re catering to people who want to lose weight. And maybe you’re a hardcore “gym rat” who loves working out and eating clean.
But let’s suppose your audience is nothing like you. Maybe they are “soccer moms” who are looking for quick and easy ways to lose weight. If you’re offering information about hardcore, brutal workouts and hard-to-follow meal plans, you’re going to lose your audience.
So once again, the point is clear: do your market research. Find out what your audience really wants, and then move onto the next step…
Related Post: How To Create Your Blog’s Target Reader Avatar
Engage Your Readers
If you did your market research, then you know what topics are going to capture your audience’s attention. Now you need to plan your content based on what other factors will engage your audience and get them hitting the “share” button. And in order to do that, you need to understand the top reasons people tend to share content. Take a look…
People Share Novel Content
Your brain rewards you when you learn something new by releasing a flood of pleasurable neurotransmitters. So, whenever you share something that people haven’t seen before, you’re going to give your visitors a little “rush” of happiness – and you can bet that’s going to engage them.
But here’s something else…
People also like to be the FIRST in their niche to share new content with their friends. So, if you can provide something novel to your readers, they’re going to rush to share it, because it makes them feel special and important to be the first to do so among their circle of friends.
People Share Content That Engages Emotions
Typically, these tend to be strong emotions like happiness, joy, anger, sadness and disgust.
But heads up: content that produces positive emotions tends to be shared more than content that produces negative emotions. That’s why viral content like funny cat videos are so popular.
For more help with writing blog posts that trigger emotions, check out this helpful post by Design Your Own Blog.
People Share Content That Supports Their Worldview
Sometimes people share content that agrees with their opinions, simply because the author of the content is able to express them better than the person sharing them.
As such, if you can express an opinion on a hot topic eloquently – or share a viewpoint not seen before – you’ll get people sharing your content.
People Share Content to Help Their Friends
In other words, people share content that’s really useful, as it makes them feel good to help out their friends. And if this content is also something novel, then that tends to really amp up engagement and shares.
Naturally, each piece of content you create doesn’t need to possess all of these factors. Which brings us to this question: what sort of content will your audience respond to the best?
Here’s a hint: the best predictor of your audience’s future behavior is to look at their past behavior. So if your audience tends to gravitate towards sharing really useful content on your competitors’ blogs, then you’ll want to create some super-useful content. Or if your audience tends to share a lot of funny content, then you’ll want to experiment with distributing funny content too.
Now the next piece…
Edit for Length
Here’s the simple truth: if your blog content takes a long time to read (or watch/listen in the case of a multimedia post), people simply aren’t going to take the time to do so. And if you don’t have a lot of people consuming and loving your content, then you’re not going to have very many people sharing it.
As with all things, you’re going to need to experiment a bit with length to find out what sort of content your audience is willing to consume and share. After all, long content such as books and movies often go viral. But when it comes to blog content, generally you’ll find that shorter content is better.
It’s going to depend on your audience and the topic you’re covering. However, in general you should aim for content that your audience can consume in just a few minutes (we’re talking five minutes or less).
This is easy when it comes to multimedia such as videos, as you can just aim to create something that’s a few minutes long.
When people see that a video is (for example) two minutes, they’ll “risk” that investment of time. They’re not going to be as willing to risk that time on a 10 or 20-minute video.
Obviously, content such as memes or infographics tend to engage people and go viral, since readers can get the gist of the content in a matter of seconds.
And if you can engage emotions in those few seconds (whether it’s a laugh or an “oh wow” exclamation), then you’re going to get more shares.
What about text content? The average reader reads somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 words per minute.
So if you create a 1000-word article, that will take about five minutes to read, and a 600-word article is just a three-minute investment of time.
That’s something most people are willing to do.
Now if you’re pushing the upper word count limits on text-based content, there are things you can do to make it more likely that people will dive in and keep reading it.
Check out these tips:
- Create a good title. If your title stinks, no one is going to bother reading the rest of your article (no matter how good it is). That’s why you’ll want to use the instructions and tips provided on this awesome blog for creating titles that capture attention and get people reading.
- Format for easy readability. If people see a giant wall of text, they’re likely to click away without reading so much as one word. This means you should include lots of white space, with short sentences and short paragraphs.
- Format for the skimmers. The idea here is to use bolded, enticing headlines and subheadlines to get your main points across. These juicy headlines will help draw people back into the content.
- Insert graphics. This helps break up the text, as well as providing something visually pleasing for readers.
- Use a light, conversational tone. Insert humor sparingly, where appropriate. Just imagine that you’re writing to a friend when you create your blog posts, and shy away from content that sounds more like a heavy textbook than friendly banter.
- Tell stories. The point is to entertain your readers, which will keep them engaged and reading. Indeed, people won’t even realize the content is on the long side if it’s so engaging that they can’t set it down.
Now check out the next step for creating content that gets shared…
Related Post: 13 Elements Of An Epic Blog Post
Ensure Easy Sharing
People are lazy. They’re also a little suspicious. As such, if you put hoops between your prospective readers and your content, people aren’t going to read it and they’re not going to share it as readily.
Because think about it…
Imagine if you went to a restaurant that you heard was going to be good, but the front door was inaccessible due to remodeling.
If you found out that you had to walk all the way around the block to gain access to some back entry, you may not do so very eagerly – especially if there is another perfectly good restaurant just a few steps away.
Here’s the thing… there is ALWAYS other good information for your prospects to access, and it’s always just a few clicks away.
So if you put hoops between your prospects and the content, they’re just going to click away and visit your competitor. (And no, they won’t even know what they’re missing since they weren’t able to lay their eyes on it.)
So, here’s what you need to do: make sure your content is easy to access and easy to share. Here are tips and best practices:
- Avoid opt-in forms. Before you ever create a piece of content, you need to decide the purpose of that content. If the content’s purpose is to build your list, great – then you need an opt-in form. But if your goal is to get people sharing your content, then forget about making people subscribe. Most people will NOT do it, so you’ll miss out on a lot of readers (and sharers) if you make people opt into your list in order to access the content. Related to that…
- Don’t put content behind any other walls. Point is, don’t make people “register” or enter passwords or join a membership site in order to access your blog content. If you want content that gets shared like crazy, then your content should be freely available and accessible.
- Use common formats. Your readers are going to come to your blog on a variety of devices and platforms, which means you need to ensure your content is accessible and readable to the vast majority of people. For example, if you decide to offer the blog post as a downloadable item, then offer it as a .PDF. That’s because .PDFs are accessible across both Windows and Macs, as well as Androids and iOS.
Which brings us to the next point…
- Employ mobile-friendly content. Chances are, the number of people accessing your blog using their mobile device is increasingly at a regular rate. So that means you need to make sure that your viral content – as well as your blog as a whole – is mobile friendly. Here’s how: Use a mobile-friendly (responsive) design. This means the page’s content and design changes to fit your readers’ device. So, someone reading your content on a phone can read it just as easily as someone reading it on a 22” monitor.
TIP: if you’re using a WordPress blog, then there are plenty of designers who offer responsive designs. You can search for responsive designs on WordPress.org, or you can go straight to a trusted source such as StudioPress.com.
- Spread links out. Keep in mind that readers on mobile phones will be clicking links by tapping with their fingers, so make sure your links aren’t close together for easier tapping. Be sure the page loads fast. People on their phones don’t always have access to Wi-Fi or other fast connections, which is why you’ll want to be sure your page loads across devices. Also, keep the size of the page down to decrease bandwidth for those who might be viewing your page with a limited amount of data on their phones. (Simply put – if your page requires a lot of bandwidth, some users may back out before it loads.)
At this point you have all the pieces in place to create highly shareable content. But just because it’s highly shareable doesn’t mean that people WILL share it. That’s why you need to encourage people to share.
Here are three ways to encourage more shares…
- Provide a CTA
The idea here is to simply provide a call to action, which is where you specifically tell people to share your content.
NOTE: Even if you use the next two methods – offering a “bribe” and installing social media buttons – you should still use a specific call to action to boost shares.
Here are examples of calls to action that you can use to encourage more shares:
- Be a hero to your friends—share this article with them so they too can [get some benefit]. Click here to share now. For example: “Be a hero to your friends – share this article with them so they too can discover how to lose a fast 10 pounds…”
- Sharing is caring. Click here to share this with a friend!
- Know someone who could use a laugh? Click here to share it with them now!
- Know someone who [wants to learn something]? Click here to share it with them now! For example: “Know someone who wants to make a living online? Click here to share it with them now!”
- Brighten your friends’ day by sharing this article. Click here to do it now…
- Spread the word and protect your friends [from some bad thing] by clicking here now – they’ll thank you for it! For example: Spread the word and protect your friends from computer viruses by clicking here now – they’ll thank you for it!
- “Bribe” People to Share
Here you give people a “gift” for sharing your content. For example, if your visitors share your blog post on Facebook, then you might give them a free related report. Take note that you can automate this process using a tool such as SocialShareMonkey.com, which auto-delivers bonuses/freebies/gifts to people who share your content.
- Provide Buttons for Sharing
The idea here is to install social media buttons and links, where all people have to do, is click the button in order to share your content. Here’s an example if you use WordPress: https://wordpress.org/plugins/ultimate-social-media-icons/.
NOTE: You can also install “tell a friend” scripts that lets your visitors send an email directly from your site with a link to the content. However, due to social media’s popularity (and ability to reach a lot of people quickly), this method isn’t as effective at spreading the word.
Conclusion – How To Write Blog Posts That Get Shared Like Crazy
You just learned a five-point plan for creating blog content that gets shared like crazy! Let’s recap:
- Evaluating the Audience: this is where you learned one of the big keys to creating shareworthy content – give people what they want.
- Engaging Readers: here you learned about the psychological “triggers” that make it more likely readers will share your content.
- Editing for Length: short content tends to get shared more than long content.
- Ensuring Easy Sharing: in this step, you learned about removing hoops and obstacles between your content and your readers to improve the chances people will share your content.
- Encouraging Sharing: here you learned about how to boost shares by using calls to action and/or incentives.
Now that you have this blueprint in hand, your next step is to put it to work for you on the very next piece of content you create. I think you’ll like your results!
How do you currently get shares on your blog posts? Do you have any tips to add to this list? Leave a comment below, I’d love your input. And don’t forget to spread the love by sharing this post 🙂