Ask marketers about the results of their content marketing strategy and you will likely get different responses. This really is not all that surprising since not all content marketing practices yield the same results. Why? Shareabilty my dear Watson, shareability. In today’s marketing landscape of SEO and social media, the shareability of your content is one of the most important qualities for a content marketing strategy. This begs the question, what makes content shareable and why is it so important?
What is Content Shareability?
Very simply, “shareability” is the potential of a given piece of content to be shared by a third party. A reader sharing a piece of content on their personal social media profile for more people to see is a common manifestation of shareability but, there are many similar forms of sharing content, and a piece of content’s “shareability” determines how likely it is to be shared. So why are shares so important for Content Marketing, SEO and inbound traffic? Let’s take a look: • The more people who share a piece of your content, the more people are going to eventually see it, and the more people who see it, the more visitors you’re going to have coming to your website. Pretty simple theory right? Think of your content as a single neon sign on a dark street, attracting people to it. If you can get more people to turn on identical neon signs, the cumulative brightness, and light pollution- sorry about that, will increase, and you’ll be able to attract more people from greater distances. Sooner or later you will have a Las Vegas of neon signs all promoting your content. • Whenever a link to your website is shared on a social media platform whether that is Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Youtube, Pinterest,etc, Google takes notice. If you have 100 people individually sharing an identical link pointing back to your site, especially within a quick period of time, search ranking algorithms are going to assign more importance to the linked content, thus ranking it higher. This is a very good thing. • An effective social media presence has far more benefits than just an improved position for SEO. I have heard time and time again that this business or that business does not see the value in social media. Our customers aren’t on social media is a popular rebuff to any mention of social media marketing. Not only has this been proven wrong many times but there is not a single business or entity out there that cannot make use social media. In terms of content marketing having an active social media presence makes social media a great tool to leverage. If you can complement your content with genuine, personal engagements via social media on a regular basis, you’ll build a loyal audience of followers on your social platforms. The end result is a new channel for communicating with your potential customers, deeper relationships, and greater brand loyalty. The bottom line of all this is simple: shareable content will do your work for you. Instead of posting links everywhere you can and trying to reach new audiences with totally cold opens, you can let your audience do all the promotion and link sharing for you. Shareability is the key that opens this door.
How to Make Your Content Shareable
Now do I have your attention? Good. Now to the part you have probably been waiting for. How do you make your content shareable. “Shareability” isn’t typically thought of as something that is quantifiable though it can be and there are certain measurable properties of content that increase its likelihood to be shared. Think about the types of content you see your friends posting to their personal timelines on Facebook, or the types of retweets you usually see; they share many similar characteristics, don’t they? As with all online and digital marketing, writing content with these characteristics is no guarantee of success. You are creating shareable content. You cannot force people to share your content and a good deal of content marketing is trial and error, creating content, putting it out there and seeing what happens, each time making your content better from the lessons of the previous piece of content. Content marketing is kind of like fishing, you can bait the hook and cast the line perfectly but all that doesn’t guarantee that the fish will bite. So what are the qualities of content that makes it more likely to be shared? • A great and captivating title: One that stands out from other content and entices people to read more. Recent trends in titles include numbered lists like “The top 10 Best whatever”, which draw people in with a promise of a concise, authoritative presentation, and of course there are those teasing titles like “You’ll Never Guess What So and So did,ate,whatever”, which naturally pique human interest. • A unique value: Every article should be unique and valuable in some way. Take a look at what kind of content is out there and come up with something new. Don’t attempt to try to rehash something but chances are your community has seen it already. Create something new and unique and you will have a valuable piece of content. • Audience specificity: Shareable content communicate to a specific audience, sometimes extremely specific (think, “middle-aged male sci-fi nerds”). You may alienate a broader audience, but you’ll be dramatically increasing the interest of the narrow audience you retain and that is not to say that you can’t create content for each segment of your base, in fact, you absolutely should. Not only does this give you a constant flow of great content but it also allows you to develop specific content for each segment. • Concise and Easy to Read: This content can be easily read and digested in a single session. I’m not looking for a “Tale of Two Cities” type of content but something I can have done in a minute or less is best. Bulleted lists, numbered entries, step-by-step articles, and sectioned pieces are all very effective. • Accompanying images and media: We all know it by now but we all live in a visual era. Visuals are key and content that features an image, a series of gifs, or a video is far more likely to be shared than “boring” content that doesn’t. As for that first nibble on your content? Well, that’s going to come in the form of an interested individual or business who takes the first step in sharing your content to a wider audience. By fostering your social media following and syndicating your content there, you can maximize your chances of getting this initial bite.
The Importance of Content Consistency
When you begin writing, publishing, and distributing your shareable content, it is important to stay consistent with what you’re posting. You don’t want your content marketing strategy to go off the deep end by publishing content that looks like two separate businesses created it. You need consistency to act as the glue of your content marketing strategy. So how do you develop a high-level of consistency? • Keeping a consistent brand voice will establish familiarity and eventually, brand loyalty amongst your readership. Your subject matter, tone, and even your formatting should remain consistent if you’re looking to build an audience who wants to read and share your content consistently. If you don’t have a brand guideline, get one! MarketingModo offers a full branding service that includes brand guideline creation. Brand guidelines help immensely in making sure all content that is developed stays in sync with the brand voice. • Search engines love to see consistent link building. Releasing new content regularly is a demonstration that you are active. Active sites are better than inactive sites in the eyes of almighty Google. Link diversity and consistent posting will help you build a greater domain authority. This gives you better rankings and more traffic. • Posting your content steadily and with a consistent tempo will catch the interest of more readers. Rather than spamming your readers with constant posts in a given period or leaving them to wonder where you are still there at all, post a steady stream of content during peak times to maximize your chances of getting your content noticed. Come up with a content publishing calendar and stick to it.
Additional Content Marketing Tips
The benefits of a content marketing program or SEO campaign are not going to be immediate. Please keep that in mind. The effort you put into it is not going to be precisely measurable. The situation gets even more complicated when you consider the relative volatility of search engine rankings and content interest trends. However, taking the time to create valuable, shareable content for your business is one of the best long-term lead generation strategies you can pursue. Good content is permanent and has an extremely long shelf life; it doesn’t expire like a magazine ad, and isn’t vulnerable to the fluctuations of search engine algorithms because it doesn’t rely on gimmicks to get results. There will be ups and downs absolutely, and there will be changes in topic trends, but the long-term value of your shared content will eventually far exceed the value of the effort it took to create it.