The goal of any content marketing strategy is to drive website traffic and conversions. In order to do that successfully, your content needs to be more than just readable—it needs to be shareable as well.
Consider this: half of all adult Facebook users have more than 200 friends on the social network. If just 10 people share your content on the platform, it could be seen by more than 2000 people! Even better, the content is recommended by someone they know, so it carries more weight.
Content marketing is a low-cost, effective way to grow your website. We took a look at some of the top content shared on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook this year, and rounded up some tips for creating articles, blog post and images that get clicks, shares, and—if you optimize those content pages—conversions.
1. Make an emotional appeal.
Emotions are strong motivators when it comes to content consumption. Whether it’s nostalgia, fear or joy, if you can strike a chord in your audience by appealing to their emotions, they’ll be more likely to share that feeling.
The title tells you all you need to know about how this article from Higher Perspective will make you feel: The Tragically Heartbreaking And Uplifting Life Of Keanu Reeves Revealed. Tragic and compelling stories—especially those about familiar subjects—get clicks and shares.
2. Use humor.
What people find funny is subjective, but what they do with content is not: they share it. If you can tap into what gets a chuckle out of your target audience, you can get them to share your content across social media with a LOL.
The Oatmeal’s comic Having a Baby vs Having a Cat is relatable for anyone who has either or both, making it highly sharable. You can create your own funny content, or showcase the work of others that appeals to your industry.
3. Put some lists in the mix.
If you regularly consume and publish content online, you might be rolling your eyes at this one. Yes, lists are ubiquitous across the internet, but there’s a good reason for that: they work. You clicked on this, right?
BuzzFeed has turned lists into an art form, and this post was hugely popular: 23 Insanely Clever Ways To Eat Cauliflower Instead of Carbs. Anyone can write a list related to their business or industry, and the odds are, those interested in the topic will share it.
4. Create useful content.
People turn to the internet when they want to know how to do something. What do your customers want to know? Look at your keyword searches, see what people are saying about your industry on Twitter, and read forums related to your brand. Use those questions to create SEO-friendly, valuable how-to content.
Forbes’ video How to Talk About Weaknesses in a Job Interview proved popular on LinkedIn, and with good reason. It’s helpful to job seekers, meaning that they—along with hiring managers—found it worth sharing.
5. Showcase your content in an infographic.
Infographics get a ton of shares on social media, because they’re visually appealing, have interesting content, and are quick to read. If you have any research about your industry, consider enlisting a design resource to help you turn the most interesting parts into something that will likely be a n effective traffic-driver for your website.
Inhabitat.com’s INFOGRAPHIC: Top 18 houseplants for purifying the air you breathe, according to NASA benefitted from 1) being an infographic and 2) calling out what it was right in the title. If you loved infographics and saw that, you clicked and shared.
6. Create a sense of urgency.
If you run limited-time offers or deals, it’s easy to create a sense of urgency. If you don’t, you can still experiment with time-sensitive language.
The Lala isn’t a travel or deal site, but their article 12 Girlfriend Getaways You Need To Book Right Now (All Under $60 A Person) proved popular with their audience. Consider deals that might complement your brand that your users may be interested in, and then create content around it.
7. Tell a story.
People love to hear someone tell a good story. Well, businesses have stories, too. There are the stories of how the company got founded, why it decided to pursue a particular philanthropic endeavor, and how customers lives have changes due to your product or service.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg uses his platform to tell stories. In July 2015, he shared the news of his and wife’s Priscilla pregnancy and spoke about their troubles conceiving. It sparked a huge conversation and received well over one million likes and more than 50,000 shares. You may not have the platform, name recognition, or desire to share personal information of Zuckerberg, but you can highlight stories related to your business that touch on a larger issue.
8. Be provocative.
Polarizing content can be a boost for shares, because people on both sides of an issue may share it to add their own commentary.
People magazine, usually known for softball celebrity news, ran PEOPLE’s Call to Action on Gun Violence: Here’s How to Contact All 535 Members of Congress, which garnered lots of shares on social media from both sides of the fence. Weighing in on issues that controversial can be risky, but you can still choose topics related to your business and present an unpopular point of view, like “Everything you think you know about X is wrong,” “Why these popular tips about X don’t work,” or “Why we decided to go against conventional wisdom and do X.”
9. Capitalize on trends.
If you can join a popular hashtag on Twitter, or weigh in on a current event that’s getting a lot of traction, you should. People who are searching for that topic will come across your content, and if they care enough to search, if they like what they read, they’ll likely share it.
The Onion capitalized on the stand-up desk trend with Health Experts Recommend Standing Up At Desk, Leaving Office, Never Coming Back, which got tens of thousands of Facebook likes and shares.
10. Pique curiosity.
This one joins #3 when it comes to being an eye roller, but it works. Headlines that pose a question designed to make users click through to get the answer are highly effective.
Upworthy does this a lot, and they get results. One of their most shared posts this year was: Have you seen anyone with a semicolon tattoo? Here’s what it’s about.
Not all of these ideas will work for every brand, and it’s important to be authentic and not force it—especially when it comes to capitalizing on current events. Think about your brand’s unique value proposition and what your audience wants, and use that to inform the types of content you create.
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