5 Easy Steps to Creating Readable, Shareable Content
You can’t just create great content; you have to get that content in front of the right people and then get them to interact with it to truly call your marketing effective. This is one of the most challenging marketing processes that has come up for me as a content strategist — I want to gain an audience that keeps coming back for more information from my clients.
Before I give some tips that I think will help anybody out there who wants to get more eyes — and more clicks — on their content, I want to share a few stories that enlightened me when I was racking my brain for ideas for this post.
That One Time I Found My Favorite Content...
When I was coming up with ideas for this post I thought to myself, “When do I fall in love with content and decide to click on it, subscribe to it or share it?” It’s when I think a brand has been able to really tap into what I care about and my potential problems. So to me, that’s the number one thing brands should focus on to create shareable content: a high level of relevance, both when it comes to knowing what kind of person your target is, and what their problems are.
I actually had a serious reaction to an article I received in my inbox from Contently recently. Maybe it’s the Millennial in me, but the title “10 Content Marketing Buzzwords That’ll Make You Want to Go Live With Bears” made me click. The graphic of this roaring bear and Snapchat-like drawings around it made me laugh, so naturally, I read it. I loved it so much that I even went as far as tweeting to the author after I laughed about it with my coworker (another content strategist) for 10 minutes.
And then this week, one of my clients published an infographic as a blog post that I put together with my marketing manager Gina Yeagley. It was called “An Infographic that Proves Magazine Advertising Isn’t Going Anywhere” and ended up being the most popular post this client has ever had. When I asked Gina why it had blown up so much, she said a couple memorable things: it is going against the grain content-wise (because everyone else is claiming print is dead), and an infographic is a very shareable and easily-digestible way to present statistics to an audience.
So how can you create content your audience will like this much?
Regardless of what industry you’re in, there are some foundational ways you can get your target audience excited to read and share your content. Here are five that I think are the most important to keep in mind:
- 1. Give it a great title. When I say great, I don’t mean just interesting. It needs to be both engaging and relevant. Maybe that means making it something that “goes against the grain” like the title for my client’s infographic I mentioned above. Also, keep in mind that there’s nothing more disappointing than being hooked by a title, only to be let down by the rest of an article. Don’t mislead your readers — deliver the content that your title promises.
2. Include compelling images. There’s a science to including effective, attention-grabbing images in your blog posts to get more engagement. Studies show that images used as fillers really aren’t helpful, but images that are obviously relevant help lead readers around the page. And, if you mix text into the graphic, people are more likely to look at them, which explains why infographics are so popular and garner such high traffic. Plus, awesome images and infographics are wonderful for social sharing.
3. Gain the trust of your readers. This is perhaps one of the most important tips I’m writing about. You need to come off as credible and trustworthy to your audience so they buy into what you’re saying and feel comfortable sharing your content. Your readers will engage with content that seems genuine, speaks to them, and also reflects your brand. You can do that by citing trustworthy sources, helping readers feel like you understand them well, or even by challenging industry norms with more enlightening ideas.
4. Keep the whole post engaging. There’s nothing I love more than an article I bookmark because I think I’ll want to read it later, or one that I like so much I share it with my Twitter followers because I think they’ll love it, too. The posts that speak to people aren’t boring, but relevant and engaging, and they naturally guide the reader all the way to the end. Try writing in a storytelling format (kind of like I did for this post) or creating transitions that let the reader understand that they should keep reading to learn more.
5. Share it in the right channels. Do a little research to find out what social channels can give you access to your audience. If you know that your audience hangs out on LinkedIn, you should most definitely share it there. Or, if you know there are a lot of industry-related conversations that happen on Twitter, make sure you have a presence in that network (and include the appropriate hashtag to get in on the action).
All in all, I think creating readable, shareable content comes down to not delivering generic writing. Planning how to make your content marketing more effective is a challenging process, but the results make it worth it. If you want to gain more readers and keep current readers coming back for more, you have to consistently try to engage them. This means you need to keep updating your content marketing processes, researching your audience, and learning what makes them tick. If you start there, then implementing the five steps I outlined actually isn’t that difficult.