How do you stand out? A lot of times companies are envious of the exposure that their competitors get in the media. They want equal or superior coverage. The problem is they don’t always know how to get their message out to the industry. If you push out a lot of press releases and white papers, but nobody sees them or pays attention to them, you are not helping your cause.
One way to get your content out in a more non-traditional way is to use social media. In the article entitled “7 Tips For Creating Content That Actually Gets Shared” written by Syed Balkhi, co-founder of OptinMonster, he says that as a small business owner, the content you produce may not always get as many shares as you’d like. And while there’s a lot to be gained from search engine optimization, it’s vital that you aren’t creating content for the sole purpose of building links. To maximize value, you have to achieve sharing naturally. Here’s what works best:
The “Why” Behind Shareworthy Content
To grasp the “why” behind shareworthy content, think hard about what the purpose of your website is. In most cases, it is to attract attention, engage users, and convert those users into paying customers. You want your website to garner traffic through organic shares.
Seven Tips for Encouraging Organic Sharing
The reason why some brands don’t create shareworthy content certainly isn’t due to a lack of desire. It’s because they don’t know how. If you fall into this category, pay close attention to the following tips.
1.) Put the reader first.
One of the biggest problems businesses have with creating shareworthy content is rooted in self-centeredness, or a lack of broader awareness. Brands assume their readers are going to be interested in the same topics they are.
For example, an SEO company may learn about a major change in the industry and decide to write an in-depth piece on the technical aspects of Google’s new algorithm. This may be a great topic of conversation for an SEO conference, but will it be of any benefit to the average reader?
Instead, your audience will want to know how such changes are going to affect their website or their overall lending operation. A better piece would be titled, “5 Things Google’s New Algorithm Will Do to Your Search Rankings.”
When you’re preparing new content, consider the reader’s interest level on the topic you’re about to discuss. This should fundamentally change your approach to creating shareworthy content. For example, the new Fannie Mae guidelines that go into practice next year require the adoption of MISMO 3.4. So, you decide to write about MISMO 3.4. That’s great, but why should lenders care about MISMO 3.4? When creating content it’s important to always create content that would benefit your customer’s business.
2.) Focus on the headline.
The problem with your current content strategy may be that you’re playing it too safe. If you’re writing about topics that everyone else is writing about, why would anyone feel compelled to share your content?
You probably need to mix things up a bit. Take the following two titles, for example. Which would you be more likely to share?
>> “How to Haggle for a Used Car”
>> “Here’s Why You Get Ripped Off Every Time You Buy a Car”
Readers will probably be driven to click on the second title since it arouses emotion, while the first one sounds too generic. The actual content of both pieces might say essentially the same thing, but the title makes the second one more shareworthy.
3.) Make a strong first impression.
According to research, the average attention span of an adult human has decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to only 8 seconds today. If you’re a marketer, this poses a problem. How can you get people to read your 2,000-word blog post if they can only stay engaged for a few seconds? Most likely, you can’t.
Few people ever make it through an entire piece of content; most will read the opening paragraph, skim, and possibly tune in again on the final paragraph. Since that’s the case, it’s essential for you to make a good first impression in the first two opening sentences.
If you can arouse emotion, shock the readers or otherwise make them feel good, then they’ll be more inclined to share. Treat your first paragraph as if it’s the only paragraph that will be read in your entire article.
4.) Use visuals to complement the content.
Text is going out of style. Technology has created an over-stimulated population that expects striking visuals and gripping videos.
When selecting or creating visuals, the key is to use images and videos that are original, high-quality, and relevant to your topic. Nothing is more frustrating for a reader than seeing stock photos or clip art that’s not related to the issue at hand. This is likely to devalue your content rather than help it.
5.) Hire a content writer.
As a business owner, you shouldn’t have to personally write all the content that represents your brand. You can write a piece on occasion, but you probably have a lot of other responsibilities on your plate.
Hiring a professional content writer to handle this component of your digital marketing strategy is worth every penny. It’ll free up your time while simultaneously allow you to create stellar content that shines. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
6.) Have a dissemination strategy.
Unless you run a massive website with hundreds of thousands of regular visitors, you aren’t going to get the number of shares you want simply by waiting for people to find your content. Instead, you need a dissemination strategy that will serve as the spark.
There are many different strategies for sharing and publishing content. Identify the ones that make sense for your business or industry. At our company, we encourage every employee to share new content from their personal accounts. This automatically puts our content in front of thousands of people who then get a chance to read and share themselves.
It’s also a good idea to develop syndication relationships in order to publish your content in as many places as possible. Including “share” buttons alongside your content will also remind people to do so.
7.) Always try new strategies.
One of the greatest aspects of Internet marketing, social media and content creation is that there’s no single formula for success. What works for one brand may not work for another, and vice versa. If you want to be successful and continually grow, then you must be willing to try new strategies and techniques.
The tips mentioned in this article should serve as a starting point. Use them, see what works and throw out the rest. In the end, your strategy will ultimately depend on what resonates most with your target audience.
About The Author
Michael Hammond is chief strategy officer at PROGRESS in Lending Association and is the founder and president of NexLevel Advisors. They provide solutions in business development, strategic selling, marketing, public relations and social media. He has close to two decades of leadership, management, marketing, sales and technical product experience. Michael held prior executive positions such as CEO, CMO, VP of Business Strategy, Director of Sales and Marketing and Director of Marketing for a number of leading companies. He is also only one of about 60 individuals to earn the Certified Mortgage Technologist (CMT) designation. Michael can be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.