Have you ever thought about the question, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Since this article is about how to write content that boosts social sharing, how does this relate? Let me explain. Whether you think the tree makes a sound or not, you can ask a similar question about sharing on social media. I’d pose the question as, “if you write a blog article, and no one reads it or shares it, did you write it?”
The answer to the question about the tree falling may be ambiguous. But the answer about sharing content is clearer. You still wrote the article, despite no one having read it, even if no one sees it. However, the critical question is that if you create content and no one sees it, is it worth writing at all?
I think we would all say no to this question unless someone is just practicing their writing skills or is only sharing the piece with their immediate circle. But I’m guessing that you’re writing blog articles and other content to raise your Google page rank, get known as a subject matter expert, or attract viewers to your website.
The way to reach these goals is to get more eyeballs on your written content, and the way to do that is to encourage social sharing by writing directly to your ideal audience. What are they interested in? What makes them think content is worth sharing? Why do they think their social network would find it interesting?
Let’s dig deeper into how you can create the kind of audience appeal that will promote shareability.
Write Content to Increase Social Shares by Addressing One Person.
You can’t please everyone. But how can you write content that inspires social sharing? Instead of picturing your audience as a group, picture one ideal reader in your mind. What is their demographic? What’s important to them? Why do they act as they do? A popular way to imagine who you’re writing for is to create a marketing persona. I’ll discuss more on this topic below.
Tell an Engaging Story.
You might think that news about your products, new partners, or revenue is interesting, and maybe that’s true. But are you telling the story in a way that engages the reader? Lots of businesses take a very dry approach when they share company news—almost like they’re writing a press release or a sales pitch. Such an article will probably be ignored or just receive a glance. Most people won’t take the time to go beyond the first headline. If they only get that far, they’ll fail to share it.
The trick to writing content that increases social sharing is to tell your audience stories they want to hear, in an engaging manner. The first tip is to take a deep dive into who your ideal audience is, perhaps by creating a buyer persona. Your persona would capture the demographics, psychographics, attitudes, challenges, and other characteristics of your ideal customer—even to the point of naming them something like Susan the Product Distributor or Aisha the Sales Manager. Then, write your article for this one person, focusing on what they will find relevant. What do they want to know, and what information do they think would be useful to share with their networks?
For example, a company selling promotional items for business could share the year’s ten most popular “swag” items at conventions. A pet shop could post advice on choosing the right pet for your family. An interactive media company could write about improving SEO on WordPress websites.
Post Articles Reflecting Your Audience’s Values and Positive Identity.
People feel good about themselves when they believe in a worthwhile cause or do something they find meaningful. For example, a technology company may feel proud of participating in an organization that mentors students interested in technology careers. If they sell products to school systems, they could highlight upcoming technology job fairs they will be attending. Or a toy shop may want people to know they donate toys to pediatric patients. If their target is parents of young children, they could write about how to support pediatric patients in their area.
The lesson is to create high-quality, relevant content that aligns with what makes your audience feel good about themselves. You can get ideas about potential topics by looking at comments on LinkedIn or Facebook groups, note which types of articles are popular, and review comments you have received on your previously posted content.
Get Your Audience Involved in Your Content Creation.
People are attracted to surveys and articles on the results.
Posting the survey: Many people love being part of a survey—it makes them feel like their opinions matter. For example, an apparel store could ask subscribers what they find most important when shopping for clothing. Respondents feel like the store may make changes they want. When you post the survey, people will often share the link thinking their social network may like to participate.
There are many easy-to-use survey tools, many of which are free (with a premium offer), such as Survey Monkey. Facebook offers two survey options, a simple poll and the Facebook Viewpoints App. For-pay platforms, such as Qualtrics, and specialized consultants can create and analyze more sophisticated surveys and assure greater validity. You can also partner with well-respect organizations, such as Gartner or TechTarget.
Posting survey results: Many people enjoy survey results when they relate to the topic, especially if they trust the source. In particular, people who see their quote in the report or who participated in the survey are very likely to share your survey results article (you might want to include a “consent” box or paragraph in the survey itself). When you post the survey results online, you can use a teaser and link to a landing page on your website, making it a valuable gated or ungated asset for your website. Finally, you can directly ask respondents to share the article.
Energize People with an Inspirational Quote.
We’ve all read posts on social media that immediately provide us with personal or professional inspiration. For example, I saw a quote by Saul Bellow that read, “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” It inspired me to share the content to my social media channels because I believe it’s true. I think it will appeal to potential clients (writers who are overloaded). Plus it will provide an insight into who I am. Look for quotes that your audience would find thought-provoking or emotionally resonant.
This comes as no surprise, but look like you know what you’re talking about. Look professional. Proofread carefully for typos, poor grammar, or other errors. It’s helpful to use a grammar checker, such as Grammarly, to avoid errors and get suggestions on how to improve wording for clarity.
Conclusion: Get to Know What Makes Your Audience Tick.
If you can’t engage potential customers, they won’t read your post or article. And if they don’t read it, they certainly won’t share it. Get to know your audience, write about things they care about and relate to, and you’ll be well on your way to increasing your social shares. To get high-quality copy that is focused on your audience, contact Westebbe Marketing at (617) 699-4462.