Now more than ever, your blog’s traffic depends on how much your community shares it. More and more, search engines are looking to reward rankings to the highest quality content, and the best content gets the tweets, Facebook shares and Google +1’s that the search engines engine take into consideration. So it pays to pay attention to whether or not your content is getting shared.
But if you’re publishing blog posts and all you hear are crickets, you may want to consider these five tips so that your blog posts engage more readers.
1. Have the right stuff
Are you blogging shareable stuff? Change up the format every once in a while and be sure to include shareable types of content in the mix. If every blog post is the same drab format, your audience will get bored. Give your content legs by appealing to different senses and tastes.
- Get visual: Photos, graphs, infographics, cartoons and videos appeal to the visual learner in us all. For example, new research is great. Statistics support whatever point you’re trying to make. But sometimes we don’t understand the significance of an increase or decrease in a trend until it’s spelled out for us in a graph.
- Get audio: There’s so much content to read these days, sometimes it’s nice to take a break and digest information a little differently. Audio podcasts and videos are great for this. Besides, video or audio can actually work better for some types of blog posts, like interviews. With cell phone cameras and Skype, a video interview is just as easy (if not easier) to post as writing out a Q&A interview.
2. Write a great headline
Remember: You only get one chance to make a first impression! For this reason, one could easily argue that the headline is the most important part of your blog post. It’s the hook. Your blog post headline, and a link to the content, is typically the only thing people will see when your content is shared. So if your headline doesn’t have a hook or a good description of your content, the chances of a new reader clicking that link are slim.
3. Talk about what they’re already talking about
What trends, events, people or new research is your target audience already talking about? Leverage the popularity of that topic by incorporating it into a blog post.
- Give your own unique angle – Does your company have their own stance or opinion on an issue? Share it.
- Be sensational – Write a funny post (and headline) with inspiration from a much-talked-about pop culture icon. “Kim Kardashian’s Guide to Marketing” or “Email Marketing Tips from Occupy Protestors” are two possible examples.
It’s all in the way you execute it. Keep in mind that you don’t want to stretch it too much. If you’re a local pizza parlor, you probably don’t want to give your political opinions about the school budget vote. But a fun post about the pizza preferences of the Republican presidential candidates could work.
4. … and stop talking about yourself
Ask yourself: Is your mom your target audience? Your company is interesting to you. It’s also interesting to your mom. So she might subscribe to a blog full of company party photos, product feature updates, and long essays about your personal experiences written from your point of view about how you are building your company. But what about your potential customers?
When readers are visiting your blog for the first time, they don’t care about you yet. And if they don’t care about it, there’s no way they’ll click those social sharing buttons and spread the content to their networks. Make them care by addressing the topics they want to learn and talk about. How-to articles and lists of tips and resources are good formats to begin with.
5. Create conversation on your blog
Sometimes the blog comments are the best part of a post. If you start by blogging about topics that matter to your target audience, you’ll find your readers have their own experiences and perspectives to share because they can relate to your content. They may have questions to ask or their own advice to add. Spark a conversation and invite them to add their thoughts in the comments. You may find you get such great feedback from your audience, people share your posts just for the great discussion in the comments.
You’ll find that all these tips relate to one thing, and that’s putting the reader first. If you create content that first and foremost addresses their needs and interests, the “shareability” and pageviews will fall into place.
What tips do you have for creating content that is shareable? Let me know in the comments!