Your content needs good, solid writing. It needs strong verbs, proper grammar, and an easy-to-read format. It needs to have one eye on the search engines and one eye on your target audience– but most importantly, it needs shareability.
What Is “Shareability,” Anyway?
Ever seen a link pop up on your Facebook or Twitter feed several times– a link that’s being shared by multiple users? That content has shareability: something that people feel compelled to share.
Maybe it’s nostalgia (as seen in the success of multiple Cracked.com articles on Disney Princesses). Maybe it contains breaking or shocking news. Or maybe it’s just a useful article loaded with tons of information. Whatever it has, it’s got something that makes you want to share it with others.
Why Is Shareability So Important?
You’re writing content so people will see it, right? One of the best ways to share your content with the world is to use the snowball effect of content sharing: you share with your readers, they share with their friends and family, and those people share your content with their own network.
Better yet, crafting shareable content will help you gain natural links to your site. Google frowns upon (and punishes) websites who use empty links or ghost sites to increase your site’s search rankings– for more on Google’s recent crackdown on non-organic links, CopyPress has written at length on the subject (including J.C. Penney’s unfortunate mistake in April 2011).
How to Make Your Content More Shareable
- Write a Must-Read Headline.
Your headline is the most important factor in your content. The title is what will appear on your readers’ Twitter or Facebook feeds– it’s got to entice people to click (and thus read) your content. Some ways to create a must-read factor include:
- Numbered lists (odd numbers attract more traffic than standard “top ten” lists)
- Time-sensitive (“X Healthy Choices You Need to Start Making Today”)
- A bizarre hook (“How Vampires and Werewolves Can Improve Your Internet Marketing”)
- Divide the “Meat” of Your Content Into Bite-Size Portions.
Web readers need information they can consume and digest easily. Divide your content into easy-to-read pieces by using lists, bullet points, and plenty of subheadings. No one wants to read (or share) a heavy block of text.
- Go image-hunting.
Using compelling images are one of the easiest ways to make your content more shareable. Web readers are easily intimidated by lengthy, text-heavy articles. Just like large malls use fountains and center kiosks to make a long mall seem less intimidating to tired shoppers, images make your long article seem less intimidating to web readers.
- Add share icons.
Not just Facebook or Twitter icons, either– you need to make sure your site runs the full gamut of share options: social bookmarking, blog hosts, email, etc. A single “Share This” button that opens multiple share options works better than cluttering your page with 30 icons.
- Start a discussion…or an argument.
Bloggers are always looking for new material. Starting a discussion for others to chime in on will give you an influx of both traffic and links. Of course, the alternative is to stir up some controversy– if you’ve got a strong enough stomach to face your attackers, controversial material is some of the fastest-shared content on the web.
- Finally– and most importantly– write what you’d share.
You know your audience better than anyone if you’re a part of it. Take a look at what you’ve shared with your followers and friends. What about the content made you feel compelled to share? How can you incorporate these factors into your own content?
Image credit CI..