What blogger doesn’t feel a twinge of envy reading a runaway viral success story like Seth’s — 26 million views? Whoa!
We may not all be viral sensations, but we can make sure our posts are primed for sharing. Shareable content is about more than making sure there are Facebook and Twitter links at the ends of your posts. Here are five more ways to up the odds your readers (and their readers) will share your post far and wide.
1. One blogger published a post with a great title — and you’ll never guess what happened next!
There’s a reason you see so many Upworthy posts in your social network feeds: their titles are catchy, intriguing, and crafted to get you to click.
A strong title can mean the difference between hundreds of readers — or none. Between the 1.4 million posts published on WordPress.com every single day and the endless stream of other new content on the internet, you need a strong first impression to cut through the noise. The first thing most people will see is your title, so make it a good one. Titles are also shared by default if you use Publicize, and they’re what will most often show up when readers publish links to your blog on their social networks.
Not sure if your titles are click-worthy? Check out our top tips for writing original, enticing titles.
Confused? Let’s try again:
Make sure readers can actually read your post!
You might have just written an earth-shattering treatise, but if it’s hard to read, it’s not going to get read — or shared. Things like font color, size, and paragraph length can make it more or less likely that readers will get through your post.
Very small or large fonts are challenging to read in longer posts, as are brightly colored fonts. It also helps to embrace empty space; white space makes long posts easier for readers to scan. Shorter paragraphs, headings and subheadings, blockquotes, bullets, and images all create space and break up chunks of text. Bullets and ordered lists are quickly digested, highly shareable, and provide simple, clear takeaways.
3. Don’t forget an image.
When we visit a web site, our eye is drawn to the boldest or most colorful part of the page. For many pages, that means an image, like a photo, logo, graph, or cartoon. On sites like Facebook, posts with an accompanying image rack up more clicks than those without — when we scroll through a long feed of information, our eye travels to the image.
Take advantage of this and try using more visuals. If you’d rather not interrupt your post with one, as we have, put it at the start or end, or set it as a featured image. Now, when a reader shares your link on sites like Facebook or LinkedIn, you’ve got a mini-billboard that makes it more likely that people will notice, click on, and re-share the link.
(And since images help create the white space that makes posts more scannable, this is a win-win!)
4. Be a resource for others.
People share things that (1) inspire them; (2) make them laugh; or (3) add value and make it easier for them to do something.
Maybe you don’t think of yourself as particularly inspirational or funny*, but we all have something to share that adds value to others’ lives. Are you an expert in something? Teach us how to do it! Did you discover an amazing new way to do something? Tutorial, please! Have you collected great resources on a particular topic? Write them up and share the links. Spreading knowledge makes you a resource to your loyal readers, but also provides them with tips and tools they’ll want to share with others.
*We think you are.
5. Toot your own horn.
Sharing your own stuff makes it easier for others to do the same. Once your post is already circulating on Twitter, it’s simple for a fan to pass it on with a single click. After all, we all want to accomplish things on the internet with as few clicks as possible.
Hook up Publicize to easily promote your posts to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, LinkedIn, and Path, and ensure that your fans can share effortlessly.
Publishing the insightful essay, hilarious list, or stunning photo is up to you, but paying attention to these five small elements boosts your already-amazing content and makes it more easily shareable — a few small tweaks for a potentially big payoff.