To achieve organic traffic, you should know that there are a lot of individual, specific reasons that people share content, but most of them boil down to one: People share content because it makes them look and feel smart.Now, if you’ve ever read anything I write, I bet you can predict what I’ll say next:Your stuff has to be good. It doesn’t have to be miraculous. But it has to be good enough that an influential person will speak for it. What does “good” mean?
You can sometimes get by without Useful (although you shouldn’t), but the other two are mandatory. Boring content doesn’t get shares. Neither do the jumble of cookie-cutter posts that pile up around any interesting topic.
Be useful. Be interesting. Be different.
What’s the experience?
Big blogs are obsessive about user experience. What’s it like to land on the site? Is the design pleasing? Does the site instantly communicate its relevance and reliability?What kind of content do new visitors find? Does it speak to their problems? (Remember … one of your most important content goals is attracting a specific who.)
Do the headlines promise a lot of useful, interesting things to browse? It’s not uncommon for readers to share content on the strength of the headline alone. Make sure yours are worthy. Does the site load quickly? Can the visitor get to “the good stuff” (the best posts, the email opt-in, etc.) easily? Is the content formatted to be reader-friendly?
How about after the opt-in? Do readers have a great reason to sign up for your offer? Is the site sending valuable material, or just a bunch of pitches and thinly disguised spam?You may not have an editorial department or a design team, but you can ask yourself the same questions. People who care a lot tend to create great experiences.
Does it feel good to land on your page?
No one with an ounce of influence will share your content if they’re sending their audience into a crummy experience. Provide a great experience.
And finally …
Don’t forget to ask! If you ask your audience to spread the word about what you’re doing, they often will. And when you have that perfect piece of content for a specific influencer, go ahead and let them know about it. Don’t overuse this, but there’s nothing wrong with a polite nudge to content that’s going to make that person look brilliant for sharing it.
We also have a few more resources if you want to explore this topic more deeply.First, it was the topic of my most recent Copyblogger FM podcast episode, so you can go give that a listen, if audio is your thing: 5 Keys to Making Your Content More Shareable
Second, here’s a post I wrote a few years ago with more tips: Score More Traffic, Subscribers, and Buyers by Discovering Your Second Customer. And third, we have an entire ebook on promoting your content — it’s full of tips on how to expand your network of content publishers and make your work more shareable.
How about you … do you do anything special to encourage social sharing? Let us know in the comments.