5 Hacks To Get People Reading and Sharing Your Content

by | Jan 17, 2017 | Content Marketing, Social Media | 0 comments

It is hard to create content that people read and share…

But over the last 3 years I have studied and tested that art of creating shareable articles to figure out one thing: why do people share content and why do people ignore content? In short, I have figured it out…

create content people read and share

You see, sometimes an article can catch viral-fire and spread awareness for your brand — but that’s not common. In fact, more than 2 million articles are published every single day, and the majority are never read.

The reason most articles fall flat is simple:

Most articles don’t follow time-tested practices that have been proven to compel people to read and share content. With that in mind, there’s a reason why content marketing leaders experience 7.8 times more traffic than their competitors… and to everyone’s luck, it has nothing to do with extraordinary talent. Rather, it is just a matter of knowing what works and what doesn’t — and in this article I am going to show you 5 hacks that you need to know to get your content read and shared.

1. Give Publicity to Influencers and Collaborate

Influencers have the power of attention. This attention is so valuable that if you manage to just get one influencer to share your article, it will increase overall shares by 31.8%. Even more impressive, when five influencers share your article it will quadruple the amount of social shares you get according to Buzzsumo.

Compare my own social media post’s performance to the performance of an influencer post:

influencer share

Versus…

Sharing on Twitter

Here are the best ways to get an influencer to share your content:

A) Collaborate – Ask several influencers to add a quote to your article. When an influencer get’s publicity (including being featured on your blog), your chance of receiving a share is basically 100%.

B) Outreach – It only takes 5-10 minutes to send a polite email to an influencer. If you create a piece of content that is valuable to a specific influencer’s audience — send them an email and let them know.

C) Link to an article – Backlinks are valuable. Google weighs them heavily when deciding on the ranking position of a website. Link to an influencer’s article and let them know why you think their content is valuable (and why you included it in your article).

D) Make First Contact – To improve your chances of success, you can first initiate contact through blog commenting and Twitter. Introduce yourself and add value to them by sharing and giving thoughtful comments to their content. After some time (I prefer to invest 3 weeks to a month), make the ask.

2. Use Branded Images to Create Trust

Social media is a powerful tool. 87% of marketers integrate social media into their marketing to deliver and spread content. The reason why is simple: it’s one of the most cost-effective methods for creating brand awareness. To create content people share on social, you need to use branded images.

Here’s why:

  • Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets (Buffer)
  • Eye-studies show that users spend a significant amount of time looking at images versus text (Nielsen Norman Group)
  • Branded images cost time and money to create which is an instant indicator of effort and trust

3. Make Your Content Skimmable

There are two types of groups who will find your content:

The first group are content distributors. Distributors are desperately trying to find content worth sharing, but they don’t want to share something unless it is valuable to their audience. By creating skimmable content, you make the life of a distributor much easier because they can quickly scan your content to judge its value.

This also has a multiplier effect. The more distributors that share your article, the more “automatic trust” it will receive. Imagine that there is a ladder of distributors who judge a content’s worthiness by how high up the ladder the content will go. The higher you go, the more viral power your content will receive.

The second group is your audience. These are the people who find value when reading your content. More than 60% of these people are going to be skimmers. If you don’t create content people can skim — you risk alienating 60% of your audience.

Here is a perfect example of skimmable content performing well:

create skimmable content

Here are some simple tips to create skimmable content:

  • Use Italics and Bolding. These typography choices allow you to highlight important points, questions, and sections of your article.
  • Use bucket-brigades. These short-sentences allow you to show people what’s important to read. The phrase up above, “Here are some simple tips to create skimmable content” is a bucket-brigade. Bucket-brigades are always followed be either a colon or a “…”
  • Use grease-slide lists. These are lists that allow users to skim. Also, if they want to learn more — they can read the explanations. What you are reading right now is a grease-slide list.

4. Some Types of Content are More Popular than Others

Infographics, how to articles, and listicles are statistically popular. As well, in more competitive niches, longer articles are known to rank higher and are more likely to be emailed to coworkers and friends than shorter articles.

Of course, you need to consider your audience and their needs before deciding on the best type of content to create — but knowing which types of content can gain traction will give you an advantage when trying to build a readership.

shares by content type5. The Perfect Introduction

To be clear, an article is making a big ask. We are asking readers to give us their time — and we need to give something in exchange for that time. Think of the introduction as a mini sales letter. A reader won’t know how valuable your article is until they read the mini sales letter. Your introduction is where you sell the reader on exchanging their time…

Here is a simple formula by Brian Dean from Backlinko which is easy to implement.

The Agree, Preview and Promise Formula (APP):

Agree – Start your introduction with one short sentence your reader will obviously agree with. For example, “It’s hard to convert cold-traffic into email subscribers” or “Everyone hates going to the DMV”.

Preview – This is where you preview a possible solution that the user might be interested in. If your article is about converting traffic, then show people how you have converted traffic before.

Promise – At the end of your article, you want to promise something to the reader. They are about to invest time so make sure they know EXACTLY why they are reading your article and what they will receive.

Conclusion

Some articles go viral and some don’t. Some articles attract an audience and some never reach a human reader. But, if you apply the techniques above, you increase the chance of gaining a gradual amount of traffic over time. And, if you are lucky and promote like a madman, some of your articles will hit viral status.

If you apply these hacks to your content — remember one thing… your content must contain real value. If your content doesn’t give a reader actionable and trustworthy information — the above tactics don’t matter. First create something valuable, then make the tweaks you need to increase its chance of spreading.

Did this article help you find new ways to create content that is more shareable? If so, please share it on social media, it means a lot!

Brian Driscoll
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