Serious blogging is not easy!
You spend hours brainstorming a topic before you even start writing on it.
Once the writing starts, it goes through a long phase of revisions and corrections to finally reach a stage when it is of the right quality for publication.
You publish the post, share it on all the possible channels (social media, emails), and you wait for it to get traction/traffic to your brand website. Yet, you are not getting the results that you expect.
Then you notice the contents of your competitor that appears to be on nitrous booster like the cars in Fast & Furious. By some magic, thousands of your target consumers are liking and sharing their posts.
It is a sulking feeling, but you can do better than that. It is time to analyze the components which might be missing in your blog posts.
In this article, you are going to get an idea on :
- What makes an ideal blog post more shareable?
- What are the different tools you can use to get more shares?
- The role of visual materials in increasing the shareability of your content.
The three objectives mentioned above are not difficult to realize.
However, you need to buckle up and follow the points we are going to discuss now. All the ways, we are about to talk are inspired by the real life experiences of bloggers from the different parts of the world.
Therefore, without further ado, let’s check out the points that can transform your regular blog posts into social media magnets.
1. Research the contents on websites similar to your niche
The easiest approach to make people share your materials is to publish what they like.
The quickest way to do so is by visiting the websites of your competitors as an unbiased reader looking for useful contents.
You need become a part-time Sherlock Holmes and decode the reasons for their success.
Below is the list of tasks you need to do:
- Make a list of all the websites related to your niche. If your blog is on a broad or popular topic, then list out the top 10 sites in the category.
- Make a list of their social media pages. Access your social media page as an admin. Then add all your top competitor’s social media pages to “Pages to watch.”(You will find it in the Facebook page insights section) Now you can monitor the most popular blog posts on other websites of your niche.
- Oversee and create a list of the most shared topics on your competing websites in the last three months. While arranging the list make separate notations for the direct blog link shares, graphic post shares, and videos. In our context, we will be focusing on blog links and graphics.
- Get Inspired – The most crucial point.
The 4th point is the most IMPORTANT one, and it is also the one that many bloggers/start-ups completely overlook.
It is because of the thought process that says – “Oh! They have covered almost every topic that I would like to write about!”
Instead, take it up as a challenge. Develop that killer instinct. Note down the popular items by your competitors, sit down with a notebook, a laptop and start writing with the aim to create an article ten times better than others.
2. Be a storyteller and provide an answer to a problem
The next task in crafting a shareable blog post is to create a new version of the story (your competitor’s article). It is like directing a movie that is a remake of an old classic.
The only three goals you should have while rewriting an old content or writing a new blog post:
- “Will my readers connect with it at a personal level?”
- “Am I giving my readers a natural alternative which will help them in their professional or personal life?”
- “Does my blog post state a problem and guides my readers to its solution?”
Keeping in mind the above three questions, it is time to map out your new blog post.
If yours is a venture providing an easier alternative to some regular work then follow the article map below:
- Explain in brief and in a personal way the problem that your users face on a daily basis.
- At this point have a personal tone and do not appear like making a sales pitch.
- Now, explain the solution, that you or your company is providing.
- Tell the story of how you are taking your users from a problem to a solution.
- Write a content that has definite parts – A start, a middle portion and a conclusion. Without this visible demarcation, your content will seem directionless.
- All through this story, use visual materials that act as footprints for your readers while they read your stuff.
One more feature to look after in your article before you move to the next step is the heading of your blog post.
As a general practice, it is wise to try a few different combinations before you decide on your blog post title. How can you do that?
- You can use headline analyzers. Two most widely used options are CoSchedule analyzer and Sharethrough headline analyzer.
- If you are on WordPress, then there is Nelio AB Testing that provides AB testing for every aspect of your website including headlines.
By using AB testing, you can have a live comparison of the same article with two different headings and select the one that shows better social media response.
3. Be a visual wizard and play with graphics
Have you ever wondered at a simple fact: Between a rich businessman and a famous actor/player or singer – who is better known globally?
How many people in the world know the richest man in your country versus the legends like Roger Federer or The Rock, though both the groups have worked hard to reach where they are today!
It has something to do with the visual medium.
People retain what they see in pictures much more than what they read in texts. According to BrainRules, you will remember 66 % more information if it has images attached to it.
So, for increasing shareability, incorporate high-quality visuals in your blog post.
It does not mean
- Downloading random images from Google at the risk of copyright violations.
- Hot-linking or downloading images from other websites without asking for permission to do so.
You need to create images that are unique to your blog post, acting as milestones and guiding your readers from a problem to its solution.
Every blog post must have three types of images:
- The header image (700 x 400 or 810 x 450 px)
- Multiple in post images (depending on the length of your post) [1:1 or 2:3 ratio]
- Concluding images [2:3 ratio]
The header image (also called featured image) used at the beginning of the post gives a visual hint on the topic. A good header image acts as the initial hook to pull the visitors into reading the article. It also appears are the thumbnail when blog post link is shared on social media.
Next in line are the in-post images. Numbers of in-post images depends on the length of the content. Such images should be placed strategically at the appropriate points in the blog post. Do not use a random unrelated picture. Every image within a blog post should have a relevance with the information above or below it. You can use quotes, charts and stock images as in-post pictures.
Infographics are the best option to use as concluding images. They are perfect for summarizing the entire blog post, and concurrently, users get an interactive graphic they can save or share to social media.
The above three categories of pictures are essential for increasing the shareability factor of your blog post.
Using DesignBold, you can create all the three types needed for your website, and it hardly takes few minutes.
DesignBold provides an easy to use drag and drop interface to create graphics. All the components required to design images are already present in the editing area – vectors, fonts, icons and HD Stock images.
Select your design elements, drag them on the editing area, arrange them and export your design. Graphic designing simplified!
- You simultaneously get access to 8000 plus design templates covering all the social media, blogging and print publications.
- 200,000 free stock photos to use in your designs. Pro or team users get access to more than 40 million HD stock photos, vectors, and icons.
- All the images you create are royalty and copyright free. So, you have complete peace of mind.
4. Make it easy for visitors to share your blog contents
Be very clear that people will share your blog post or the images in it, only when you make it easy for them.
You cannot expect the users to copy your blog link, go to their social media profiles and share your contents. It simply doesn’t work that way anymore.
People are already in the habit of sharing everything they like to their social profiles. All you should do is provide them visible and easy to access sharing buttons.
How can you do this? It is simple. By placing sharing buttons at locations where there are maximum chances of initiating a social share.
There are tonnes of services that provide social sharing buttons.
Online services like GetSiteControl, AddThis & Sumo, provide multiple connectivity tools including the social sharing buttons. Using the above three SAAS, you can place the buttons on any site (irrespective of the CMS in use)
If using WordPress then you may try the plugin Social Warfare.
Sharing buttons at top and bottom of the blog post:
It is a place that users are familiar with, and it provides consistent results. At DesignBold we put the share buttons after the blog title and at the conclusion.
Sharing buttons on the images in your blog post:
Placing sharing buttons directly on the pictures is an effective way to invite visitors in sharing your blog images. The most commonly used tool for this is Sumo Image Sharer.
5. Carry out keyword data analysis related to your blog post
Do you recall one of the goals that we mentioned in point number 2?
“Your blog post should state a problem and guide your readers towards the solution.”
But what is the relation of that goal with your blog post?
Well, it has a deep connection. While writing a blog post, you are putting a significant effort to make it informative for your readers. It may be a well-written article. However, it can be a success only when it provides an answer to a problem that people are looking for!
It is where keyword research plays an important role.
It is not something very complicated, but people tend to make it so.
Follow the steps that that are mentioned below to complete a quick keyword research for your blog post:
- In separate tabs of your browser open three keyword research services Moz, Ahref, and SemRush.
- Now type in your blog topic or the keyword which you are addressing in the article. For example, I put the theme of this article in each of the above keyword research tool. Below are the results provided by Moz and SemRush.
It immediately provides some valuable data. From that two specific information are significant:
- How often people search for the topic or keyword?
- What are the related keywords people are searching?
This information allows you to assess the strength of your topic. That gives you more clarity on what people are primarily searching for in your niche. You also get an idea of the related keywords that you can use in your writing.Therefore, you are now more equipped, to craft an article that solves a problem people are looking for. There is a demand for the information, and you’re fulfilling that need.
In other words, your story is more targeted and SEO friendly.
It is the method we use daily at DesignBold blog. We brainstorm on a topic and then carry out a keyword research related to that. There is a primary keyword, and there are related keywords. We make a note of the keywords to use in the content writing process.
By using SEO tools (Moz, Ahref) and trending directories (more on this later), we research and look for the keywords or questions people want to know more about. And then we fine-tune our contents providing answers to those queries.
As we talked before, graphics are an integral of a shareable content. Therefore, we also plan out the basic designs and texts for the images to use in the blog post along with the keyword research.
Through this method, we create contents our readers want to read. And naturally, that leads to more shares.
Point to note: There is a thing you need to know when using SEO tools. Sometimes the content you are planning to write may not be showing good stats on SEO assessment platforms. (Moz, SemRush).
But that does not mean the topic is of no use. It just means that it may be something new or unconventional. There are many instances where a new subject matter related to a category has gone viral (as it was different from the conventional).
So, do not go only by the SEO stats given by a platform. You need to sometimes think ahead regarding topics for your writing.
6.Give incentives to motivate sharing
In the course of writing your blog post, you have added beautiful graphics, strategically placed sharing buttons and you also have taken care of the SEO aspect.
Why not sweeten the deal further.
Everyone likes free stuff. Right?
So, why not provide some useful incentives to your readers in return for a share. Almost every successful online venture, entrepreneur, and blog has been using this trick for a long time and to great effect.
What you can provide as gifts entirely depend on your blog niche and finance. However, you do not need to stress about it.
Even a free high-resolution infographic that provides useful information is good enough.
Below is the list of things you can give away to your readers:
- Design templates.
- Ebook or PDF version of the blog post.
- If you are SAAS venture, you may offer a time-bound free access to your pro services.
You can also create incentives in the social media and embed it on your blog.
For example, at DesignBold we planned a special summer giveaway on our social media platforms. We used the campaigns on our blog too. The response was very encouraging. Therefore, you can also start using a similar approach on your blogs/websites.
7. Keep a careful watch on the trending topics
Every content writer goes through a phase of “Writer’s Block.” You get stuck at the beginning of the post, or you are struggling to add relevant information to the body.
That is something very natural. In such times a little inspiration, idea or a hint can help in moving ahead with writing. One of the easiest ways to work around writer’s block is to follow the trends related to your blog niche.
But, how do you find the most shared or trending articles related to your topic?
In all the above platforms, with a quick search, you can find the most trending and shared topics (spanning to 6 months back). Nifty, right?
It can make a huge difference to your writing process.
For example, while writing the current post, I searched BuzzSumo for “social media marketing” to find the most popular articles on blogging in the past one month.
BuzzSumo immediately displayed the list of most shared articles in past one month related to blogging. Reading few of them gave many new perspectives to continue my writing.
Therefore, whenever you are writing a new article or rewriting an old one, use the tools mentioned above to find popular items and derive new inspirations for your writing.
When we say trends, we can also refer to the holidays and festivals in all the major consumer markets. You can create contents revolving around those themes. For example, summer or Halloween. As mentioned before, you can create contents on social media and embed it on your blog. Such methods have always generated a good response from the viewers.
8. Invoke reactions from your readers
(awe, laughter, amusement, positivity or negativity)
For every content that goes viral, there is at least one underlying emotion working overtime. If you give a close look at materials getting popular, you will notice that the authors are trying to appeal to the following human instincts:
- Contents that make people laugh, happy or euphoric.
- Contents that make readers negatively emotional or angry
- Materials that spread positivity and give inspiration.
- Contents that invite readers to make a comparison
Companies are spending millions in creating the desired emotional response in their campaigns. Facebook, a few months back released six different types of emotional expressions. Why? To make people more responsive to the stories on the Facebook newsfeed. It has completely changed the way people used to interact on Facebook. The response rates of people have gone up through the roof, and the emoticons on Facebook are now considered more valuable than “likes.”
Therefore, to increase the shareability factor of your contents, you can also try to evoke reactions from readers.
You can do so in four ways:
- Validating or agreeing with the standards.
- Going against the norms with an entirely new idea.
- Spread positivity and give inspiration.
- Inviting your readers to make a comparison.
- Creating quizzes on social media.
All the four methods above are sure to invite reactions from your viewers. But, you need to provide a medium to capture that response.
There are premium services to create quizzes or capture reactions. If you are tight on budget, then the best alternative is to build polls, upload comparison graphics or giveaways directly on social media platforms and embed them into your website or blog post.
Let us have a brief look at some of the favorite tools (paid and free) that you can use to capture user reactions.
- At the end of the article put out a survey question asking the opinion of the readers. For this, you may use GetSiteControl to embed a survey on your blog post. (Free of cost)
- Try Facebook timeline survey/review using graphic designs. (Such polls are also available for twitter and Google plus). See a demo below:
Using DesignBold, you can create a stunning poll or comparison graphic in a matter of minutes. Once you create the image, you can upload it to Facebook and embed it on your blog.
- You can also create a poll using Twitter and embed it in your blog post. Here’s an example from Twitter CFO Anthony Noto:
— Anthony Noto (@anthonynoto) September 25, 2015
- If you are exclusively on WordPress, then there are many tools to invite the viewers to give their reactions. Thrive themes provide exclusive software using which you can create quizzes and timer based actions to make the readers give opinions.
- Positivity or Negativity? – Make your viewers respond to these basic reactions and induce more shares for your contents.
What makes content more shareable – Positive or Negative Emotions? It’s tricky! Finding an absolute answer to that is hard. It varies a lot and is subjective to each viewer depending on gender, age & career. According to an article published at Buffer – Positive feelings and emotional surprise drive the initial shares.But there are instances where blog contents with a negative approach have also garnered significant social shares. For example, see the screenshot below.
9. Types of contents that go viral and gain the maximum shares
We have now arrived at the final point of this post.
Our ultimate goal is to make our contents more shareable.
But what are the types of materials getting the maximum shares or going viral? If you could have an authentic data on that, it will help you in creating the correct type of contents that will provide more traction to your website.
After such an extensive review (for eight months), BuzzSumo made a list of types of contents that get shared the most.
9.1) Long form content gets more social shares than short form content:
Whenever you see short and limited quality materials getting quick shares, do not get into the false assumption of that being the new norm. It definitely is not.
If you want your blog or online venture to gain respectability and long-term viability, then start crafting original long articles. According to BuzzSumo, well researched and high-quality long format contents get ten times more shares.
Hence, from today start creating long form contents, but also remember size is not everything. You need to have quality in it.
9.2) Having at least one image in your post leads to more Facebook & Twitter shares
BuzzSumo in their study found even using at least one image increases the shareability by ten times.
Therefore, images are a must have if you want to increase the shareability of your contents. We already discussed on the type of images every blog post must have (point number 3). With the help of DesignBold, you can create high-quality original images to use on your websites and social media platforms.
Hence, there is no more excuse for not using images in your blog posts.
9.3) People love to share lists and infographics
There are many types of blog contents.
- How-to articles
- “What” posts (e.g., articles whose title started with the word “What”)
- “Why” posts (e.g., articles that tried to answer a “Why” question)
But which type has the potential to give you more shares?
BuzzSumo in their analysis found list posts and infographics receive more average shares than other content types.
But the trends keep changing. So, make sure that the materials you publish are of high quality.
Irrespective of the type of the content, use plenty of images and graphics, so readers are not intimidated or bored with texts. It also gives them more options to share your materials via sharing the blog pictures.
Conclusion: What are you waiting for?
It’s time to create some awesome contents.
By now you have a fairly good idea of the best ways to craft a shareable blog post that can bring significant referral traffic to your website and make your brand more attractive.
In all the ways we discussed in this post, images or graphics play a vital role. They not only make your content more readable but they also act as social media properties that your readers love to share.
In this age of social media boom, people keep sharing interesting, useful and entertaining contents on their social profiles. Therefore, high-quality graphic designs placed in your contents pull them into reading it and eventually sharing your articles.(via sharing the images)
Don’t forget that DesignBold can help you design professional quality original pictures for your websites and social media platforms.
Using DesignBold, you can create from complex to easy graphics (by a simple drag & drop interface) in the comforts of your home and office, all by yourself. Yes! You do not need to spend time and money on high-cost software or professional designers anymore. The power now lies with you.
That wraps up this post. But before you leave, do not forget to download the exclusive free design guide we have prepared for you. Download it and keep it on hand for anytime you need a reminder on the guides to design images for various social media platforms.