There are many worthy reasons for adding new site content to our blogs. But the main motivation, more often than not, is to attract new visitors and fresh traffic.
As it takes so much hard work to put new read-worthy content together, it makes sense to try and maximise the return on investment of all that valuable time. One great way of achieving this is to have your content shared by readers.
However, getting your content shared on social media doesn't happen by accident. You need to make sure that you understand what type of content gets shared and then make sure that you include that in your new posts.
You need to be brutally honest and ask yourself are you producing content worth sharing? If you're not adding something new and fresh to the discussion why should anybody recommend your content to others?
Too many posts these days are just recycling and repackaging old content without adding value. Okay we all know there probably isn't a fresh subject within a niche that hasn't already been tackled, but rather than just reword what's already been said try and add an original view or opinion of your own. It will be just such an insightful comment that would motivate somebody to click the share button.
Make Social Sharing Easy
It's always a good practice to look at your site every now and then through the eyes of a new visitor. It's so easy for us blog publishers to slap ourselves on the back for our cool designs and slick new amazing widgets. We forget to go back to the basics and check how easy our site is to use.
How easy is it the new visitors to share the great content with others?
How easy is it to navigate around the site and find related content?
Every now and then take the time to consciously look at the site as a new visitor would and check how easy it is to use. If you can enlist the help of a friend or family-member so that you have the benefit of truly fresh eyes, then that is something I would strongly advise.
There are many options open to us, especially if you are using WordPress or another content management system, as to how we can add social sharing buttons to our site.
You can place the buttons at the beginning of the post, at the end of the post, throughout the post, or the scrolling area in the sidebar or any combination of these options.
As with most things to do with blogs and optimisation there is no golden rule or one way that works. You need to test these different options yourself and see which one gives you the best results.
From experience I found that social sharing buttons shown at the beginning of the post are too early, readers don't know yet if it's worth sharing or not.
Although they seem to be pretty popular at the moment, I've never been comfortable with the scrolling sidebar option as I haven't found a package that will adapt to display on smaller screens correctly. On mobile and tablets often the buttons will obscure some of the content.
So from testing I found that displaying a row of share buttons within the text of longer posts and at the end of the post had the best results for me.
Optimize & Check for Social Display
Something that is often overlooked is checking how your content displays when shared on social media sites.
We use an IFTTT network around all of our main sites and blogs to help syndicate and share the content in an automated fashion. (More information on IFTTT networks).
Not only does this help share and syndicate new content but it also means that we can easily check how that content is being displayed on most of the major social media sites and make any adjustments to the original contents formatting to improve that.
Content that is shared and that displays poorly on a social media site is more likely to discourage visits back to your site than to encourage and also may put off the original readers from further sharing.
Schema Markup & Meta Data
You can use a combination of meta data and schema markup to control the display in many of the major social media sites and there are many plug-ins for WordPress that can help you achieve this. We personally use the Project Supremacy plug-in to help us optimise posts and control the schema markup. (More information on Project Supremacy plug-in).
Another area that you need to consider are the images and videos within your post. A lot of social media sites will have restrictions on sizing and the same image can be displayed at different dimensions.
You can do some research on how the social media sites handle the different media types, but again there is no substitution for you testing this aspect yourself and checking displays on different sites.
Putting It All Together
So roll up your sleeves and let's get started. First of all, research your topic to find out what you should be writing about and what people like to share.
A great place to start this is BuzzSumo. Here you can find not only the popular topics within your niche at this time, but it will also show you the content that is being shared on social media. This is a great tool for anybody wanting to take content marketing seriously and well worth the small investment. (More information on BuzzSumo).
So now you know what you will be writing about and you will also know the style of writing that is being shared at the moment. Now you need to create amazing content that will answer the questions that your audience needs answered and add your own tips, experiences and insights to add real value.
Once you've done that now look at the formatting, layout and presentation. Shorter paragraphs and sentences tend to make longer articles easier to read.
Using lists and bullet points where it makes sense will break up the content, as not everybody will be reading every word that you have posted. Online, it is pretty common for a large number of visitors to a site to skim through longer articles. By breaking the article up, the skimmers will take note of information provided in listings, bullet points or subheadings far easier than the main body of written text.
Thoughtful positioning of images and videos will also help break up a large article into more manageable chunks.
Positioning a relevant and entertaining video at the end of the post, from experience tends to get some playtime which helps enormously with time on site and bounce rate statistics.Both important factors in improving page ranking.null
Don't forget to make it easy for people to share the content, testing where to display share buttons to find out what works best for you.
Let me have your feedback on the above.
Are you happy with how your content is being shared?
Have you found ways that work for you to improve the share rate?
Oh and of course, don't forget to hit the share button below!