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I don’t think any writers sit down and intentionally write content that no one wants to share with their friends or link to in their posts. But the fact that there is so much mediocre content floating around the web tells us that many writers are simply going about link worthy content creation all wrong.
While creating sharable content doesn’t have an easy button, it’s also not as strenuous of a process as many people view it as. In fact, producing content that is linked to and shared is a process that any writer can journey in to as long as they prepare themselves for the fact that it takes dedication and time.
I believe sharable content creation boils down to two parts:
- Establishing relationships with influencers who will help you share your content.
- The creation of good content with sharable elements to it.
You can’t just employ one part because having the relationships with influencers but putting out crappy content could do more harm than good. Likewise, putting out amazing content but not having relationships with influencers to share it reminds me of the classic scenario of a tree falling in the forest but no one is there to hear it.
Here is my common sense approach to increase the amount of content shares and link backs for your future campaigns.
Part 1: Establish Relationships with Influencers
When you establish relationships with influencers, you aren’t just adding one more person to your network, you’re adding their entire network as well.
This lies in the fact that an influencer is an influencer because they have a loyal audience who soak up their brand recommendations and content shares. A true influencer for your brand is a contextual fit and will cause action not just awareness because their audience is there to read about the niche your brand falls in to.
Thus, an influencer’s recommendation of your content automatically makes it appeal valuable to their audience. Coming from an influencer’s mouth, your content will be more likely to be shared and linked to in the future.
To get started, consider the following types of influencers and start finding the ones that are right for you.
If the right Twitter user picks up your post, you can get mega exposure which leads to people saving your post to link to in the future.
Social media monitoring will help you find the ones that tweet about your brand and about the niche your brand falls in to. If they have a decent amount of followers, consider putting them in to a Twitter list so that you can closely follow them.
Once you feel that they are a good fit, a nonabrasive tweet will work best. Simply tweet “@xyz, I think we should collaborate, email me so we can chat.” Something to that effect.
This is the process of building relationships with bloggers, not spamming them for a one time post or mention. Thus you have the mid-level influencers on your side to link to and share your posts.
To create strong relationships with bloggers you need to find the ones that are contextually relevant. We all know by now that without a tool, blogger outreach can be quite time consuming. So, I’d recommend investing in a tool like GroupHigh which is worth its cost in the time that it will save you.
One of the many great things about working with bloggers is that they are usually active on many social media channels to promote their own blog. Not only can you get an awesome post up but they will likely spread mentions of that post across many channels.
Don’t Forget the Super Fans
Advocates of a brand are influencers because they bring sincere passion in to their mentions. They already love you so it’s really easy to reach out to them.
Reach out in a manner that makes them feel like they are included in your brad. Thank them for their advocacy and offer them content and resources to link too. More times than not, they’ll be honored to do so.
Google plus communities are an easy way to find influencers by niche. Simply search for and join communities that encompass your keywords. Make sure you don’t share your content without a discussion topic with it or it will look like spammy self-promotion.
Part 2: 8 Practices to Make Your Content More Sharable
While establishing relationships with influencers is critical, it’s a slow process. While you are nurturing your relationships with influencers you can create awesome content. Here are some tactics to make your actual content more sharable. Implement one or two in your next post and see what happens!
Write like a Thought Leader, Not a Content “Regurgitator”
Even if you don’t see yourself as a thought leader in your space, write like you belong: with confidence and innovation. Don’t research other posts and simply rewrite what they say.
This is first and foremost the most important aspect of a sharable piece of content. Would you share the words of someone who isn’t a leader? After all, sharing content is the digital form of recommending something.
Create Resource Posts
If a blogger wants beginner readers to understand a concept without having to type out a long explanation themselves, they are going to link to a piece that does it for them. That’s where your resource post would come in.
Resource pieces are one of the most linked to pieces. From tips to “how to” pieces to a list of cold hard facts. Give it a sexy title that let’s readers know it’s the ultimate piece in the genre they are searching in. Use a phrase like the only guide or definitive guide to xyz topic.
Don’t Separate Visual Content from Informative Content
Blend good content with pretty content. It’s no wonder why infographics are often shared and linked to–they get an entire message across with pictures and colors. It’s a great way to present a block of interesting research to the world. And research presented well is something everyone wants to be the first to share with their own networks.
Change Your Call to Action to One of Sharing
It’s simply human nature to need a little prompting. At the end of your post have your call to action one that has your readers share the post. Here are some that you can simply copy and paste to the end of your next posts!
- If you liked this post share it because your friends will enjoy it too!
- Want to give this author a little love? Share this post in a tweet or link to it in your own next post.
- Want some good karma points? Share this post and I’ll be likely to share your content too!
- Spread the word by sharing this post with your network! (share buttons or “tweet this” link readily available so your audience thinks, sure why not?)
- Agree with the points I’ve made in my article? Then pass it on by sharing this post!
- Educate your own network by sharing this post!
You get the drift…
Don’t Underrate Organization
I’ve come across many pieces of informative content. However they were a giant block of text coming at me so I didn’t share with my own audience.
When content is presented in digestible pieces complete with headlines, bullet points, etc. it is way more friendly on the eyes, don’t you think?
What’s the Edge?
Before you hit send or publish, ask yourself what innovative or edgy element this piece contains. If you can’t think of anything, REWORK IT!
Helpful practice: on a sticky note on your monitor, tack up a reminder. “What edgy element does my post contain?”
Link to Other Influencers
This can also help build the relationships with influencers that you want on your side. Include your influencers work or words. Tweet it at them that you included them in your post and they will be far more likely to link to it or at least tweet the piece to new eyeballs.
Give so You Can Take
Reach out to people with similar authority as yours and ask them if they have something they would like you to promote and share on your social media outlets and ask them to share your piece. Would you say no to this? I wouldn’t. (Hint, hint!)
I’m going to state the obvious here. Only reach out to people who write about similar topics that you do.
You are The Audience You are Trying to Get to Like You
That’s a “brainful,” isn’t it?
Your target audience thinks like you do so put yourself in their place. Is this a piece of content that you would link to. Is this a piece of content that you would subscribe to?
When you catch yourself sharing a piece of content, ask yourself why you shared it. Every time you come across a piece that was sharable and linkable to you define one or two elements that made it such a good piece of content that you would recommend it. Then take those elements with you next time your write a piece of your own.
Between building relationships with influencers and adding some more sharable elements to your content, I’ve hopefully added a lot of homework to your plate.
While establishing relationships with influencers is a slow build and giving your content that “link worthy” factor takes practice, the good news is that you can start both processes today.
Have you created a piece of content that has gotten a lot of links? Share one tactic that made it successful below to help out some of your fellow content marketers. Cheers to a good discussion of experience, the best kind!