10 Ways to encourage readers to share your content

One of the most effective ways of building both your reputation and website traffic is through content. There are many who think content marketing and blogging are the most important elements of an SEO program. Articles and post will be tagged with a focused keyword, ensuring your website is boosted up the rankings when someone does a Google search.

A recent report from EConsultancy ‘Digital Trends for 2013’, stated that “the single most significant trend is the continued emergence of content marketing as a standalone discipline.”

If you decide content marketing is the way forward for your business, you’re probably thinking of starting up a blog. This is the most common way that businesses promote great content. So you’ve invested time and money into creating content for your website, but how can you get it read and shared? Of course, there are the usual methods: tweeting it, Pinning it, sharing it on StumbleUpon etc., but how can you ensure that the content is read, and most importantly, shared with another person?

Here are 10 ways to make your content shareable:

1. Create great content

In order to encourage people to share your content, it has to be great. Every day, boring and repetitive content won’t get shared. Don’t publish what everyone else is publishing. Create something that shows off your knowledge in a new way,. Use your expertise to put a new slant on a topic. If you create terrible content it will get shared: for all the wrong reasons.

2. Spread the content yourself

Don’t write the content and leave it to rot on your website, get it out there. When you publish an article, set up triggers on your blog site, for example, once the article is published it should automatically post on your social media profiles. Take the article and share it in circles that make sense in terms of the content of your piece, for example, share it on industry blogs, and in LinkedIn groups that are dedicated to your industry.

3. Make sharing easy

Once you have gotten people to read your content, they shouldn’t have to work too hard in order to share your content. Ensure your website has all the correct plug-ins and buttons for social sharing. You need to determine which social networks are most suitable for you and your content, but in general you can’t go wrong with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. You can find focused social media sites relating to your industry with a little bit of research.

4. Include a printer friendly/email button

Remember that not every person in the world is online, or on a social media site. For this reason you should include a printer friendly or email button, in case a reader would like to share your article whilst offline.

A user may be researching a topic and putting a file together, there are still a lot of people who like to have a handy hard copy.

5. Allow comments

A lot of blogs will not allow comments, due to the amount of spam messages you will (probably) receive. People will be more likely to share an article if they have left a comment and received some sort of engagement in return. Keep the conversation going by replying to everyone who takes time to comment on your site. You could even push the engagement further by following the commenters on twitter, to show you’re serious about engagement and building relationships.

6. Allow subscriptions

Whatever blog site you are using to host your content, you should allow readers to subscribe via email or on an RSS feed.

7. Use images

This may not seem that important when it comes to sharing, but it is important when sharing your article on image intensive sites, such as Pinterest and Instagram. For these social sites, you MUST have an image associated with your content. Make sure your image has some alt text for SEO purposes.

8. Ask readers to share

You know that old phrase ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get’ – it’s the same with your content. You may not wish to do this with every piece of content that you produce, but there’s nothing wrong with including a call to action that asks your readers to pass your content along to others. This works especially well when you have created content such as an e-book or a video.

9. Make access easy

If you are producing content that isn’t a blog, such as an e-book or downloadable PDF, go a step further and help your reader. If you are offering content in the form of a downloadable PDF, consider placing a link to Adobe Reader, in case the user doesn’t know what a PDF is. If you’re offering an e-book, provide easy links and instructions for compatible e-readers.

10. Build your own community

This does take time, but once you have built an online community you’ll have a strong group of people who will be willing to share one another’s content. If you’re just too impatient, latch on to an existing community and build up your own reputation, for example, join a reputable and existing group on LinkedIn, introduce yourself, follow thought leaders on Twitter, and make sure they’re getting to know your name.

Ultimately, the one thing that will make your content shareable is the quality. The key is to create content that is worthy of being shared, otherwise you’re wasting time.

How else do you get your content shared? Let us know. Find us on Twitter and Facebook – say hello!

Banish these 5 phrases from your business
Wired Marketing Master Class: Week 1 How to create stylish clouds for an Email Template in Photoshop
Improve your social media calls to action