Not all content marketing practices yield equal results. In today's landscape of SEO and social media, shareability is one of the most important qualities for a content marketing campaign. So what makes content shareable and why does it matter?
Defining Shareability: Why Does it Matter?
Put simply, "shareability" is the potential of a given piece of content to be transmitted, or shared, by a third party. Usually this manifests as a reader sharing a piece of content on their personal social media profile for more people to see, but there are many similar forms of redistribution, and a piece of content's "shareability" determines how likely it is for such instances to occur.
So why are shares so important for SEO and inbound traffic?
- The more people who share a piece of content, the more people are going to eventually see it, and the more people who see it, the more visitors you're going to have. Think of your content as a single light in a dark forest, attracting people in the open. If you can get more people to turn on identical lights, the cumulative brightness will increase, and you'll be able to attract more people from greater distances.
- Whenever a link to your website is shared on a public social media platform, Google notices. If you have 100 people individually sharing an identical link pointing back to your site, especially within a quick period of time, search ranking algorithms are going to assign more importance to the linked content, thus ranking it higher.
- An effective social media presence has far more benefits than just an improved position for SEO. If you can complement your content with genuine, personal engagements via social media on a regular basis, eventually you'll build a loyal audience of followers on your social platforms. The end result is a new channel for communicating with your potential customers, deeper relationships, and greater brand loyalty.
Bottom line: shareable content will do your work for you. Instead of posting links everywhere you can and trying to reach new audiences with cold opens, you can let your audience do all the promotion and link sharing for you. Shareability is the key that opens this door.
How to Make Your Content Shareable
"Shareability" isn't typically thought of as quantifiable, but there are certain measurable properties of content that increase its propensity to be shared. Think about the types of content you see your friends posting to their timelines on Facebook, or the types of retweets you usually see; they share many similar characteristics, right?
Writing content with these characteristics is no guarantee of success. You are creating shareable content rather than forcing people to share your content. Imagine yourself making high-quality gunpowder; you still need a spark to set things off.
The qualities of shareable content include, in no particular order:
- A captivating title: One that stands out from other content and entices people to read more. Recent title trends include numeric lists like "The 10 Best...", which draw people in with a promise of a concise, authoritative presentation, and teasing titles like "You'll Never Guess What...", which naturally pique human interest.
- A unique value: Every article should be unique and valuable in some way.
- Audience specificity: Shareable articles communicate to a specific audience, sometimes very specific (think, "middle-aged female cat owners with diabetes"). You may alienate a broader audience, but you'll be dramatically increasing the interest of the narrow audience you retain.
- Concise material: This content can be easily read and digested in a single session. Bulleted lists, numbered entries, step-by-step articles, and sectioned pieces are all very effective.
- Accompanying images and media: Content that features an image, a series of gifs, or a video is far more likely to be shared than content that doesn't.
As for that "spark" to set everything off? That's going to come in the form of an interested individual or business who takes the first step in sharing your content to a wide audience. By fostering your social media following and syndicating your content there, you can maximize your chances of getting this initial spark.
The Importance of Consistency
When you begin writing, publishing, and syndicating your shareable content, it's important to stay consistent with what you're posting:
- Keeping a consistent brand voice will establish familiarity and eventually, brand loyalty amongst your readership. Your subject matter, tone, and even your formatting should remain consistent if you're looking to build an audience who wants to read and share your content consistently.
- Search engines love to see consistent link building. Releasing new content regularly is a demonstration that you are active. Link diversity and consistent posting will help you build a greater domain authority.
- Posting your content steadily and with a consistent tempo will catch the interest of more readers. Rather than spamming your readers with constant posts in a given period or leaving them to wonder where you are with silence, post a steady stream of content during peak times to maximize your chances of getting your content noticed.
The benefits of a content marketing program or SEO campaign are not going to be immediate, and the effort you put into it is not going to be precisely measurable. The situation gets even more complicated when you consider the relative volatility of search engine rankings and content interest trends.
However, taking the time to create valuable, shareable content for your business is one of the best long-term lead generation strategies you can pursue.
Good content is permanent; it doesn't expire like a magazine ad, and isn't vulnerable to the fluctuations of search engine algorithms because it doesn't rely on gimmicks to get results. There will be ups and downs, and there will be changes in topic trends, but the long-term value of your shared content will eventually far exceed the value of the effort it took to create it.