The market is flooded with information each minute – 1,400 blog posts, 277,000 tweets and 204 million email messages – and that’s just scratching the surface. Albert Einstein famously said, “Information is not knowledge.”
But with so much “information” inundating target audiences, how can we compete with the noise, ensuring that content not only captures attention, but also drives audiences to share? And are there any best practices or tips to get your content shared?
Sharing … It’s a Science
Two marketers spend hours working on new blog posts. Both posts are well-written and attentive to their audience’s needs and pain points. But once published, one post goes viral in a matter of hours while the other captures very little attention. What went right for that first post? And what went wrong for the latter marketer?
The answers lie in the science of sharing.
There are specific triggers that promote content sharing. Content that doesn’t address these triggers may end up like that second marketer’s blog post – with little traffic and exposure. The New York Times recently conducted a study to uncover the primary motivators behind why people share content online. Here are a few of the main reasons:
- Enrich the lives of people around them. Forty-nine percent of people in the study said that they share to inform others about products, change the opinions of others, or encourage action.
- Define ourselves to others. Sixty-eight percent share to give people a better sense of who they are and what’s important to them.
- Grow and nurture relationships. Seventy-eight percent of people share information online because it allows them to stay in touch with people they may otherwise lose contact with.
- Feel fulfilled. Sixty-nine percent of people share information because it allows them to feel more connected and involved in the world.
Understanding why people share content is a good first step. But you can also integrate choices into your overall strategy to ensure that each piece of content that you produce is more shareable, driving maximum results. Here are five tips to get your content shared.
1. Use infographics.
Even if you’re creating a report, eBook or blog post series, pull out key stats and valuable information and turn it into an infographic. People love to share infographics. In fact, marketers are using this type of content more frequently, with infographics experiencing their largest increase in usage from 2014 to 2015.
The reason why may stem from the fact that 65 percent of people are visual learners. The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text. So we’re hardwired to process graphics, such as infographics, easier and faster.
For example, No Nonsense Insurance created an interesting infographic in a traditionally unexciting industry. It focused on how music affects your driving.
This is a great example of how new and interesting angles can make your content more enticing to share.
2. Transform your post into a list.
Many B2B marketers know that incorporating lists into blog posts and other types of content is effective. But, it turns out that some numbers perform better than others. For example, the number “10” has high impact, and receives the most social shares. In fact, lists with 10 items received four times more social shares than the next popular number, which is 23. Runners-up were 16 and 24.
For example, this year the Content Marketing Institute wrote “2016 Content Marketing Toolkit: 23 Checklists, Templates, and Guides.” You can bet the number 23 wasn’t arbitrary; it was strategically selected for maximum impact and social sharing.
3. Share on optimal places, during optimal times.
This one is super easy. All you have to do is know your target audience and where they spend their time, plus when you’ll get the most impact from the content that you’ve already created. In fact, Neil Patel says that he observed an increase in social media traffic by up to 39 percent when he posted during optimal times.
The first step to optimal placement and timing is understanding which social platforms your audience is using.
For example, if your target audience is B2B marketers, the Content Marketing Institute chart below shows that LinkedIn and Twitter are the preferred social channels for this audience. So your efforts should be heavily concentrated on these channels.
Once you understand which social platforms your audience is using, then you can research and test which times are most optimal for social sharing for your people.
For example, if your target audience is primarily using Twitter, for most companies, weekdays provide 14 percent higher engagement than weekends. Since users are 181 percent more likely to use Twitter during their commute, the best time to capture retweets is 5 p.m. This chart from Quick Sprout lays it out:
So uncover where your audience is spending time and which days and times they engage, and then refine your strategy to maximize the value of this information. Test to verify your assumptions. You might consider a strategy that rolls out different versions of the same tweet across time zones, to optimize for local patterns.
4. Use interactive content.
Content is going interactive. For example, the New York Times’ most popular story of 2013 wasn’t an article – it was a quiz. Interactive content includes images, webinars, animations, videos, audio clips, games and much more.
For another example, LivePerson uses interactive content to research and refine specific customer needs. It offers a quick 10-question quiz to reveal what your business selfie looks like – and equally important, how to improve it.
Reshaping your strategy to include more interactive content will naturally drive increased shareability.
5. Round up a collection of known voices.
Ask questions of industry experts and then share the answers through a blog post series, eBook, or interactive asset. How does this encourage content sharing? First of all, if you’re targeting the right people (industry influencers), they will likely share your content with their audiences, which may greatly expand your reach.
For example, the Content Marketing Institute published “What Content Marketing Will Look Like in 2016: 40+ Predictions.” This highly shareable story leverages predictions from content marketing experts to predict the future for the next 12 months.
So select a hot topic, choose influencers strategically, and leverage their insights into your content to boost reach and exposure. This tactic also positions you as a well-connected publisher who respects the opinions of others, and is in turn respected by important people.
The Future of Content Sharing
People share content to make the lives of others better. As B2B marketers, we must create and structure content that people see as valuable so they are compelled and inspired to share it – because it really comes down to engagement. If people engage with your content, they are more likely to engage with you.
Once you figure out what works for your audience, they will naturally share the pieces that you create, and you’ll accomplish your goals much more easily.
How do you make your content shareable? Please share your examples and tips to get your content shared.