Publishing relevant and useful content brings traffic, and credibility to your business. But just because you publish something, it doesn’t mean readers will come. To get traffic, you need to put effort into distribution. In this article, we look at the most common reasons why your content doesn’t have as many social shares as expected (and how to fix it).
Reason #1: Your Headline Isn’t Magnetic Enough
The headline is the most important part of your content. It’s the first thing a reader sees, and it creates a split-second window in which they decide whether they’ll read the content. In fact, 6 out of 10 people will share social posts based on the headline alone, before even reading the attached article.
Don’t treat your headline like an afterthought. Put serious effort into crafting the perfect headline for your piece. Once you’re done writing, create five to seven different versions of your headline. If that sounds like a lot of work, there are a number of headline templates or formulas you can utilise as a starting point. Each headline should contain powerful words and adjectives that convey urgency, strong emotions, or trigger curiosity. Above all, be specific. Mention numbers, timelines, and places. For example: “7 easy ways to make an extra $1,000 a month in Singapore” will get a stronger response than “Make more money every month”. From a set of five to seven headlines, you can ask your colleagues which of these headlines will make them want to click and share. If you want to go further, you can use Google docs to create surveys, to ask which headline people are more likely to click (but we know time seldom permits that level of research). As soon as you’ve mastered the art of writing viral headlines, redo the headlines of older articles then reshare them on social media. You can rotate headlines every three to six months and repost older content; this helps you get more mileage out of previous work, and lets you “test” headline ideas.
- Your Content Isn’t Providing Enough Value
While a strong headline can trigger clicks and shares, you don’t want to develop a reputation for being all buzz and no substance (that’s called clickbait). The goal of content marketing isn’t simply to gain traffic; it’s to build trust, and develop a loyal following of customers. Success is determined by the number of views and shares, plus the number of conversions (readers who actually take action and buy). There’s no point having 10 million clicks on your article, if zero of them stay for longer than two seconds, and no one buys anything. The New York Times’ Psychology of Sharing study shows that 94% of social media users want to improve the lives of those they care about. Thus, they share content that they think will be useful to their friends and family. This means it’s important for your content to also fulfill your readers’ motivation to help each other out.
When planning your content, ask yourself what information you want your readers to walk away with. Does the piece entertain as well as inform them? Did it help them do something they didn’t know how to do before? Did it walk them through a solution to their problem? At the end of each piece, offer a quick summary or list of takeaways for your readers. Because most web readers skim content, this gives them something valuable to walk away with even if they didn’t have time to read everything.
- You’re Not Paying Attention to Trending Topics
Writing evergreen topics is simple enough. After all, your team’s technical expertise means you never run out of ideas for it. However, content becomes shareable when it’s part of a trend. Joining relevant conversations in a timely manner lets you add to the discussion and demonstrates your credibility, especially when you have a unique insight to share. This can sometimes be simple, seasonal issues. For example, a Valentine’s Day article covering dinner deals, or a Christmas sale for your webstore. Other times, it can be a response to something in the news. If there’s an article on sugar and rising obesity rates, for example, you might want to chime in with an article that links to your health foods store.
Aim to have 30 per cent of your content cover trending topics that are relevant to your product or service. In addition to just monitoring the news, there are several free and paid tools you can use to find the next hot topic to cover. Google Trends is one of the most robust free tools for uncovering trends, and has a couple of useful features that will take your research to the next level. If you’re looking at covering a niche but aren’t sure about specific topics, Google Trends Explore helps you narrow your focus. Through these tools, you can find trending topics and keywords by country, time range, and even search type. Meanwhile, Google Hot Trends shows what topics are trending now in your area. Don’t forget to use the subscribe feature, to get updates about noteworthy events in your niche.
- Your Content is Difficult to Share
In general, people don’t like to figure out how to do things. If you want your visitor to take certain actions on your site, such as share your content, you have to make it easy for them. Most people can’t be bothered to copy and paste everything on your page, or distribute your QR codes. Always remember that today, more people view online content via mobile devices, not desktops. It’s less convenient to copy and paste links on a smartphone.
Make sure you incorporate share buttons, which look like these:
Make sure your share buttons are prominently placed, and functional on both desktop and mobile devices. Don’t make readers work hard to spot your share buttons. Place these at the top of the post, at the bottom of the post, and in close proximity to the content. If your blog is on WordPress, it helps to use plugins like Click to Tweet or Tweet Dis, so readers can easily Tweet your post by highlighting their favourite passage.
- You’re Letting Your Readers Do All the Work
New and emerging brands don’t have the luxury of relying on their audience do all the sharing. Statistically, most people will stop at liking your content and following you; sharing would mean they’re actively pushing your content onto their own friends and followers, and it takes time to build that kind of relationship. Even if you’re an established brand with a large readership, it still helps to be proactive, and distribute your content through influential personalities and your most engaged readers. Having an influential person share your content results in 31.8% more social shares, and this figure continues to grow the more influencers spread your content.
No one in this world is obligated to share your content, especially influential people who have no relationship with you (yet). One way to start building this relationship is to use content as a foot in the door. Instead of writing your content first, try working backwards. Look for an article in your niche that’s close to what you want to create, and take a look at which influencers shared it. Then reach out to those influencers, and ask if they can participate in the piece you’re working on, by sharing a quote or answering a quick question. For example, say you sell cosmetics online. You could look for famous Instagram models or make-up artists, and see what kind of content they share. You can then write content around similar topics, and ask them for opinions or quotes. Most people will respond positively to this, as this gives them an opportunity to demonstrate their expertise. This does mean you need to do old-fashioned cold calls and legwork. Remember, content marketing is still marketing. It means more than just hammering out words behind your screen all day. You need to network in a real sense. As soon as the piece is published, reach out to those influencers again. Thank them for their help, and include the link to the article. People love to share something they’ve been involved in, and chances are good that your piece will reach their audience and beyond.
Of course, online shares are not the be-all and end-all of your digital presence.
Beyond having good content, the purchase and delivery process need to be seamless. If you can’t get goods to your customers, or the process is too complex, then even the best content can’t do much for you. That’s where Synagie.com comes in. Contact one of our business solutions experts, and we can help you take your business online. From warehousing to site development, we can develop a cost-effective solution (https://synagie.com/conversion/) for your specific needs.