Did you know that every day, more than 2 million pieces of content are published on the Internet? From blog posts, articles, and reviews all the way to e-books, white papers, and special reports – content marketers are busting their chops to get noticed amongst the internet clutter.
This fact is surprising in and of itself, but what’s truly shocking is that most of those content marketers actually have no idea what they’re doing. Recent research done by Moz and Hubspot reveals that 75 % of randomly selected posts and articles found on the Internet have zero links and shares – they are completely off the grid.
Basically, they are totally irrelevant in the grander scheme of things. They’re usefulness in terms of SEO, establishing the company as a thought-leader in the industry, or exposure is seriously crippled.
The same study reveals that nearly 85 % of published content is redundant – rehash after rehash of the same old information that hasn’t been built on or added to in any significant way to make it more appealing to readers.
In order to avoid these pitfalls and start creating content that is shareable and that attracts links it is important to stick to some proven and tested methods of content creation.
Not surprisingly, originality doesn’t play a huge part here. It’s very difficult to come up with something completely new on a daily basis. However, content presentation, format, and style, and emotional triggers do play a large part in getting those shares you want so badly.
Following these 5 simple rules will ensure that your content gets picked up more readily on social media networks or anywhere else on the Internet and can be a ticket to your content going viral:
- WHENEVER POSSIBLE, WRITE LISTS
Visual content gets easily devoured, especially when it’s good. However, sometimes it’s not possible to do an infographic, a video or a presentation and you just have to sit down and write something.
When that happens, try to find an angle that allows you to present your information in the form of a list. Lists are easy on the eyes; the content is broken up into chewable pieces that are more palatable and people know what to expect the moment they see the title.
Lists present information in a way that is easier for people to comprehend. If you can’t write up your article as a list at least try adding some bullet points whenever you have to write stringy sentences that might be difficult to comprehend or would require the readers go through them more than once – people simply don’t have the time to make the effort.
- EVOKE EMOTIONS
Your content should aim at four specific emotions:
People tend not to share sad or outrageous content – most of us don’t want other people to experience the same negative emotion we did.
On the other hand, everyone likes to be amused or surprised, or inspired by something – that is why content that evokes those types of positive emotions gets picked up and shared more easily.
Bottom line: if a piece of content makes you feel something while you’re reading or watching it, there’s a good chance that other people will feel it too. Always try to spice things up a bit through good storytelling and emotional triggers.
- KNOW YOUR READERS
A lot of times a piece of content falls flat on its face because content creators forget the audience they are writing for. People respond better to content that is in sync with who they are and what they want to accomplish. In most cases, people share content that confirms an image of themselves they want to project outwards.
People want to be seen as caring, fun, smart, rich, inspiring, clever – and a whole bunch of other things. Create a persona of your average reader (or create 5 if your target audiences are diverse) and find out what is the image of their ideal self that they are projecting to the public. Use that to create great content and watch those share numbers skyrocket!
- BE USEFUL
Useful content gets shared – period. It’s how most people are wired; they see something helpful and they want other people to see it too. It might be out of the goodness of their heart or they want to appear more knowledgeable than their friends – it really doesn’t matter, shares are shares.
What matters here is that your content is the most helpful they can find on the given subject. Make your how-to articles most detailed and your tutorial videos packed with easy-to-follow information and you will be able to get all the shares you need.
- PLAY THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE
Whenever there is a hot topic on the internet, content creators flock to it in an effort to drive some traffic to their blogs, media sites, or social media platforms. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that except that after a while everything becomes a blur and all those articles or videos start looking like boring copies of each other.
A better approach to this is to invest some time in studying the topic and creating something that has a different angle. Don’t be afraid to swim against the current sometimes – taking a controversial stance on something differentiates you and it’s guaranteed to spark a debate.
This article was originally written by Scott Ragin for the Heyo blog.