5 Super Simple Ways to Get People to Share Your Content

“If you build it, they will come” — Apparently this guy never tried to start a blog.

If you operate a blog, whether you write on behalf of a business, or your blog is your business, you feel the daily pressure that comes with needing to build a strong audience and loyal readership. The expectation to become an Internet sensation can leave you up all night obsessing over Google analytics, and spending countless hours writing and revising the same piece of content until you feel like your eyes are going to bleed.

I am going to say something that will probably incite a lot of irate comments, so stand back folks — content is not king. GASP. No, I’m not crazy. Please keep reading.

Content is important. Content is very important. But, marketing and homepage aesthetics are equally as important as content.

This is how most people experience your blog: They see the article preview on Facebook or another social media platform. The article preview includes the title, and the picture. Based on this information, people decide whether or not to click on the picture — this is why you need marketing. If they decide to click, they will be taken to your blog, and based on whether or not they like the overall feel of your blog, they will decide to stay — this is why you need homepage aesthetics. Have you ever instantly liked a blog just because it was pretty? I have!

Then, your reader will briefly scan the actual content of the article. So why would you kill yourself focusing all your energy on content?

Friends, before you burn a hole in your stomach with that stress ulcer, here are five ridiculously simple ways to subtly encourage people to share your content. Trust me, I blog about background checks. If I can get people to share my posts, then so can you!

5 Quick and Dirty Tips to Guarantee Your Content Gets Shared

1. Encourage Readers to Share at the Beginning

Most people do not read the whole post, so putting your share buttons at the top of your post, instead of at the end enables quicker sharing of your content. A lot of blog readers (including myself) will reshare content just from a positive first impression. Get audiences to share right from the get-go. You’d be surprised at how many people spread posts just because they like the title.

According to Copyblogger, only 2 out 10 people will read anything beyond the headline copy. Make sure the other 8 out 10 share your content by offering your buttons at the top of the page.

2.      Juicy Headlines and Pretty Pictures ALWAYS Attract an Audience

Like I said above, most reader will come across your content because it was shared via a social media platform like Facebook or Google +. This means that your headline and lead image are all you have to get people interested. Pictures that contain slightly racy material, or baby animals will always draw people in. I once wrote an article about bacon with a lead image of a woman wearing a bacon bra. It certainly is no coincidence that my blog got more views and comments in that one day than it previously had in its entire history.A magnetic headline will serve as the perfect compliment to your fascinating image.

Some tried and true effective headlines are:

•       Provocative questions — “Is Your Boyfriend Cheating on You?”
•       How to headlines — “How to Write a Best Selling Novel”
•       List posts — “5 Super Simple Tricks to Get People to Share Your Content”

The right headline formula will be irresistible to your target audience. I have certainly reshared articles on Facebook before even clicking the link and reading the post. This is how much power the proper headline can have.

3.      Separate Your Text into “Chunks” with Subheadings

Once the reader has been enticed into clicking to read your post, a solid wall of text will scare them off faster than a computer virus. Introducing lots of soothing white space into your posts will make your content a thousand times more readable — and enjoyable.People who read content online are usually reading for pleasure. They’re not studying; they don’t need to remember any of it for later. Therefore, online readers have no incentive to pour over every single word. Blog readers are scanners, so spoon-feed your content into their eyes with plenty of paragraph breaks and attention grabbing subheads.

4. End Each Post with a Call to Action

At the end of each post, ask your readers a question. This is an indirect way of commanding people to comment. I don’t know about you, but when I see a post that has 157 comments, I’ll probably jump into the conversation just to see what all the fuss is about. What can I say? It’s the comment snowball effect. Getting readers engaged in your content transforms your blog from words on a screen to a thriving online community. Really popular blog sites like Mashable have turned their readership into a social networking platform where instead of passively absorbing content you can log in and receive notifications about reader responses to your comments. Having a swarm of hungry readers, salivating for your content is a dream come true for any blogger.

5. Connect Your Post to a Cause

People care about causes, not brands or businesses. I write the content for my company’s blog. The business is an online background checking service and the blogs that our customers tend to get passed around the most on Facebook usually cover emotionally charged topics like sex offender crimes, child safety issues, and dangerous people. Nobody cares about content on how background checks work, but people do care that child molesters are getting off on probation.

Striking an emotional chord with people will get them fired up to spread your content all over every nook and cranny of the Internet. When you get people excited, your content gets popular.

Moral of the Story

Do you have to be an amazing, talented writer in order to have a successful blog? YES, of course you do. Do you need to utilize perfect grammar and spelling at all times? YES, of course you do. In order to make it as a writer, you have to. . . be an awesome writer. This will never be negotiable. Ever.

But when building a successful blog, marketing strategy and homepage aesthetics are just as important as content. If your blog is struggling, try these five tips before you spend six months overhauling all your content.

Good luck, and happy blogging.
How do you encourage people to share your content?

Jessica Ruane is a blogger and copywriter. To read more articles written by Jessica, check out her main client’s Twitter or LinkedIn page.

Featured image on home page courtesy of Sean MacEntee.

Filed in: Blogging, Guest Blogging, Social Media, WordPress
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