To get back into the swing of things this year I spent some time catching up on the latest research, predictions, and trends for 2015…and what’s everyone talking about? CONTENT. However, to my surprise, these trends seem so obvious and simple, any online publisher could become a rock star. Cheers to expanding your reach in 2015 with shareability!
The key to growth, life, and everything nice is sharing. When someone tells me I need to drive more share activity this year I think to myself, “duh, who doesn’t!” But the question comes down to how? How much work, time, and help from my IT and Engineering colleagues is it going to take to make this happen? However, the secret is out – this is not rocket science people! Check out the 7 things YOU MUST do this year to write and present your posts in the most shareable way (no excuses!)
Titles and Headlines are a Strategy, Not Fluff. Why are titles and headlines so important and why the constraints? I don’t know how else to say it other than – consider your title the cover letter of an essay to Richard Branson requesting to be on the first trip to space, it’s really freaking important!
Just because you make it into the pile does not mean it will be opened or read – make it the best. This doesn’t, on the other hand, mean make it long and wordy. The second major obstacle is the bad guy in this movie named Mr. Truncate. This guy knows exactly how to ruin a great thing, by cutting you off mid-sentence, even mid-word. Remove the drama of it all by getting to know your key post placements (ie. Your blog, LinkedIn Pulse feed, the best syndicated sites and their newsfeeds) and note the character limit – where does it wrap, where does it cutoff, what words are stacking, etc…
Finally, an article by Fast Company cited usability research for ideal headline word count:
Writing for KISSmetrics, headline expert Bnonn cites usability research revealing we don’t only scan body copy, we also scan headlines. As such, we tend to absorb only the first three words and the last three words of a headline. If you want to maximize the chance that your entire headline gets read, keep your headline to six words. – The Proven Ideal Length of Every Tweet, Facebook Post, and Headline Online
Unfortunately, six words is a very short headline! Therefore, if you cannot trim down your headline to six words, you can be aware of how your headline reads when filtered down to the first three and last three words – then adjust accordingly. A separate set of research recommends limiting your character count to 40-49 characters. This image is a great visual example of titles when read, wrapped, and truncated on LinkedIn Pulse.
In 2014 Twitter launched a new adaptation of Open Graph called Twitter Cards. Open Graph and Twitter Cards have introduced a new level of visual control to the sharing world – making these tags essential to “looking good when shared.” Well formatted posts with a post image are more likely to be liked, shared, and read than posts without an image. Next, when reviewing the body of the post, Paul Shapiro of Search Wilderness found “including 8 images when you publish on LinkedIn is associated with a greater number of LinkedIn shares, likes, comments, and views.” Wow 8 images! This image trend may also correlate with the new long-form LinkedIn article trend – recommending articles range in 1,000-2,000 word intellectual pieces. I believe the major takeaway here is to incorporate multiple images throughout your post to increase the text-to-media ratio, such as charts and graphs.
How-to and List Format Posts. First, to my surprise, question statements are no longer recommended formats for Titles and Headlines. However, not to my surprise, the always popular How-to and List format pieces are ranking #1 and #2. Luckily this is an easy pivot to make. See the example Do and Don’t titles:
- Do: How to Make Richard Branson Take You to Space
- Do: 5 Ways to Make Richard Branson Take You to Space
- Don’t: Do You Know How to Make Richard Branson Take You to Space?
It’s Emotional. Make sure you are stimulating the right emotions to drive shares. While this is not applicable to all content – it is very interesting to consider. BuzzSumo analyzed the top 10,000 most shared articles across the web; articles were categorized into major emotional categories. This study found awe, laughter, joy, and amusement to be the most stimulated emotions.
Paul Shapiro also weighs in on this topic, “posts written in language reflecting a positive sentiment tend to get the most LinkedIn shares and likes. However, neutral language posts tend to see more comments and post views than both positive and negative sentiments.”
Readability. Another very interesting tip is readability – in this same piece, Paul recommends writing at an 11 year old reading level. I don’t think I have ever stopped to really think about reading levels, have you? First and foremost, you want to write for your audience and if you know exactly who your audience is, maybe you can ignore this rule. But, again this is a very interesting concept when your goal is shareability and growing your audience in the New Year.
Free Value-Add Offers. A rising trend across the entire online market is the combination of professional content such as whitepapers, eBooks, research, and templates offered for free with opt-in or lead form entry. If you are an existing RevResponse Partner you are completely ahead of the curve! This minimally invasive feature provides your audience with free targeted professional content while providing you (the publisher) with a new revenue stream and many monetization tools – talk about shareworthy! More and more online publishers are joining this movement – which means the competition is growing. Make sure you are utilizing the RevResponse toolkit and offer catalog to optimize your programs…plus, start applying the tips in this blog post to optimize your reach today.
More fun facts and quotes to keep you thinking:
- “8 of the top 10 most shared articles in the past 8 months were quizzes (7 from BuzzFeed, 1 from the NY Times).” Can you believe that? A quiz/poll is more challenging to produce; however, differentiating your content offering with quizzes could be an excellent test for 2015! Tweet This
- “The last thing [professionals] want is bad content cluttering their [social] streams. To engage this audience, publish content that is relevant to their needs and will make them look like superstars at work.” Tweet This
- Acquiring one extra influencer to share your article will have an immediate multiplier effect. Tweet This
- Short-form is everywhere, but long-form drives shares. Write 1,000-2,000 word intellectual posts this year. Tweet This
Finally, the last tip for your 2015 posting strategy – ask for the action you want your users to take!
A great application of this tip can be found in the closing statements of blog posts everywhere – or should I say, missing from blogs everywhere. Here is a great example I’d like you to try in your next post; close your post by listing next steps to drive the action you want.
- If you found 7 Simple Tips to Increase Content Shareability in 2015 helpful, I’m sure your co-workers, friends, and network will too. Click to Tweet (you’ll look smart!)
- Do you completely agree or disagree with something included in today’s post? Leave a comment below and tell us what and why.
Upcoming Event: B2B Content2Conversion Conference With all of this content talk, we are excited to announce that the NetLine Corporation will be sponsoring the B2B Content2Conversion Conference this year. Content is a cornerstone for all divisions of the NetLine Corporation and RevResponse Network; therefore we are very pleased to be involved in the discussion this year and we invite you to join us. The conference will be held February 16th to 18th in Scottsdale, Arizona – and as sponsor we can offer you a special discount, $200 off your ticket. If you are planning to attend or interested in finding out more about the NetLine and RevResponse Team’s attending please let us know by emailing your Account Manager or the Partner Services Team.