Successful online marketing now requires more than traditional SEO tactics. If you want your business, school, or nonprofit organization to achieve a high-volume website and a booming sales operation, you must regularly publish relevant, engaging, information-rich, high-impact, and very shareable online content.
Whether or not search engines like Google directly factor social sharing into their page rankings, every time someone shares one of your blog articles with their network of friends and industry contacts, it increases the reach of your content and magnifies your opportunities for higher rates of traffic and lead generation.
Many inbound marketers ask, “How do I know if my blog articles are any good?” If your readers find your content valuable enough to share, you know it’s good and will help you achieve your online marketing goals. By focusing on creating highly shareable content, you’ll ultimately improve the quality of your entire online marketing effort, reaching more prospects with better, more valuable content.
Jonah Peretti, CEO of Buzzfeed and cofounder of The Huffington Post, said in 2012, “What’s exciting to me now is that there are these social platforms like Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and StumbleUpon. That means you can create something for humans, not for robots, and still build something massive.”
The takeaway here is that you should create content with your audience in mind, instead of trying to game search engines with SEO trickery.
There are no shortcuts to writing highly shareable content. It takes vision, creativity and a keen understanding of your industry. However, it is important to note that consistently creating valuable, relevant and share-worthy content will inevitably improve your search rankings. Creating highly shareable content will get others to promote your content for you.
While originality is an important goal of content creation, highly shared content does have some common characteristics.
Checklist: 12 Characteristics of Highly Shareable Content
When you write a blog post, use the following checklist to determine if it’s highly shareable. You should be able to check off at least half of these items for every post.
To be highly shareable, a blog post must:
- Cover real-time, relevant issues or news.
- Include captivating images.
- Have a title that is actionable, concise, clear, descriptive, authoritative, and intriguing.
- Include compelling and illustrative infographics.
- Have breadth and depth.
- Share fresh, original thinking.
- Cover topics blowing up in the news (this is called newsjacking).
- Not be solely focused on pushing your products or services.Be free of spelling errors, typos, and grammatical, and editing flaws.
- Be visually interesting and presented in an organized fashion.
- Showcase industry-relevant thought leadership.
- Come from a trusted and credible source.
Create content that begs to be read, bookmarked and shared because it is high-quality, original, informative, and timely. Don’t get left in the dust by your competitors. Create share-worthy content, and you could be recognized as an industry thought leader, increase your reach, generate and convert more leads, and generate new business.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in December 2012. Because it has been so helpful to so many inbound marketers since then, we’ve completely revamped it, updating it for accuracy, readability, and usefulness.