How do you imagine your perfect blog post?
I bet it is a copywriting masterpiece with hundreds of comments and thousands of social shares. Sure you care about SEO performance, but a bigger pleasure is when your content wins readers’ recognition. And it spreads like wild fire because your post is just awesome.
Unfortunately, the reality is different. You wait for days, but your well-written blog post remains ignored. Nobody shares it and it does not bring the desired traffic.
That is a perfect time to ask a simple question: What did I do wrong?
Start your analysis by reviewing these tips and implementing them if they weren’t followed.
But I must warn you. If you’re looking for a magic elixir, a perfect remedy to instantly bring you tons of traffic, you won’t find it here. Actually, you won’t find it anywhere. Creating viral content which brings tons of traffic requires hard, consistent work. And if you consider these tips, you will be able to make consistent improvements from post to post.
Tip 1: Spend more time writing headlines
On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar. –David Ogilvy, Confessions of An Advertising Man
You must understand the readers. If they don’t consider your headline worthy, they will never read your article. Remember that your headline almost always will be visible with many others. You want it to stand out.
When writing a headline, think about incorporating these types of words:
- Strong adjectives (simple, fun, free, incredible, surprising, strange, awesome)
- Smart rationale (reasons, ideas, facts, hacks, lessons, ways, tactics)
- Instructional (when, how, why, what)
- Beneficial (what readers will take away or why they should read)
Here are some examples:
Number + adjective + keyword + beneficial = 10 New WordPress Plug-ins to Simplify Your Marketing Efforts
Instructional + number + keyword + beneficial = How to Craft Viral Content: 7 Tactics to Get Your Blog Posts Shared
Number + adjective + beneficial = 13 Awesome Rock Songs You May Not Have Heard
While crafting your best headline, remember that it is the first, and sometimes the only impression you can make on your potential reader.
Tip 2: Build on top of proven ideas
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. – Ecclesiastes 1:9
Also known as the Skyscraper Technique as presented by Brian Dean, this tip’s main principle can be expressed as: “If it worked for someone else, it should work for me too.”
You primary task is to find content that already generated a lot of traffic and shares. Then you can build on top of it – create content on the same topic, but make it even better, bring it to a new level.
Here are some options that you can consider:
- Go deeper than the original author.
- Create a visually oriented post.
- Expand on what’s poorly covered.
- Sustain your information with facts, statistics, and links.
You can use Ahref’s Content Explorer tool to find the most popular content for your keywords. Just put them in the search box and get a list of top posts, sorted by the number of shares in different social networks.
Click to enlarge
Tip 3: Make sure your content has practical utility
The time has come to ask yourself another simple but important question: What are the benefits from reading my post?
You have to understand the psychology of sharing. People share content to lift or to sustain their authority in the eyes of their audiences. While they are not the authors, they are the ones who found it and gave it away.
People share #content to lift or to sustain their authority in the eyes of their audiences via @NickChurick
A HubSpot study reported that the most shared types of content were:
- How-to articles
- “Why” posts
- “What” posts
You see? These types of content educate people, answer their questions, and give them explanations and helpful lists. They all have practical utility.
Analyze your recent content: Is it a topic that’s useful for your readers and in a format they’re likely to share? Or it is more salesy text, which does not inspire the readers to share?
Tip 4: Add more ways to share
Put yourself in the reader’s place. You found an insightful post that you think your Facebook friends would like. What do you do? Click on the Facebook share button on the blog post. But if there is no such button, do you take the extra steps to copy the link, write something, and paste it into your feed? Probably not.
Ensure that you provide relevant social-share buttons for your posts. But that’s not the only way that people share. Add some more options:
- Make your images shareable. Visual-only shares can still link to your blog post. Consider making your images easily pinnable by adding one of Shareaholic’s image-sharing WordPress plug-ins.
- Add tweetable quotes and sound bites. Highlight quotes from the post –the author’s, a celebrity’s, influencer’s, etc. You also can highlight your own sound bites, summary, or important notices.
Use a click-to-tweet-type service. When the reader clicks the highlighted text, a tweet of the highlighted text and a link to your blog post or page is created. Another tool to consider is a WordPress plug-in, which provides templates of quote-box design. It also can make your images tweetable.
Here is a fine example of a tweetable quote design:
Tip 5: Want a share? Ask for it.
Don’t hesitate to ask your readers to share your post with their friends, and some of them will. Give them even the most ridiculous reason to do it and even more of them will share.
Asking people to share your content has a surprising bonus too. Have you ever heard of the Ben Franklin effect? I’m sure you have experienced it. As Wikipedia explains, it is that “a person who has done or completed a favor for someone is more likely to do another favor for that person than they would be if they had received a favor from that person.”
Just by asking your readers to share your content you start building a relationship. And as they do you a favor, they will be more likely to favor you in the future.
Follow these five tips when you craft your next blog post and the post after that and the post after that. Remember, blogging is hard, consistent work. That’s the only way to success.
And now, considering tips No. 3 and No. 5, please share this post with your friends. I’m sure they will love it and find it helpful.
Want to expand the success of your content marketing programs? Ensure that you have a documented content marketing strategy. Get started with CMI’s 16-page guide.
Cover image by pixelcreatures via pixabay.com