Have you ever wondered why blogging is so popular and is becoming ever more popular?
Of course we can come up with lots of different explanations as to why this is happening.
Blogging is an interesting free time activity, blogging lets you improve your writing skills, blogging can sometimes help you find a job… and you can even make money with your blog!
And then again the most important reason for most folks to get involved with blogging is probably because that is an awesome way to spread your message, to share your opinion with the rest of the world and to create a discussion where you have the final word.
But… does everyone achieve those goals?
Most simply fail to get traffic and build an audience. And one of the reasons for is the content they publish itself. It just fails to generate any engagement.
In the below paragraphs I have covered four great ways to improve the virality of your blog posts or in other words to make them more shareable on the social networks:
1. About the Headline… Again
You’ve probably come across a ton of articles, aiming to help you improve your headlines. And there’s a good reason – the headline is how you present your content.
In ten words, you have to make the one thousand words that the article is composed of seem like a good way to spend several minutes.
Basically the title you’ll come up with WILL have a big impact on the amount of sharing your latest piece receives.
So based on what I’ve tried and tested on Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter, here are some important takeaways to remember:
- Numbers are a good idea – I’ve heard a lot of criticism about list posts. But then again in comparison to a “How to…” kind of title for instance, titles with numbers in them seem to get better results. The number reveals how much points you are going to touch in the post, which gives the visitor a better clue as to how much time they are going to spend reading.
- Be careful with the character count – Detail is important. That is why your should go for more than two-three words. Titles need to be descriptive enough so that they tell your followers exactly what they will learn. Make them too descriptive however and you risk losing readers somewhere among the details. Around 50-60 characters seems to be great in terms of shareability and happens to be the perfect length for good on-page SEO.
- Use adjectives to grab the attention – There are some words I’ve found especially effective in terms of click-rates and retweets. Those work well on list posts and are the adjectives you use to describe the ways, reasons, tips or whatever you are sharing. Some common examples are “useful”, “effective”, “great”, “neat” and “simple”.
2. Images Are the Name of the Game
However even if your headline persuades visitors to click on the link, they should also READ your article.
And that is where the second factor comes into play.
Images are for a fact a great way to describe what readers are going to read in your articles. If you choose the right image, people will instantly have some idea as to what your article’s topic will be. That in terms will make it easier for them to decide if the post would actually be worth their time.
But doesn’t the headline have the same purpose?
It definitely has and at first sight it’s even more descriptive than an image. The thing about images however is that they create a better connection than a block of words. Visual presentation is always more eye-catching and thus more impactful.
Now you know a blog post image right below the headline is a must. One image is certainly better than none. But three, four or five on the other hand would be even better!
So either you could go for an image for each (or some) of the paragraphs or you could create a visual how-to guide like I do in some of my posts.
An example for the latter is when you are reviewing a tool and tell people which menus to click in order to find the different options. Instead of simply telling them how, you could make screenshots of the parts of the process and point them with arrows to make understanding easier.
Of course it doesn’t have to be a tool. It could be anything that requires you to explain how something is done and what are the steps required.
All in all having both types of images is a sure-fire way to get more people to read your posts and share them.
3. Do Heavy Self-Promotion
How YOU promote YOUR content can prove decisive as to how much sharing it receives in the long run. If you do a good job to spread the word right after you publish your latest post, you are sure to create more buzz and engagement.
But what kind of self-promotion should you do?
Well here are some of the most important promotion practises if you want to get more social media traffic:
- Use Triberr – Triberr is the service that lets you connect with other bloggers in your niche and share each-other’s content. If you haven’t yet signed-up, it’s time to do so. If you have, but don’t have the Triberr plugin, which automatically submits your posts to Triberr, you should install it.
- Submit to the blogging networks – If you don’t have an account at BlogEngage, BizSugar, Blokube, Klinkk, GrowthHackers and Inbound, don’t forget to sign-up. All of those allow you to submit your latest content for people to vote for and share on the social networks.
- Create good call to actions when sharing– When sharing your latest post on Google Plus and Facebook, make sure to include a call to action along the lines of “I would greatly appreciate your feedback” or “Please take a minute to share your comments“. Those are a good way to get a little more likes and engagement.
- Start tweeting about it – You can use HootSuite to connect your blog’s RSS feed to Twitter and let it automatically tweet your latest articles whenever they are published.
All of the above are sure to give your content a bit of an initial boost once it goes live. And after all the more shares your articles receive, the more shares they will attract.
4. Know When Your Audience is Alive
There’s just one other thing you should take into consideration before publishing your next article. And that is WHEN to publish it.
The problem for many bloggers out there is that they are not targeting an audience on a local level. This is why when publishing an article you have to keep in mind the time difference between where you live and where your audience lives.
Publishing at the most optimal times might mean getting up very early in the morning or staying up late at night. And believe it or not all of this is worth it, because it will guarantee you more initial shares and traffic. And the faster you generate a buzz around your latest piece, the more shares you will get further down the line.
So how do you discover the optimal publishing times?
Well it’s simple. You need to have a general idea of when people are on their PCs and what they are doing. Most importantly you need to have a clue of the time when the different social networks reach the highest engagement levels.
The above are what I believe some of the most important considerations if you want to create more buzz around your latest piece and maximize its potential for social shares.
Now I’d like to hear your comments and feedback!
What are some other ways to improve the virality of your articles? Do you agree with the ones I’ve shared? Let me know what you think!