Editor’s note: the following is a guest post contributed by Niraj Rout, a CanIRank customer and Founder of Hiver, a customer support tool built on top of Gmail. If you’re a CanIRank customer interested in sharing your own story of how CanIRank has helped grow your business, please contact us.

The best way to get more value out of the content you create is to make your content more shareable. If readers are sharing your content, it is a validation of the usefulness of the content. This will help your business grow in terms of traffic, brand recognition and engagement.

Where should you focus while sharing content? Content sharing takes place in different mediums. According to Unbounce, email (93%), social networks (89%), blogs (82%), message boards (81%), and instant messages (80%) are where the sharing magic happens.  What your brand posts should connect with readers. Marketers should exploit this drive to share by making more thematic content worthy of being shared.

0. Determine what kind of content your audience likes to share

CanIRank’s Grow my Followers tool will help you identify ways to improve your business’s social media following, with specific Action Recommendations walking you step-by-step through tactics that have worked well for other businesses in your market.

You can also get a list of your most frequently shared pages on the CanIRank dashboard, which is a great way to figure out what kinds of content your readers are most interested in sharing. For example, CanIRank’s readers most frequently shared our post on the SEO benefits of keyword domains, a list of content marketing guides, and our introduction to influencer outreach strategies.

find your most shared pages

Find and track your most shared pages on the CanIRank Dashboard.

Here’s how your business can increase sharing of your content:

1. Use simple native social sharing tools

Out of sight is out of mind. We want our content to pop-up on our audience’s social media so that it stays in their mind – this is why using social media automation becomes important to share posts consistently. Once they have consumed the content, we want them to share it with others.

A few pointers to remember:

  • Your social media buttons should be in plain sight, and of a viewable size.
  • Select which social media buttons you want – Facebook and Twitter being must-have’s.
  • Personalise social media widgets. You can do it on your own using photoshop, look for inspirations on Pinterest or buy some off Etsy.

2. Use Live Chats on Google Hangouts on Air

Live chats are a great way to reach out to your audience. Have an Ask Me Anything live chat on a topic of your choice. If your live chat provides expertise that the viewers are interested in, they are bound to share it with their friends and followers.

A few pointers to remember:

  • The Hangout will stream live to your YouTube Channel. Verify your YouTube channel for uploads of more than 15 minutes, hangouts run longer than that.
  • Make sure you share the time of the Hangout with your audience. Post an update once you are live on air so they know it has begun.

3. Make the content reactive

Content that makes your audience feel something will get shared. Contemporary advertisements swear by pathos (i.e, emotional appeal) to get the viewers in hook, line and sinker. Emotional content goes viral.

A few pointers to remember:

  • An emotional headline will get the audience to read the content. Some emotions are bound to go viral. The key emotions that you can focus your content on are awe, surprise, anger, joy, lust and fear.
  • Make your readers feel positive about their own life. Selling a product on social media must add value to their life. The ‘feel good’ factor will get them to share it with others.

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4. Use more images

Visual storytelling can be a gamechanger. Photo posts account for 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook.

A brilliant example of this is how Oreo increased their fan interaction by 195%. On their 10th anniversary, Oreo launched a creative campaign. To celebrate the anniversary, they posted photos everyday for 100 days, and gained 1 million Facebook fans!

A few pointers to remember:

  • The focus of sharing photos is engagement, not website clicks. Keep this objective in mind while making your visual. Otherwise, you might end up annoying your audience with irrelevant links.

5. The content should be valuable

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60-70% of B2B content that is created never gets put into use. This is because the information is irrelevant to the audience or irrelevant to their stage in the customer journey.

If the content isn’t of value to the reader, they won’t waste their time sharing it; it has got to serve a purpose. It must genuinely capture the interest of your reader in order for them to share it on their own accord.

A few pointers to remember:

  • The best way to know what your customers want to read about is to ask them. Post a question saying “What kind of content would you like to see on *website name*? It’s worth a shot.
  • Bring in the experts. Have interviews or guest blogs, so that people can share their knowledge on your blog.
  • Have a format. All the content you share should adhere to a format, so that it doesn’t look messy. Eg: Headline, subhead, body, conclusion can be a format. This helps the reader scan through better, and they relate with it better.

6. Have promotions

Who doesn’t like free give-aways?

Promotions and freebies have been Marketing 101 from the time before social media. The magic still works on social media as well though. Promotions thrive on engagement and tend to be shared.

A few pointers to remember:

  • The prize should be eye-catching. Even if it is something you can win by just ‘liking’ a post, your audience won’t care for it if the prize isn’t great. Your prize can be a product or an experience, but make sure it is worthwhile.
  • Keep the competition a simple one or two step process. Anything elaborate will get shunned. ‘Tag your friend’ posts and ‘post a picture’ posts are good starters for a promotion.
  • If you have a hashtag for the promotion, make sure it is simple and unique.

7. Keep it short

Listicles and shorter videos get maximum shares simply because they are easy to consume.

Though we advocate that longform writing is relevant, what you should use depends on what purpose you want it to serve. Shortform content tends to go viral whereas longform content gets a niche loyal readers. This means that if you want to go fast, use short-form content but if you want to go far, use long-form content. Since we are focussing on going fast here, i.e, getting shares, short-form content best suits.

A few pointers to remember:

  • The content should be casual and relatable. Since you have a limited amount of time to make an impact on your audience, relatable content will be your best bet.
  • Keep it to the point. Don’t go waywards in the message you want to give. You have one shot, do not miss the chance!
  • If you are making a listicle, keep the subheads interesting and make sure the visuals are big and clear.

Conclusion

Creating shareable content is top priority for brands. Content sharing eventually boils down to appeal.

Creating content that can grip the reader’s’ senses emotionally or intellectually is a marketer’s ace card. Since 70% of marketers are creating more content than a year ago, quality is a yardstick that will help you stand out from the crowd. As they say, quality always triumphs!

Author – Niraj Ranjan Rout

Niraj is the founder of Hiver (formerly GrexIt), an app the lets you share Gmail labels with other Gmail users. Niraj works on programming, customer support and sales, and also contributes to design and UI. He’s a fusion music aficionado, loves to play the guitar when he can.