There is now doubt that as a blogger you want your posts to be shared. When people share your post, it not only shows that they like it, but it introduces all their friends and followers to your post. Your post reaches new eyes, and other people who could possibly love it and share it too. But how do you actually get blog posts shared? How do you encourage people to pass it around and show it to their fans?
I want to help answer that for you, so I’ve put together some tips, tricks, and all around good suggestions on not only how to get blog posts shared, but how to make them more shareable too. I’ve got some ideas for you here…
Write Shareable Content
This is probably a pretty common sense thing to add here, but it’s important that you think about whether or not your content is really “shareable” when you’re putting it together. When I say “shareable” I really mean “relatable.” People share things they relate to, that inspire them, that they want others to know represents them in some way… So that’s the kind of content that’s going to get shared the most.
How to Know if Your Content is Sharable
So that begs the question, how do you know if your content is shareable? It can be tough. What we think might be shareable, could not be, or there may be something we’re not doing that’s holding us back. Here are a few things to be aware of…
Know Your Audience
Who are you targeting with that post? How big is your target audience? Is it narrow or nice and wide?
The kinds of posts you’re going to see most shared, are posts that relate to a nice wide audience. Things like recipes, DIYs, life hacks, and inspirational posts are going to be shared most often-and the wider the target audience is, the more they will be shared. For example, sharing something like this DIY Lip Balm post is pretty widely shareable-which is reflected in the fact that it’s been shared 1.1K times since it went live last October. Most women use lip balm, and a lot of people would like to try and make their own if it’s not too difficult.
However, these DIY Easy Halloween Goodie Bags have only been shared about 176 times. While they’re super cute, they’re really only relevant to people who have kids in their life or who give little gifts for holidays like that. People who aren’t inclined to do that sort of thing aren’t likely to share it, so my audience is a bit more narrow than the one for the lip balm. 176 is a good number, don’t get me wrong-but it’s not huge.
Would you share it?
Well, ask yourself this question to start: If this post wasn’t written by you, would you want to share it? You have to take yourself completely out of the equation when asking this question. If you wrote this post all about how your daughter made the winning goal in the soccer match last week, you have to think about it like it was some stranger’s child in the post. Would you share a post like this about someone else’s kid? Some stranger’s son or daughter?
For most people, the answer is going to be no. Someone who doesn’t have kids isn’t likely to share it at all, and most other moms-while they might enjoy keeping up with your family-probably aren’t going to pass it along to other people because why would they? Sure, your best friend, mother, grandmother, etc. will probably pass it on, but if you’re trying to grow your blog into something bigger you want a bigger audience to be sharing it.
That doesn’t mean you have to stop sharing the stories about your kids, or your life experiences, etc. It just means that the more relatableyour post is, the more it’s going to be shared.
Give Your Post a Message
So how can you make these life and family posts more shareable? Give them a message. A real message can make them more relatable-people are more likely to relate to some kind of message than they are just a story about a kid kicking a ball into a net. Go ahead and write about little Suzie and her success out on the field, but give it a purpose-some kind of message that goes along with the story.
If that reason is just that you want to share your kids story-that’s fine, but it’s probably not going to get shared a ton and that’s okay. You just have to be okay with that and not expect too much.
However, if the story wraps up with a good message about perseverance and how she really pushed herself to make that goal when she was feeling afraid of failing, or maybe your platform for the post is to encourage parents to put their kids in sports so you wrap it all up with why this confirmed your decision to do so, etc. Those are the things that are going to bring more people into that area where they can relate to your post. If your post makes people think and feel through experience, it’s way more likely to be shared.
Make Your Shareable Content Timely
You’ve heard it said before, timing is everything, and this is especially true for blog posts. It’s one thing to write good content that can be shared, but it’s another to make sure you’re within the sharing zone for that content. People are going to share content that is relevant to where they are in that point of their life, and how they’re feeling just then. Some posts (like holiday-related and current event posts) are going to be highly shareable for only a short time due to the nature of people being very excited for what’s coming up or what’s happening. You get a lot of bang for your buck if you position these within the window, but if you miss that window of time-they’re not as likely to be shared.
Holiday posts are highly shareable for a short time. People love to be in the holiday spirit of whatever holiday is coming up, so they’re going to share content related to that holiday-DIYs, recipes, messages, etc. However, the window for a holiday post is a lot smaller than a different post If your post is holiday related, you’re going to want to make sure to post it prior to the holiday and with enough time that they can actually utilize your post while in the holiday spirit.
Have a great Thanksgiving Dinner recipe? Fabulous! Share it a good 1-2 (or more) weeks before Thanksgiving. You want it to be close enough to the holiday that they are feeling the spirit of it (aka you don’t want to post it in July when they’re thinking of water parks and ice cream and the holidays are the furthest thing from their minds) but early enough that they have time to prepare for and plan to incorporate your recipe. People plan their dinners and dishes early, and then they need time to shop for it, make sure they have the right equipment, and get it ready to go.
Yes these holidays will come around again, but with them will come a lot more holiday-themed posts on the web. To maximize your holiday content you want to make sure those old holiday related posts are up to date each year, and that you are sharing them again to bring them to the front of the line and into people’s view.
Current events are a big time shareable post. If something huge happened politically, there was big news in the world, or something in social media is changing-posting about it will give you a likely boost in shares for that post-but only if you share it in a timely fashion. With the way things move in these days of the internet, your timeline for sharing a current event before it becomes a past event is small, so you have to act quick! Unlike with holiday posts, it’s not likely these will come around again, so when it’s no longer an issue that people care about your shares will likely drop.
Posts Related to Age Ranges or States of Being
Writing posts that relate to a state of being or a time in your life, like a certain time in your life or an age range, may seem like they’d only be relevant for those years, but it’s not entirely true. For example, let’s take our twenties-a span of ten years. Posts like Cosmo’s Things Every Woman Should Do in Her Twenties and Buzzfeed’s 27 Epic Adventures Worth Taking in Your Twenties are only relevant to you for those ten years, but there will always be new twenty year olds moving on to the scene. Those posts will probably always be relevant to people who are in that span of life.
I maintain that both of those are still good after thirty though. Seriously. Says the girl who turns 30 in exactly a month from tomorrow…
Use Proper Spelling and Grammar
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to share a post I related to, but stopped myself because it was just so full of spelling and grammatical errors. Yes, these mistakes don’t really mean everything-good content is good content-but it’s still hard to push out a post that is hard to read, even if it’s such a great topic and/or opinion. It feels dirty to recommend my readers go through it with all those mistakes and troublesome spots.
Have a Good Looking Site
I know I harp on blog design a lot in these Better Your Blog posts, but it really is so important. Having a nice clean blog design and posts that are easy to read and follow is key to keeping your readers happy. As it turns out, it’s also key to getting your posts shared too. No matter how many times we’re told “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, we still do it-and we judge blogs by their cover too. If a blog looks totally unprofessional it’s hard to share a post and have your friends and readers go to that blog and take it seriously. Make your design appealing so people are drawn in, and more likely to send people your way for a pleasing experience.
How to Get Blog Posts Shared
Okay, so you’ve determined now that your post is shareable, at least on some level, so how do you get that post shared by other people? Naturally, some people will share it anyway as they come and read it, as long as you don’t make it to difficult on them. Some loyal readers or people who are seriously passionate about what you’ve written will just share it manually. They’ll copy the link and post it to their Facebook page, or tweet it out, and if you’re lucky and they have the Pinterest button added to their browser maybe it’ll get pinned.
Make Sharing Easy
If you’re counting on people going to all that work to share your posts, you’ll probably be disappointed. People mean well-they really do-but when something takes too much effort it’s likely to be abandoned before it’s brought to completion. If you make sharing as easy as the click of a button-it’s ten times more likely to get shared.
Do you make it easy on your readers to share your content? 90% of the time, if it’s too difficult, they’ll give up and your post wont be shared.TWEET IT
Install Share Buttons for Multiple Social Sites
Seriously. This is the number one thing you should do if you want sharing to be done easily and often. Having visible share buttons on my blog increased my shares three-fold. See those pretty buttons to the left of my post? Readers have the option to share to various different social media accounts-giving them the optoion to share it where they really want to. Most people don’t have accounts on all of those sites. Sure, we do, we’re bloggers/businesses/social media experts, but the vast marjority of internet users who aren’t those things share stuff too-and you want to give them the option to share it to the site they do use. So the more options you have, as long as it looks nice and tidy, the better.
Those pretty little buttons on my sidebar are Flare by Filament, but I’ve also heard really good things about SuMoMe. There are a lot of great free and paid plugin options out there though. A lot of them even work on Blogger now, which was basically unheard of in the past.
Have at Least Two Kinds of Sharing Buttons
Oh man, I would seriously stress the importance of this one. Don’t rely on just one set of sharing options in one place. Yes, my pretty little share options on the side float down so no matter where you are in the post you can share it, but what if they fail? It’s happened. The plugin needs updating, or something goes down on their servers, and bam-the post is temporarily not shareable.
This is why having other options is so useful-even if I don’t have ALL of those options, I have some important ones like the Pin It button (Need a good pin it button plugin? Read all about it and my other favorite WordPress plugins.) when you hover over my photos, or the little tweetable quotes that make it easy for people to share my post to Twitter.
I’ve been using Click to Tweet as a great free option for adding tweetables, but I’ve recently upgraded to a one-time paid (meaning you buy the plugin once, and don’t have to continue paying for it, so that’s nice.) service called TweetDis (note, they sent me the plugin free totry, but all opinions are 100% mine). So far I like it. There are a lot more options to it and you can set up defaults for how you want it to appear-some of those templates offer a few customization like size and color. Overall, I wish it had a little more customization where colors are concerned, as it would be nice if I could make it match the colors on my blog, but I think the switch will be worth it. I can set it up for all sorts of different kind of tweets-including images!
Share Your Own Posts Everywhere
If you want others to share it, you should be sharing it, and the truth is there are going to be people who miss your post. Sharing your content to your social media sites, both the blog/business ones and your personal ones, will make it more visible to your followers. Plus, they can then easily share from there if they want to do so. Hitting “share” on facebook, repinning, or retweeting is even easier than clicking on the button in your blog post.
This also provides them the opportunity to share your post before they even read it. I know, it sounds kind of weird, but do you have any idea how many times I’ve been thumbing my way down my Facebook or Twitter feed while I’m getting ready for work and seen a post I wanted to read but didn’t have time for? Millions. Oh hey, there’s an article on all the things I didn’t know about Gilmore Girls? CRAP! It’s 7:50 I have to go! You know what I do? Share it. I share it so I can go back to my wall or feed later and read it.
Schedule Your Shares Appropriately
I don’t even have to wait til a post is published to share it. Luckily I use CoSchedule so I can schedule out the sharing of my own posts in advance. I easily schedule Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +. However, one share doesn’t always work. Sure, Google + and Facebook are pretty good with only one share, but the average life of a tweet before it gets flooded out by other tweets is something like a half hour on someone’s feed. That’s a short window.
To work with that, I schedule at least 2-3 tweets for the post, each at a different time of day so that it reaches different people in my audience. I also schedule out a tweet for the post at a future date and time and label it “from the archives” so that people can see it then too and my shares don’t go too far down over time.
For Pinterest, sometimes your post fits into more than one board that you have or collaborate on, so I schedule as many pins for those boards as I need, and spread them out over time so they’ll reach different audiences on Pinterest as well. It seriously makes my life so much easier.
Funny story, as I was typing up this post I had to reboot my computer becuase it was running super slow. While I was waiting for my reboot I opened up Twitter to browse Tweets and CoSchedule had actually just posted a post related to this post called Why People Share: The Psychology of Social Sharing. What a coincidence! To be fair, I put off reading their post until I was finished with mine so I wouldn’t be influenced-but I still wanted to share it with you so you could get even more information on the subject should you wish to research it further.
Share Other Bloggers’ Content
This blogging thing can be quite the give and take. If you want other bloggers to share your content with their following, you should be sharing content from other bloggers as well. If you see a post you like from another blogger that you really like, or you think your readers will find useful, share it! Sharing content from other bloggers/sites/sources only helps your reputation with other bloggers as they’ll see you share their content, and you’re more likely to build a connection with them that will result in them sharing your content too, and with your readers who will probably be happy for a nice wide range of topics to find through you.
Sharing related content from other sources just gives your followers more of what they love-and they’ll keep coming back for it.TWEET IT
Keep it Related to Your Feed
I would advise that you keep your content pretty closely related to that which you provide to your readers. They follow you for a reason, and they expect a certain level or type of thing coming from your account. My brand is “lifestyle”, which makes it easy for me to share most things, but I still try to keep it to some of the main stuff I talk about here. It’s pretty rare when I will share something for kids, or parenting, or what not-since I don’t talk about those things.
However if you’re a food blogger and you only post about food, your followers are going to follow you for food, and they may not always react well if you post something that is totally outside the bounds of cooking/recipes/restaurants, etc. If you’ve been sharing recipes for cookies and flan for months, and then suddenly share a review of a romance novel you read, you may shock or lose a few of your followers.
Sharing related content from other sources just gives your followers more of what they love-and they’ll keep coming back for it. They’ll know you’re their go-to source for certain things, and when they’re looking for something they’ll be likely to check your feed or reach out to you about it. Blogging is very much about building connections-this is one of the better ways to grow strong friendships with other bloggers, companies, and your fan base.
Let’s Wrap It Up
So in summary, here are the key points you want to pay attention to in order to get posts shared:
- Consider your audience, and make your posts relatable to that audience.
- Present those posts in a professional and well-put-together manner.
- Maximize your timing with topics and events.
- Make it as easy as possible to share your posts.
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket with one sharing option.
- Share your own posts multiple times, at different times of day, and across various platforms.
- Share related content from other sources.
- Make it easy on yourself by scheduling things out.
What’s your favorite way to share?
The Better Your Blog Series is a series of posts written by myself, Angie of My So-Called Chaos, from my own personal experience as a long-time blogger, small-business owner, and as someone who’s worked with technology and customer service for many many years. They are written with the intent of sharing the knowledge I’ve acquired through years of practice and education (both self-taught and school-taught) with others in the blogging community.
In this collection of posts you’ll not only find tips for maintaining your blog, but also for anything that goes along with being a blogger and/or small business owner-like design tips and tutorials, social media, tools, and more.
The posts in this series are constantly being updated to make sure they stay current, and the series is constantly being added to. Please contact me if there’s something you’d like to learn.