social-shares

Think back to the last time you shared a post on Facebook or retweeted someone on Twitter. What was going on inside your head at that precise moment? What was it that made you share that post? This is the topic I would like to explore here.

How often your content gets shared is an important measurement for content marketers. Jay Baer included social shares as one of his 4 types of content metrics that matter. Knowing the content that your audience prefers and drives traffic influences how you are going to create content moving forward. Will your content strategy need to be modified? How about how you share content to social media? Many debate the difficulty in proving social ROI, but most are under the belief that creating content that attracts social media shares is important.

  • Shared content leads to greater brand visibility and more people talking about you.
  • Shared content boosts traffic to your website.
  • Shared content helps to grow and manage your online reputation through customer engagement.

What goes into creating content that attracts social shares? Have you heard of the CURVE method? The acronym stands for curiosity, urgency, relevance, value, and emotion. It's a method developed by Alex Williamsto write and test effective email subject lines.

Content marketing often needs to do the same thing Alex tries to achieve. Meaning, you have a matter of seconds for your content to capture your audience's attention, just like the subject line of an email. The CURVE method is a great principle to guide you as you create content.

Curiosity

There are a number of ways to spark curiosity, but none maybe more so than a well crafted image. I love using Canva to create custom graphics as often as I can in my marketing. You can write a great headline and post copy but nothing sparks curiosity like a custom graphic.

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." Walt Disney was a content marketing genius even before content marketing was a term. I've seen custom graphics used most often as featured images for blog posts. Content Marketing Institute and Social Media Examiner do a great job at using custom graphics in this way.

Urgency

Content that invokes a sense of urgency is content that'll get shared.

The more people feel a rush to share the news with their friends and followers, works to your advantage.

Relevancy

Relevancy is a challenging aspect because the rules to the game are always changing.

Videos, GIFs and podcasts are hot types of content right now. 93% of marketers will use video for online marketing, sales or communication this year.

With relative newcomers like Snapchat and Anchor, social media is becoming a lot more social in the sense that you can't automate your way to success like you can on Facebook and Twitter.

It's raw, in the moment content that's most relevant today.

Value

The best way to create valuable content that will make people want to share it, is to first discover what your audience finds valuable.

By measuring the real impact of your content marketing, you'll see if your content resonates.

Does your content distinguish you as a thought leader? Will your content be able to break through the massive noise all content marketers are faced with?

Emotion

Maya Angelou may have the best explanation for why emotion is such a critical piece to the puzzle. "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." This ties in with why custom graphics are highly shared. It's more than just a photo.

You can influence people to share your content more by making social sharing easier and more obvious.

Conclusion

"Test, test, test is at the core of content marketing and social media success." Heidi Cohen

At the end of the day, Heidi is right. It's important to remember that content marketing is just one big experiment. What works for one may not work for another. The only true way to create content that attracts social media shares is to test to see what your audience responds to.

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* Adapted lead image: AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by opensourceway