In today’s guest post, Raymond Stokes highlights 4 key tips on how to make your content stand out and maximise its social reach.
Do you spend time agonizing about the perfect title for your blog post? Do you struggle with creating articles that are too short or too long?
When it comes to social media, these questions matter more than you might realize.
In 2016, social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are responsible for nearly one-third of all website traffic. This shift means that when it comes to attracting visitors, social media compatibility is now of equal importance to high ranks in web searches.
But before you start researching the best way to make your FB and Twitter posts go viral, take a moment to clarify your basic objectives.
While SEO keywords are less important when it comes to social media, you still need to research the kind of content that will make sales. Content is still the king (no matter what they say), and its title is the queen that helps it stand out. To maximize the effectiveness of your social media presence, make sure that these two are perfectly matched.
Here are 4 basic tips to find that perfect match:
1. Make your title catchy and your content descriptive
Your title will stand out more with strong phrases, even if they are negative ones. A title such as “What We Hate the Most” or “Brilliant” definitely grab the reader’s attention. But use these with caution. Negativity can sometimes come across as excessively rude or even inappropriate. If everything stands out, then nothing does.
To really intrigue your readers, focus on “who” rather than “why”.
To make your Twitter content really stand out, use some of these most retweetable words:
- check out
- how to
You can also use action words in your titles:
And try to make your title even catchier with some good, strong action words too. Expand your use of attention-grabbing phrases beyond the title to the text itself. Again, if you use such phrases sparingly, they will stand out more.
Above all, keep your content descriptive and illustrative and match it with a catchy title for the optimum formula for success.
2. A picture is worth a thousand words
Recent research reveals that headlines which include the word “photo(s)” perform 37% better than headlines without this word. In addition, articles with images get 94% more total views.
2016 is the year of social media and the year of visual content.
Besides enticing users to share your content on their social media networks, images will also help to drive more traffic from social media sites.
To maximize the power of images, ensure that any shared post which readers may pass along contains images that are correctly optimized for social media.
And don’t just stick in a random image just for the sake of visual appeal. Images are only effective if they are relevant to your content. Stock photos or generic images do not resonate with readers.
Another effective way to use images is to include them as thumbnails to “popular posts” or “related posts” in the sidebar. Such thumbnails usually include the featured image of the post. This can help you get a higher CTR as well as decrease the bounce rate.
3. Short title and long content
The optimum length of your title will depend on what your goals are and the platform you are using.
If your goal is to get a high search ranking, then focus on keeping the title under 70 characters; this will ensure that it doesn’t get cut off in search engine results.
Maybe what you really want is a title that’s optimized for social sharing. On Twitter, shoot for a headline between 8–12 words in length; on average, headlines of this length get the most retweets. If you’re using Facebook, headlines with either 12 or 14 words receive the most Likes.
For example, let’s take a blog post with the title: “Think Heart Disease Only Affects Older Men? Here Are 10 Statistics Guaranteed to Prove You Wrong.” Rephrase the title to cut out unneeded words:
- Before: Think Heart Disease Only Affects Older Men? Here Are 10 Statistics Guaranteed to Prove You Wrong.
- After: 10 Stats That Prove Heart Disease Is Not Just for Older Men
See? It’s that easy. Test out your title by saying it out loud to make sure it’s easy for your readers to digest. The less of a mouthful your title is, the better.
As for the content, it’s not necessarily true that the more words you write, the better. Above all, make sure that your content is useful and necessary.
When it comes to length, ask yourself how many words it will take to cover the topic. How long must your article be to explain everything you would like to inform your readers about? These are questions which are essential for deciding on the length of your article. As a general rule, though, remember that content over 300 words is considered more valuable.
4. Use facts and figures to show the value of your content
According to a 2013 Conductor study published on Moz the type of headline that resonates best with readers are those that include numbers (“30 Ways To Make Drinking Coffee More Delightful.”) The second category was those headlines that directly address the reader (Ways You Can Make Drinking Coffee More Delightful).
Stats are a great way to engage the attention because they offer proof to back up your statements. For instance, you want to show why inbound marketing is the best thing ever. Which of these sentences are more persuasive?
- “Inbound marketing has shown to be a more effective way to reach customers”
- “Inbound marketing brings 56% more leads into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound marketing”
The second sentence clearly has a much bigger impact on the reader because of the use of statistics. Anyone can make general statements like the first example. By offering real proof, the statement becomes much more trustworthy.
For example, case studies are usually filled with stats. Another effective use of numbers is in roundup posts: curated collections of examples, thoughts, or tips, or just a gathering of information. These are great because people tend to just naturally share and link to them. Infographics are another great way to incorporate for numbers.
It’s even possible that a blog is not the ideal place to publish your content. Make sure to implement your content well so that the hard work that you put into gathering data will not be wasted.
Have you crafted any great headlines that led to many links and shares? Please share your experience.
Raymond Stokes – start-up launcher, social media specialist and dreamer. One of his first projects Essay For College inspires him to work more and have the guts to open a digital world. Follow Ray on Twitter.