In this increasingly social world, where the effectiveness of your book marketing can seem to be a matter of metrics—hits, shares, likes, re-tweets, re-pins—shareable content is, or should be, the goal for all author bloggers.
All these ways social media gives us to comment and pass on each others’ work depend on one thing: great content to share.
Although video has exploded as a favorite form to share across social networks, a huge amount of the content that lies behind the links that fly by on Twitter and other social outlets still lead to text-based articles.
This is especially true when searchers are looking for authoritative information that will help them with a problem they’re trying to solve.
Thinking from the point of the searcher—the person who is typing in a search bar right now, trying to formulate a way to find what they are looking for—is the best way I’ve found to create content that people will really want to share.
Like anyone blogging for a number of years, I’ve tried just about every kind of content creation I could think of, or that I saw other bloggers using successfully on their blogs.
I said in the last article on content creation that the content you fashion for your side, no matter what format it’s in, embodies your strategic goals for your site.
Content isn’t created in a vacuum; there has to be a need for it to exist. Why else write it?
For subject-matter experts, this often involves demonstrating their expertise in a way that helps others solve problems.
For newcomers, it might be sharing what you learn on your journey.
Other writers provide news or entertainment. There are so many kinds of sites, it’s hard to generalize.
But every day, some content rises above the seething mass of new articles, videos, podcasts, and blog posts. What makes some content irresistible?
The qualities that make something irresistible to readers include content that is:
- Unique, engaging, or useful. Good writing always wins.
- Solves real problems, because that’s what drives most searchers
- Uses great headlines, because if the headlines is off, you’ve likely already lost.
- Provokes controversy, names names, or picks fights because of human nature.
Your task as a blogger is to know what your readers are looking for, what would please them so much that they would want to subscribe to your blog feed to make sure they never miss another post, or bookmark your article and return to it, or share your article widely with an enthusiastic recommendation across their own platforms.
The following list of content types may also go a long way toward answering the question, “What should I blog about?” Just reading through them will give you ideas for potential articles.
14 Kinds of Shareable Content
- Foundation or “Pillar” posts—these articles address your own history and qualifications to write, and basic concepts, terms, and processes in the field you are writing about. Start with these, you’ll be linking to them for years to come.
- List post—the most popular form of blog articles, and the type that, despite frequent complaints about them, drives the most traffic to blogs. A list post is just that—a list—with a number in the headline.
- How-to post—A basic form of blog content, it answers the eternal question, “How do I…?” Readers appreciate these articles and they are highly valued by search engines, too.
- Definition article—Another form of “pillar” content, but dedicated to exploring one specific topic and defining it for your readers.
- Technical blueprint—A more specific type of “how-to” article, this kind of post lays out a plan for any kind of technical process.
- Post series—Not specifically a *type* of article, but a series of articles on one topic published over time.
- Opinion piece—We all have opinions, why not express them? If you can back up your beliefs with facts, you’ll make waves, and you’ll likely attract your share of traffic.
- Resource post—A listing of recommended resources to accomplish goals shared by readers of your site. Go sources for equipment or supplies, tools you know and use, software or hardware, readers will be interested in how you approach your own tasks. Resource posts also present the opportunity for affiliate income.
- Curated content—Perform a real service for your readers by finding and selecting useful, authentic content from other sites. Curation enhances your own authority, and sends traffic and links to sites within your subject area, a practice that will enhance your networking possibilities.
- Interview—If you don’t have a big platform yet, invite people well known and widely followed to be interviewed on your site. You might be surprised how many will accept, and you can publish in audio, video, text, or all three. Interviews will also supercharge your networking with folks in your field.
- News announcement—As it grows, your blog becomes an authentic media site. There’s no better place to announce news of any kind in your business or with your books. If you have syndicated your blog to your social media outposts, you’ll get even wider coverage.
- Product review—One of the most popular types of content, blog reviews are relied on by a huge percentage of shoppers for clear information and honest evaluation of products. Of course, this is another big affiliate marketing opportunity.
- Tutorial—Walking readers step by step through a confusing, technical, or complex process can produce content that becomes very popular. Putting yourself in a newcomer’s place is the best way to gain this perspective, since we’ve all been newcomers in our lives.
- “News jack”—Events in the news that a lot of people want to know about (i.e., trending topics that generate millions of searches) can often be turned to your advantage, if you just find an angle that connects what you have to say about your subject to the event itself. My latest example of a “News Jack” article, for example, is “Fake News! In Self-Publishing” in which I used this trending term to demystify some self-publishing myths.
This list is by no means exhaustive. Some of these types of articles will lend themselves well to video or audio production, some less so.
But each can be used within the strategy you’re using to reach your own goals.
Do you know of a type of shareable content I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments.
Photo credit: Informedmag Working From Home via photopin (license)